30 January 2010

Sergey and Vica in Oleksandrivka

I just wanted to share with you some photos of a dear precious family who serve the Lord in western Ukraine. They gave up life in the big city, gave up friends and a comfortable home to move to a small village named Oleksandrivka in the provinces of the far "out-back." This tiny village is very remote, but it is surrounded by other remote villages and this couple is working with children in many of them. They do this without a car and they live like all the other villagers. Their names are Sergey and Vica. Sergey's mother lives there in Oleksadrivka and they moved in with her so they could minister there. Pray for Ukrainian missionaries Sergey and Vica.

25 January 2010

The Village of Hope is an orphan ministry of the Bethany Baptist Church of Bucha, Ukraine. We have three families living on the grounds with almost 20 kids. This darling picture are 4 of the 6 boys from the Maltsava family of 8 kids. They all recited poetry in church for our New Year's service. The father provides all the shopping for this family with a scooter, which he cannot ride now because it is winter. Please pray for them that the Lord will supply their needs.

23 January 2010

Ainura T’s Grandma’s Birthdate was Unknown

I'm going to be occasionally post stories from life in the former Soviet Union. Some have been collected from a friend of mine, Kristina Gray, who teaches college students in Kasakhstan. They often are an example of how life was in many places of the former Soviet Union and history, which is what they are, has always been fascinating to me. Keep in mind as you read that English is a second language for these young authors. I hope you enjoy them.

My name is Ainura and I have a very big family. I was brought up in countryside and we moved to town only recently. Because of that I have a lot of relatives. My mum’s and dad’s families were in close relationships with each other. My grandparents worked together, father’s mother was a teacher at a local school and taught almost all my uncles and aunts. But before moving into one village, the two families had different origins. I would like to introduce some people from my family, whose lives were quite different from others. So let’s start.

The family of my father was from the region which is called Torgay. It is in the south of Kostanay region. My great great great grandfather was a head of the village. Honestly the whole village was owned by him. It was in the 19th century. He had one wife, which was from very rich and influential klan, but they didn’t have any children. After her death he decided to marry again and chose the girl from the same klan from which was his first wife. At that time he was a 60-year old man. Then 17-year old new wife gave birth to their son. That was my great grandfather. After a few years my great great great grandfather died and his second wife was married with his brother but some said that his brother actually was his servant. Today it has not a lot of meanings.

After that they had a lot of children probably, 5 or 6 because one died until the age of 5. All that I heard was from my great grandmother who lived with us for several years. She was born in 1916, it is not justified because she didn’t know exactly even a date when she was born. She also couldn’t write and read. She lived a very long life and died in 2008 and she told us a lot of stories about her life. For example, during World War II women of her village including my granny built a dike alone or she told how they fished and then exchanged their catch of fish for food. Almost all kinds of food they made on their own. When she lived with us, she used to eat a lot and mostly butter. And honestly she never had any serious diseases.

Mother’s family has quite a different history. Her father was from an ordinary Kazakh family and her mother was from Russia but she is Kazakh. In her family were nine children and all of them were raised up by their mother alone, because her husband died when she was pregnant with the last child. All children, including my granny, have different stories. That family is the most international, there are Kazakhs, Russians, Jews, Ukrainians and others. All others live in Russia, excluding my granny. She is in Kazakhstan and the youngest one lives in Kyrgyzstan. Mother’s grandfather was a soldier in 1941-1945. He participated in the battle for Kaliningrad and achieved Poland. He returned home and went to the parade in Moscow in 1973.

So that is my family. Actually all that is a history of my family and if I consider myself as a part of my family I can say that is a history of me.

21 January 2010

Comments and Following

We always love to hear what you think about any article in particular or anything in general so hit the comment button below each article if there is something you'd like to say. You can also follow this blog in two ways. One is by finding the pictures in the right panel that say Follow Me and doing that. I like that one because it has your picture on there and I can communicate with you from there. The other is to find the Feedblitz gadget also on the right and sign up to get updates by email dellivered right to your inbox as I do them. That is handy and in fact, you can do both. Thanks for reading and following. You are all dear to us.

Our Cupcake Queen

This is a not so uncommon a sight around our home. The interesting thing is how you can take almost anything and turn it into ministry. Leah is planning a party of girlfriends to teach them how to bake cupcakes. Some have asked and so now we have an event coming up. Leah is now pouring over her cupcake cook book to decide what to bake with them. We are grateful to two people who have contributed cupcake pans and cookbook to Leah and they are Betsy Sargent of Virginia Beach, Virginia and Cindy Williams of Conway, Arkansas. Thank you ladies for your love and support.

20 January 2010

Assel ’s Great Grandfather Loved Orphan Children

This is a story passed on from a friend in Kazakhstan who works with college students and collects their stories. This one truly is an expression of the love of God. I really think she should write a book one day.

I want to tell about my great-grandfather from my father’s side. His name was Karim and he lived in western Kazakhstan. I heard about him when I was a child because my grandmother always told me stories about her father. Before the Second World War he worked on a farm and he had three children including my grandmother. When the war had begun, he was one of the first who had gone off to war. In the war he had lost one foot and so he returned back home. When he went back home he analyzed that most of the adults had died in the war. Then he decided to collect all the children who had lost their parents.

Even though he was injured in the war, he raised and supported these children by hunting without one foot by riding on a camel. My grandmother tells me a lot of stories about how my great-grandfather hunted. Also they ate some rabbits and a couple of camels. My grandmother said that when she was a child they would eat camel’s meat and the camel’s hump tasted like gum. And all children liked the hump because they chewed it like gum.

My grandmother always said we lived not rich but we always loved and respected our parents. And my father said that he was very kind and funny man, he always smiled and he loved children especially his own grandsons and grand daughter. I think that may be they lived in poverty but they had a big together family.

He was a wonderful man. I do not remember all the stories about my great-grandfather, but I really know that he was a hero.

Shopping In Ukraine

You see here an example of how most of Ukraine shops for household items. It is the open bazaar, 6 days a week, regardless of weather or temperature. Though this is remodeling goods, you can also buy your groceries, clothes and just about anything in the open bazaar. In some of the larger cities we are now getting big stores like Lowes, Mr. How or Home Depot. It just goes to show that witnessing can happen any where. And I do feel that when a people have life harder, it makes them more open to listen as opposed to our easy life style in America. Pray for Ukraine as we are now in the process of election run-offs and so much has been taken from these people by corruption. They need God-led leadership.

19 January 2010

On the Road

This is Jeff buying honey along the road as we traveled one day. You just never know the spots where there is an opportunity to witness. I just love the colorfulness of the lady's outfit and the home in the background. Blue is a popular color for homes out in the villages.

18 January 2010

Light in the Darkness of Haitian Destruction

With the tragedy in Haiti we must not forget that there is a God in heaven who pains along with all those there who are hurting both physically and mentally. He holds their hearts in his hand and it is through such trials that many of human kind are rallied to the help and support of those in devastation. Though there is no understanding of such great destruction, one day in heaven all will be revealed to those who have trusted in Him and placed their faith with the One who created all of the universe and our little planet as well. Therefore, let me offer this lovely picture of a flower from my garden last summer to remind us all that there is always hope even in the worst of tragedies and devastation. Shallale, many are praying for you and for Haiti and we lift you up before the throne of God that your heart will be healed in time and that you will be a great blessing to many as you minister there even in your pain. We love you.

Letter from Haiti

This is from a friend of mine in Haiti of whom I've been wondering, yet not heard from since the earthquake disaster. View it through a residents eyes. Pray for Shallale and all of Haiti. Keep in mind that English is her second language..........................................

Hello dear friends, Sorry it took that long to drop you a line. I am going through a really tough time in Haiti. Some of my family are okay, others are not. We finally were able to rescue my brother which building collapsed. He spent days under the debris but he was finally rescued. Since Tuesday I have been helping every where. I am just too scared to go home. I am just scared of the years to come, the month and the days. I am even scared of the next hour. I am scared of loosing faith. I can't even pray anymore. It is Sunday and we are still trying to rescue people that are seems to be alive. The smell of the deads is rising in the city. We are receiving help from everywhere but it is never enough. Some people are litteraly going insane. Everyone is wondering the streets like zombies. In few words hell broke loose. It might be another while before you hear from me. My house survived but for some unknow reason the atelier sank in water. Apparently the water tank cracks and it's close by the atelier so all the water went inside I just cannot understand how it happens because that tank of water is under ground and the atelier is upper ground. Well I am not going to try to understand any way. Good thing is that we could put all my mothers fabric to dry too bad we cannot do the same with paper.. My mother already started a quilt in memoriam of the fallen one. Maybe in the future I will try to to an album. I have been told it is therapeutic. My house is alright. Besides the atelier that is full of water and some broken glasses we are good. Nothing happen to our house. In fact there was no much damage at all in my neigborwood. Experts say that it's because we are located in the mountain and the house are built as they should. But after spending days dowtown in the center of the diasaster I find my self so lucky that I have been wandering since that day what make me luckier then others. But I prefer not to question God's acts. I will just keep helping others in needs as a thank you for being alive.I would have prefered to loose everything I owe if that could have saved few more lives. Well it will be a while before my fellow haitian dry their tears. Maybe in few month I will try to make an album with the pictures I have taken if it's possible. A good friend told me to keep posting on my blog because it will help me keep sane. Maybe it is true but I don't have the time to do so right now, nor the desire. I will not be longer cause I am in a free communication center and hey have limited the time so everyone can drop a line to their owns and i have to go back to my center. Please keep me and my fellow haitian in your parayers. Love you all Shallale Haiti

10 January 2010

Markers of History in Ukraine

Close up of previous picture. Maybe someone recognizes this? It certainly is not Russian/Ukrainian.

Sometimes as we travel the roads through Ukraine we stop to visit cemeteries. These spots are one of the markers of history, which interest both Jeff and I. Though we have been in many cemeteries here, this place was especially fascinating with it's ancient head stones. It is one of the oldest we have found, yet there were no dates to pinpoint time for us. As I stroll, many questions wander the pathways of my mind as to who these people were and what they believed. What was their life like and what time period did they live? Did they know the Savior?

08 January 2010

Children's Christmas Evangelism

As you can see we had a full house here at Bethany B.C. in Ukraine. Holidays are our busiest times next to summer and one of the things Leah and I do is decorate the church with our team of craft ladies. And of course, there is much to do with Christmas crafts in Sunday school during this season and sometimes even camp during school break. Jeff is in the pulpit every Sunday that he is here and works with various Bible study groups. So it is a busy time, but one of my favorite holidays.

The Little Ones Perform

Bethany Baptist Church of Bucha, Ukaine, Children's Evangelism Event

Youth Perform for Kids

Just after Christmas we had a big children's evangelism event. It was a lot of fun for all involved including the youth who sang for everyone. We had many children and parents who don't ordinarily come to church so, of course the pastor spoke as well.

04 January 2010

Bethany Baptist Church, Bucha, Ukriane

In the last few days we've hit a low of -16 Celsius, which is very close to zero Fahrenheit. Am I ever glad we have a new heating system as our home would be cold inside otherwise. Naturally all of this brings to mind the situation of our church being without a heating system. They are burning wood now, but that does little more than keep the pipes from freezing and busting. We want to help with this need, but we are only one family can only do so much. Therefore I write to ask you to pray for our church. Nine thousand dollars is a large sum for a population that makes an average of $400 a month, but it is a small thing for a mighty God who can move mountains. Please pray for God's provision in this.

Vintage Ukraine

As we traveled west this past fall to visit missionaries we recorded some interesting aspects of Ukrainian culture. This old car is one that is not so rare here. It would be amazing to most Americans with our throw-away culture that here it is not unusual for someone to drive a car for 25 years or more. They simply keep repairing them and they take care of them in such a way that they plan on having them for a very long time. Of course, that does not mean we do not have all the late model and even many "fancy" brands. The new wealth for some Ukrainians has brought many Mercedes and SUV's as popular choices. The sad part of this new materialism in Ukraine is that hearts are not as open to the gospel as they once were. Like the American culture, Ukraine is getting more and more "distractions" to divide the heart from the family and from the Savior. Still, there is a great segment of the country that is poor and humble. No wonder Jesus sought the downtrodden and the destitute.