We're really alive! Finger still intact, though angry as can be when required to type, hence the lack of posts. It turns out pointer fingers are super useful. I'll definitely appreciate mine more in the future.
Although I haven't been able to type it out, my brain has been spinning a mile a minute since we landed back on US soil. The trip was so good. When people ask the question "How was your trip?" I say "Good, and necessary." It was oh so necessary, in ways we couldn't have anticipated before going. I thought it would be necessary in the scheme of houses, visas, and job descriptions, and while all those things were discussed and worked on, they aren't the necessary I'm talking about. This trip was another leg in the Journey of Learning to Say Yes.
Kiev was great. Super fun, great connections, awesome time with old friends- going deeper and getting stronger. Kiev was comfy, cozy, and superb.
Zhitomir was good too...and Zhitomir was reality. Necessary reality.
We LOVE Mission to Ukraine (MTU). We love the staff, we love the vision, we love the people being served. We are more excited than ever to join them in their ministry. Jed could be busy there 24/7. His professional skills are so right on for the areas they have need. My heart was bursting to think of how I get to help and how our kids get to be involved and learn to serve. We are totally and completely more excited than ever for MTU. YAY!
Honestly though, I struggled in Zhitomir. Nothing personal to the city or the people, I was struggling with doubt, fear, worry as we walked the streets of Zhitomir, and it was all personal to me.
"What are we doing??? This is crazy."
"Our lives are PERFECT right now and we're leaving it all for the unknown. Why???"
"We're taking our kids away from their cousins, their friends, their church. They're going to hate us!"
And on, and on, and on. Being the verbal processor that I am, Jed got quite the earful. THIS was the necessary of this trip I wasn't expecting. I had to come around to the fact that although our life right now is the absolute best it's ever been, the biggest reason for that is because we are smack dab in the will of God. Yes, there will be challenges about moving to Ukraine. No, it will not be easy. Yes, there are some major sacrifices, but it will be the best because we will be smack dab in the will of our Loving Father. After I got over myself and the lies, fear, doubt, blah blah blah, I could truly enjoy our time in Zhitomir.
Look how far The Lord has brought us! Oh my, the joy in the journey really increases when you die to yourself a bit more. Ha!
Today my kids and their friend Milaey decided to pick various herbs and plants from the yard and set up a stand on the porch to sell to passerby's. Great idea, except for the fact that we live on an extremely quiet, out of the way street. People don't just meander down our street for the fun of it. It's almost like a ghost town, except for us. :) I didn't want to discourage them, so I just warned them it might be a bit hard to get customers, but they were welcome to try!
They set to work gathering, pricing, making signs. Soon they were out on the corner yelling to the empty street about their wares. "We've got carrots, we've got herbs, we've got stuff to make your house smell good!" They chanted over and over, then cheered like crazy when a random car would drive by every 7 minutes or so.
After a bit they came in, discouraged at the lack of business. Then Milaey suggested they pray and ask God to bring them a customer. I certainly didn't have the faith I should have had (hehe), but was so proud of Milaey for suggesting it! They prayed, and I kid you not, like 5 minutes later a car stopped at the sale! A random lady got out and said "I never drive on this street, but I thought I'd try a shortcut today." Seriously??? The kids were FREAKING OUT. They hovered, they talked up their goods, and the kindest lady in town walked away with a ziplock baggie full of hedge trimmings. God is so faithful. He cares about what's important to us.
I got to talk with the kids about the goodness of God, they were thankful, elated, and back to sign-holding and chanting. Guess what? Not one other car stopped the rest of the day. Addy and Ezra came inside an hour later crying (sobbing) about their "failure sale".
"Why did no one come? It was important to us and no one cared!"
How quickly they forgot the Lord's provision. How quickly they forgot the joy in the answered prayer, the delight in His care for them. He provided a miraculous customer right when they asked!
Yep, that was me in Zhitomir. Totally forgetting what God did earlier. Totally feeling forgotten, wondering if God cared. Seriously????? He's done AMAZING things. He's gone above and beyond for our family to pave the way and make it straight. Seriously. Once I got my head and heart on straight, stopped looking at the "yikes" and looking at all He has done and promises TO DO things got a whoooooooole lot better.
Lesson learned for me, and the kids.
Next post will be more details about our time in Zhitomir. Many of you have been asking and I'm sooooo sorry for the delay. I blame it on my immersion blender skills (or lack thereof).