Saturday, October 31, 2009


Well, here is our Halloween post. There are two pictures. One of them is the only one we got of Canaan as a Robot, since he really didn't want to dress up in the first place. The other is of Max, looking super cute as a reindeer. It was tough getting him to smile because he is teething and not sleeping well. (No worries, I gave him some oral-gel I brought from the States and some infant Tylenol to help get him through the night!)

I decided to make a robot costume for Canaan for Halloween. He was never impressed with the idea of dressing up, but I thought I could pump him up to it and it would be okay. Nope. Not even with the help of my sis could we get him excited about it. He really got into the goggles I bought him, but that was the day before. When it came time to dress up, he wanted nothing to do with anything. Oh, except his "long socks." I bought gray tights for him to wear to match his outfit. I was smart and bought them with airplanes on them, hoping that would sweeten the deal. It did. At first, he didn't want them on. But, once on, we couldn't get him to take them off. Even though he didn't wear his costume during the party, he wore the tights all night long and cried whenever I tried to put pants on over top of them (to make the pictures better). Well, he wore them all night at his Birthday party, to sleep in that night, all day the next day (only with much crying did we get the sweats over top of them to go out in the evening- it is cold!), and he continues to wear them as he sleeps now. I did tell him he had to take them off in the morning. We will see how that goes over!
As a side note: he looks very Russian in his little tights. A lot of Russian/Ukrainian boys and girls wear tights under their snow suits in the winter (up through ages 5-6). When they arrive inside, they take off their snow pants and run around in their tights- no other pants. So, I guess he is just fitting in with where we live!

Oh, Canaan did help us make the costume! He watched Daddy spray paint it, put stickers on it, though they kept falling off, laid coins all over it to tape on (he LOVES coins), and helped glue on the gage and calculator (he also loves numbers). So, that was fun!

Hope you enjoy their costumes. Canaan kept his on long enough to knock on David and Auntie's door and yell "Trick or Treat." Max enjoyed his, thanks to Gran-Nan, who bought it to help keep him warm in Ohio when we were there!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy 3 Years to Canaan!

Canaan turned 3 years old!! Wow! We have enjoyed every minute being his parents. We thank God for giving Canaan to us and hope we have many more years with him!!
Here is just a quick view of our party. It was a Halloween themed party since they don't really
celebrate Halloween here. The adults carved pumpkins, the kids finger-painted pumpkins and played with gifts, we all enjoyed Halloween snacks, and even played the Wii (thanks to Rob and Denyce for bringing it!). It was a blast.
Happy Birthday my big boy!!
(The picture of Canaan with the wide eyes is when we turned off the lights to look at the lit pumpkins!)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Catching Up!

So, life has been hectic the past few months. I would love to write in detail about all our adventures and catch you up on everything in detail. But, alas, I have not the time. And, I doubt most of you would actually want to read that much! :)
So, here is my attempt to briefly summarize what has been going on. I'll do some subsequent blog posts highlighting specific things later on, but here is the basics of what has been going on with us. And, of course, some pictures to go with it!

Before we knew it, summer was turning into fall. At the end of July, Dougle went to Kiev for 3 weeks to do an intensive Russian study course. The boys and I visited Daddy for one long weekend, but stayed in Kharkov to give him the best study time we would the rest of the time.
Not two weeks after he returned, we were heading off Donetsk. It may seem we go there often. Well, we do. Our visas to stay in Ukraine are registered through the school of preaching there. So, we have to go there to pick up paper work and register every six months. This time in Donetsk, David and Dougle were each teaching a 2 week class to the students. Dougle taught the first year students a course on Hermeneutics. While we were there, Olivia and I cooked a Tex-Mex meal for everyone, staff and students. It was a lot of fun and kept us busy planning and preparing for it while the boys were teaching.

After one week in Donetsk, Liv, the little boys and I came back to Kharkov. Rob's parents were in town a few days and we wanted to see them before they left for their vacation together in Italy. At the end of the second week of teaching, David and Dougle returned home.

Soon after, we found out that my Grandma Janie was diagnosed with cancer and was given 2-4 months to live. Olivia and I decided to take Canaan and Max to Ohio and see her one last time. Unfortunately, Grandma Janie died before we arrived in Ohio. She passed quickly, at home. Though we didn't get to see her one last time, we hold very dear memories of her life that we will continue to cherish. In addition to loosing our grandmother, while in Ohio, my sister, Olivia, lost her baby. She was 11 weeks pregnant when she had her miscarriage. It was very difficult for her during this time, especially since she was so far away from David. Needless to say, our time in Ohio was difficult in many ways, though blessed in others, being surrounded by family during those times.

While the boys and I were in Ohio, we applied for new Ukrainian visas (not credit cards!). We have to leave the country once a year to do this. Dougle and David went to Budapest, Hungary, to get their new visas (which is one of the closer places we can go to do this).

All of us arrived into Kiev on the same day, Wednesday. We stayed overnight and took the morning train home to Kharkov. It took a week to get back on our feet after arriving home, just from jet lag and all the travel. Not long after we arrived back, Mary, David's mom, came into town to visit. She was here for two weeks, checking out our city and visiting her kids!

Since being home, we've been up to a lot of things. I've felt really busy, though at the end of some days I fall into bed and wonder what exactly it was that I accomplished. I think being a mom and wife is a full time job! However, in everything we've tried to have fun and glorify God. I think that is what being a Christian is all about, right. It isn't about who has read or memorized more Scripture or who prays the longest each day, though those are great things that I don't mean to minimize. But at the end of the day, it isn't about putting God first in our lives by all the things we do, but about letting Him be the center of our lives. For me, this is a new way of thinking about things. When I think of putting God first, family second, Russian language third, etc., I feel like God is just at the top of a list that needs crossing off. Instead, in being a Christian, I want God to be at the center of who I am, directing how I behave in all aspects, toward my husband, my children, out shopping, while I study Russian, etc. Anyway, those are just some brief thoughts recently.

I hope that all of you have been doing well and enjoying the past few months. Thanks for keeping up with us, even when we have long absences of communication. And, thanks to everyone who takes time to leave comments and let us know you are reading and care about us! We love you all!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Canaan Writes His Name

Ok, I am hoping to catch up with lots of pictures soon, but until then, you can look at this. Isn't my boy just so smart?!

Canaan wrote his name all by himself without any direction. All we did was ask him what letter came next. You might think the paper is upside down in the picture. No, it is just how he wrote it. The second picture is the same page turned upside-down. I think he is either very confused or very talented. Not only can he write his name at such a young age (I think 2 years old- almost 3 is young!), but he can do it upside-down! :) Notice half of it is upside-down and half is right side up. He never turned the paper over.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

One Year in Ukraine!

Happy Anniversary- to us and our supporters!!
Hooray! One year ago, we arrived in Ukraine! We arrived a day later than planned, because we had problems (which ended up being a BIG mess) getting our stuff from Russia into Ukraine. However, we arrived! My Dad, Kirt, had come to Russia to help us pack and move, since I was 5 1/2 months pregnant at the time. It was one year ago that we started our adventure in this new city and country, with the dream of spreading God's kingdom more in this part of the world. And, one year later, we are loving it here! We love our life and our work here!

The Turning Point
Over the next few weeks, our team will begin what we were sent here to do. After listening to much advice from former missionaries and after much prayer, our team decided to dedicate it's first year to learning the Russian language before we began our ministry. While learning the language, we have made many friends, learned much about the culture, and have tried to be light in all circumstances. Now, we are at the turning point. We will continue in our language and cultural studies, since the language is so challenging that it requires MUCH study! (Remember, Russian is the language of Heaven......because it takes FOREVER to learn!) However, we will begin focusing a large part of our time now on ministry.

The Future
We have committed to a total of 6 years in Ukraine, Lord willing. Of course, it doesn't necessarily mean we will be leaving Ukraine after that, but 6 years was our minimum committment. With one down, that leaves five more years. As a mom, I think of that in terms of how old my kiddos will be. In five years, Canaan will be about to turn 8 years old and Max will be 5 1/2! I can't even imagine. I hope that doesn't make you cry, Grandparents, but I hope it just inspires you to visit us more!!

I can't imagine what the Lord will have done in 5 years from now. We pray that He will have used us to advance His kingdom and help bring many more to a knowledge of Him, His love for them, and salvation through Jesus. We hope to be a part of a small, house church that meets in one part of the city here, with many others meeting around the city and around this region as well. We hope to be involved in many lives of Ukrainians, helping those we can, encouraging those we can, and always spreading the Good News with our every action and word.

Please pray for us. We know we cannot be a part of this wonderful work without YOU! If it weren't for our team, those working with us here, as well as those who support us financially and emotionally from the States, we could not be here. Your support and prayers have got us this far. Thank you. We only ask for your continual prayers, since we know that the more we spread the news of God's love and salvation through Jesus, the more Satan will be displeased and try to oppose us. We only want to be more courageous and bold every day!