Hard to believe we have been here for 2 weeks already! Before leaving, we worked hours preparing all the little things that had to get done, running countless errands, planned and attended events to make sure we could see everyone before leaving and finished the school year off right! Being here, yes we have been busy, but in such a different way. The way of life in Ukraine is much more laid back. I have felt stress-free and relaxed amongst the work accomplished. Since we have written you last, Daniel and I ventured to the farmers market to buy groceries and stock up on strawberries. By stock up, we mean, hundreds of little guys to be prepped and frozen for the rest of the year. This is the time they are at their cheapest.
I have began working on canvas for 12 rooms in the home here. Each room is named after one of the sons of Jacob. Each room will have a beautiful hand painted piece made in Israel along with a canvas having a different Bible verse special to that room! Although written in Ukrainian, God has given me the ability to do it well… I honestly don’t know how, so all praise be to HIM! Daniel will begin working on a few custom pieces of furniture for the home including a coffee table and some bed side tables. We have been back out to the garden one time and what I have learned so far is roots run deep. It is hard work!! We also have visited the orphanage!
Thursday nights is the young adult meeting, which Daniel and I have been given the opportunity to lead for the summer. Last week, we shared our testimonies and presented the message of salvation and gave the option for anyone to receive Christ. No one did that evening, but we believe seeds are being planted and the Lord will begin to turn their hearts towards Him over time. This last week Daniel spoke on “Love” or in Ukrainian “любов”. A great message of how to love those around you even when you don’t want to or they don’t deserve it. He opened the floor for people to share about when they have the hardest time loving people and when it’s easy. It was a great discussion! Many of the struggles they experience are ones similar to what we experience; injustice, when someone looks down on you, hurts you, when you are tired and the one they kept referring to where bad drivers 🙂
Daniel encouraged the group this week to take notice to the times you find yourself not wanting to love “your neighbor” and check your heart and do what Christ did for us, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 Therefore how can we not show love? Love is the greatest of all things.
God opened the door for us to visit a Deaf camp about an hour outside of L’viv. Before we came, the Blessings met with the director of the school and told him we were coming. He was very open to us visiting! Going to this camp, all we knew was that there were going to be Deaf students and that it was at a government run camp. Upon arrival we saw many children! A teacher at the school met us and took us to the cafeteria. We were still unsure, who is Deaf, who is hearing…. so Daniel just began signing and one boy stood up and give us a formal ‘hello’ (in sign) walked over to us and shook our hands! (He is the boy in the picture just below with the long sleeves on sitting next to Becky). It was so sweet! We still didn’t know who was what, so we went outside and waited for them to finish. One by one they came downstairs. Due to government funding, they only allowed 13 Deaf to come to this camp. We learned later that they picked the 13 based on the severity of their home life. The kiddos who were there were orphaned, have alcoholic or abusive parents, etc.
After lunch is a required rest time, so we all went to one of the rooms and sat around and talked, played games, including some fun camp games called “Elephant” and cards. As soon as they saw Daniel’s iPhone 5 they were taken! One had never seen one like it and it took everything to get them to not fight over it. They took videos and pictures. Really loved the slow-motion feature 🙂
This camp was for all the boarding schools and orphanages to come for 21 days. We saw a large group of mentally and physically disabled children. Which was neat for us, because we can’t seem to find them in Moldova! So we were so happy to see that they have a chance to come to a summer camp! Speaking with the teachers of the Deaf school was the most encouraging thing about our trip! These teachers love the children so much! You can see it by the way they talk about them, interact with them and share with us about how their school works. Those who do not have parents will be taken in by the teachers during holidays and breaks. One teacher told us that they would be open for Bible studies to be taught or even if we wanted to take them out to the park one day to just get them out and about! Sadly, we are not here during the school year, but maybe one day 🙂 Maybe God is opening up another door for us in Ukraine. As far as I know none are adoptable at this time. The parents can visit once a month and still keep rights which is so sad. The girl in the picture with Becky above has a mother who only comes around to make sure she gets the monthly stipend from the government. But wrote the morning we got there that she wasn’t coming to pick her daughter up. Please be in prayer for parents and kids. Like we wrote above, LOVE is the greatest of all things.
In Christ, thewoodalls