Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holiday Giveaway winners

I used RandomPicker to choose three winners in the recent giveaway for the book "In Support of Israel," and they are:

1.  Mrs. Hogge (comment #3)
2.  channonsworld (comment #7)
3.  Sandra (comment #2)

There were 21 commenters, and if any of you who did not win are interested in ordering this book, just let my hubby know by e-mailing him at sloans2ukraine (at) gmail (dot) com.  The cost is $5 plus $2 shipping.  Several have written to order, deciding to just buy instead of trying to win.  And that is a-okay too.  We have really enjoyed having this book available as we travel, as it has helped many friends {old and new} with their questions about what is happening in the Middle East today and how it relates to the Bible.  

Congratulations, winners, and a big thank you to everyone who participated!  Hubby and I both really enjoyed your heartfelt comments!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Giveaway!

I almost let November slip by without a single post on this blog.  I have definitely come to the conclusion that traveling {especially with multiple children} is most certainly not conducive to blogging or computer time.  And I'm okay with that.  But, it is nice to know that I have been missed, so I thank those of you who have written to let me know that you have noticed my absence.

Not long ago, I mentioned that hubby has written a book.  And in my last post I promised an upcoming giveaway.  Well, here she is, folks!  We are giving away three of these books in one week, and you'll find instructions at the end of this post on how to enter.
Have you ever wanted a little additional information {to what is already available in the Bible} about Israel that would be helpful for a Christian to know in modern times?  When you hear Israel mentioned in the news and on headlines, do you wonder what direction this tiny nation's future is headed?  As Christians, we have a natural desire to know God's purpose for Israel.  This booklet, written specifically to be a condensed easy-to-read source will help today's Christian understand God's purpose for His chosen nation.

This book was written by my hubby, David, a man to whom God has given a specific passion and knowledge about Israel.  He has been to Israel multiple times and spent three months living there at the beginning of this year.  David has personal friends in the Israeli parliament and on Israeli military bases that have helped him, along with his personal Bible studies, understand from a biblical perspective what is happening in the Middle East today.  He has taken that knowledge and condensed it into this booklet to share with Christians to help them comprehend their need to support and defend Israel.

It is heartbreaking to see how many Christians have been persuaded to reject Israel and the Jews.  God chose Israel and we unashamedly stand with her.  Period.

Beginning November 27th through December 4th at midnight, anyone who comments on this post and tells us
  •  (if you have been there) what place you love the most in Israel and why.   --OR--
  •  (if you have never been there) what you would love to see in Israel and why.
Three winners will be chosen and announced soon after the giveaway ends, so please be sure that you leave a way for me to contact you if you are chosen.
For those who are interested in ordering a copy of this book, you may contact David at sloans2ukraine {at} gmail {dot} com.  The cost is $5 plus $2 shipping.

I have heard many pastors comment to their people their need to purchase and read this book.  I hope you will heed their advice!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friends all over...

With beautiful inside-and-out teenager, Stephanie, from a supporting church

One of my favorite parts of traveling on furlough is not the good food, not the great shopping, and not the pretty hotels, homes, and missions apartments we stay in {though I love, love, love those things!}.  I mostly feel a really special joy when we visit a church and someone walks up to me, introduces themselves, and lets me know that they...

know us

pray for us

read our prayer letters and/or this blog

know what God is doing in our ministry

There is just something special about knowing you are loved by someone else.  It is humbling.  Truly, truly humbling.

We really are not anyone important.  But, we get to do a BIG work for a worthy Savior and it just blesses our hearts to know when individuals are equally excited about that work.
The Weiss family drove 2 1/2 hours to see us!

So, if I have had an opportunity to meet you since we have been traveling because you have been brave enough to come by and introduce yourself, I truly thank you. To friends we have already known and been able to see again, thank you for loving us and welcoming us "home" with loving arms.  It just really warms our hearts.  We have had friends drive several hours just to see us, and we just feel supremely blessed.

Friendship truly is a treasured gift from God.  And how blessed we are to enjoy friendships all over this big, wide world!

In the video included below you can see one of the many things we enjoy doing as we travel: singing as a family for our Savior.  We are not mega talented by any means, but we do love singing {in Russian these days} to the churches we visit.  Though he is not pictured, hubby (the one with all the talent!) is playing the piano and singing tenor. Click here to watch the video if you are reading this post in your inbox or through a reader and cannot see the video embedded below.
In my next blog post, I look forward to sharing hubby's new book with you, and we'll be having a giveaway so that some of you can have it sent to you as a gift from us!  Be sure to check back soon so that you don't miss it!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Crazy Eights

Our Nate has turned eight and now you can hear silly little chants like this wherever we are near:

Nate the great who now is eight is never late for his date.

What can I say?  After all, he's a unique kid whose name rhymes with a number.  Don't you act silly in your home too?!

Nate is a funny guy with enough personality to go around for several kids.  I'm so glad God packaged him all up and sent him to us.  He dreams of becoming a pastor one day, and if that is what God has in store for him, then I can already see how his personality would line up with such a job description... talkative, dramatic stories, love for people, charisma, and devotion to God.    

We were still in Ukraine when we celebrated Nate's birthday.  When we returned from Israel, after having taken Davey to a safari park for his 10th birthday, we decided we would do the same for Nate.  A new safari park had recently opened about 25 minutes away from our home, so we decided that the drive would be well worth it to make our little guy feel special.

We paid extra and waited in the scorching sun to get several shots like the two pictures below, but we are so glad we did. 

Just before we walked out of the cubs' cage, Brianna reached down to pet the lion cubs lying under the bench.  When she did, the tiger cub on top of the bench swiped at her head and caught his claws in her ponytail.  It scared her, but she sure did love having a big story to tell her friends later! After all, how many people can say that they have had their hair pulled by a tiger?!

After spending a couple of hours at the safari park, we went to visit Alina who was turning 20 on this day.  It is our yearly tradition to drive to her house, congratulate her with a gift and song, then get a picture of the two birthday "kids" together.
Then we went home and grilled hot dogs, Nate's requested meal.  He invited Caleb and Anna {other missionary kids who live on the other side of the city, whose parents are starting another Baptist church} over.

Here are how our hot dogs come packaged:

Even though the frosting on Nate's cake was melting down the sides due to the sweltering heat {did I mention this was late July?}, we still managed to throw some decorations on there to go with our safari birthday theme this year.  And guess whose creative mind came up with this idea?  Yes, Nate himself!
  And, a picture made just for you, Nate:
Enjoy this "crazy eight" year to the fullest, my sweet boy!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Prayer stickers for furlough

I have shared in the past how we make "prayer stickers" available at our display table when we are visiting churches.  (Be sure to click the highlighted words to see some of our past ones and read through the comments there to get ordering details for how we do this.)  

I thought I would share our updated one with you here today... I think this one is my favorite yet!  This continues to be an inexpensive, yet popular item of interest, especially for the little people who come to visit our table.  It is always nice to have something to give children who are brave enough to meet the missionaries.  Usually when we are handing them out to children, adults start asking for them too... and I love it!

This idea also works really well when we receive a "praying for you" note from a children's Sunday School class and we are writing back.  These flat stickers are so very easy to just tuck into an envelope along with our letter.  I love having something to give in return for those prayers!

So, please feel free to copy the idea, missionary friends.  A few other ideas I've seen out there, other than the traditional prayer cards are key tags such as these, only featuring the missionary's picture and contact information:

Or, how about refrigerator magnets that look like mini prayer cards?  I've seen those too, and they just have a way of not getting lost as easily as a prayer card!  Basically anything you can print on can be another way to leave a little reminder in homes of your need for prayers.

Whatever it is we do to get our prayer partners to remember us, the important thing is just that... getting our prayer partners to remember to pray for us.  Oh, how we covet those all-important, fervent prayers of God's people calling out to Heaven on our behalf!

What unique ideas have you seen as missionary prayer reminders?  I'd love to hear your feedback!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Emily Ruth

Before I get back to my regular blogging, I wanted to share some pictures of my newest little niece, Emily Ruth.  This beautiful baby girl was born August 31st to hubby's youngest sister Elizabeth.  She and her husband Ulises live in Mexico and work very, very hard in establishing churches.  God has given them many amazing successes, and we are constantly fascinated at what God is doing through them.
Emily is this dear couple's third child.  They have waited nearly 5 years for the Lord to give them another baby.  A year and a half ago, they were devastated by a miscarriage and prayed faithfully for the Lord to give them another child.  Ever heard the saying "three's a charm"?  Emily is definitely their little charm!  All three of their children are precious treasures who have been born into a very loving home.
For Christmas, our family will be heading to southern Mexico and we are looking forward to meeting our newest family member!  
Most of you know that my hubby is one of 8 children.  All of those children are {fairly} young adults who have an average of 4 children each!  Wanna know the grand totals of our family to date?

1 Mimi {Prampa is in heaven} 
8 children and their spouses
32 grandchildren
4 in Heaven who live on in our hearts and deserve mentioning
1 on the way!

It is so much fun to be married into a large family!

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Been kinda' quiet around here, hasn't it?  To say that our lives have drastically changed in the last month is an understatement.  Moving our family of 6 across the ocean for nearly a half-year furlough was no easy task.  But, looky there... we survived and are still smiling, to boot.

See that purty van behind us in the picture?  A completely unexpected blessing was our friends O & H giving it to us to use while we are back in the states.  And, you know what?  It has sliding doors for our children on BOTH sides of the van.  This is our first time to enjoy such a convenience, so we feel like we have "arrived" these days.  The Lord is good in providing friends and even better to give us friends who are willing to sacrifice for us.  {A big, public thank you, O & H}.

I am determined to get back into the blogging routine.  This blog is my #1 way of recording these special memories and blessings for my children.  Hopefully {for me}, my recent silence will be squelched.

Do you want to know how a family of 6 survives traveling on the road, how we pack, what we pack, where we stay, what we do as we travel, why we travel, what keeps us busy, etc...?  These are some topics that might be worth exploring as we live this part of our lives over the next few months.  Since this blog is also my way of giving our prayer partners a better glimpse into our lives and ministry, these topics will definitely give you a clearer vision of what we're up to these days.

Anyway, here are just a few words to describe some of my feelings the last couple of weeks...



Amazed at God's provisions.

Through all of these positive feelings, though, we find ourselves missing Ukraine and our dear friends there.  Why, oh, why is it that the world has to be so big?  And why does everyone have to live so far apart?  Why do we always have to be missing someone somewhere... whether we are missing "home" or whether we are missing our "new home"?

So, do you wanna know where I'm sending my love from this time {or did you already catch on?}   Not Ukraine.  Not Israel.  No... this post is being sent...

With Love from California.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Celebrating a Homegoing

Once again, I wanted to share some beautiful pictures of little Joshua, my darling new nephew with his happy parents (hubby's sister).  These are celebration pictures that commemorate the joyful day he was able to go home from the hospital this week.
This will be my last post about this sweetheart baby since he is now safely home and in his Mommy's arms and under her loving care.  We once again praise our wonderful Lord for His goodness to His children.

We leave our home in three days.  Our journey will begin on an overnight train to the capital city, Kiev.  From there we will fly to London and spend the night, spending one more memorable day with my mother-in-law before we part ways until Christmas - her going to Mexico and us to Dallas.

Video presentation completed? Check.

Prayer cards and display table banner printed? Check.

David's book published? Check.

Half a year of school finished, corrected, and put away? Check.

Luggage packed? Uhhh... almost.

Please pray for our safety, health, and for our children to sleep well as their little bodies adjust to new times and new places.  As always, I humbly thank you, my friends.

Now, I've gotta go finish that packing...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Prayer Card

This is the front of our new prayer cards which have already been ordered {except those dark-colored boxes have information in them in real life that I didn't want to post here}.  The days to our departure to America are ticking by quickly, and I wish I could slow that ticking noise down!

Tomorrow we will finish our half-way point of school.... 85 days {loud cheering... can you hear it through the screen?!}.  We have been working all summer long, mostly going at it 6 days a week to get to this point.  So, while everyone else is talking about "Back to School," we are ready to be done with it!  We are all looking forward to a long-anticipated break!  Don't ya just love the flexibility of homeschooling?  Somehow, though, I think my children will be learning just as much over the next 6 months away from the books as they have learned in the books.  Funny how that works, isn't it?  Just please don't tell them that, yet... not until they have graduated. {smile}

Really, I am kidding.  I have two eager learners, one who works at a snail's pace {maybe because he loves it so much and enjoys working for so many hours?!} but still makes grades as good as the other two, and another who just enjoys dumping the other three's pencils and crayons onto the floor before he is caught in the action.

I love being a mom.  I really, really do.  So much love and entertainment wrapped into tiny {but growing} packages.

I'm really not supposed to be here blogging today.  Really, I should be working on our video presentation for furlough.  Hubby has been working on publishing a book {juicy details later} and I have been putting our presentation together.... one. picture. at. a. time.  It is a slow process, but a necessary one since this is what we use to report to our supporting churches.

God has been so good.  How do you tell that in a 6-7 minute presentation?  Guess I had better stop typing here and try to figure out the answer to that myself...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Joshua is going home!

My sweet, sweet mother-in-law made it in safely, and, boy, are we ever enjoying her!  She is such a barrel of fun and all 6 of us are vying for her attention at all times, it seems.

She shared this picture of little Joshua with us today, and I asked her to e-mail it to me so that I could share it with you too.  Doesn't he just look like a little man?!  When you look at his Mommy's hand, you can understand just how little this preemie's face really is.  So tiny, yet so perfect.

We are excited to share with you the news that little Joshua will be going home from the hospital in the next couple of days.  How grateful we are for his little life!  Thank you for the amazing, positive response you have shown in offering your prayers and words of encouragement to his family.  I know they have been encouraged to know that people from all over the globe have come before the throne of grace on their behalf.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights,...  James 1:17.  Thank you, Father, for this good and perfect gift!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


See what I found in the boys' room yesterday?  Yes, we're all excited about hubby's Mom {aka "MIMI"} flying in tonight!  There is no less excitement in this home than if the Queen of England herself were coming.

I am sure that the next two weeks are going to be a whirlwind of fun, memories, excitement, and packing.  In a little more than two weeks, all of us will be leaving Ukraine - our family will fly to America and Mom will fly back to Mexico.  We have very mixed emotions about this upcoming trip.  We're thrilled, of course, to soon be able to see friends and family we have not seen in a long time.  But, we never love leaving our friends and ministry here.

For now, we'll just concentrate on pampering a very special lady who will be in our home in about 8 hours.  Woohoo!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

VBS #2 this summer

A couple of weeks ago, hubby left for a week with a team from our church to run a second VBS in another part of Ukraine.  The group came home exhausted, happy, cameras loaded with pictures, hearts full of what God had done, and the wonderful news that...

17 children were saved!

I worked several days to put their pictures into collages.  There is an overwhelming amount to look at here, but I have added them to really show you what God is doing in Ukraine.  If you support this ministry or our family personally, you can know that your support is not in vain.  We are nothing... absolutely nothing at all.  But, we are willing servants who are excited to share God's Word with the lost, and we are thrilled that God chooses to use nobodys {and that He gives us other wonderful "nobodys" that we love very much who are willing to work with us}!
Glad to have hubby home and even happier to know that our time spent without Daddy was a sacrifice for a greater cause!

*Thanks to Igor and Lena for these fantastic photos!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Two weeks!

I have oh, so very much to write about on this blog!  Teen Camp just finished, a second VBS to write about, Nate's and hubby's birthdays, and not to mention what we're doing around the house...

But that will all have to wait.  For now, I wanted to bring you what you have all been waiting for:  news of little Joshua's health.  Today marks two weeks since the birth of this sweet preemie, and I have pictures for you to see of his progress:


Just a few more days, and Joshua will surpass the number of days of life this family was able to enjoy their little Jonathan before he went to Heaven five years ago.  I know that they are breathing a sigh of relief that God is giving Joshua to them to enjoy for, Lord-willing, a long, long time.

Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of life!