Friday, September 2, 2011

lessons in submission

September 1st, is a big day in Ukraine. Since the days of the USSR it was christened Knowledge day. It is the official day first day of school for all of Ukraine, and actually all of the former Soviet Union. Complete with parades, concerts and flowers it is a big day for all students but especially for first graders and seniors. All parents and pupils gather in the school courtyard for a special ceremony called "the first bell". With William starting school this year, it was supposed to be a special day for us.
This day was really important for me, I've been nervous about Will starting school, and have been battling back to school jitters all month. I had postponed all plans and all ministry issues so that our entire family would be at this ceremony on Sept. 1. I had gotten in my mind that if William didn't make it to this first day of school thing his entire educational career would be doomed. I don't usually struggle a lot with trusting in the Lord. I have tons of other issues, but trust isn't really one of them. I probably lean too much toward the providence camp, just sort of coasting through life on "the Lord's will".  But this new chapter in our life has really brought up some issue of trust. I occured to me about a week ago that I was putting too much emphasis on this school thing, and seeking forgiveness, I gave it over to the Lord once and for all (or so I thought). And then came to the real test of faith.
For the past few months we have been preparing William for a minor operation. Nothing serious just the removal of his adenoids. We thought we would do it on his fall break, so as not to  miss school. Then on Monday we got a phone call that his surgery had been bumped up to Augustt 31. Yes, August 31, as in the day before September 1, as in after all my fretting and postponing plans we would still be missing  THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.
I had already given this school thing over to the Lord, so I couldn't very well take it back again. But here we were facing two things that were really hard for me; missing the first day of school and infamous Ukrainian hospitals.  I swallowed hard, tried not to pout, packed our bags and headed for the hospital.
In my egocentrical heart, I comforted myself by saying, "the Lord may have someone here I need to witness to"
I'll save the all the shocking details of staying in a state hospital  crippled by socialized medicine for another post. In short, we were placed in a tiny room with another family preparing for the same operation. The boy, Misha, was a little bit younger than William but a good five inches taller. He was there with his grandmother and after a few minutes I realized that Misha was very behind developmentaly. As we waited anxiously for our little ones to return from the operation room, Misha's grandmother shared their story. Misha was born a month early, with lots of complication including fluid on this brain. Before he had turned a year old his mother had already filed for divorce and signed away all parental rights for Misha. At six, Misha was still unable to make complete sentences or dress himself. He still wore diapers. Once the boys were brought in, we didn't have much time to talk. But I did have time to observe. I watched Misha's loving grandmother, patiently care for this child, that was given to her in her old age, this grandson that would always be a little boy. I had been moping about everything not being just right for the first day of school, pouting about missing William's big day. William would be in school by Monday, but not Misha. He would always be by his grandmothers side, for as long as she had strength and helath to care for him.She didn't pout or feel sorry for herself or her lot in life. She handle her task without a trace of self pity or irritation. Here before me was a living example of Christ's humility and submission in pracitical human form.
The Lord hadn't sent us to the hospital for me to witness, but to be witnessed to. He wanted to teach me about true submission and awaken me to how far I still have to go.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Big steps, little steps

A little over a year ago we started a project that seemed way beyond our means. After prayer and years of dreaming, Andrey and I felt like it was finally time to build a soccr feild in Irpin to help with our ministry. We have seen God use soccer in am amazing way in this culture. But the task was daunting. First of all the idea of rasising $30,000 seemed to us just as intimidating as if we were raising $1,000,000 add to that the economic crisis loitering over the US and Ukraine, and the job seemed even more impossible. But we took a step of faith, really wanting this to be not our project, but the Lord's. This past year the Lord has taught  us many things through unexpected blessings.
Three months after we started the project we had raised a little over $1,000. This was discouraging, and we began to doubt. But after the New Year, we discovered that $15,000 had already been raised. That was amazing for us, we were halfway to our goal! Suddenly this mission seemed not so impossible.
 Andrey's burden's is to instill in Ukrainian churches the blessing of giving. His dream was that this be a joint project and that our local church also donated to this project.
So after a few prensentations to the church, this past Sunday, our church did a special offering for the Soccer Feild. The response was overwhelming. Our church gave over $4,000 to this project! Can you be believe it? Personally I was overwhelmed and blessed by the vision our church has got for giving. So if my math if correct (an usually it isn't) that puts us at $19,000, we only have $11,000 to go. We are excited. We believe that we will have a field by spring!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What I need you to know

 The truth is, sometimes my needs and wants and dreams get a little bit scrambled and it's hard for me to discern and shove them back onto their shelves. Was it Mueller, or Taylor, or Carey, (maybe Moody) that said, "attempt great things for God, expect great things from God". Then there was the Prayer of Jabez, craze about 10 years ago, that got everyone excited, and made the words, "expanding our boundaries" a catch phrase. Personally I grew up in a house of mountain moving? George Mueller type faith. Our reliance on God was daily, and to outsiders maybe a little fanatical, but I came to know God as my provider from the largest to the smallest need.
The thing is, when you grow up in a house like that, you come to realize that God will just as often provide your wants as He will your needs. And sometimes perhaps you get a little brazen in your request. I'm not talking about a vending machine relationship, where you punch the prayer in, select the item of choice and it  pops out. But I hope there are some of you who know what I'm talking about. Ever asked God for something crazy, and He ended up giving it you in His wonderful will?
Now getting to the point of this post, I have these needs, the needs are concerning women's ministry, and I have these wants, the wants are concerning women's ministry, and I have these dreams. And the dreams are concerning women's ministry. In the spirit of the Jabez prayer, let me say that God has increased my boundaries this year. Women's minstry is huge, and there are so many needs, and wants and dreams, that it hard to know where to start and what to ask for. We need, people to lead and to train. We need finances to minister and encourage, we need wisdom to guide and mold this minstry into something every better.
So it comes down to this; God will send people, God will provide finances, God promises wisdom. But prayer,  well that's up to you guys. So - please pray for us.