Difference in schools

As I drive in my home town I look at the schools. It seems like we are trying to make our schools more beautiful. As you drive by the newer schools they are so inviting. It is not like that in Russia. When we were there we visited many schools and they all, and I do mean all, look alike. I wondered how the children learned because they looked so dingy. When we went to Ukraine I discovered all the schools there looked just like the schools in Russia. Continue reading

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Summer camp Ukraine style

When we lived overseas we wore many different hats and did many different things. When we lived in the village we decided to have a summer camp for the children of the village. Now in the former Soviet Union camps are a very big thing. It isn’t camp as we think of camp here in the states. It is more like a day camp. It is a place where the children come, have fun and learn about Jesus’ saving power. We were friends with a group from One Mission Society who were ministering in Kiev. We contacted them and asked them if they would come and hold a camp for the kids in our village. Continue reading

Crazy things like cars

odds and ends 025When we lived in Chervonoarmeysk, Ukraine we simply had to have a car. It was a town of about five thousand people and had a couple of small grocery stores and one restaurant with a limited menu. The biggest town was about an hour away. We had worked with a church in Zhytomer and the pastor of the church helped us find a car. The church also helped us keep it legal so we had all the right stickers. Continue reading

Funeral in a different land

Living overseas introduces one to a whole new culture. When we lived in Chervonoarmeysk (also known as Pulin) we attended a funeral. One morning we heard that a woman and her son were hit and killed the night before while riding their bicycles home. The daughter of the woman came to the Widow’s House regularly for computer classes. We figured we needed to pay our respects so we went with Nadia the teacher of the computer classes. Continue reading

Music is the universal language part 2

I told you we had a miracle getting the guitars into Jericho. The next thing we did was go to the home groups and tell them we had guitars and Karen was willing to teach anyone who wanted to learn. We wanted at least one person from each home group. We also told them if they finished then we would give the home group a guitar. They were excited.

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guitar lessons

The next thing that had to be done was scheduling lessons. It seemed the people could not agree on a day that all of them were free. We set up several different lessons to accommodate the people. We had afternoon lessons most days of the week and we had evening lessons. There were some men who had guitars who wanted to come for lessons or just to play with someone else who knew the guitar. Those lessons had to be at night.

I don’t play an instrument so I just stayed in the room and prayed for those who were taking the lessons. There was a young girl who was about eleven or twelve. We had a mother and her two teen age daughters and we had a few older women who had raised their family.

One day toward the end of the lessons our friend Fotma and her sister were there for lessons. Karen had taught a simple song that had one chord change. They decided to play together and sing. The two students started playing and singing but Karen was the only one who changed chords. They just kept playing and singing and the smiles on their faces were amazing. This went on for a time and you could feel the Holy Spirit in our midst. I truly found out what it is to make a joyful noise to the Lord. When they finally quit playing we were all laughing with the joy of the Lord. When they left, Karen and I were still laughing and she told me the music was terrible but the joy of the Lord was amazing.

Fotma receiving a ribbon for completing the lessons
Fotma receiving a ribbon for completing the lessons

When the month was coming to an end we handed out ribbons to those who had completed lessons and gave a guitar to the person from that home group who had finished the lessons. They felt a sense of accomplishment and that was good.

Reham, the youngest student receiving her ribbon and guitar.
Reham, the youngest student receiving her ribbon and guitar.

There is more to this story but I will have to tell it next time.

Continue to Praise our Lord,
Jan