Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Back from Agape school

Yes, Will got back from Kiev on Sunday. He was exhausted, and we were exhausted, and it has taken us a few days to recover. But we're so glad that he could go! The next session will be in Uzhgorod in the beginning of December.

Will's class
(I pulled this photo off Facebook.)
I thought I would round up and translate the bits of news about the school that were on Facebook and the Agape site. Here is the first:
The tenth Agape bible school opened on Oct. 14. We were hospitably welcomed by Kiev Bible Institute. Students came from Belorus, Russia, and eleven regions of Ukraine. The grand opening was attended by guests and friends of Agape: Rustam Nazimovich Fatullaev, pastor of Tabernacle Church; Sergey Vladimirovich Manelyuk, president of Kiev Bible Institute; Alla Vasilevna Nechiporuk, dean of KBI, Oksana Valsilevna Malischuk, coordinator of distance learning at KBI; and senior pastor of Crimea, Pavel Vasilevich Fedoruk. All guests were asked to address the students with welcoming remarks and wishes. On the first day of training, Pavel Vasilevich Fedoruk taught fundamental truths about the formation of the character of God's ministers, about the importance of humility and total dedication to God. On the second day Boris Borisovich Gnatyshyn taught the "Seven Laws of the Learner" seminar.

And then there was a little more on Facebook:
Tuesday there was a warm evening of fellowship and getting to know each other. On Wednesday the school's students went to Tabernacle Church. On the third and fourth days of the training, Oksana Sidorchuk, the director of the charity "Circle of Friends," taught the students of the Agape school. Today (Friday) Tatiana Ryazantseva, a teacher from Tavrichecki Christian Insitute spoke about the structure and methods of Bible lessons.

When Will got back, he wrote: "Very impressive level of professionalism, from child psychology to pedagogical methods. I barely kept up, but thoroughly enjoyed myself."

And that's all I have. Thank you for praying!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Too tired

I was going to write something, but by the time I uploaded these photos, and I had forgotten what, and I'm too tired anyway. So, here are a few random photos from the past week:

Today was absolutely beautiful, by the way. Golden autumn!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Agape school

Now that we're in Kherson, I should be writing more about Agape. But, really, we haven't gotten involved yet. We've been enjoying a nice, slow time to settle in and rest. Now we're ready to jump in....

Alex Fedorchuk, the director of Agape, should be arriving in Kherson tomorrow! We had been waiting for him to get back, before even starting to figure out how we fit in to the ministry.

And, one of Agape's main ministries is teaching Christians how to minister in orphanages. Among other things, they do that through their yearly school, that meets in week-long sessions. People come from all over Ukraine and surrounding countries to study together. You might remember that we got to sit in on the final session of last year's school and graduation in June. This year Will is attending. He left last night for the first session in Kiev. We had wanted to go all together, but that didn't work out, so he's there for all of us.

This year Agape also has something new: a school for leaders of adaptation centers (homes for orphanage graduates). That starts October 28. Please be praying for the people learning how to serve orphans and for those who are teaching: at the new leaders' school, at Agape seminars in Russia next month, and at the school Will is attending. We won't be directly involved in the first two on that list, but we're praying for them!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

I was right

Yes, this week was better.

Probably the biggest news is that Jaan started at music school today! It was a little bit more complicated to get him enrolled here than in Dneprorudnoe, but Will did the running around and got him in. First, Jaan had to have a medical document saying that he's healthy enough to be around other children. Everyone said that was simple to get, but it was a bit more complicated for us. Still, Will talked his way into getting it. Jaan's piano teacher will be the director of the music school, not a sweet babushka like he had before; Jaan is a little intimidated, but we'll see how it goes. Today he just had Solfeggio and Music Literature, and the teacher for those classes is nice. They also don't want students who don't have an instrument, so we'll probably have to be looking into buying a keyboard. (No room for a real piano!)

Other news:
We have bunk beds, and everyone is loving them. Bogdan has moved out of his crib and into his big boy bed without any fuss.

Will's going to be in Kiev all of next week for the first session of Agape's training school.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

What a week

Our hamster died.

We've been sick.

Our internet has been off. (I did get that last blog post scheduled before it went out, so that posted, even without me.)

We were cold.

New Slavik

But there has been a lot of good, too:
Fun and fellowship with many people last weekend.

The new baby hamster is awfully cute.

Bogdan is really sweet and snuggly when he doesn't feel good.

We've had a lot of good family time, inside while it's been cool and rainy outside.

A committee of neighbors turned our heat on.*

And next week should be better.

*I have mentioned before that our landlady lives in Italy, but she has a family here help take care of everything related to this house. They do a wonderful job of it, too! Thursday night the landlady’s helper came by to check on us, and she was shocked and horrified to see me in a hat and sweatshirt indoors. (After 12 years in city-heated apartments, we're rather used to waiting for the heat.) I reminded her that she had told us to wait for her husband before trying to turn the heat on... more shock and horror, because apparently they had forgotten, and he had left for Kiev that morning. She didn't know how to start it up herself, but she said that she'd go for Babushka O,† since Babushka O. "doesn't have any men in her family. She knows how to do everything." And a few minutes later they came bustling back, with another woman along, too. This was late on a cold, rainy night! They got the heat all started up, showed Will how it works, and we've been warm ever since. So nice! (And so strange to be able to actually adjust the heat!)

†(Footnotes on footnotes: yes, I have been reading Terry Pratchett. Thank you very much.) This is the same babushka who did the bicycle trick I mentioned on Facebook a few days ago:

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


I wanted to write about our pets before, and I got photos ready a while ago, but then I didn't do anything with them. A small tragedy over the weekend pushed me to write now. This post is dedicated to the memory of Slavik.

Cute Slavik
Back in the middle of winter, a friend gave us four baby dwarf hamsters. They were so tiny! And so cute! We bought a cage for them, but they were so little that they could just walk back and forth between the bars of it as they wished.

There was a disaster that killed the three girl hamsters early on, but their brother survived and became a dearly beloved pet. Slavik put up with anything, and was really probably the cutest animal I've seen.

As I said, though, this post is dedicated to the memory of Slavik. Over the weekend, we had company, and as they were leaving, everything was pretty chaotic. Dina (the rat, more about her in a moment) was out, so Will grabbed her and stuffed her into a cage... the wrong cage. Slavik's cage. And Dina killed Slavik instantly. It was a very sad day. There was way more weeping and wailing than there should be over a hamster. I cried too. But, all's well that ends well. Will ran out and got us a new Slavik, and all the little people seem to be quite satisfied with him. (I don't have any photos yet. New Slavik is a baby, and moves very fast! I'm hoping that he'll settle down into a nice calm lump like his predecessor as he grows up.)

Other pets that I wanted to write about:

I'm afraid that she is in disgrace right now. That's putting it mildly. But, she really has been a good pet (except for her one murderous act!). We're working on learning forgiveness. You probably saw her in all our school photos, right? That's enough about her for now.

And this one:

We actually gave him away before we moved, but I don't think I ever posted photos of how funny he looked in all his various no-scratch collars. And somehow--even though we don't miss him at all--our children still seem to count him as ours. So, he's our long-distance pet?

We've also kept hedgehogs. But somehow, we don't get so attached to them. One lived on our balcony and then at our dacha for a few years. We found another, a baby, just before we moved, and we were going to keep him. Will even moved him cross-country with all our stuff, but then he escaped right after arriving here. One photo of that guy, and then I'm done: