Thursday, June 14, 2012

June Update #2: Summer Plans

Hello supporters,

I hope you are all enjoying your summer months, wherever you may be!  Here is the promised second update for the month of June, as it did not all fit into one email.

KCA Class of 2012
Graduation was held this year on May 24.  Of these 12 students, I had taught all but 1 of them at some point.

KCA Teachers/Staff and the class of 2012!
These students are traveling in multiple directions this next year -- some going to Christian universities, others attending state schools.  For 2 graduates who have lived in Ukraine nearly their entire lives, their families have already moved out of Ukraine.  These students (plus a handful of others, including their siblings) may have American passports, but "home" to them is Ukraine.  If you ask a missionary kid "Where are you from?" you will be met with a blank stare or a 15 minute explanation of their life story.

My Precalculus class and I
Pray for these students -- the graduates and the others who have moved away from Ukraine.  Pray for a smooth transition into life in America (or Korea) as they navigate a culture that will seem foreign.  Pray for them to rely on God's strength and love as a solid foundation and "home" for them.  Pray for close Christian friends to support them during this time!

Summer Tasks:
This summer, I am wrapping up 3 years of life in Ukraine.  My primary goal is to compile all my English lesson plans and materials into a cohesive PDF document to leave here.  (Currently, they are in a pile on my bedroom floor.)

At my desk before taking down my photos
I spent one full day at KCA, sorting through my curriculum folders, digitizing some materials, and recycling 3"/8cm of paper!  Now my materials are organized and ready for the next teacher!

At home, I organized and cleaned my shkafs (shkaf = closet/shelves/storage) in preparation for the next residents.  This place never was so tidy -- and it might only last a week, but for now, it's nice!

Saying Goodbyes:
"Good goodbyes lead to good hellos" (from a re-entry workshop I attended).
Ukraine has been my home for the past 3 years.  The people here are family to me.  Kiev First Church of the Nazarene is my home church.  Since my college days, it is the only one I've attended for at least 4 weeks in a row.  When people ask what I do, I answer, "Teach math/Bible at KCA."

My last time to see Bob and Josh Skinner, and the first dinner I served Ree and Joey Sumi
Now, things are changing.  I have said many goodbyes and cried many tears already.  Most of my goodbyes have been to people from school, and I've been able to have some quality time with a few of them once school finished.  I said goodbye to my roommate-of-2-years Amy on the 29th, but knowing I will see her and a few others at her wedding makes the goodbyes a little easier.

Our entire Nazarene mission team has changed over the course of my three years here, and it has been hard to watch my friends leave.  However, the new team is assembled and they have had their meetings recently.

Ree and Joey Sumi, pictured above, have arrived and will be living in my apartment.  For now, we are flatmates and I am helping them get settled.  As I show them around the neighborhood and how to navigate public transport or pay bills at the bank, I realize just how far I've come in 3 years.

Ree and I outside the memorial/museum for "The Great Patriotic War Against the Fascists" (WW2)
It was four years ago that I arrived in Ukraine for a summer trip, and I didn't realize then that I would come back for 3 years of teaching.  Now, I am no longer the "newbie," because I can pass along my knowledge of Ukrainian culture and history (thanks to the Skinners and Wrights!)!

Upcoming Dates/Plans:
~Now until July 1:  Euro 2012 football (aka soccer) championships--I've enjoyed watching the matches on TV and cheering for Ukraine and the Netherlands!
~Visit Chernivtsi (Western Ukraine) and Poltava (Eastern Ukraine)
July 7: American Chamber of Commerce hosts an American Independence Day picnic
July 12: Depart Ukraine :(

*Opportunities for quality time and good goodbyes with friends this summer
*The opportunity to support the other missionaries on our team
*God is teaching me more and more to rely on Him, and not on the people or places around me, for stability/constancy:  "Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.  Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God" (Psalm 90:1-2).

Prayer Requests:
*KCA students who have graduated or moved to other countries
*For me as I transition out of Ukraine and make plans for America
*The new Nazarene mission team, that they would have a smooth transition in and that Ukrainians would be accepting of them

How can I pray for you?

In Christ,

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