Saturday, March 19, 2022

Birthday, back to school, and more

Bogdan turned 11 on Saturday. Like my father said, it was a birthday that he'll tell his children and grandchildren about, but it was actually pretty normal, even though in some ways it was entirely strange. While we were at church, working and visiting with friends there, it was almost possible to forget about the war. Almost.

On Monday we started back to our usual homeschooling schedule, and that has gone okay. At times it's very hard to concentrate, but it's good to have a routine going. Bogdan's friend comes over almost every day to play after they've finished their schoolwork.

On Tuesday Yana went back to her village. We were worried about her getting there, but it went fine. If you look at the screen shot below from Live Map, you can see how it was possible for her to get home, but that we still can't go anywhere. Her family lives north of Skadovsk. (Kherson was under the fire and announcement icons.) If someone can get past the block posts at the edges of Kherson, the roads are pretty open going south. A man came into the city from her village and picked her up; it took them two hours to get back out of the city, but then their trip was fine.

Inside Kherson, lines are very long. Pretty much nothing has been delivered to stores for several weeks now. It can take an hour or more to get into a store, and then the shelves are pretty empty inside. But there's still enough that people aren't starving, and farmers from the south are getting things like potatoes and carrots in. People who rely on medicine (like insulin) are suffering. Our own family is fine, and we share back and forth with our neighbors.

I'm sorry for writing randomly and infrequently. It's hard to know what to write and to find time and energy to do it. Will posts most days on Facebook, and that's public, so you can see it even without a Facebook account, I think.

Saturday, March 05, 2022

Tenth day of war

We've gone through quite a few stages already: absolute terror, active fighting around us while we hide underground, being able to come up and live in our home somewhat as usual, weird stuff with communications off and on yesterday.... It changes constantly. We're still here, though, and we're so thankful for your prayers. Even though the stores are empty, we have food. We've been able to share with other people, and they share with us. Our church is providing food and shelter and help for many, too.

The main thing is that Ukraine needs your prayers! Please keep praying.

I think we're past this stage now. (I hope.)


There's so much I could write, but I can't quite pull it together now.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

We're ok

Friends and family, we want to let you know that we’re safe. Shaken, but safe. The kids are ok. We have electricity, internet, and telephone systems are working.
The Ukrainian government and the US Embassy are encouraging people to shelter in place. So far, it looks like the Russian army has made surgical strikes aimed at army bases and airports around the country. 
Thank you for your love, prayers and support. We will let you know of further developments that impact us.


Saturday, February 12, 2022

Thank you

Thank you so much for praying. We're healthy now. We've finished another week of school, Bogdan did his music exams by video (and didn't die), our 21st anniversary was nice, and life goes on.


Please keep praying for Ukraine!

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Doing better

My test was positive, of course. At this point Will and I have both moved down from feeling like we have flu to feeling like we have colds. We join Raia at that level. Jaan is mostly well, but still isolating. Asya and Bogdan are fine, just a little stir crazy. Please keep praying for us, of course, but I don't think there's any need for daily updates. We're headed into another week of doing school at home, and... well, and nothing else.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Next update

We did all our document stuff yesterday. There was no exception. At least we have that behind us.

After that we went for tests. Will has covid. He seems to be coming out of the first 24 hours of misery now. My results haven’t come back yet, but I have no doubts that I have it. We’re all fine, though, and now that we have our paperwork turned in and our covid tests done, we can just sit at home. Asya and Bogdan aren’t sick. Pray that they don’t get it!

Friday, January 28, 2022


Yes, Raia has covid. I'm pretty sure that I do, too. I had a miserable 24 hours, with fever and the worst headache I've ever experienced, but I'm back to feeling human now. I'm a sick human, but not like yesterday! I'll go for a test today or tomorrow. 

We're a little stuck, because today is the day I am supposed to go for fingerprinting, photos, and signing for my residency renewal. The timing is always tight. They don't accept documents early, and then everything has to be done right at the deadline. Will's going to call and see if they have a covid extension or some other kind of exception, or if they actually want me to come in sick?

Ukraine has been hitting "anti-records" the past few days.


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Prayer requests

Two things:

Please pray for our family's health. Except for Jaan, we were away all weekend. We came back home to him sick, not terribly, but very unusually for him. I sent him for a covid test yesterday, and it came back positive today. (As a measure of how he feels, he walked a few kilometers through thick snow by himself there and and back to get the test. He's obviously not dying.) Raia also has what seems to be a bad cold--very different symptoms and timeline than Jaan--so Will took her for a test just now; we'll get the results from that tomorrow.

And of course, for Ukraine. I know you're already praying. The news outside Ukraine is much louder about the situation than anything here. I liked the way our Florida church worded their prayer request for us:

 Although the current Russia/Ukraine situation is tense, Will and Phyllis Hunsucker and their family remain in Kherson. If the situation deteriorates significantly, they may temporarily relocate within the country, but they have no plans to leave Ukraine. Their ministry continues. Please pray that ministry can become even more significant as the possibility of Russian incursion remains.

Also, I recommended reading this article and posted this on Facebook:

Thank you for all your concern. We are well and happy here. Please do pray for Ukraine!
If you're looking for an English news source, I recommend the new Kyiv Independent. So far they seem to provide lots of info with less hysteria than the rest of the English-language sources I know of. Please start with the article I'm linking to here. In my opinion this is the most important.


Sunday, January 16, 2022

Second Christmas

For Second Christmas Eve we ate the traditional kutya, and the next day we got the traditional (since my childhood!) photo of the kids with Jesus' birthday cake.

On Second Christmas Day we went to church, but that was about all, because Jaan and Raia stayed there the whole rest of the day, getting ready for the children's Christmas program, which would be the next day. And so, the day after Christmas was the children's Christmas program. You can see the video clip about it that we saw at church today here. They had 40 kids signed up, so they prepared for 50, and more than 100 came! Kids with special needs and their parents were specially invited, and Asya led one of their groups through all the stations. Other new guests were children from the conflict zone, especially those who have lost family members. Raia led some of those groups, and some of our own church and neighborhood kids. Jaan spent the whole time in the shadow theater; they did that presentation eleven or twelve times.

When Jaan finally got home that evening, he was the last to arrive, and we didn't even give him time to eat or rest. We went right out on our round of caroling; our neighbors were waiting! Bogdan played his bandura in every home, and we all sang a few songs. Then when we got back to our own house, we sang for our neighbor family here. They invited us in for tea, fed Jaan dinner, and then we sat talking until very late into the night. Even after living together for 7 years, that was a first for us. We just lost track of time and talked on and on into the night. It was really a wonderful time.

(Babushka O. watched with hands clasped and eyes sparkling, until I tried to take a photo.)

Christmas still trickles on until "the third holiday," the Baptism of Christ, next week. Over the past week Bogdan and Will went to a residential hospital with Agape to sing and play for the kids there, and Jaan got to help present the shadow theater show another time in a preschool. We've been back to our school schedule, though, and we're slowing moving from holiday life on into regular life.

Thursday, January 06, 2022

Art school update and a contest

There will still be art classes! With our beloved teachers! No one really knows how this is going to work, and the school is still closed, but at least some of the teachers are going to try to continue their classes independently. Thank you for praying, and please keep it up.

Yesterday was the final for an art and music contest that Asya and Bogdan had entered through our library. Bogdan and I went to the central children's library for a special program and to hear the results. Asya was one of the winners! Bogdan was surprised by how many of the kids he knew there. His art class had all made pictures, and some of them were invited. (His picture from art school turned out to be the wrong size, so it didn't go.) Some of his bandura classmates were at the final, too. The picture that our library entered in Bogdan's name actually wasn't his, and he was a little bit upset about that. They had called me a while ago and said the pictures they had from the last workshop at the library were unlabeled and asked for my permission just to put Bogdan's name on one of them; I said yes. But I told Bogdan that he put so much work into his too-big picture from art school, that God knew he deserved the candy prize he got, and that satisfied him. The picture he actually drew--the one that didn't make it to the contest--is the photo above: Scrooge and the Ukrainian carolers.

We were all excited to hear that Asya won. Her flute teacher was actually there, too, since she had entered her youngest ensemble, but she didn't even know that Asya was participating. Asya had just stopped into our library and made an almost impromptu video with them. I've heard rumors that Asya will be invited to tea with the mayor now, but I don't know when and if that will actually happen....