Saturday, April 9, 2011

March 2011 KCA Update

Hello, family and friends!

Spring might finally be here in Ukraine.  One thing is for sure -- the April showers are!  Here is an update about the past month.

My Brother's Visit
In the middle of March, my younger brother came to visit me during his spring break.  While he was here, we did some sightseeing, watched some KCA basketball games, and also went to school for Pi Day* (3/14).  In addition to the classic touristy places, we also visited the National Aviation Museum, which I had never heard of -- it's got lots of old Soviet airplanes and helicopters.  In our stop at Andrevsky Spusk (for souvenirs), we also went exploring and hiking up a random but kind of creepy hill -- I'm glad that he shared my sense of adventure!  I really enjoyed seeing him and spending time with him around the city, and introducing him to my friends.  Some of my friends asked if he was my twin! :)

Adam and I in the bell tower of St. Sofia's -- it was a really windy day!
*The formula for circumference of a circle is 2*pi*radius, and pi = 3.14159...  Pi Day is celebrated on March 14, and my students brought in pies for us to enjoy. :)

Language Skills Improving!
In the past month or so, I think I've sensed that my Russian skills are getting better -- listening and possibly speaking.  When Adam was here, I often traveled with him on public transport, to get food, and served as translator.  I can understand what people ask on the bus -- for example, "is Kurenivskiy rinok the next stop?" It also helps this year that my roommate and I have a Ukrainian landlady next door that comes over once a month so we can pay our utility bills.  Still, though, if I don't have translation during a Sunday sermon, my attention span is only about 15-20 minutes -- after that, I can't even attempt to figure out what is being said and simply want to sleep.  Yesterday, I met with three ladies from church to interview them for a class project.  Most of our interview took place in Russian, and I will need to double-check with them later to make sure I understood them correctly.  One skill I need to practice is repeating what was just said -- this helps me practice new phrases and lets them know that I really do understand.

Summer Plans
On June 8, I will be flying back to America for the summer.  My summer will consist of spending time with friends and family, but also to raise support for one more year of teaching/ministry in Ukraine.  During the week of July 5, I will be a sponsor for the "Missionary Kid District" at Nazarene Youth Conference in Kentucky.  I am also looking for some occasional, flexible work -- like tutoring or babysitting.

Since KCA does not pay its teachers a salary, I need to raise enough funds to cover my food, transportation (airline tickets and public transport once here), utilities, rent, mandatory medical insurance, and language study; plus this year I plan to attend the Eurasia Regional Conference for the Church of the Nazarene.  This total comes to approximately $12,000.

I have already been scheduled to speak at 4 churches in Maryland/Pennsylvania, and I'm looking to speak in New England on July 24.  If you are a pastor or missions president, please consider scheduling a time for me to come and share what God is doing here in Ukraine.

If you are interested in sponsoring me monthly, visit to contribute online.  

KCA High School varsity boys basketball team and fans after the championship game
Upcoming Dates:
April 17: English lesson at Obolon

*A restful spring break in Ireland with some classmates/friends -- now I feel rejuvenated, ready for these last 2 months of teaching
*I booked my airplane tickets to Kentucky, and had thought that I would have to pay around $300 (this was even Southwest's airfare).  I bought it on Continental for only $160, and will only have to pay $25 for a checked bag (rather than $50, like I'd thought).

Prayer Requests:
*Focus and motivation to do my homework in a timely way (Russian language or for my NTS course)
*A summer job and provision of finances for next year

*To show love and grace to my students even if I don’t feel like it
*To believe what God says about me – to find my identity in Christ

Psalm 65 (NIV):
I'll leave you with this, friends. :)

I read this the other day, and it reminded me of how God provides for us, and takes action to answer our prayers.  God's provision and presence are what we need to satisfy us, nothing that we could improvise on our own. 

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
 1 What mighty praise, O God, belongs to you in Zion.  We will fulfill our vows to you, for you answer our prayers.
      All of us must come to you.
 3 Though we are overwhelmed by our sins,
      you forgive them all.
 4 What joy for those you choose to bring near,
      those who live in your holy courts.
   What festivities await us
      inside your holy Temple.

 5 You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds,
      O God our savior.
   You are the hope of everyone on earth,
      even those who sail on distant seas.
 6 You formed the mountains by your power
      and armed yourself with mighty strength.
 7 You quieted the raging oceans
      with their pounding waves
      and silenced the shouting of the nations.
 8 Those who live at the ends of the earth
      stand in awe of your wonders.
   From where the sun rises to where it sets,
      you inspire shouts of joy.

 9 You take care of the earth and water it,
      making it rich and fertile.
   The river of God has plenty of water;
      it provides a bountiful harvest of grain,
      for you have ordered it so.
 10 You drench the plowed ground with rain,
      melting the clods and leveling the ridges.
   You soften the earth with showers
      and bless its abundant crops.
 11 You crown the year with a bountiful harvest;
      even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.
 12 The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture,
      and the hillsides blossom with joy.
 13 The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep,
      and the valleys are carpeted with grain.
      They all shout and sing for joy!

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