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

Living in a tent

I wrote some time ago about the Bedouins. They are a nomadic group of people who live in the Israeli /Palestinian area. They are neither Israeli nor Palestinian. However, most of them are cultural Muslims because that is what has been in the area for a long, long time. We had a couple of Bedouin ladies who came to the Jesus House for the Bible Study. 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

Jamaica is beautiful

I will say that Jamaica is a very beautiful country. The people are really loving and friendly and even though I had a hard time because of the heat I am so glad I got the opportunity to minister there. The ministry house was lovely but had no screens on the windows. When night came and you had to have the lights on, of course the bugs were drawn to the light. But those are things you manage to live with.

The view from the mission house
The view from the mission house

When a team volunteered to come build a house the cost of materials and food was included in the amount of the trip. The ministry would see that all supplies were purchased.

The people who were chosen to have a house built for them also had to participate in the building of the house. The ministry provided all the materials and all the meals including lunch out on the work site. The teams worked from eight in the morning till five at night Monday through Friday. At the end of that time the house was finished.Image_00133

It was always a big deal on Friday when the team leader presented the new owners with the keys to the house. On the day before the presentation the team would go out and buy things needed to keep the house clean. At the presentation the owners were also given the cleaning supplies.

Presenting the keys of the finished house to the new owners. Note cleaning supplies.
Presenting the keys of the finished house to the new owners. Note cleaning supplies.

All of the team members were from one church and a lot of them were youth groups. There were a lot of different denominations that came down. The love for the Lord was evident in all of them. We had five different teams while we were there.

A finished house
A finished house

Before I finish telling you about Jamaica, I want to say cool is a relative term. When they told me the house didn’t need to be air conditioned because it was in the mountains, it didn’t mean much to me. If it was any cooler it would have only been a couple of degrees and of course the humidity was still at one hundred percent.

Both time and laundry time at a typical house.
Both time and laundry time at a typical house.

I am so thankful to have had this experience. The people will always remain in my heart. For people who have so little they are a joyful and loving people.

Thanking God for experiences,
Jan

Living in Jamaica

A lot of people want to go to Jamaica. I know several people who have gone and loved it. I’m not one of them. When we lived there we were not in a lovely all inclusive vacation spot.

I probably shouldn’t have started this post that way and really thought about changing it. But on second thought I do believe in being honest . A ministry asked us to run a mission house in High Gate, Jamaica for several weeks until the full time couple could get there. We said we would before really thinking it through. I don’t like hot weather and Jamaica is considered warm, well actually hot, all of the time. Not only that it is extremely humid.

The mission house
The mission house

I called the ministry headquarters to find out if just possibly the mission house was air conditioned. I was told it didn’t need to be because it was up in the mountains. Our job was really very easy. Each week a different ministry team would come stay at the mission house and they would build a home for a family who needed one. A pastor would tell the headquarters who needed a home and different teams would come to build it. We had a cook for all the meals and a couple of maids to make sure the rooms were cleaned before a new team would come in on Sunday.

So what was our job? I had to get up very early and put the coffee on and set it up so people would have coffee when they got up. The cook came in and fixed breakfast. After breakfast we had devotions with the team before they left to go out to work. We also had to do the shopping. The cook would give us a list of what was needed and how much. We would go to town and buy what she said to get. That sounds easy but up in the mountains it is more like a third world country. So we went from place to place to buy what was needed.

All meals were eaten in the dining hall
All meals were eaten in the dining hall

Going to church was also quite an adventure. We went to a church in Berrydale. It was one of the churches the ministry worked with. The first thing we had to do was get to the river, then get on the rafts. Yes, we had to take a raft to church. But when we got off the raft we had to walk a half mile to the church. Remember it is summer and the weather is not only hot but with one hundred per cent humidity. We went to a different church each week but there was not one this exciting to get to.

Going to church
Going to church
still going to church
still going to church

Next week I will tell you about the houses that were built and show you the joy of the people receiving the houses. But I will tell you they are not houses as we think of houses.

Still traveling for the Lord,
Jan

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

Shopping Ukrainian Style

Shopping when over seas can be quite a challenge. When we lived in Chervonoarmeysk (also known as Pulin) in Ukraine we lived in a big village. After all it was five thousand people. Now granted that included those who lived around the village also. However, it was the largest village for miles and miles. The large city of Zhytomer was over an hour away by car and most people didn’t have cars. Continue reading

Eating can be different

When you are serving overseas, you sometimes wish you had more alone time. When we were at the Jesus House, we always had people at the house. I never cooked a meal just for Bob and me. There would be someone else to feed, but I rarely knew who that would be. So I want to share with you some of the meals we had in Jericho.

Dinner at the Jesus House
Dinner at the Jesus House

Continue reading