Monday, March 28, 2011

Missionary Monday - Living Water

Remember Missionary Mondays? Now that we are settling back into a routine, I am going to continue Missionary Mondays, although really... everyday around here (on this blog) is about missions.
We are the only people in our village who have running water. Did you catch that? The. only. ones. When I went to Germany more than a year ago, some American missionaries were talking about the village they lived in. I nodded sympathetically, fully understanding the difficult life that village life brings. Ahem... until I saw what a village is in Germany! {smile} A village in Germany is more like a neighborhood of warm, cozy cottages. So, I came home (to Ukraine) and looked up the meaning of the word village. Then, I realized that maybe I need to give my own meaning of the word village on here so that, as you read this blog, you will understand what I mean when I use the word.
village = a group of modest homes, outside of the city, usually without one or more (usually more) of the following: indoor toilets, running water, gas, electricity; with one or more (usually more) of the following: wood-burning stove, chicken or geese running wild, vegetable gardens and fruit trees, cows, goats, plenty of fresh air
Ah, yes.... fresh air. And the fresh air is what Ukrainians love to remind you is the beauty of living in a village. And, guess what? I love our fresh air! When life gets hard out here, I remind myself that we chose to live in a village.
So... back to the running water. The first thing we did after buying an empty lot in the village was to dig for water. The village people told us it could not be done. We are, after all, in an elevated area and many others before us had unsuccessfully dug for water. So, we prayed. And prayed, and prayed, and prayed. We prayed for Jacob's well. And God gave us water! With the help of a specialist we found two underground rivers that intersect 52 meters deep beneath our property. Our water supply is so abundant that we could probably supply the entire village with water. Now, as a testimony to the village people, we willingly share our water. We have a pump outside our front door that the people can freely use to fill their buckets. And, boy, do they come! All day long people come.... As the people come throughout the day, I am reminded of our purpose for being in Ukraine... to share the Living Water, Jesus Christ, with these dear Ukrainians.

Yesterday, two teen girls visited our church. With the help of my Ukrainian friend Lena, together we shared the plan of salvation, and both of these girls, most likely from Muslim homes, accepted Jesus Christ! Thank You, Lord, for sending these 14-year-old girls to our church so that they could drink from Your water and never thirst again. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. John 4:14

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Making My Day

Got this in my inbox yesterday from my little niece, Deborah Jolene. I had the privilege of meeting her for the first time when we went to Mexico in November, and then I was able to see her again when her family came to the States for Christmas. She is a sweetie... loves to talk (like her Aunt Jolene) and can hold her own with the boys, since she only has boys as playmates (her brother and cousins who live nearby).

Her sweet Mommy, Anna, is blogging over at Just Behind That Mountain.

Thanks, little Debbie, for making my day! I love you too, Sweetheart!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Two Months

I do not follow many blogs, but every once in a while I catch a minute to read one or two. This morning I read a post - How Do You Do It All? - that brought a smile to my face, so I thought I would share. This one is for homeschooling moms and encouraged me by reminding me that no one is truly "super mom." Although, I know I will never stop trying to be... and then beat myself in the ground for not living up to my own expectations. (By the way, I do not necessarily agree with everything there... just sharing the humor...)

Which reminds me of one of my favorite sayings these days: "If you come to see my house, call first. If you come to see me, drop by anytime!" Isn't that saying just great?!

My absolutely adorable baby boy turns two months old tomorrow, so I wanted to share some pictures from today. He has grown quite a bit since the last pictures I posted, which were from the day he was born.

Those cheeks are just so kissable! And not to mention those sweet, wet little lips. He seriously takes my breath away...... sigh..... Yes, I am in love. Again.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Unpacking suitcases and boxes

After FIVE airplanes and two nights in a Ukrainian hotel (which was without water when we arrived.... and we knew we were almost home!) we are finally settling in to a routine.

Brianna on the airplane

The kids have started back to school. We are behind (on "Day 84" for all you A Beka homeschoolers), but not hopelessly behind since we worked hard to get ahead before we left here last October. We will be working into the summer to finish, but.... ahhh, such is the beauty of homeschooling... working at the pace that best fits your family's needs. My only goal when we were working ahead was that we get far enough along as to surpass singing Silent Night and Joy to the World when we returned. The kids were making snowman crafts in school today, but since it is still in the 40's here, we're not too far off.

Nate at McDonald's during a layover in London

Not only am I behind in homeschooling, but I am also embarrasingly behind with my correspondence. If you have written me and you are wondering why I have not responded, please know that my baby's middle-of-the-night feedings and cuddlings just may have something to do with it. This "night owl" has been known to start nodding off - sitting up! - by 9pm these days. But I wouldn't trade this time of my life for anything! I love being a Mommy four times over! And, I love seeing Ukrainians turn their heads - and start counting - when our little crew walks by. And we literally are walking these days since we do not have a car yet. (We sold ours before we left - another story all to itself). Yes, by Ukrainian standards we are quite a large family since most families just have one or two children. Davey, my 8-year-old, says we are the "Duggar" family of Ukraine. {smile}
I have finished unpacking our suitcases (except Micah's... still trying to figure out where to put his things) and am now working on our seven boxes that were shipped here. When we are in America, we ship things to ourselves. We shipped about 15 boxes full of "supplies" that will get us through the next two years or so. Other than school books and ministry items, would you like to know what kinds of things missionaries send themselves - well, other than the obvious Starbucks coffee and Reese's peanut butter cups for sheer survival? I will do a post on that soon, since I imagine curiosity just might be getting the better of you.

Hubby is off to a Men's Conference with the Ukrainians and missionaries. And my eyes are getting heavy... so I am off to bed! (must be some jet lag lingering... or could it be that we are going through time change twice?!)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Home Sweet Home

No matter what
No matter where
It's always home
If love is there
We are back in our home in Ukraine. Back to the wood-burning stove to stay warm. Back to the low electricity. Back to hanging clothes on the line. But we are home. Home sweet home. Ahhh... and it feels so good to be here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm a Bus Kid!

I have been without internet since Micah was born, and, in many ways I am glad for that. I have enjoyed this time of adjusting to now having four children, and being able to spend this special time with my new baby.

We begin our journey (five airplanes!) back to Ukraine one week from today. And I can hardly wait to get home!

This furlough has been full of activity. Having a baby is just one of the many things I have done since we have been in America. (smile) I know I will never find the time to share with you everything we have done since we have been here. But, we will have plenty of time in Heaven one day to catch up with our many friends and talk about the things we have missed in each others' lives. However, one thing that happened on this furlough was the opportunity to share my testimony for a supporting church's bus ministry website, and I would like to share that with you here. This church is very special to us, and it is an honor that they would include my testimony on their site.

I have never shared my testimony on this blog, and I hope that it can be an inspiration to you to look around and find someone who needs Christ and who needs your love and attention. You just never know what a difference you can make in someone's life, just as others have made in mine!

You can find my testimony on the video below or here. You can also find my testimony in written form here. In the written version, you will find some things I did not mention on the video. (After all, I was 8 months along with Micah and having a hard time organizing my thoughts!) I pray that God's name will be magnified despite my shortcomings, and that you will be encouraged in the area of the bus ministry.... because it DOES work and it IS still relevant!

Jolene Sloan - Does The Bus Ministry Work? from North Valley Baptist Church on Vimeo.