Monday, June 27, 2011

26 Lead Soldiers

"Give me 26 lead soldiers and I will conquer the world." {The 26 "lead soldiers" is referring to the 26 letters of the alphabet.}
I am not sure who originally quoted that.  Some say Karl Marx did.  Others say it was Benjamin Franklin.  Here they say it was Lenin, and that he referred to the 33 letters of the Russian alphabet.  No matter who said it, the truth is the same: teach people to read, and you can influence them.  The communists did that by teaching everyone to read, closing outside influences [i.e. books, magazines, and newspapers from the outside world], and printing their own propaganda. 

We have an incredible opportunity here in Ukraine due to the astounding literacy rate here.  An impressive 99.7% of Ukrainian adults can read!  [Find out your country's literacy rate here.  We're 9th on the list.]

Think about missionaries who go to countries where it is common for the people to not know how to read.  This was especially true centuries ago.  However, we have an amazing opportunity of sharing God's Word.  It is not illegal to give out Bibles here, and the people can read them!  What more can a missionary ask for?!

“The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.” Psalms 68:11

Sunday, June 26, 2011

We Luv Dad!

(We are in the Israeli airport, waiting to board in a few hours.  I will post about our trip here later, but since Father's Day passed a week ago, I wanted to do this post first!)

I love really personal, one-of-a-kind gifts.  If you have been following this blog for very long, you probably already know that.  So, for Father's Day this year, I did a Google search for ideas and found this picture (below) and knew that was exactly what I wanted to do for Father's Day 2011:
Since I have four children, not three (like were pictured in the original picture), I had a little more freedom when choosing what letters to write on my childrens' feet.  You can see in the pictures below that it took a *LOT* of tries, but you can also see how much fun we had!

Take 1:
Take 2:

Take 3: (below)  Oops!  Got Mommy's feet too!
Take 4:
Take 5: (below)  What happened to Davey?!
Take 6:
Take 7: (below)  Perfect!  (or close enough anyway!)  Cropped and changed to black and white...
(Below)  Custom-framed and matted in a stunning silver... A special gift for a special Daddy!
Happy Father's Day 2011 to a hero Daddy who provides strong, protective hands for his adoring four children!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Going to the Promised Land

David, Micah, and I are heading to Israel bright and early tomorrow morning.  We return eight days later, on a Sunday evening.  We will be meeting my childhood pastor, Dr. Vineyard, there as well as Pastor Garry Way and his wife from Gainesville, Texas, and Kenny and Kimberlyn Cantrell, missionaries to Ecuador.
Please be much in prayer for us.  But mostly please be praying for my three precious children who will be staying here at home with their beloved babysitter Nelya.  I know they are looking forward to having Nelya here, but I am going to miss them somethin' terrible!

I normally turn down offers to go on these trips and just stay at home while hubby goes alone.  This trip is different because my pastor has specificially asked that I go.  Please pray with me, sweet friends, that God will use me for His glory.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mavericks and Missionaries

This one is for the guys... (and I know you're out there, because many of you have confessed to being readers!)
Missionaries have a human side.  There is the part of us that has our interests, hobbies, and special things that we enjoy that has little to do with the ministry.... (other than the importance of having fun on the mission field!)  One of those things in our home is basketball, and our favorite team has always been the Dallas Mavericks.  All three of our boys were born in Decatur, Texas, which is just 66 miles north of Dallas. So, I guess you could say our boys were born into it!
Out in our little "no name" village, we have no television signal.  We also have pretty slow internet.  But, hubby keeps up with his favorite team by reading sports and news websites from time to time.  However, what do you do when it is the Finals and your all-time favorite team is playing and you have no way of watching it?  Well, hubby found a man in town that would record the Finals onto a DVD disc for less than four dollars a game.  One of the times hubby went to pick up his game disc, he was caught in a hailstorm!  
The man who sold the disc to hubby called him an "extremist."  We got a great laugh out of it since, of course, he had not planned it that way. 

Anyway, the Mavericks won the Finals yesterday {whoo hoo!}, and the men who live under my roof are rejoicing.  My living room has become a basketball court while my front door is one goal and the back door is the second goal.

So, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."  Brianna and I are certainly outnumbered in this household of boys.  So, what do we do?  Well, Brianna joins in the games while I am making plans with hubby to build a mini basketball court outside.  {shhh!  Don't tell the boys our secret!} This is going to be quite a summer!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

11 Years

This week, hubby and I celebrated 11 years together.  And guess how we celebrated?  This week our church held "Backyard Bible Clubs."  However, when we arrived at the VanSants house, a man in our church was just told he needed to get to the capitol city of Kiev immediately for a heart surgery.  So, our pastor's wife and I spent most of the day getting him home from the hospital, buying train tickets, taking he and his wife home to pack, etc... while hubby stayed with our three oldest children to participate in our Bible Clubs.  We basically did not spend the day together, but we did what we love most... serving our church and our children. (And don't feel sorry for us... hubby, Micah, and I are headed to Israel in one week, so we'll get some desired down time together).
11 years have brought us a long way, baby!  We have been many places (at least half of the states in the USA, Mexico, Canada, Ukraine, Israel, Germany, Poland, and many other European countries for layovers).

We have had the exciting privilege of working together side-by-side as missionaries in our Lord's harvest.  We can hardly wait to get to Heaven to see the results of our labors for Him.

And, the fruits that we can see clearly now, are the four precious souls God has increased our home with: 

Davey, age 9
Nate, nearly 7
Brianna, age 4
Micah, 4 months

If 11 years have been so significant in our lives already, I can hardly wait to see what the rest of our lives together bring!