Monday, October 31, 2011

Celebrating on October 31st?

Is there anything more precious for a mother than, after giving birth to a baby, holding that precious little one in your arms and realizing you just brought this child into the world?!

Yes, there is something more precious than that.... and I experienced it today.

Even more precious than bringing a child into this world is watching your child bow their head and, tearfully, ask Jesus to come into their heart and cover their sins with His blood.  And then you realize with full magnitude... this child that I brought into this world and held in my arms will one day leave this world to be in the arms of Jesus.
Seven-year-old Nate, on Halloween - a day meant for evil for many - asked Jesus to be His Saviour.  And, not only are the angels rejoicing in Heaven, but everyone in our home is rejoicing too!
Nate called his Mimi in Mexico {through Skype} with the wonderful news.  It was 2:00pm here (the wonderful event took place after lunch) and 6:00am in Mexico.  Good thing his Mimi gets up earlier than that each day!
 Then, everyone in the family wanted to pose with the special "BIRTH"day boy!

All Nate could talk about the rest of the day was his salvation experience.  It was so real to him, and he couldn't think about anything else.  I got out my love letters notebook that I am writing to him and asked if he could write down his thoughts about getting saved.  I'm so glad I did that!  What a keepsake!

His picture at the bottom was just hilarious... That is Jesus on the throne with the angels holding balloons and singing.  When we asked him who was on the steps, he explained that it was an angel holding up the words to the song for the other angels!  He must have been thinking of his Sunday kids' choir that he participates in.... where the song is always on a poster board that his teacher holds up for all of the children.  Priceless!

Nate mentioned over and over today that he felt "pure" and "bold to tell others like the disciples" and "happy," etc.... I have no doubt in this Momma heart of mine that something heavenly happened in my sweet boy's heart today.  His constant smile is all the proof I need.  Thank you, Jesus, for giving us our own October 31st celebration!

[And, if anyone else wants to know how they can be saved too, just ask me.  I'll be glad to share!]

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tour My Home - part 5 {master bedroom}

So, here it is... the master bedroom reveal!  {Sorry, but it would have come much earlier if I had remembered to take pictures and download them to the computer before hubby left for his recent trip.}
Isn't it beautiful?!  The comforter set and the Home Interiors picture set over the bed were all shipped from America about 7 years ago.  [I bought the Home Interiors set through a dear friend who gave me her wholesale price.]  We bought the furniture in Kiev, in the only all-wood furniture store we could find (all shipped from Estonia).  Press-board is very big here, and we just weren't willing to buy something we knew would have to be replaced within a few years.  We wanted to buy wood (i.e. quality) furniture the first time and not have to buy again.  And, the curtains were made by yours truly.  I just took four short curtains from a previous home we lived in and made two long ones out of them to keep from having to buy more!
When we bought the bed, we only had one child but we knew that we would be having more if the Lord would graciously give us more.  We both had dreams of a king-size bed and lots of littles snuggling in the bed with us for story time, movie time, snuggle time, etc...  We didn't have the money for our dream, so we slept on the floor for several months, then bought our king-size mattress.  We then slept with the mattress on the floor until hubby could make us a temporary frame for the bed.  We used that temporary frame until it broke {I won't mention the fact that kids were caught jumping on it.}  Then, we bought the bed frame we now have.  Little by little over the last 9 years we have collected what you see...
This room is our bedroom by night, and Nate's (our 7-year-old's) school room by day.  This is where he spends several hours a day watching his A Beka DVDs and trying to figure out how to finish faster than his brother and sister!
(Below) Pictures in our "BC" days..... Before Children...  Yes, we've always been a bit crazy!
(Below)  See the chipped places on the wooden furniture?  Have you ever heard this equation?:

3 moves = 1 fire

Well, this furniture has been through more than three moves and has certainly suffered the damage.  Lord-willing, though, this furniture has found its forever home!  And see the lamp?  That was my birthday gift to David last year.... Aren't you impressed?  Hmmm... bet he never guessed that I bought the function for him {reading his books in bed at night} and the prettiness for myself!
(Below) And this is my side of the bed...  Can't you just smell the hot cinnamon candle?  I smell it everytime I walk into the room and it makes me smile every time...
(Below) Pretty details on the furniture...
(Below) Nate's nametag on his desk.  During the day this nametag is nowhere to be found underneath his pile of papers and books.  We have jokingly nicknamed the kid "pig-pen" after the Peanuts character with the dust all around him.  [And he's a good sport about it, too, joking back with us.]  When Nate loses something, it is usually pretty easy to find... Just have to start moving things around!
(Below)  Nate stores his school books in the window sill when he is done with school each day.  We are learning lots of lessons about organization with him, and baby steps are big steps for the little guy!  I have learned that keeping accessories to a minimum for him works wonders!  (And, by the way, I would not change anything about him...  I adore that kid!)

I adore the golden colors of the walls, but it does leave a yellow tint to pictures which is something I did not foresee.  Hmmm... Not sure if I would have chosen something else, though.  This color is so warm and inviting.  Don't you agree?

So, here is what we have left to do in this room:
  • Baseboards
  • Finish one more electrical socket
  • Now that the water heater was just mounted to the wall, we can fill in the concrete hole that was left and paint over it (the curtain was hiding that ugly spot)
  • Decorate some of the bare walls.  Although, I must say, that with four children and their normal loads of books and toys, the bareness of this room can be somewhat refreshing at the end of the day!
Next room to tour... master bathroom!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Uncertain times

Friends, we need your prayers.  In September a new law in Ukraine was passed concerning visas and we are now seeing the unfortunate affects of that law.  Two missionary families have already had to leave Ukraine indefinitely.  One of those families, dear friends of ours, fly out from the capital city tomorrow.

For now, the new visa regulations state that the longest we can stay in the country is three months at a time.  Then we would have to leave for three months, only to be allowed back in for another three months... and that is the best scenario. [And seriously, who could afford such a lifestyle... buying airline tickets every three months?  In this case, it would certainly take some well thought-out planning with a second missionary family, trading back and forth to keep ministries on both sides of the country going.]

Another scenario dictates that we have 45 days in the country at a time (at a cost of $375 per person), pending more paperwork with the possibility to stay longer.  However, this is paperwork we have tried unsuccessfully at getting in the past.

Our family has until March 2012 on our visa (4 more months), and then only the Lord knows what awaits. Three more Baptist missionaries, two from our region, will learn in the next few weeks if they will be able to stay.  The Van Sants, whom we work with, have purchased tickets to fly to Germany for Thanksgiving to be with their son, who serves there in the US Military. However, if they leave, we learned yesterday that they will not be allowed to re-enter on their visa; therefore, they are going to stay and lose those airline tickets.

We were also making plans of flying to Germany in December for a Missionary Christmas Retreat, but we have already written the hosting pastor to let him know we cannot leave the country for fear of not being able to get back in.

There is a lot of uncertainty here among the missionaries... lots of phone calling between the brethren and many families down on their knees.  Please, please pray with us.  We are trusting the Lord, and doing all we can to ensure that our paperwork is in order so that we are still here for years to come, and we ask you to pray with us that His will would be done.

We don't want to leave.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

And the works go on...

In 1995, I had the privilege of visiting Ukraine for the first time, as a 16 year old.  In the picture below, I am standing with some young ladies whom I met on that trip.  This picture was taken 14 years after our first meeting, in 2009.
Just an hour drive away from the camp I visited so many years ago, two church buildings were being built (or funds were being raised at the time for their building), and these projects were being financed by my home church in Oklahoma City, Windsor Hills Baptist Church.  This post is dedicated to the people of my home church who gave towards those projects about 16 years ago.  

(Below)  Here is the first building, which my hubby was recently shown.  He was making a quick trip through this town [more about that later] and did not have time to meet the pastor or the people of the church.  So, the story of this church will have to wait for another day...  But, isn't it beautiful?!  
(Below)  And here is the inside of the second church building....  On the wall is written "...God is love...  I John 4:16."
(Below)  This is a picture taken of a picture.... of where the church congregation formerly met.  You can see the new building is in the process of being built in the background.  Quite the improvement, wouldn't you say?!
(Below) Another picture taken of a picture...  Three Americans standing with two Ukrainians.  Two of those Americans were staff members of my home church, Bro. C.W. Fisk and Dr. Clifford Hearron.  The third American is Evangelist Jim Belisle.  This picture is proudly displayed in the new church building today.
(Below)  Another picture of a picture, taken in 1948, celebrating the church's 25th Anniversary.  How I would love to sit and hear the stories those dear Christians could have told of what it meant to be a Christian in Communist Russia at that time!

(Below)  The new church building...
(Below)  And the new church building again today!  Here hubby stands with the new pastor, a man David described as one of the kindest, humblest men you could ever meet.
(Below)  And here hubby was invited to have tea and cookies with the young people of the church, after he preached for their Saturday evening youth meeting.
As I look at these pictures that hubby brought home on the camera, I am awestruck at the way God has blessed these two little churches out in villages that had probably never seen Americans before those trips in the '90s.  What blesses me more than anything is to see these people faithfully pressing on even without any type of American financial support.  What they have is something real that officially started in 1923. 

And it makes me wonder what the people in those old black and whites would think of the church today?!

So, thank you, Windsor Hills Baptist Church, for helping these churches move foward.  I am thrilled to see the fruit of a project we raised money for "sight unseen." 

And these works go on...!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

And the Winner is...

Hip Hip Hooray!  And the winner of the Scripture Print Giveaway is.....

Comment #6:

Blogger L√≥pez Family said...

How fun, Jolene!

My favorite one (so hard to choose!) is Be Still.

Love you!
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Congratulations, Anna!  Does it seem fair that my sister-in-law won?!  Well, I promise that this giveaway was completely fair.  I used to choose the winner and those three silly kids that are pictured above were standing around me, anxiously watching and awaiting to see who would win!  So they are my witnesses to fairness! {not that you doubted me, right?!}

By the way, there were 51 entries.  Not bad for my first giveaway...

Anna, let me know which print you want and I'll put your order in.  I already know your address. {wink!}

And for those of you who didn't win this time (I say this time because this was fun and I'd like to do some more giveaways again!) can head on over to Amy's site and order some prints in plenty of time for Christmas!

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Missionary Wife's Perspective (Introduction)

The home has been compared to the Trinity.  The husband (as God the Son) follows God (God the Father) while the wife (as God the Holy Spirit) is in submission to both.  Therefore, the wife's role in the home, just as the Holy Spirit's role in the Trinity, is to provide the spirit.... the atmosphere... in the home. 

I control the atmosphere in my home.  And, no, I am not talking about a control box on the wall that determines the heat or cool air that will infiltrate a room at the touch of a button.  (No such thing here, anyway!)  I am talking about my attitude.  If I wake up in a sour mood, more than likely my children will be fussy and my husband will be unhappy.  However, if I wake up with a smile in my heart and on my face, everyone's day will more than likely go much smoother and certainly much more pleasant.

A wife faces a multitude of challenges on the mission field that are different from the normal wife's challenges.  Many times, the improper response to these challenges are, "If I only lived in America, I wouldn't be going through this."  This attitude leads to bitterness and resentment of the mission field and a longing to return to the "utopia" that she left back home.  This discontent spirit seeps into the home and discourages the husband, until, one day, the entire family potentially resigns from the mission field.

This new series could have been named The Missionary Wife's Challenges.  But, I decided against that title because, even though that is indeed what I will be writing about, I want this series to be positive.... a yes,-it-has-its-challenges,-but-look-at-all-of-the-benefits-type of series. {whew!  That was a lot of dashes to insert!}  So, instead, I am going to try keeping it all in perspective...

Remember... the value of a soul is priceless.

And our struggles are soooo t.e.m.p.o.r.a.r.y.

The Missionary Wife's Perspective is for three groups of people:
  • For our prayer partners back home.  I hope to help our dear, praying friends realize the full extent of difficulties that the missionary wife can face on the field.  This will better equip you to pray more deeply and more specifically for young missionary families.
  • For the young lady preparing to be a missionary's wife.  I hope to show you, dear friend, that there will be challenges, but that, if you expect them, you can overcome them!
  • For the missionary wife.  More than anything, sweet sister in Christ, I want you to realize that your role in the home as the "Holy Spirit" is more important than you may have ever realized.  You have the ability to make or break your missionary man, and I hope to inspire you to cheer him on instead of pull him away from his calling to the field.
My hubby and I are approaching our 10-year anniversary of being in Ukraine.  Looking back over the last 10 years, I see areas where the devil has specifically fought me, the wife of a missionary, in order to discourage my husband.  Though I am by no means a qualified veteran, I am entering a new decade, so to speak, of missions.  And, as I move on to the next decade, I want to record my memories here of what the first 10 years were like.

And I hope to teach and encourage, if even just one person, along the way!  

Friday, October 14, 2011

Scripture Print GIVEAWAY!

Hubby left yesterday for an 8-day "circuit riding" throughout Ukraine holding Israel and Prophecy Conferences with Evangelist Bryan Sharp.  He took the camera, and I am home with my four precious darlings.

During this time I am going to be working on some much-needed projects, as well as getting our home ready for our evangelist guest.

But, before I start the dirty work, how about a giveaway?!

My friend Amy just opened a website for her amazing Scripture prints.  Let me tell ya, this gal is a talented photographer!  And, not to mention, she has 12 amazing children to keep that camera of hers busy!  Yes, t-w-e-l-v-e!

What I love about Amy's prints are the Scriptures she has added to them.  What better way to teach our children the Scriptures (and learn them ourselves) than for us to proudly display them on our walls?  Amy has her beautiful prints available in several sizes, ready to be matted and framed.  She also has several of them available as note cards.  Anyone else thinking that these are just in time for Christmas gifts?!

Amy also has an unbeatable 50% off offer for those who plan to use her prints in the ministry somehow.  So generous, Amy!  She has also offered to work with you to make them available in other languages.  Okay, missionary wives, are you thinking what I'm thinking {church decor, nurseries, Sunday school classes, etc...}?  And for those of you who just want them for personal use, Amy's prices are oh, so reasonable.

So, without further ado, let's take a look at some of my absolute favorites:

Now on to the giveaway...  One reader will receive one print or gift set delivered to your doorstep from Amy's shop.... and you choose the item!


Click over to Path of Life Scripture Prints, then leave me a comment telling me your favorite Scripture print.

FOR EXTRA ENTRIES (leave a separate comment letting me know about each one you did):

1.  Subscribe by e-mail to this blog, With Love from Ukraine
2.  Follow this blog
3.  Facebook about this giveaway
4.  Tweet about this giveaway
5.  E-mail about this giveaway
6.  Send a phone text message or just simply tell a friend about this giveaway!  Hey, I'm pretty easy to get along with!

I will draw and post the winner's name Thursday, October 20th.  Happy entering, friends!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tour My Home - part 4 {Main bathroom}

This little space functions as our children's bathroom since we also have a master bathroom just around the corner. 

I think that I failed to mention that when we decided to build, sweet hubby allowed me to choose our floor plan.  My only restriction was to keep it around 1,500 square feet.  You can see the floor plan I chose by clicking here.  (Be sure to scroll down a little to see the home layout.)  We just printed out those plans and took them to an architect here, who then re-designed the plan using the metric system.  We made a few changes (such as the utility room, which I will explain better later, and the kitchen layout).  We also cut out all of the fancy porches and closed-in garage in order to concentrate our money on the necessary parts.  But you can see the basic idea by looking at the original floor plan we followed.   

Now, on to the bathroom...  I chose a beige-colored tile so that it would be easier to change the decor as the children grow...

(Below) And, here are the smaller details of our current decor...

Other than a few minor repairs, this room is basically done.  (Ahhhh.... it felt so good to just type that!)

The next part of this tour will take us to the master bedroom.  Until next time, friends!

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Card Shower!

What if I had cancer?  What if I were young, joyfully serving the Lord on the mission field (for 11 years already!) with my husband and three boys,.... and found out I had cancer?  I mean, why couldn't it happen to me?

Ladies, my friend Sheila Campbell is going through such a battle today.  She was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma cancer, and had to come off of her beloved field of the Philippines to undergo treatments. 
Sheila has met with a bone marrow specialist at Johns Hopkins who has said her cancer is not responding to the previous treatments and he has laid out a new treatment in order for her to survive. She started those treatments today and will then undergo a bone marrow transplant. This process will extend over a 60 day period, which will include weekends and holidays. There are many expenses involved such as traveling back and forth from the hospital, food, room and board, and medical bills.

A card shower has been started for Sheila, and I would like to ask you to get involved.  Please send a word of encouragement to Sheila and her precious family at this address:
Sheila Campbell
204 King James Rd.
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

If you can, tuck a little gift card, gas card, or check into your card to help this sweet family with their expenses.  And, send those sweet boys (Zachary, Timmy, and Wesley) some love too!

Sheila and her husband graduated from the same Bible college that hubby and I graduated from.  When I was in high school, she sweetly worked as a secretary for our school principal.

Hubby and I will be working with our kids to send our cards this week.  Won't you join us?