Monday, February 7, 2011

January 2011 Update

Dear family and friends,

The past month has been a busy time in my life and ministry here in Ukraine.

Fresh Starts
In mid-January, we began the second semester of classes at KCA.  Most of the courses stay the same, except for a few junior/senior classes (juniors take economics then government; seniors study world religions then senior seminar/life skills).  Besides this, basketball season gets into full swing with six different teams for middle and high schoolers (middle, JV, and varsity).  For many middle and high school students, this is a welcome time as it means a fresh start in the grade book.  Even as a teacher, I know that the second semester of geometry means less time grading assignments since there aren't as many proofs to check!

Helping one of my pre-calc students (photo by Nadia)
Pray for Our Children
In my home church in Maryland, my cousin always says, "Pray for our children" during our congregational prayer time.  Pray for the students at KCA--missionary kids and other expat kids.  Just like teenagers in America,  these students (whom I love dearly) are faced with the same temptations and struggles of identity, making the right choices, and choosing who or what they will allow to influence them.  Pray that these students will find their identity in Christ, as a child of God, and will allow this to influence their outlook on life.  Pray that my KCA kids will make good decisions, including being aware of how they are influenced and how they can influence others for Christ.

Cast and crew of the comical Middle School play:  "This is a Test"

A look towards the summer (while everything is frigid here)
From June 8 to August 15, I will be on the America's east coast to visit family and raise support for this next school year.  In order to teach another year, I must raise close to $12,000 through monthly sponsorships or one-time donations.
I will primarily be in the mid-Atlantic region during the summer, but will be visiting a few other places.  I would LOVE to come see you!  If you are interested in having me come to your church or small group and share about how God is working in Ukraine, please contact me.  My schedule can be found at this page.

Russian Language Practice
Every Sunday at my church, we read Scripture passages from that Sunday's section (?) of the lectionary.  Four different individuals will come to the front and read, and sometimes Pastor Vova will say a few words between each reading.  Just a couple weeks ago, I was one of those readers!  Click here to read the backstory of how this happened.  I know I made mistakes while I was reading, but was encouraged by some words from a friend:  "Still, God brought you through it, and if nobody else enjoyed it, God loved it."  Besides this, "God knows every language."
This experience reminded me that my life is not about what I can do, or how I can impress or win over others.  It's about living in a way that brings glory and honor to God and allowing myself to be shaped more into the image of Christ.

Children's Bible Quizzing in Ukraine
Within the past few weeks, I have been meeting with Iryna and Andriy from church to begin a children's quizzing ministry in Ukraine in the fall.  We have discussed ideas, how people can help, organized lessons (dividing the book of Matthew into individual lessons), and begun creating our own questions in Russian.  None of the Publishing House material has ever been in Russian before, so we are building from scratch.  We are also doing this well in advance of the release of the new Matthew material, so anything that is on the website is for 1+2 Samuel.

Let me amend that last statement.  I have called different people in America who have offered (or been willing) to help with quizzing materials, whether to remind me of ideas from when I was a kid, or to send sample materials from other quizzing years so that we have ideas for lesson plans and questions.  Thank you for those who have helped in this way, and for those who are praying for this ministry!

Upcoming Dates
Feb. 10-13 CIS Field missionary meetings in Kyiv
Feb. 20 English language youth group service @ Kyiv First Church
Feb 27 English lessons @ Obolon

*Just as KCA's students get a fresh start at the beginning of second semester, we can be thankful that God gives us a re-start in life through His Son, Jesus Christ.
*Praise God for children's ministries in Ukraine that can help children and families learn more about God and how to have a relationship with God.
*Praise God for providing a loving supporting network of missionary families here in Ukraine, who support each other, the students, and volunteers like myself.  :)

Prayer Requests:
*Pray for my students as many of them travel to Budapest for a basketball tournament this weekend.  Pray for good sportsmanship, safe travel, and no injuries!
*Pray that God will provide my finances for the next school year, including the Nazarene Youth Conference this summer and the Eurasia Regional Conference in the fall.
*Pray that God will continue shaping me into who God has called me to be, and that God will use me even if I am not aware of it, and ESPECIALLY when I am not aware!

Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement during my time here in Ukraine!  I really appreciate YOU!

In Christ,

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