Monday, April 16, 2012

April Update

Dear friends and family,

Христос воскрес (Christ is risen)!  Yesterday we celebrated Easter with a 6am sunrise service.

I rode the metro at 5:30am with these people who were taking their Easter baskets to be blessed by the Orthodox priest
Our gathering
Katya (a little girl I've mentioned in previous updates) and Bekah (a new MK) in the bell choir
After the sunrise service, I went back to the Skinners' home and napped for just over an hour.  Then Philip (our pastor's son) and I CYCLED to church!  That was a lot of fun -- the roads were very empty, and I had never cycled in Kiev before!

So many familiar faces were at the 11:00 service -- we've had a handful of people leave during this recent year.  I was surprised to see people I hardly ever saw, or hadn't seen since the last school year.  Following the service, we visited with some people and had tea and Easter bread (click link for photo).

Then, that evening, I streamed most of the Sunday morning service from the Mid-Atlantic District Assembly!  Though I am far away, I was able to "attend" a few of the sessions on Saturday too.  :)

Supportive Ministry
Much of my ministry here in Ukraine as a volunteer and teacher is meant to support the full-time missionaries already on the field.  Teaching the students, and showing love to them, caring for their needs, is indeed ministry in itself.  For the parents, this means that they can do the work to which God has called them (without having to homeschool their kids), knowing their children are receiving a quality Biblical education.

Yet this support takes other temporary forms as well.  Last week, I stayed with a family of 4 children/teens from school-- one 11th grade girl, 2 8th graders, and 1 8-year-old girl.  Their dad (a doctor) and mom (a pediatric nurse, I think) had planned a medical outreach in a village an hour north of Kyiv.  Both of them could participate -- as long as their kids had a responsible adult with them for the day.  The kids/teens and I hung out, played games, drew with sidewalk chalk, did puzzles, and of course ate meals.  I don't teach any of the older kids any more, so it was nice to catch up with them.

Sidewalk chalk art
When the parents returned, they thanked me for making it possible for both of them to travel and participate in this outreach.  Since I stayed with the kids, Mrs. was able to travel with her husband (and a few others) to serve the people of Ivankiv and help with the church-planting efforts in that village.  This is just one small way in which YOUR support is benefitting so many people besides just me.  YOUR support benefits the students, their parents, plus Ukrainians I have never met!  God has taken your support of "my" ministry (which is really His work) and multiplied it farther!

The End is Near...
There are 34 days left of school, and just under 3 months until I leave Ukraine.  These next few weeks will bring many good-byes, or "see you sometime in the future" instead, as I and many others will be moving away from KCA and Ukraine.  

I am thankful that I will not be leaving Ukraine immediately following the end of school, because I will have time to process my goodbyes to many people before dealing with re-entry shock in America.  In addition, I will have time to enjoy with Ukrainian friends and see some more of the country before I leave.  

In these last weeks, God has been showing me ways in which I need to become more Christlike -- to forgive, to admit I was wrong, to be more humble, to be more patient.  

In the meantime, please pray that my last days in Ukraine will be meaningful.  Pray that I do not "check out" emotionally/socially too soon.  Pray for a smooth transition back to the US as I return and enter grad school at Nazarene Theological Seminary.  Pray that God continues to teach me, and that I remain open to His leading!

Upcoming Dates:
April 19-23: KCA Junior/Senior Trip to Prague -- I will be going along as a chaperone.  Pray for safe travels and an enjoyable time with the students!
May 24: Last Day of School/Graduation

Prayer Requests
*Nazarene mission team transitions:  We have just had a new missionary family leave, one more couple will be arriving, and another family will leave -- all before my own departure in July!
*KCA 6th graders: To deepen their faith and truly know Christ

*All my financial needs have been met until my departure in July!
*God is showing me what it means to follow Him -- it's not just about the "big" lifelong vocations, but about "little", daily choices to love and forgive
*Time with friends

Thank you again for all your support!  May you remember that your Redeemer lives (Job 19:25)!

In Christ,

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