Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In Poland

I am sitting in a hotel lobby in Poland, writing to let you know that we made it safely here! I have lots of great pictures to share with you, but I sadly left my cord that transfers the pictures from my camera to the computer. So, that will have to wait until we get home...

We fly back to Kiev this evening, so please pray once again for a safe flight.

I also wanted to let you know that Steve and Ruthie were able to get their paperwork in order (after Ruthie's assault) and fly back to Washington. So, Ruthie is safe and close to American doctors... just waiting for little Mr. Miller to make his grand entrance. She is due to deliver in about three weeks.

Since I just can't send a post without a picture, I thought I'd send you a picture of my sweet niece, Deborah Jolene, who just celebrated her 4th birthday last week. Some of you may not know this, but her sweet Mommy (Anna Marie) named her after me. Just a year and a half later I returned the favor and named my daughter (Brianna Marie) after Anna.



Sunday, September 27, 2009

Heading to Poland


Please pray for us this week as we travel. David, Nate, and I rode the overnight train last night from Simferopol to Kiev (as shown on the map). This evening we will be getting on a plane to travel from Kiev to Krakow, Poland. The train ride was 15 hours; the flight will be less than 2 hours. We are making this trip once again, to get our passports stamped. Nate was able to come with us this time because he recently turned five years old and needed a new passport. We came to Kiev a couple of weeks ago to apply for a new passport and we are picking it up today at the U.S. Embassy here. Tomorrow in Poland we will be applying for a new visa for him.

Ukrainian law requires Americans to leave the country every three months (unless you are registered, and we have not been able to get registered in the past... though we will be trying again soon...) It is a costly undertaking to do this every three months, but I love to travel, so I enjoy it nonetheless!

Davey and Brianna remained in Simferopol with two young ladies, Lena and Nelya, that we highly trust. I really hate leaving them, but I also understand that it is best to leave them... for financial reasons, yes, but mostly because it is hard to make a trip like this with the whole family. It was comforting to see their excitement to stay with their two babysitters.

I am typing this post at a McDonald's in Kiev (the capital of Ukraine) while David and Nate ride a bus to the U.S. Embassy to get Nate's passport. I will try to keep you updated as we find internet connection...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

"Bread of Life" Sunday

The last post I wrote had a video clip of Brianna. To see that, you can find the video here on my blog (not in your Inbox). Please take a moment to watch it. I can promise you won't regret taking a moment to do so!

Now I'd like to share with you some pictures from last Sunday, "Bread of Life" Sunday. Everyone who came that day (and there were nearly 90 in hearing church alone!) received a free loaf of bread and a sermon about Jesus being our "Bread Of Life." The children each received a smaller loaf of bread with jam in it (Yummy! I was fortunate that Brianna didn't want all of hers, so... well, I didn't want it to go to waste!)

Our big praise for that day is that David was privileged to lead a man to the Lord! On Monday we delivered the leftover bread (4 large bags full) to the orphanage. Enjoy these pictures!




Friday, September 25, 2009

Brianna quoting a verse and singing "How Great Thou Art"

Young ears are listening and learning! Boy, we found this out to be true this past week! Every morning we have family devotions, and each week we learn a new verse and song. Even though Brianna is just 2 1/2, she sits with us, even though she is too small to participate. Well, she sure surprised us this past week when she joined in, just as loud as the boys, quoting the memory verse and singing our hymn. My baby girl grew up right before my eyes this week!

If you look in the background, you can get a small glimpse of our unfinished house... the concrete walls, the scrap of carpet on the floor, one of the many boxes we are living out of... I hope to share pictures with you soon of how we are living. Even though it is not quite ideal yet, we remind ourselves that the important thing is that we train our children for the Lord... not waiting until the circumstances are "just right." NOW is the best time to start teaching your children to pray, sing praises, and seek the Lord. I'll never forget the surprised look of one of our babysitters when she saw me take the pudgy hands of one of my babies and fold them in prayer before he ate his baby food. Now that baby boy is seven years old and he is able to lead our family in prayer before meals. I pray that he and his brother will one day be strong, spiritual leaders in their homes, and that Brianna will be a godly, submissive wife to her husband. There is a lot of debate over what we should allow to influence our children, but you can never go wrong with the Bible!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Language blooper!


Well, all missionaries have them... language bloopers. Since I want my blog to be a true and honest view of who I am and what I do, I have to share the mistakes I make too. So, here it is...

I went into the grocery store last night and instantly smelled something baked with cinnamon. The aroma was just mouth-watering, so I stopped by the bakery section and lined up behind the other customers who could not resist the temptation either. When it was my turn to order, I asked, "What is it with cinnamon that smells so good?" Okay, actually that is not what I said, but it is what I intended to say! In reality, I asked, "What is it with chicken that smells so good?" Of course, the two girls in the bakery had no idea what I was talking about because they only sell sweet breads there. When I saw them look at each other with puzzled looks, I realized what I had said and just started laughing! By then, they realized I was not Ukrainian. In Russian, the two words "cinnamon" and "chicken" sound very much alike and is a very easy mistake to make. So, I corrected myself and left happily (and a bit embarrased) with my cinnamon rolls.

So, there it is. Could have been much worse, I know, because I've heard missionary "language blooper" stories that are much worse. But, embarrasing, nonetheless.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A very special memory...

This summer I was able to return to Cherkassy, Ukraine (about 12 hours north of here) for a wedding. Cherkassy is the city I came to as a 16-year-old on a missions trip. During our visit this summer, our family visited an Independent, Baptist Church. After the church services, several people came to me and asked if I was Jolene! They remembered me! When I came to Ukraine, I knew absolutely NO Russian. This time, I was able to speak freely with them, and, oh, what a precious time we had reminiscing about my 11-day trip to Ukraine!

By the time I got around to think about taking a picture, time had passed and some of my "old friends" had gone home already. However, I was able to get this picture with four young ladies who remained quite late after the services.

At the time of my trip, two of these young ladies were 11 years old; one was 14; and the other was 17.

I dedicate this picture to those who made that special trip with me in 1995: Bro. Robert A. Ross, Bro. Bill Marshall, Laura (VanManen) Consford, Molly (Nelson) Lynch, Jennifer (Jackson) Duren, and Tina Cooper. Thanks for the unforgettable memories!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Deaf Camp - 32 SAVED!

We are part of a two-fold church. Our church consists of deaf church on Sunday mornings and hearing church on Sunday afternoons. On Wednesday evenings the hearing and deaf are combined.

Simferopol Baptist Church was originally started as a deaf church. Missionaries Bob and Judy Van Sant were called to Ukraine 13 years ago to reach the deaf, and this is the church the Lord allowed them to start. However, once the deaf began being saved, their hearing family members became interested, and the hearing church was eventually started. How funny to think, though, that a hearing ministry started as a result of a deaf church! (Normally, a hearing church will have a deaf ministry.) Both are now churches, with Bob Van Sant being the pastor of the hearing church and Slava Kratko (a deaf Ukrainian) being the pastor of the deaf church. You can read all of the interesting details of how these churches began and how Pastor Slava Kratko was saved and later became pastor at the VanSant's website:

So do we know sign language? No, unfortunately we do not, but we are learning... not "officially," but we are with the deaf on a regular basis, and we are learning from them, little by little. We do our best and they appreciate our efforts!

Last month, Bro. Jim Bracelin, his wife, and daughter Amanda came to Ukraine to host a Deaf Camp for deaf children, ages 10-15. They are from Silent Word Ministries, and they themselves raised the money for the expenses of the 40-something children who came to our Deaf Camp. They brought crafts from America for each day, but, for the most part, they allowed Pastor Slava to do all of the preaching and they encouraged from the sidelines. (Some of you may not know this, but English sign language and Russian sign language are two completely different languages.) What a blessing it was to all of us Americans to stand back and let a Ukrainian teach these children the Gospel for the first time ever!

We praise God that 32 children were saved, all in one evening! Pastor Slava was very organized in his preaching, starting with creation the first day and ending with Jesus dying on the cross. The evening he got to the "good part".... the part about Jesus being our sacrifice... they were excited and ready to accept Him! We have more than a hundred pictures from the various activities of the week, but I decided to just show you pictures from the evening the children were saved. Angels were surely rejoicing in Heaven to see these precious deaf children, who formerly knew nothing of Jesus and His free gift of salvation, come to Him!

Pastor Slava preaching about Jesus being on the cross. Bro. Oleg (also deaf) was his living example.
Pastor Slava kneeling with the 32 who came forward for salvation.
The joy of salvation!
These pictures were borrowed from the VanSant's website. Go and visit them to see more pictures from this exciting week!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Update on Steve and Ruthie

Steve and Ruthie and their children on Independence Day in Mexico

I want to thank everyone who has been praying for Steve and Ruthie since their car was stolen when Ruthie was held up at gunpoint. Of course, they are not going to be able to get their car back, but more than anything we are just grateful for Ruthie's life being spared. Her baby is still in the womb, and we are grateful that Ruthie did not go into early labor due to the stress.

Much of Steve and Ruthie's paperwork was stolen with their car... Steve’s passport, land papers on the church property the church just bought, Ruthie’s purse containing her cell phone, ATM cards, credit cards, etc... Continue praying for them, as they were hoping to leave a week later for the U.S. for Ruthie to deliver her baby. Now they are without a car and the proper paperwork to leave the country. God knows and God is in control. I will continue to keep you updated as I find out more. Ruthie's official due date is October 23rd, my birthday!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pray for Steve and Ruthie

Steve Miller family

We received the following letter on Saturday, at 5:23am, from my sister-in-law, Anna. Both Anna and Ruthie are my husband's sisters. Ruthie is nearly eight months pregnant, due October 23rd. She and her husband serve in Querertaro, Mexico, as missionaries.

Dear David and Jolene,

(Mom asked me to email you for her.)

Around 7:30 tonight, Steve called Mom and said that Ruthie had been out on ladies' visitation, and was about to leave off the last lady (Hna. Isabel, the wife of the man who just recently arrived in Querétaro to help Steve out) and two men with guns forced Ruthie and Isabel into the back seat and drove off with them. At some point, one of the guys dropped his gun on the floor and stopped the car to reach down to get it, and Isabel opened her door, and they both jumped out. The guys went on. Stole the car (it is a Honda Pilot), but did not harm Ruthie or Isabel. Ruthie started having contractions, but from what we've heard, they have stopped. Steve is at the Procuraduría now making the demanda, or whatever you call it. We are glad that Ruthie and Isabel are okay. Just wanted to let you know so you could pray for them. Thank the Lord that there are good people in their church who love them and who are with them right now. The thieves evidently have keys to the house (they took Ruthie's purse; passports, important papers). I am sure there will be people with them all through the night. Wish I could call you, but it is an unearthly hour for you, I know. Love you much!

Hugs to all,

Ruthie miscarried their fourth baby, due to an early delivery. Please keep this precious baby in her womb in your prayers, that she would be able to carry full-term.