Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentine's Banquet

This past Saturday, the couples in our church enjoyed a Valentine's Banquet held in a favorite restaurant in our city. It is financially difficult for our people to treat themselves to something such as a restaurant dinner; therefore, we charge them a minimal fee for their tickets; then, the missionaries split the remaining bill. This is something we enjoy treating our people to from time to time, and the memories created are always worth the cost and effort!

In this post, I will introduce you to the husbands and wives of our church and tell you a little about each one of them. I know that most of you will never have the opportunity to meet these dear people, but they are some of the most precious people one could ever meet and I am humbled that we have the privilege of serving here with them.

This past summer, David was able to start a new Sunday School class in the hearing church, the "Joint Heirs" class, for married couples. God has blessed this class, and we have seen some of the men who were coming occasionally become a more regular part of our church. As in most cultures, it is harder for the men to be faithful to church than it is for the ladies. However, this class has encouraged the men to join their wives in Sunday School, and we are grateful for the spiritual growth we have seen.

Enjoy these pictures!

Restaurant where the Valentine's Banquet was held

John and Cathy O'Brien, missionaries to Kharkov, Ukraine, which is several hours north of us. Bro. O'Brien was our guest speaker this year.Quartet that sang "God is Love"Playing a paper game. The goal was to make a hole large enough in a single sheet of paper for a person to go through. The hole had to be completely whole and no tape was allowed. (You can find instructions here.) The first couple who succeededThe O'Briens did not finish first, but their hole was certainly a winner for being the largest! In fact, they demonstrated for us how easily TWO people could go through their one sheet of paper!


Slava and Tanya - Pastor and his wife of the deaf church. These people have one of the most amazing testimonies you will ever hear, and I would like to share it with you here one day. It brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it!
Oleg and Alla - some of the finest servants you will ever meet. They are an example and conviction to me!
Ivan and Galya - They recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary, and are some of the happiest, kindest people I have ever met.
Pavel and Lena - They are long-time members of our church and have an 8-year old hearing daughter, Vera, who is a very dear friend to my children.
Pastor Andrei and Natasha - They have left our church to go out and start their own deaf church in a city one hour away. What an encouragement to see their Biblical example of reproducing themselves!

Pastor Bob and Mrs. Judy Van Sant, who came to Ukraine 14 years ago as missionaries to the deaf, but later started a hearing church as well. (*A big thanks to them for many of the pictures in this post!)Tony and Dawn Hess, missionary colleagues who eventually plan to launch out and start their own church. Bro. Tony is our choir director and teacher of the "New Life" class.Victor and Marina - Marina is an interpreter in our church who interprets many of the things we distribute... Sunday School lessons, booklets, etc...Misha and Tamara - They have a ministry to the Muslim population here.Dima and Marina - He is our song leader, and she is our church pianist.Valentine and Nadia - This couple was recently married. He was a widower and she had never been married. So, they are our church honeymooners!Sasha and Irina - They are the aunt and uncle of a dear teenager, Alina, who has a rare disease that has softened her spine. I would also like to share their amazing story on here one day.Tolik and Ducia - They both work for the railroads here and are our neighbors in the village. SHE is the village mayor where we live!Sergei and Natasha - Sergei was recently saved and they are some of the most faithful people to our church!
Me and my Valentine!


  1. Jolene, you and David are so Cute!!

    Thanks so much for sharing your ministry. It is a tremendous blessing to meet so many people who have been touched with the Gospel because of the faithfulness of you and your colleagues.

    I wish more missionaries and their wives would use the Internet to share their works with the world.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. What a treat! Thanks for sharing these couples with us.

    Is the hearing church and deaf church integrated? Do they meet seperately? Are there many deaf people in the community? I'm very curious.


Thank you for your encouraging comments! "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country." Proverbs 25:25