Monday, August 22, 2011

Missionary Monday - Display Table

We were on a medical furlough this past winter (to welcome our 4th baby, Micah James, into this world).  While we were back, we traveled to many of our supporting churches and gave a report on what the Lord has been doing in Ukraine through the ministry of Simferopol Baptist Church.

Something that is customary for a "reporting" missionary to have is a display table, and I thought I would show you what ours looked like this time.
The table cloth that you see (above) of international people was designed and painstakingly hand-stitched by a deaf lady in our church here in Ukraine.  It was quite the conversation starter and attracted many people's interest!  Because of the "busy" design of the people, we kept the cloth a neutral color and worked hard to keep the "pretties" on our table to a minimum.  When we finished our furlough, we blessed a very missions-minded supporting church with this cloth for their use in their future missions conferences.
The banner stand that you see in the picture above was my all-time favorite feature of our display table.  It was *perfect* for traveling because of the way it folded up into a small size and traveled so well with us!  Now that we own the stand, all we have to do is change out the vinyl picture banner each time we travel back to America.
(Above)  See how the stand folds down into a convenient carrying case?  You can find one similar at this website, although we were able to order ours at a much cheaper price right here in Ukraine!
A big must on our display table are matryoshka dolls (also called "nesting dolls" because they each open and all fit into the biggest one), a very popular souvenir in Soviet countries.  Aren't they beautiful?!  They are made of wood and hand-painted.
God has allowed me to marry into a very talented family... full of musicians, authors, etc...  So, we are privileged to make books and CDs available to churches as we travel, such as the book Tom and Me (which was very recently translated into Spanish) [available for purchase in English on this page] and the CD I Have Been Blessed by the Sloan Sisters (my hubby's four sisters).  The selling of these items has helped us over the last few years in building our home here on the mission field.
We always keep an open Russian Bible on our display table.  And, yes, I can read it (for those of you who were wondering)!
Stickers for childrens' Bibles are something we always try to keep available on our table.  I have a whole blog post dedicated to the explanation of these prayer stickers here.
And, last but certainly not least, we give out prayer cards (that has all of our important information typed on the back).  We have two jokes about these cards... First of all, they are NEVER updated because it seems I am always "with child" in every prayer card picture and that child I am expecting is usually the reason we are back in America giving a report in the first place!  Secondly, our prayer cards have gotten progressively smaller with each time we have returned to America.  Now, they are almost as small as a business card!  My husband loves them this way because he can keep them in the pocket of his dress shirts and always have them available to give out.  They are also much less expensive to print this way!

So, there you have it...  Everything you ever wanted to know about our display table. {smile}  But the best part of it all is that everything travels compactly...  and that makes ME veeeeeerrrry happy! 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Write Love Letters to Your Children

Hey, friends!  I have been featured over at Raising 4 Princesses.... in a "T' Time" which means "Take the Time To...." and my subject was Write Love Letters to Your Children.  Please take a look (by clicking the highlighted words) and say "hi" to my pretty friend, Maria... and her darling 4 princesses.

Thanks, Maria, for the honor of being your guest!  You, too, are an inspiration to me, Sister!

[By the way, the Write Love Letters to Your Children idea is not original with me.  My dear friend, Felicia, inspiring mother of seven, is the one who encouraged me to start doing this a couple of years ago.  Thanks, Felicia, for encouraging me to start this!]

Monday, August 15, 2011

Missionary Monday - Alina is on Facebook!

Every person needs to have an "Alina" in their life... a special person who comes along and causes us to keep our perspective right.... to keep our eyes focused on the Lord and how good He has been to us, no matter what our circumstances may be.

Alina was a normal, healthy child. At the age of 10, she started becoming unusually clumsy and it was soon revealed that her spine was deteriorating. She has been diagnosed with "a hemangioma involving the vertebral bodies of the thoracic region." In short, her spine is now a jelly-like substance and she constantly lays in a cast that has to be re-made from time to time for her growing body..... [to read the rest of this story, go to this post].

Alina was just hooked up with internet for the first time this week, and she has joined Facebook.  I am normally not a big fan of Facebook for teenagers, but for Alina I think that Facebook can be one of the best things that has ever happened to her.  And, this is where YOU, my dear readers, come in...

I would love for Alina to have a showering of attention from those of us who pray for her.  Please look her up on Facebook and share some love today!  If you write in simple English, she will understand you.

Her name is Alina Shashkevich.  [And while you're at it, love on her sister too! She is Tanya Shashkevich.]

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Birthday Alarm

Do you use an alarm?  I used to... that is, until I had children.  Now, I don't have to worry about sleeping in too late... They take care of that!

Today I'd like to tell you about a different alarm.... a BIRTHDAY ALARM!  This "alarm" is what helps me keep track of all important birthdays I don't want to forget.... family, friends, and church members.

It's easy-peasy.... just go to this Birthday Alarm link and set up a free account with them. I chose to add my birthday reminders manually (you'll have to do some searching for this option, but it is there). Then you'll get an e-mail reminder one week before a birthday (perfect amount of time to think of a gift, card, etc...) and then again one day before (perfect for those you plan to e-mail to congratulate). This system has worked out perfectly for me for the last several years.... no more calenders or papers to keep up with and re-write from year to year.

And, speaking of birthdays, we've celebrated three of them in our family this summer.... Davey turned 9 in May, Nate turned 7 in July, and hubby turned {older} in July also! 

Do you remember sweet Alina?  (Her story can be found here). I know that many of you are her prayer warriors, and if you are still praying for her faithfully, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!  And, do you remember that Nate and Alina share a birthday?  So, it is now our yearly tradition for them to celebrate part of their day together.

Hubby also had a big birthday bash to which he invited our married couples from our church out to our house.  We had about 20 people here and had a terrific day with them!  But, I'll save those pictures for another time...

Until then, go set your "alarms"!  You'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Look What God Gave Us!

And those are the three kids who prayed every night before bedtime that God would give us the "very best car in the store."  And I think God answered those prayers because this one was the very best in the store we bought it from! {And thank you to those who were praying with us!}

[For those who are interested, this is a Russian-made car, a 2011 "Lada Universal."]

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tour My Home - part one {the outside}

For those who have been following this blog a long time, you know that we have been building our home on the mission field for two years now.  And what you are about to see through this new series is a HUGE improvement to our first days in our new home.  We made a crazy wise decision to move onto this "construction site" very prematurely in order to start saving on rent money and to keep a better watch on the building progress.  Was it hard?  Yes!  But would I make that decision again?  Yes, I really think I would.
 So even though you are going to see things that are still unfinished, I want you to see our progress.  If I waited to show you our home until we are completely finished, you might have to wait a few more years!



Igor and Lena, a precious young couple in church who was married last year (Nate was their ring bearer and Brianna was their flower girl) decided to buy an empty lot next to us.  Boy, they must love us {and we love them}!  They have fenced in their property, but I'm pretty sure it will be several years before they will be able to build anything livable.
The concrete in our garage is our newest improvement, and the project we are currently working on.  In the next few weeks, we will be adding concrete to make a driveway.... and finish sidewalks.



So, here is what we have left to do outside:
  • Finish driveway and sidewalks
  • Fence our property in
  • Landscaping
  • Structure and paint the outside of the house
These are some big projects, but the only one we are in a hurry to get to next is the fencing. 
Already looking forward to Part 2 of this series, where I will be inviting you to come inside!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Teen Camp 2011

Teen Camp this year was another incredible week!  I wasn't able to post every day like I did last year because we actually stayed at camp all week instead of driving back home each night.  And, of course, there was no internet access that far away from the city.

Our theme this year was "Consider Christ."  Our attendance was 85 (on-site) campers... up about 10% from last year.  If you include daily drive-ins who came for the evening services we had over 100 some of the nights.  Three teens were saved and many other important decisions were made concerning service and personal relationships with the Lord. 

We had some amazing groups of teens/leaders come and a terrific spirit all week.  Many thanks to everyone who participated and for those who prayed on our behalf.

I've been busy washing several loads of laundry and hanging them outside to dry, unpacking 6 suitcases, and unspoiling *one* baby who was held all week by loving teen girls.

We are all happily tired.