Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Christ in the Ukraine

Hello all, this is Brent. Okay, so I'm a terrible blogger! It has taken me far too long to get a post up about our trip to the Ukraine, so thank you for your patience. Let me start by commenting on each of the photos below and then I'll list the top three ways God impacted me during the trip. Here is a picture with some of the members of our group and a handful of the orphans we ministered to at an orphanage outside of Kiev. The orphanage normally hosts between 100 and 150 children, but because we were there during the Ukrainian Christmas (January 7th), most of them were spending the week with relatives. The 25 to 30 orphans we visited had no family to spend Christmas with. It was a blessing to practice what James calls "pure and undefiled religion" (James 1:27).
The name of the boy in the orange sweater is Artem. I was drawn to him almost immediately because of his obvious gratitude for our small ministry to them and his humble smile.

One of our days was spent visiting homes and sharing the gospel in the Chernobyl region of Ukraine where, as many of you know, there was a massive nuclear explosion in 1986. The people we visited have chosen to stay in that area even though the government has advised them to leave. This is a picture of me next to an olympic mural from the 1980 olympics that was inside a cafeteria in a completely abandoned town in the Chernobyl region.


What an amazing privilege it was for me to preach the gospel in a Ukrainian church! My interpreter, Uri, did excellent job of keeping up with me when I got excited.

Alright, so here are the top three ways God impacted me on the trip:
1) I was humbled by the fact that there were several theologically solid churches, ministries, pastors, and even a solid seminary flourishing in the Ukraine. At times, I think we as Americans believe that Christ needs our resources and education to build His church in other, less-fortunate nations, but Jesus said He would build His church (Matthew 16:18). He doesn't need us, but He chooses to use us, so let us humbly praise Him for the opportunity.
2) I was struck and inspired by the Christ-centered passion of three pastors we had the privilege of serving with during the week. They were ministry machines. Their mentality was one that said, "If there is a ministry need, then we must meet it, and it doesn't matter what time it is or how inconvenient the circumstances are."
3) I found that some of the sweetest fellowhip believers can enjoy is experienced in the midst of serving Christ together outside our comforts zones.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hello everyone! I am so sorry that I have taken such a long time inbetween blog postings. Things here have been nothing short of crazy! This past week was very busy...Peter had a stomach bug on Monday (yuck!) which Brent really had to handle on his own because I just couldn't stand it. But he is much better now, in fact it only lasted one night. Weird. I am still having pretty intense morning sickness. I thought I would feel better by now, since I am 14 weeks along, but the Lord has other plans for me. I fully trust whatever God has for my, and the baby's, future...I am just praying for grace to get through each day. Obviously Brent made it back from the Ukraine okay. I promise to have him do an informative update on the blog for all you readers who want to know more details. :) I will have him sit down soon and do that...until then please keep praying for us and the pregnancy. I have a dr. appointment tomorrow, the 26th, so hopefully we will get a good report. Love to you all!
My friend Annie and her daughter Danielle invited us to go to the zoo this week. The weather was a high of 80, and it was beautiful outside!

Peter loved the lizards! He did get a little scared of the huge snake....like father, like son I suppose!


We also went to the penguin house. It was so cute to watch him shriek as they bolted by...man are they fast swimmers!



Peter looks like he's holding on for dear life as Dani tames the beast. Too cute!

They also have a big sand pit in the Great Barrier Reef exhibit. Peter is all boy, that's for sure.


One whole wall of the sand pit is painted like you are under the sea.


"Peter, honey, can you stand still for more than two seconds, look this way, and smile so Mama can take your picture?"....



....close enough. :)



I found Peter like this in the living room a few days ago. I am not sure what cracks me up the most...his look of deep concentration, the fact that almost EVERY book is on the floor, or the fact that his lounging spot of choice is his fire truck...


Waving the Ukrainian flag...a gift from Daddy from over seas.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Missing Daddy!

This blog posting is for Brent, who is currently in the Ukraine serving the Lord. We miss you so much and are praying for you as you spread the Good News of Christ! But bath time just isn't the same with out you. :)

video

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tradition

On New Year's Eve our tradition is to smash our pumpkins from the fall with baseball bats. :) I am not exactly sure how the tradition got started, but we have been doing it for the past 9 years! This year was extra fun because Peter got to join in for the first time - he loved it!


Peter had his own little bat and everything.










HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYBODY!