Dresses!

One fun result of my visit to Congo is that Valerie and Carrie, the pastor’s daughter, have become pen pals. They’ve shared a few letters and have given special gifts – they have matching dresses.

Val bought two dresses in the USA and sent one to Carrie.

Here, Carrie is wearing her dress while talking with Val by WhatsApp (when I was in Congo in February):

Then Carrie had two dresses made in Congo and sent one to Val:

 

 

Recital –

We’ve been busy working at dacha (news about that soon), and on short notice we came into the city for Valerie’s piano recital. She’s been studying with a really great teacher and has a talent for the piano.

We’re just about to move into the very busy time of the summer. I will make a quick trip to Estonia next week (meeting with the leaderships of Sunbeam) and then go to Finland and Norway for a men’s conference with the Arctic Men’s Fellowship. Olga will lead a team to Moldova starting June 18. In July I’ll drive to Montenegro and then work my way north, with ministry stops Serbia, Romania and Ukraine. I’ll be traveling with my friend and Stoneworks board member Glenn Cole. We’ll also welcome teams in Russia, Estonia and Montenegro.

And here is Val:

A Postcard from America

 

Now THAT is a birthday picture. Valerie has just about the most birthday parties of any person I’ve ever seen. Even though her birthday is in July, we decided to throw a party now so she could share it with her friends here in Athens, GA. We met at my dad’s farm, and part of the festivities included a ride in the dump truck. This summer I’m sure we’ll have parties at dacha, at Camp Elama and perhaps even in Estonia.

Our time in the States is coming to an end. Though we’ve been here for quite a while, the time has flown by. It’s been great to be here, and now we look forward to going home and experiencing new adventures on the other side of the ocean. We leave a week from today. Our apologies to all our friends near and far who we hoped to visit but did not. My mom’s health has kept us close to home for the most part, and homeschooling has also kept us grounded.

Much has been accomplished while here. I’ve helped several mission teams and interns prepare for summer ministry. I’ve also had many meetings with friends as we’ve encouraged each other in the faith. I’ve also spoken/taught quite a bit. If you’re interested, you can click on the link on our homepage and listen some of my teachings.

springtime in the USA

My mother’s health continues as it has. Several weeks ago she broke a hip, and interestingly in some ways she’s doing better now than before she broke the hip. God has provided a great team of care-givers to help mom and dad while we’re gone.

We will go to St. Petersburg and then quickly go to dacha to open it up for the summer. I will go to Estonia in early May while Olga and Valerie remain in Russia. I will drive to Montenegro with my friend Heikki. In Montenegro I’ll meet two of our interns and one board member; we’ll meet with ministry leaders and potential new partners in Montenegro, Serbia and Romania before arriving in Estonia where the interns will serve with Sunbeam, the center for disabled children.

As we go, we are quite aware of the increased tensions in that part of the world. Please keep us in prayer, that we’ll love God more than anything else, that we’ll have wisdom about where we are to be, that we’ll be a blessing to our friends in those many countries, and that we’ll have discernment about His will for our family.

 

A Little Familiana

Well, it looks like I’ve finally figured out the problem with posting pictures on this site. It took me quite a while (needed to change folder permissions on the server), but now I’m able to create posts again. Hopefully that’s the last of our ‘issues’. Goodness, I spent many hours troubleshooting that problem.

A week or so ago we had friends over for “Mexican Night” and Val helped make tortillas. (I really like Olga’s home-made tortillas.) We cooked fajitas and made quesadillas and nachos. Tough life in Russia. . . .

Here is a video of Valerie reading. She is now reading and writing in both Russian and English. Just three years ago, when she was three and half years old, she spoke only three words. She’s a sharp kid. . .

Well, here’s a video of her almost exactly three years ago (at the same desk, in the same lap) saying two of those initial three words: gde, papa (where, papa). She could also say mama. By the time this video was made (5 weeks after she came to live with us) she could also say vse (meaning, done!).

Here’s a fun moment when I was showing her how to make videos using my small camera. She was pretty excited (poor kid had a few sores on her lip).

Now that our site is working again, I hope to post more updates, news, Postcards and devotionals.

Valerie on the Pi-a-ner

Valerie is taking piano lessons:

This is the piano that Valerie’s great-grandfather Orest learned on over 80 years ago. Valerie’s teacher, Olga, is very good and, even though she’s just beginning, it’s been quite fun to watch Valerie, learning to read, write and play music. She’s recently been asking to play my mandolin, too.