29 December 2011


23 December 2011


The first run of the Armenian translation was fantastic, and Gegham, our translator, took many notes for editing the final version due in January. Our training location, Akhalkalaki, is a totally Armenian town of 5 or 6 thousand people in an Armenian enclave in S. Georgia. Six men including Gegham took the training, and get this, it was the first training seminar the Georgian Armenians have ever attended! They were so encouraged, having been essentially forgotten in their isolated corner of Georgia. Too far from Yerevan (5 hour drive plus "3rd world" border crossing) and 3 hours by car from Georgian Baptists in Tbilisi (with whom there is a great language divide). They took copious notes and participated with great enthusiasm. Times of prayer and worship were moving and at times I thought maybe the building would shake. They now have firm plans to plant two daughter churches among Armenians living in strategic locations in Georgia. Gegham, our materials translator, took the training for the first time. Asatur Nahapetyan trained and taught for certification. Both traveled with me from Yerevan. Asatur, the General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Armenia, is a gifted teacher who is very excited to have a fully Armenian version of the CPE training. We have planned our next training in the Spring, where we plan to certify at least five more Armenian brothers. We have made some long range plans for more training in Armenia. Thank you so very much for your love and prayer support! God is so good! Much love in Christ and Merry Christmas to all of you! The mountains we traveled over to get to the Armenian settlement in Georgia.
Asatur teaching classes so he can be certified to teach the program (multiplications).
Student notes in study books newly translated into Armenian and Armenian Bible
Gegham, our materials translator, Valera and Sassun, participants

14 December 2011


Jeff was in the country of Georgia in November for a Church Planter's Training with pastors and missionaries. They had 3 days of classes and prayer with 11 men in attendance. Jeff wanted to give them more time for prayer and rest, but always they said they wanted time in the Word. They wanted him to continue in study with them. Praise God for such hunger and devotion to the Lord. The picture above is the small mountain village where they met. Little has changed there in 50 years.

Glitzy Castle

A glitzy castle for a castle lover. Click on this picture to see all the pretty sparkle I put on it. So fun to make something that one specifically loves....theme being castles. It was a long process of glitter drying.

13 December 2011


Just a couple shots from a birthday party where I made bracelets with Ukrainian girls...well, one boy and some moms too. These were Nativity bracelets generously provided by The Mark and Rhonda Kilsby family in Texas. They all just loved making them and all wore them home. Thanks to all the folks who help me do this ministry by the things you send. I am so blessed by having this small part of giving joy to others. You can see more shots by going to my artsy blog. Just click on VintageTerrace2 over on the right panel.

26 November 2011


Ukraine in the recent past has not been so negatively affected by the world economy, but as it moves more and more to a world market economy it will be more so. That's not to say it hasn't been a poor country....it still is, but things have improved considerably in the 18 years we've been here, economically and politically.

Speaking of political....there has been a growing wind blowing across this land. The president, Yanokovich is leaning more and more to the east (Russia) in his political moves. UkrianianJournal.com quote: KIEV, Nov. 24 – "President Viktor Yanukovych on Thursday failed to deny a media report that he was going to join a meeting in Moscow December 19, skipping an EU-Ukraine summit in Kiev the same day." He is the man who was defeated in the Orange Revolution. Now, purely a political move, he has managed to imprison his major opposition rival. Her sentence is for 7 years and no politics for 3 more after that. The EU sees this as a scandal and has asked for her release. Quoted from UkraininanJournal.com, "The U.S. and the European Union have sharply condemned Tymoshenko’s sentence last month as politically motivated." It has put Ukraine many steps backwards in the issue of European integration.

Ukraine is now making visa issues more difficult and more expensive for westerners, something Russia has already done. Many left Russia as a result, some coming here to work. Today people are leaving Ukraine for this very same reason, as we said goodbye to a friend last week. For now we are fine, but you can see this is something that needs prayer. After almost two decades in this country we see the open door beginning to creak on it's hinges. We thank you for standing with us in prayer for His will to be done.

03 November 2011


For some in Ukraine this is the only mode of transportation. I snapped this in September on our road just across the street from our home. I always think it is quaint when I see a horse and wagon, but I am also reminded of how difficult the life is here for many. In 17 years in Ukraine we see less and less of these wagons, but it does not mean life has gotten easier. Their's is a life of toil and difficulties. All the more reason for the need of hope, the need of understanding a future in heaven. It is why we are here. We thank God that He has given us a small part to play in spreading the Hope of his Word to the nations.

11 October 2011


I am writing you now from western Ukraine. I have had the blessing of accompanying Jeff on this training because it is in Ukraine and we drove, arriving a couple days early. I"ll be updating this week. The topic for this week is "Prayerful Planning in the Christian Life."

This is a lovely spot we traveled to before our first day of training. The tiny folks in the picture is part of the class.

If it weren't so cold we'd hear the sound of this river from our hotel that is across the street. Fortunately for us, they are heating. Cold here in the mountains, but beautiful. These following pictures were taken on a morning walk before all particpants had yet arrived for the training.

A pretty spot. This was at one of those touristy places that are too expensive for our group, but that didn't keep us from walking and enjoying their grounds.

Vintage Ukrainian gem we spotted on the way.

Check out another vintage item.

10 October 2011


Ukraine, isn't that Russia? No, it used to be part of the former Soviet Union, but it was always Ukraine. My geography got a lot better when I moved from the U.S. to this part of the world. Ukraine is just below Russia on right side of the page. How do I feel about it? I love it here.....in our 18th year now. Does that mean I don't miss the U.S.? I do, especially family and friends, Starbucks and the public library, but God gives the grace and as long as He gives us no other directions, we are here. So come visit.

29 September 2011


This is one of the ways I worship. He was a favorite of a cyber friend, Lindy in Indiana. That's how I found him and I'm so glad. You can find his music on YouTube. Wonderful! Thanks Lindy. Hope you like it.


Last night I couldn't talk to Jeff through Skype because there was no electricity where he was (message via sms). And today no response to my sms so probably his phone is dead. He did manage to send me a note last night to let you all know that the total number seen for this mission was 307 people. Of that number 77 prayed to receive Christ. Were that many saved? God knows the answer to that, but Jeff is just doing what we was assigned. Witness to everyone he could. Praise God for the harvest.

Today the team will tour a bit and everyone will leave for home tomorrow. Please pray for their safe travel. They are now back in Tblisi, the capital. And I thank you for your faithfulness in holding them up before the throne. Jeff says he can feel those prayers.


Found this on my sister-in-law's Facebook page and thought I'd share with you. We were homeschoolers BEFORE we came on the mission field. While here and in the states, we had support groups of other families. Plenty of socialization. Enjoy! It's funny.

27 September 2011


I was only able to speak to Jeff for a few minutes last night. It was late and he's very sick (prayers, please). They saw 75 folks yesterday and 10 prayed a prayer of repentance. Please continue your prayers for today being the last day of mission. Then for Friday please pray for their safe return to respective homes. Thanks, you are a blessing to me. Leave a comment below and let me know you are there. Coleen

25 September 2011


Greetings from Kazreti, Georgia, where we are doing a medical mission with BMMI. Coleen and I do know that you pray for us, and this is never more appreciated than when I am far away from our home in Ukraine, and she remains there alone. After the first day of our clinic we have seen almost 50 patients and I have had the pleasure of leading 10 of them to accept Jesus Christ! Please continue praying for the next three days in the Georgian towns of Kazreti, Bolonisi, and Demonisi. God is greatly at work in the hearts of the beautiful Georgian people.
We really had a full day, with our morning services in Bolonisi and afternoon services in Kazreti. We enjoyed good fellowship with all the brothers and sisters of both churches. They were all full of smiles and Georgian warmth. Everywhere were ripened grapes hanging from trellises and fences. Between services we visited church members and their families who needed medical attention. After our last medical reception we went to Bro. Vepkho's place and enjoyed fellowship with his family. It was touching.


Do our worries and concerns really amount to that much?


This week my husband Jeff is in the country of Georgia along with a medical team of four from America. Saturday was their first mission day and he was able to speak to 16 people about Christ. Praise God for his work in their hearts as 10 of them prayed to receive Christ. Please keep the team in your prayers this week and all those whom they will come in contact. Pray for God's working this week.

Today Sunday they will be worshipping with the Georgians.

15 September 2011

I saw Veronica last week at the rehab hospital where she's been getting therapy after laying in a bed all summer long. Unfortunately, for lack of funds, that has come to a halt. She broke her elbow and severed her spine last May 1st. The elbow is healed and the spine is slowly healing. Many doctors stated she would probably never walk again. I have attached a photo that was taken by me at the rehab hospital last week. She can now get herself in and out of a wheel chair and wheel herself around. That is so much better than all summer in bed. While we were there, as you see in the picture, the therapist had her standing. She has not yet taken a step and and is a long way from that. If you look closely at the photo you will see she is hardly standing on her own volition, but is propped by ropes and slings to hold her in place. Nonetheless, she is standing and for that we now have renewed hope. No doubt the prayers of many have been heard by a loving God. Please share this picture with others and continue to pray.

Jeff is in the background on this shot talking to Veronica's grandmother who is her primary care giver since her mother works.

This is the young therapist who was working with Veronica for the last month until this past week.

Please also be in prayer for Veronica's mother. She is not a believer and is so distraught over the situation and without hope that she told Veronica "it would have been better if she had died." We were shocked to hear her tell us the same thing one day when we drove her home from the city. That is when we later understood she said the same to her daughter, to her face. So sad, but fortunately she is being cared for by her grandmother who is a believer.


We all have problems in this life, yet we walk around like everything is fine and we look like our life is all put together. The fact is, behind that mask often is great hurt, some tragic event or some challenge we think will engulf us. So, I've left here a link for you to read. It's not long, but will take you a few minutes. Believe me, it is worth the time: http://bravegirlsclub.com/archives/5832

Go there, you'll be glad you did and you'll look at people differently.

Blessings, Coleen

25 August 2011


In June of this year I was able to accompany Jeff on one of his trips. In 17 years I've rarely gone on any of his trips because we had children at home and for reason of the extra cost. Besides, I like being at home in my art studio and I have an active ministry here. In our 8 days in Israel we were able to tour for a couple days and we got a lot in. This shot is overlooking the city of Tel Aviv and the Mediterranean Sea.

A beautiful church. So much great architecture. This is Tel Aviv.

Church steeple and some pretty amazing vegetation in Tel Aviv.

Church of the Nativity looking heavenward. So much beautiful architecture.

Overlooking Israel from our hotel in Bethlehem. Notice the water tanks on the roof below. It was a very desert-like place.

Dynamic Church Planters Internations (DCPI) group shot. A wonderful native meal.

Stained glass window in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Colleen (Centeio) and Coleen (Franks) doing the tourist thing in Israel. Colleen came from California. For us it was only 3 hours from Ukraine. Not an expensive flight and no jet-lag. Yay!

Bethlehem in the evening taken from our third floor hotel balcony.

Two steeples, one Islamic in the foreground and one Christian down the road behind. They are located in the Bethlehem not far from where we stayed.

15 August 2011


God bless our brothers in Christ!
Summer 2011
Our summer started with prayers for our missioners’ ministry in Fenevichi village. We were praying that God will bless hearts of our brothers and sister to offer for kids (with parents non-believers) of this village, so they could go to our summer camp. God blessed us this year and we could make a camp at the sea shore of Black Sea (Crimea). It is much more expensive then to just have tent camps, but due to your offerings many teenagers had seen the Sea at first time!!!
Our team ran two weeks of the camp.
The 1st week (about 40 people) mostly consisted of teenagers and youth. The majority of teens were from families of non-believers. People in villages do not have jobs, many of them drink. And their children do not have any opportunity to go to the sea. Plus it’s Chornobyl zone and these children badly need going to the sea (at least once a year).
As you know we have small Bible study group in Fenevichi and Natasha works with local teenagers. Now we pray that God will allow us to rent a house there, where we could feed and take care of those children whose parents drink or cannot take care of them.
Pray with us about that need!
Our youth team ran Bible lessons with tanagers. In the morning we had Bible study, in the noon we ad lessons “Indescribable God – Creator and Savior”, in the evening youth made a program (bible quiz, games, pictures of the day). Christian film was a conclusion of every day.
Also our youth evangelized in personal way. As a result one young man repented and accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior! His Name is Denis.
Please, pray that God will keep him, lead and teach in His truth!
One more young man made a decision to get baptized and become a servant among teenagers! Dima started to come to our church because of our teens’ club. During last two years he had been joining us in all our camps and church events. His decision is a blessing for our church.
So, pray for him that he could be true servant of God!
The 2nd week (more than 40 people) was formed out of young families and those who is getting ready to get married. The subject of our Bible lessons was “Christ is our Savior”. Themes for morning, noon and evening lessons were about God’s plan for the family.
Dan and Cindy helped us a lot by making English lessons and Bible lessons in English.
Their ministry was especially useful for those campers who still did not accept Jesus as their Savior, because through their interest to English lessons they’ve got to know about God’s Majesty and his plan of Salvation.
Also there were single mothers among campers who lost their husbands. One of such ladies decided to get baptized and dedicated her life to God. Her name is Oksana and she has lovely daughter Sonia.
Pray for Oksana that she would always feel God’s caring hand on her and her growing in faith!
Besides that during our lessons one couple of young people asked for permission for their engagement. So the blessing of our camp are two baptized children of God and one young family! Praise God! Please, pray that God will lead them in his mighty hand!
Our church is thankful to you all, our brothers and sisters, who prayed and made offerings for our summer camps! Your labor is not in vain before God!!!

14 August 2011


One of my great blessings is to do crafts with different age groups. This group is our Sunday school team. They are always doing for others. Just after children's camp we met to do something for them. I usually do crafts at camp, but was out of the country and returned in time to do this with them. Though it is not often real hot in Ukraine, sometimes it is, for short periods, so we made fans. We re-purposed greeting cards and they made some of the prettiest crafts. They all had a verse on them and some were going to be given to friends. You can see by the sweet smiles on these faces how blessed I am to work with this fine group of sisters.

This fan was made by "Galya." She took advantage of some of the alphabet letters I had. Galya is second from right and just got married at the end of July (side note).

Here the girls are showing off their bracelets. This is another aspect of ministry I do. At times lovely ladies in America have sent me their old jewelry. I can use broken, outdated, jewelry and watches, just anything. We use it in various ways. One, as here, is to repurpose it into bracelets. The girls love making bracelets. Our Sunday school director, Lena Bandura is standing on the right. A big thanks to those of you who have sent jewelry. I couldn't do it without you. Lord bless.

29 July 2011


In May, after only a few days home from the states, Jeff left for a 10 day medical mission in Moldova. He flew in to the capital of Romania from where they drove across into southern Moldova to work with the Gagauz people. This is what Wikipedia says about them: The Gagauz people are Turkic ethnic group living mostly in southern Moldova (Gagauzia), southwestern Ukraine (Budjak), south-eastern Romania (Dobrogea)[8] and northeastern Bulgaria. Unlike most other Turkic peoples, the Gagauz are predominantly Orthodox Christians. There is a related ethnic group also called Gagavuz (or Gajal) living in the European part of northwestern Turkey.

Jeff found that the people were very hungry to know God and about fifty people prayed to receive Christ. He came home overflowing with joy and emotion over the many tears and sweet faces of those who came to know Him. He also helped translate for several and therefore Robbie Caldwell and others shared their hearts and led people to Christ as well. It was a joyous time.

Igor receiving patients for medical attention.

Vera and Janice working with patients, giving out glasses.

Haylee Bazil with Moldovan children.

Jeff Franks and Robbie Caldwell share the gospel message with a Moldovian lady.

Lastly, but most importantly, our fearless BMMI leader Dr. Ralph Izard. He heads up all the medical missions to many various countries each year. Pray for him and his health and safety please.

20 July 2011

Singing Group: Selah

This is our all time favorite group. Sharing this new song that is scheduled for release on August 23. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

13 July 2011


Though I wasn't actually able to participate in this camp last week, I did prepare crafts for the five days. This is just one of them utilizing a little balloony character sent by a friend in Texas. Sometimes people send things and I don't know what I'm going to do with them, but then after a while I figure out. This was one of those. On all the crafts they go home with Bible verse so there is the witness that continues.

Thank you Francene, Becky and the ladies at First Baptist of Carthage, Texas for all your help. I couldn't do this ministry without the loving sacrifice of the saints in America.


Twelve year old Veronica (who fell 3 stories on May 1 severing her spine) has been accepted by the spine treatment center in Kiev and she went through her first day of therapy today. This is a great blessing, but we have heard the treatment will last several months and be expensive. We are trusting God for everything! Thank you all for praying for her! She wasn't her usual cheery self yesterday when we visited.

In this photo she was visited last week by Cindy Williams of Antioch Baptist Church in Conway, Arkansas. Cindy was here with her husband Dan to participate in an English camp in Crimea (south Ukraine on the Black Sea). Veronica has been making scrapbooks of pretty pictures and the cards and postcards she has received since her accident. She's sharing it here with Cindy. Thank you to those of you who have sent cards, stickers and craft goodies. What a blessing that has been for her.

12 July 2011


The Lily, by William Blake
The modest Rose puts forth a thorn,
The humble sheep a threat'ning horn:
While the Lily white shall in love delight,
Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.

Song of Solomon 2:1 – “I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.” (the lily is used to describe something or someone beautiful!)

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
Matthew 6:28 KJV

"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" Matthew 6: 28-30.

Lilies of the Field could apply to many flowers that were called lilies in Bible times, such as the lotus, the iris, or others, but many think of the anemone as the lily of the field since it could be found growing wildly in great numbers of fields.

27 June 2011


We had a lovely time with the girls at a weekend camp in Voronkova. They heard different speakers, they did girl stuff, crafts (my part, along with speaking) and even had a beautiful tree guest that many fussed over and took pictures of. You just know these were city girls.