My Life After Ukraine

What parts of my life have changed since my nine day drip to Ukraine back in September?  It has been about three months since I left for Ukraine.

I miss seeing all the people who I met and served with/to.  Especially Игор and Албина and their three year old daughter, Тина.  I spent an entire day with their family (without a translator) and absolutely loved it (aside from the toilet without toilet paper).

I miss the orphans in Неміров–especially several of the girls.

I also miss Маша’s cooking and Валера’s constant teasing, energy and lightheartedness.  They were very hospitable to me and I have sort of adopted them as my second or third parents (depending on who else you call my adopted parents, haha, I certainly have no lack of them). 😀

Please pray with me that Maria and Valyera would come to know Jesus as their savior and best friend.

Now that I have told you about a handful of people I miss I’ll tell you how they—and their country—have changed my life.

In Ukraine, you do not sleep with sheets.  Instead, you use a comforter type blanket (plus other blankets if it is colder).  When I returned to the US, I rid my bed of it’s sheet and only left the comforter (+ another thin throw blanket) on the bed.  I have slept that way since, and I’m quite used to it. 🙂

A dishwasher—who’d have thought it a luxury?  I certainly didn’t.  But, in Ukraine, dishwashers are rare and you hand wash all your dishes.  I can not say that I have totally stopped complaining about hand washing dishes that don’t fit inside our dishwasher (because that would be lying), BUT the trip has certainly changed my general attitude towards the chore.

Another appliance they go without is a dryer (and in many cases, a washer as well).  Their apartments actually have a special room/hallway where you can hang your wet clothes.  Can you imagine how much longer laundry would take??  Can you picture how many drying racks my family would need???!  (At least 4!)

Whenever a prayer is offered up in church (in Ukraine), everyone stands.  I don’t know about your church, but mine does not (currently) do this.  So, I found it a bit odd, but I quickly became used to it.  Then, last week, our church changed one part of the service to have us stand for a specific Bible reading portion.  It did not strike me as odd, because now that I have seen other churches do different things I’m more open to minor changes.  After all, the Bible does not tell us exactly how each service should be run, and I need to be willing to adapt to non-vital changes in the order/type of service.  The focus should be on God and His Word.  As long as that is the focal point, the other things are not important. (note: I don’t usually like changes—especially not at church).

Tomatoes—I have never liked this fruit (and yes, I’m one of those people who will argue against science and say it’s a vegetable) and the only time I will willingly consume them is in soups (especially borsch—an amazing Russian beet soup).  It seemed as though this strongly disliked food was served in *every* single meal.  My resolve soon gave out and I had my first tomatoes on a slide of their brown bread on top of slices of thinly sliced meat, slices of cheese and the ever present mayonnaise/miracle whip type spread.  The story that goes with this sandwich is rather funny, so I’ll share it with you.

I was at the pastor’s home in the back room playing with his five year old daughter and three year old granddaughter.  The pastor’s mother-in-law brought in the open sandwich as a sort of snack since they were sill preparing supper.  She then left.  I did not know how to say the word ‘like’ in Russian (I only knew ‘love’).  I ‘generously’ offered the tomato slices to both girls.  They refused.  I tried to explain that I did not like tomatoes.  After only a minute I stopped trying and took a bite.  It was delicious!  Halfway through, the kind blue-eyed kindred spirited grandma looked in and attempted to take back the tomatoes.  Apparently, the five year old had understood my dislike of tomatoes.  To my horror, she had relayed this information to my hosts.  I was embarrassed and I quickly shook my head and tried to explain through my gestures and limited Russian vocabulary that the sandwich was fine and I liked it.  At dinner, a bowl full of tomatoes was sitting right next to my plate.  I laughed then. 🙂  I had totally confused my hosts.  First, though Emma, they believed I hated tomatoes, and then they thought I loved them.  All I meant to infer was that I dislike tomatoes in general—but enjoy them in, on, and with certain other foods.

There are a couple of other things I have changed, but I’ll just leave you with these examples.  I hope these have given you a small taste of life in Ukraine.  I will be adding my oral and pictorial report on my trip to youtube in the upcoming week.  I’ll add the links to this post and also in a post of their own.


{P.S. From now on I will be posting something new every week on either Tuesday or Wednesday.}

Applying to College

When I was little, I dreamed about what I would grow up to do.  I didn’t realize how quickly life would fly by.  Yes, folks, I am applying to college for the Fall 2013 semester.  Let’s take a moment of silence to remember my childhood… *silence*

I’m afriad, you’ve caught me in a silly mood.  I don’t feel old enough for college, however, I do have several things I would like to do after I graduate–and college is one way I can prepare for them.

Over the past few months my future has been rather hazy, or as some people, like a bend in the road (i.e. unseeable until I arrive at the bend).  I knew (and still know) that God had/has specific plans for me, I just had no clue what they were, when they would happen, or what they would entail.

Two adventures this summer helped direct me towards my vocation.

First — My TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) 18-day certificate course in July.

Second — My 9 day trip to Ukraine.

At TESOL I discovered my love for teaching the English language.  I’ve always dreaded public speaking–even after being forced to attend several 1-day speaking classes.  So, I was almost shocked to realize that speaking about the English language to students was not only doable but also enjoyable. (of course in a good ESL classroom, the teacher does only 30% of the speaking)

I think I’ve struggled in the past with public speaking because I don’t know what to say or I urn out of things to say on the topic at hand (A rare predicament for me, since I never run out of words, even when I’m asleep).

Then, almost exactly a month later, I flew to Ukraine, not knowing what to expect.  What I saw there totally blew me away and stole my heart (in a good way).  I became deeply attached to the people I met and a strong love for the people grew quickly.  I saw many opportunities for me to serve them through my teaching and though everyday life on life service.

The orphans we visited also touched me.  When I go back to Ukraine, I want to spend more time with them and show them through my love, how much Jesus loves each one of them and how God is their heavenly Father.

Returning to the topic of today’s post, I’ve decided to apply to Moody Bible Institute–a small college in Chicago, Illinois.


1) Because they are a heavily missions minded college.

2) Because I would get a Bible Degree as well as a TESOL Degree.

3) Because they have a TESOL degree (something few colleges offer as a major).

4) Because I will be able to be close enough to home to visit on the breaks.

5) And finally, because the schooling will equip me to knowledgeably serve the Ukrainians (or anyone else God sends me to).

This weekend, during our neighborhood picnic, one of my adult friends made this comment to me.  “For some unknown reason, when you were 12 or 13 the thought crossed my mind, ‘She’ll be a missionary someday.'”

She can’t explain what made her think that, and I didn’t know about this until Sunday when she told me.  When I was 12 and 13 I had my entire life planned out (or so I thought).  I was going to become a librarian and then get married and have 12 children.  🙂

I still love libraries and children (though… 12 ????!), but now I have a heart for foreign missions.

Some of the songs we practiced in drama yesterday fit well with this post… so I’ll leave you with the lyrics.


The Bend in the Road

The bend in the road, unexpectedly it came our way one summer’s day.
And who could have known it would lead us here to you.

For a bend in the road can lead you to a place you’ve never known,
But a bend in the road can lead you safely home,
For a bend in the road can lead you to your home!



(insert Ukraine for Avonlea)

Come away, come away to Avonlea.
Take my hand to this land of Avonlea.

Can you hear on the wind it whispers to me?
Like an old and dear friend,
it beckons me to travel where the flowers spill o’er the hillside to the sea.

For the young, for the old from afar going home.
No matter where I roam, my heart’s in Avonlea.

No matter where I roam, my heart’s in Avonlea.


Love Costs Everything

     With my mother I watched the documentary “Love Costs Everything“.  It was very hard to watch.  I cried at one point.  I’ve read many biographies and autobiographies of persecuted Christians — but seeing real people be beaten, hit, kicked, and killed really brings it home.  These men, women, and children risk everything — their livelihood, their home, their family and their life for Christ.  And I can’t even bring myself to witness to friends — when I risk nothing??  There is something wrong with that, there is something wrong with me.  *Brothers and *sisters are suffering and dying daily to spread the saving knowledge of a relationship with Jesus to the world.  What am I doing??  Wasting my life in front of a computer screen.  Instead of preparing myself for God’s call I’ve spent my time all for “me” and what makes me happy.

     Let me tell you something, it is not fulfilling.  Sure there are fun moments.  But the empty pleasures of this world leave me empty and trick me into thinking that “if only                  ” (you fill in the blank: more games, more money, more friends, etc.) I would be truly happy, content, and fulfilled.  It’s a lie.  I’ve found that living for myself only returns discontentment, anger, selfishness, grumpiness, rudeness — the list goes on and on.  Just ask any of my siblings.  As hard and saddening as this is to say, I have not been the good example that I should be for them.  In fact the only times I’ve been the kind, loving, tender older sister I should have been were the times when I was serving the Lord — and thus serving others rather than myself.

     In Awana this year our theme is: 1 Corinthians 13.  Best known as the love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13 — besides defining true love — basically states that you can know everything, give all your money to the poor, and even die for a cause.  BUT without love it is worth NOTHING.  If I cannot love those around me (family, etc.) how can I think of loving others?  Love needs to start with my own family.  God has placed each one of them in my life for a reason.  I need to be Christ to those in contact with me.

     I’ve felt and feel a strong call in my life towards missions.  I do not yet know where the Lord will place me, but I know that He has called me to be a light and to share and show His love to others.  Perhaps my calling will be in a country where Christians are persecuted.  Perhaps not.  Only He knows.  Either way, Soli Deo Gloria!  (Glory to God alone!)  If I go into missions for my own name or glory I will fail.  In Christ alone.  “He must become greater, I must become less.” — John 3:30 (NIV)


Love costs everything.

Love is worth it.

Pray for the persecuted church.


Because He Lives 

by Bill and Gloria Gaither

God sent His son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal, and forgive.
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives.
But greater still the calm assurance,
This child can face uncertain days because He lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

And then one day I’ll cross the river,
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain.
And then as death gives way to victory,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone!
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives!

Doer of Your Word
by Bob Kauflin
I looked in the mirror of Your word knowing I’d see
A clear reflection of what You saw in me
You gently showed me the state my heart was in
And how the world had deceived me again
Went away determined to take the narrow path
But in a moment my foolish ways were back
It’s elementary there must be something wrong
And I’m starting to realize this can’t go on
Doer of Your word
Never ever forget the truth I’ve learned
Doer of Your word
I wanna be a doer of Your word
It’s not the first time its happened won’t be the last
I think I’m finally mature but just a little too fast
I close my Bible convinced I’m really changed
But I’m not any different ’til I obey
I wanna be a doer of Your word
Doer of Your word
Never forget the truth I’ve learned
Doer of Your word
I wanna be a doer of Your word
What does it mean to call You Lord of my life
If I ignore the things You say
Help me remember that my greatest delight
Is following Your commands
And give me strength to stand and be a doer of Your word
Doer of Your word
Never forget the truth I’ve learned
Doer of Your word
I wanna be a doer of Your word
*I can’t name their names here because many of them are still in danger,
but here are some of their stories:
A teenage girl in Iraq was told that if she did not marry a specific terrorist man, she would be killed.  She left her family and now lives under the care of the church for her families safety.  Pray for boldness, strength and encouragement as she continues to stand for her faith.  Also pray for her oppressors.
A young traveling pastor in India and his wife were assaulted by Hindu men while traveling to a church service one morning.  His wife was killed, and he was severely injured (they thought he was dead).  Pray for him as he morns for his wife and as he serves the church.  Also pray for the men involved in the killing.
In Iraq a group of Muslims attacked (shot and bombed) a large church, killing over 15 men, women, and children.  Because of this, one man fled to France to seek asylum and also because of his many wounds.  Pray for his wife and sister who are still in the country and are in danger because of their faith.  Also for him to have wisdom as to what his best course of action is during this uncertain time.
A woman and her two children lost their husband/father when FARC guerrillas killed him for preaching the gospel of Christ to a small community in Columbia.  They continue to serve the community, and the son plans to become a pastor.  Pray for the salvation of the guerrillas who killed the pastor.  Also that the family would have continued boldness and passion for the gospel.
A horrible slaughter of Christians within the village of Orissa, India has left many dead, wounded, and homeless.  Pray for their healing and encouragement after coming out of this nightmare.  Also for new opportunities and protection for these families.

Heinous Homophones A – C

Speaking the English language can be quite tough, especially for newer students, but words known as homophones make it especially tough to listen and understand native speakers.  What is a homophone?

A homophone is a group of two or more words,

Having the same pronunciation,


Having different meanings and spellings.

While studying for this post, I found a list of over 2000 homophones!  In this post, I will only share a few select homophones in the A-C section.

Ad – Add   

Ad (noun) – Short for an advertisement.

Add (verb) – A math term, meaning addiction (+).

Adieu – Ado 

Adieu (exclamation/noun) – “Goodbye”

Ado (noun) – Trouble of Difficulty.

Aisle – I’ll – Isle 

Aisle (noun) – A passage between a row of seats or shelves.

I’ll (noun + verb) – Short for “I will”.

Isle (noun) – An island.

Ant – Aunt

Ant (noun) – A small insect.

Aunt (noun) – The sister of your father or mother.

Ate – Eight

Ate (verb) – Past tense of “Eat”.

Eight (cardinal number) – 8.

Band – Banned

Band (noun) – A thin loop of material used to put around something.

Band (verb) – To surround something in the form of a ring.

Band (noun) – A musical group.

Banned (verb) – Being blocked from something.

Beach – Beech

Beach (noun) – A rocky or sandy shore.

Beech (noun) – A large type of tree.

Beat – Beet 

Beat (verb) – To hit/defeat.

Beet (noun) – A type of red vegetable.

Been – Bin 

Been (verb) – Past tense of “Be”.

Bin (noun) – A container for storing a specific type of object.

Bell – Belle

Bell (noun) – A musical instrument that is shaped like a hollow cup.

Belle (noun) – A beautiful girl/woman.

Board – Bored

Board (noun) – A long and thin piece of wood.

Bored (verb) – Having nothing of interest to do.

Brake – Break 

Brake (noun) – The part of a moving vehicle that slows/stops it.

Break (verb) – To destroy or separate.

Buy – By – Bye

Buy (verb) – To obtain something by paying for it.

By (preposition) – Identifying the author/performer.

Bye (exclamation) – Short for “Goodbye”.

Cell – Sell

Cell (noun) – A small room for a prisoner or monk.

Cell (noun) – The smallest unit of an organism.

Sell (verb) – To exchange something for money.

Cense – Cents – Scents – Sense

Cense (verb) – To perfume something.

Cents (noun) – Money worth one hundredth (1/100) of a dollar.

Scents (noun) – A distinctive pleasant smell.

Sense (noun) – A part of the body which notices environmental changes.

Chili – Chilly

Chili (noun) – A small spicy type of vegetable.

Chilly (adjective) – Cold.

Chord – Cord

Chord (noun) – A group of three or more notes sounded together.

Cord (noun) – A flexible string/rope made from several twisted strands.

Close – Clothes

Close (verb) – To cover an opening.

Close (adjective) – A short width/length away.

Close (adverb) – To be very near someone/something.

Clothes (noun) – Items worn to cover the body.

Council – Counsel 

Council (noun) – A group of people formally made up who meet regularly.

Counsel (noun) – Advice.

Counsel (verb) – To give advice.

Creak – Creek

Creak (verb) – To make a harsh, high-pitched sound.

Creak (noun) – A jarring scraping/squeaking sound.

Creek (noun) – A stream/brook, or small part of a river.

Cymbal – Symbol

Cymbal (noun) – Musical instruments that look like plates,

which make ringing/clashing sounds.

Symbol (noun) – A thing that represents or stands for something else.

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