Friday, July 17, 2015

June Highlights

Below are some of the highlights from our last month in Ukraine. There are a lot more I could add that I didn't, and there are a lot more memories and "last things" that I wish I captured on camera but didn't. At any rate, I hope you get a glimpse of the things that made our life so full and blessed.
 Family photo on Kuznechnaya street, where we lived our first year, after saying goodbye to our missionary friends. We will miss our friends there a lot.
Dessert afternoon with kids' neighbor friend, Jenya, and the Breivolds. Please pray for Jenya and his family to know the Lord.
 Just an ordinary afternoon after church. This picture represents my attempt to capture some of the "usual" moments that we would later be missing. Sadly, I didn't get enough of those moments captured, but I pray that our memories will retain these cherished times.
Gotta love that man. He has a great ability to keep his eyes focused ahead when discouragement is around and about our circumstances. I'd write more and really brag on him, but then, he'd be embarrassed :) So I won't. But I'll suffice to say I'm so thankful for the man he is and that God have him to me.
Sasha's pre-birthday celebration! We all should have been packing but I'm so glad we took the time to be together when we could.   
 2014-2015 Women's Bible Study group. These ladies are amazing, and I won't forget them. Lord, please bless and keep these dear sisters!
Levi's birthday party- the whole crew. Sweet memories to savor.
Levi enjoys a fun moment with Sasha R. at the student-staff retreat. It was a great time! More photos later from that.
Angela was a lifesaver during the graduation service! And the next day as well, when they helped us pack up and clean our house before we left, all due to their missing and delayed suitcases. Thank you so much, Pr. David and Angela!
 Pr. David Breidenbach, Pr. Ole Magnus Breivold, Andy, and Pr. Alexander Gross
Andy makes some remarks in the post-lunch reception.
Graduating class photo
The EEMN crew: L-R, Andy and I, Ole Magnus and Sasha, and Angela and Pr. David Breidenbach.
Andy and I with Anya, one of our students. She's a gem! Please pray for her and all of our students.
Last family photo in front of our home on Molodyozhnaya street. It's pretty accurate!
3 am, Kiev airport. Sasha has such a great way with entertaining our kids. Here we had our 30+ suitcases wagon-trained around the kids, while Sasha told them a story.
Kiev-Amsterdam. Why they put us in the back row? I'm not sure... it's not like we were loud or distracting or anything ;) We enjoyed our time together, even if we did nod off a little.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Happy Birthday, Levi!

We celebrated Levi's first birthday in Ukraine, just week and a half before we moved. It was such a fun celebration of his life, and the precious gift that he is to us. Thank you, Lord, for Levi! We are so thankful for the way the Lord has protected him, provides for him, and strengthens him. I still remember when returned to Ukraine with our tiny, 6-week-old bundle of love. His happy heart and smiles remind us daily of the blessing he is.

Friends from the Bible School joined us for our last barbeque at our home in Petrodolina. There were more than 30 of us that night! All of the students and staff were able to come, which made for a sweet time.

We played some fun party games, which brought some good laughs. We played "pin the tail on the donkey," and used the donkey my dad drew for Josiah's first birthday party in Ukraine 3 1/2 years ago. The "telephone" game kept everyone occupied while Andy grilled the meat and we prepared the rest of the meal. Afterward, we enjoyed the backyard and played a Ukrainian game. Dessert was a smorgasborg of sweetness. Svetlana and Alyona, both amazing cooks, brought beautiful cakes, in addition to Katie's famous cupcakes. We sang happy birthday in two languages, and Levi thoroughly enjoyed eating his one-of-a-kind cupcake!

My cousin Katie joined us for our last two weeks in Ukraine, and she was a huge help. From making and decorating 60 delicious cupcakes, preparing food, and entertaining the birthday boy, she was a huge help and fun addition.
The birthday boy was teething that day :(
Daddy introduces his favorite treat to Levi... Snickers :)
Keeping occupied in the kitchen!
A lesson in piping frosting with cousin Katie
Lots of food to prepare means lots of helpers!
 Pin the tail on the donkey!
Levi with Uncle Ole Magnus and Aunt Sasha
 Jenya and Artiom- they always bring a laugh!
 Some of our guests
 Cuddles with Katie
 Birthday Cakes!
 Katie's famous cupcakes
 Topped with fresh raspberries from our garden
 Frosting smears, crumbs, mess, empty plates and contented sighs- signs of a good party :)   
Cowboy Levi with our sweet Millie 
 Beautiful guests!
Backyard fun

Monday, June 1, 2015

May Highlights

Kutless, a Christian rock group, performed in Odessa as part of a ministry tour. Andy, as well as the Bible School staff and students, attended the concert. All the reviews said it was a great time!
Moriah's last class program
 Isaiah's last class program
 Way to go, Isaiah! This guy can read and write in both Ukrainian and English!
Isaiah with his biggest- or littlest for that matter!- fan :)
 Last Bell ceremony
 Our Ukrainian girl :)
 Moriah and Isaiah officially completed the full program for third and first grades, respectively.
 Class picnic
 Our family with Moriah's teacher, who has taught her since first grade.
 Visiting a WWII memorial park in Odessa
The kids enjoyed climbing on a lot of very old trucks, tanks, trains and planes.
 Levi with Auntie (Tyotya) Sasha at a Saturday morning brunch for the students that we hosted at our home. We were able to eat outside, which was so great. We made waffles and baked omelettes, and enjoyed fresh strawberries from the local market.
 Artiom and Lily
 Isaiah, Levi, Moriah and I
 Ole Magnus and Sasha K.