Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Really Cold Water, Prayer Requests and Taxis

This morning I found out that when the electricity in our building goes out, so does the hot water...very, very quickly...and when it goes out, the water is cold...not Mississippi cold water cold...Ukraine cold...real cold.  I grew up in the Carolinas and mom and dad occasionally took us to a place in the North Carolina mountains called Sliding Rock.  Sliding Rock is a large rock in a river in (or near...not sure) the Pisgah National Forest that forms a 60 foot natural water slide.  As children, my siblings and I would sit on the rock, enjoy the fun 60' slide and then splash into the pool...the shock of a North Carolina mountain was amazing how fast we could exit that was the kind of cold that causes children to gasp, cry as they attempt to catch their breath, shiver, say you will never do it again...and then get right back on the rock for another slide.

What you see above is a jar of compote.  This compote is fruit juice that comes in a liter jar with various fruits floating in it...yep, that is an apple in that jar.  It is also full of stawberries...absolutely delicious.  The menu says that a liter of compote a day will increase your energy 15.5%...I drink it every day now.  I had some compote this morning as I met with a pastor and other church leaders regarding children's ministry in Ukraine...God continues to open doors to minister here while we wait on adoption proceedings.

We were able to see Karina today.  We have missed her so it was such a joy to be able to go to the  orphanage.  When we arrived we had to hunt her down because she was practicing for her musical production that is Friday.  Although she was practicing, when she saw us enter the practice room she jumped off the stage, ran to us and gave us both great big hugs and told us she had missed us.  Then, she got back on the stage to sing her songs while the other children, danced, clapped and spoke Ukrainian.

After practice we all went to the sixth grade play room where many children played games, put puzzles together, read books, ate snacks that had been brought by parents that are adopting and visited with future parents.

We want to thank all of you that are supporting us through your prayers, comments and emails.  You are such an encouragement to us.
For those of you that have called my parents to bring food and take the kids for a few hours, thank you.  You are such a huge blessing - the kids have loved spending time with you, eating the food you sent and my parents have enjoyed the break.  Thank you!  Thank you for helping make this adoption possible.
For those of you that have supported this adoption financially, thank you!
We could not have done any of this on our own.  God has used so many people to help each step of the way.  Thank you for being part of this story!

We have some prayer requests:

This family left Odessa and is on the way to Kyiv right now.  They have adopted the two children in this picture and have been in Ukraine for 10 weeks.  They just want to go home!!!  A government office in the States is actually what is delaying them right now.  Please pray that they will get the paperwork needed and can go home by Sunday.

This family has court tomorrow - Thursday.  Please pray that all goes smoothly and that this girl is declared to be their daughter.

This family is adopting the boy in green and a child from another orphanage.  This is the boy that wants us to help find a family for "Ed".  They are waiting on some paperwork and for an issue to be resolved.

This is our good friends Jay and Martha.  We have grown to love them as we are able to spend time with them and learn more about their life, their love for Jesus and what they are doing here in Ukraine.  Jay and Martha have been a huge blessing to us by taking us into their apartment - they had a two bedroom apartment and are letting us live in one of the bedrooms!  Thank you Jay and Martha!
Please pray for them.
They are adopting two boys and there have been some complications.  They ask you to pray that God would give them wisdom and discernment.  They may be facing some very tough decisions that will be very hard to make.  Sheila and I beg you to pray to the God of the Universe to help them through the next several days and give them peace regarding the decisions they must make.

Our family:
1.  Strength for Matthew's parents as they continue to care for our four children.  
2.  Today marks two full weeks that we have been away from our children.  Pray for continued patience and safety for our kids.  They know why we are apart from one another and when we ask them if they need anything they always say, "All we need is Karina."  I am thankful to God for their attitudes through this process.  A friend saw Noah recently and asked him how long we were going to be away.  His response was, "I do not know but I think for about a year!"
It will not be that long, Noah - but I am sure for a six year old that this seems like a long time.
3.  A court date very soon would be nice.  We had hoped for this Friday but have been told that it may be next Tuesday or even next Thursday...yes, Christmas day.  God's timing is perfect so we trust his plan.
Thanks for your prayers!  Your prayers are a blessing to us.

Funny story about Jay and Martha...
Taxis do not look any different than any other car in Ukraine.  
Jay and Martha needed to go to a government office but did not know how far away it was and could not tell the taxi driver where they needed to go so they called their interpreter who told them to get into a taxi and call him once they were in the car and he would give directions to the driver.  Once in the taxi, their interpreter could not be reached so the driver stared at them, they stared at the driver, the driver said some things in Russian and they said some things in English...and then the driver kicked them out of the taxi.
Jay finally reached the interpreter again who said to get into another taxi and he would make sure he could be reached.
Jay holds out his arm...a car pulls right up to him and Jay opens the door to get in...from the looks on the faces of the couple in the car and the string of Russian words flying at Jay, it quickly becomes apparent that this particular car is not a taxi but a man and woman that did not appreciate strangers getting into their car.  
They wait for a taxi, get in, call interpreter who gives directions to driver, the taxi drives two blocks and lets them out.  
"We could have walked."  Jay and Martha exclaim.
Another day in Ukraine.


  1. I love the taxi story! Really funny-until it happens to you LOL! Will be praying for the faces in the pics. It is s blessing to have other families around to fellowship with. We went 5 weeks without seeing other Americans and then only the missionaries we knew! Continuing to pray for all!

  2. Many prayers going out for these families. What a precious gift that Jay and Martha are allowing you to stay in their apartment. That is very kind of them and God is certainly taking care of all of you there. :) I was really hoping you could go to court this Friday, but praying it will be soon. I am glad the children are doing well and just wanting Karina to come home. I worry so much on how hard it is going to be on my children when we leave. This is very encouraging.

  3. Thank you for the laugh.
    I will be praying for all.


  4. We had our court hearing for our three children on Christmas Day 2007. In many ways it doesn't seem like it has been a year, but in some ways it seems longer. We have been adjusting to an 18 year old son and two daughters, ages 17 and 18. All in all it has been a good year. Now Christmas is an even more special day. God bless.

  5. We are praying. I want so badly to be able to find families for the children; I pray often that God will tell us how He wants to use us and that He will open the hearts of more Christian families to take the leap of faith.

  6. We are still praying for you guys and check the blog daily! The fish are alive and well-no worries for you there. (I'm sure that was keeping y'all up at night) We spread some more Settlers love last night--have you won, yet, Matt?

    Miss you guys incredibly and pray for you often!

  7. Sorry we weren't able to say "poka" to you on Saturday...

    You know that our Christmas Miracle has been answered and we are so glad to have shared that with you and the Swinneys.

    Our Christmas wish for you is that you have your court appearance before the holiday shut-down and that you receive a gift as grand as ours.