We waited and waited for a couple of parking spots to open up, so that we could claim them with chairs and a ladder! Texts and Slack updates flew back and forth between old and new, and then the truck arrived. Before long we were unpacking and settling into our new space.
Moving day went so well–thank you for praying. We will hold our first classes there tonight, and welcome more students on Friday for our regular, monthly event. God has provided so well–join us in thanking Him!
Our family was very ill, and my heart was discouraged because it it felt like the sickness was never ending. After I was laid up in bed for 4 days, it was time to venture out and buy some groceries for our family. I was driving down the highway on my way to the store, listening to worship music, and crying out to God for relief—relief from the illness, relief from the stresses of life, relief from the sadness that though we share His truth so clearly with those around us, some still are holding out—not yet ready to embrace it. I literally got to the point of tears as I was listing off all my burdens to Him, when I saw it! There in the distance on the hill, His reminder to me that He is ALWAYS THERE for me, that He is ready and waiting for us to bring our burdens to Him, and He will give us rest, peace, joy, strength…………
One of the key elements of ministry that our organization has been encouraging us to focus on is our wellness. So, thanks to a gift we received for our team, we all took an afternoon to just go play together– because nothing rejuvenates the soul better than some healthy competition and lots of laughter!!
The gas meters in each of our apartments are located, not-so-conveniently, out on our balconies. This creates a difficult job for the meter readers that have to knock on doors and try to catch people at home in order to read the meter. Some locals tell hilarious stories of trying to avoid the meter readers so they don’t have to pay their gas bills…but everyone eventually has to pay what is due or your gas will be turned off by the city.
Our “gas lady” has often left her contact info on our door and asked us to call her with the numbers. Last month I tried a new system and simply took a photo of the meter and sent it to her. She immediately texted back, “GOOD IDEA! Thanks.”
Our Center is moving!! Please pray with us as the final preparations are being made for our big move next week. Check it out!
Happy New Year! The local people celebrate New Year’s twice a year–January 1st and January 14th (known as old New Year’s.) As a team, we enjoyed the incredible fire work show displayed throughout the city as the clock struck midnight on the first of January. As each of us reflect on what is ahead, we often spend time thinking of the previous year and planning for the coming year. During a devotional time, our team focused on Philippians 3:13b, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” What are the things that you need to forget, so that you can move forward? God showed us things that we needed to leave behind in 2017, so that together we can move ahead in the blessings that God has in store for 2018. We pray you can also move forward into 2018– forgetting the things you need to leave behind in 2017.
On Orthodox Christmas day, our capital city streets were filled with a colorful procession, a tradition that dates back to the fifth century. People were dressed in national costumes and marched through the streets holding flags and singing their traditional Christmas carol ‘Alilo,’ which means “Glory to God.” Pray with us that His glory would be seen and known in this nation in a mighty way, and that many would be drawn to Him this New Year!
This week is the first week back to school for my three kids! On Day #1 back, I got this email:
I’m school doctor Nino. teacher brought Anna in my office, she hit head at the table. Anna had little bump and bruise at her forehead, I put an ice pack for 15 min. As she was feeling fine, had no headache, dizziness, I let her go back to class. I just want you to know about this incident sincerely Dr. Nino
In broken English, she did well explaining what happened to Anna’s head. Anna is fine! This is an example of countless ways God is watching our little ones. I bring them to a mini-bus every morning and watch them drive into the city traffic, wondering how this is okay?! ? Part of our journey this year, as a team, is a deeper Trust in God. For me, a lot of this is about trusting Him with my children–for their safety, for their social and emotional well-being, and with their hearts. One way He has asked us to give up control is to pray to Him and to share our burdens with Him. He can carry it all so much better than we can.
Today, would you pray for the nine children represented on Team Green? They have all started back into the drama and stresses of school. We are all so thankful for the education that is here, but it is a daily release to trust what God is doing with these lives – in the middle of living in an overseas context!
Last month, H&M opened in our city, and we were shocked to see how many people gathered on opening day. The line literally went at least half a mile down the street and around the corner! The people were waiting with great expectation.
It struck me that day, that the people here that I love so dearly do not yet have the same sense of expectations as I do. I can claim as God’s promise for me from Jeremiah 29:11 of a hope and a future. It’s our desire that this truth would become known, and that our friends and students would learn to approach life with a sense of great expectation for what God is doing and will do for them. So please pray with us, that their eyes would be opened and their hearts would yearn for His truth.
We have something that is new-to-us. It is from here…from this region. As in, it grows here and it’s sold in the market. BUT, we’ve never tasted a food with this ingredient…Sea Buckthorn…Anyone ever heard of it?
Here’s a picture of a bush nearby with the berries:
Our teammate also got daring and tried a honey and spice sea buckthorn tea. It was sweet and tasty: