Life in Ukraine

Sighing, I picked up the list of poor children we were going to visit on the weekend. Listed were forty-seven children in twenty-one families. Yet the only thing I knew about them was the age marked beside their names.

Although the focus of Richard’s ministry is dentistry, my ministry in the country of Ukraine seems to be distributing humanitarian aid—mostly clothing—and gifts to widows, orphans and underprivileged children. Many friends, Smile Alliance International and several churches send boxes on a fairly regular basis. The sorting, organizing and hauling around of boxes is a lot of work but we definitely enjoy the smiles and joy on the faces of the recipients.

God has a strange sense of humor. When we sold our things and moved here from America I envisioned a new start—a home finally free of clutter and stuff. I would at last have the time and energy to be organized. Things would be neat and tidy. Right! God generously provided a house for us to live in after six months of living in an apartment building. Humbly I thanked Him for His provision. He bestowed on us this blessing and we dedicated it to Him and His work. That’s when the boxes began to arrive.I often laugh when I am in the midst of unpacking and sorting. During this time every free surface in our living quarters holds a stack of socks, shirts, pants, gift items, or some other thing. Sometimes I summon the troops to help but often I forge ahead alone. It is during this time I can pray for those who will be receiving each item. I can ask God for direction, guidance as to whom He has sent each thing. And it’s amazing what transpires.

I could tell story after story about this. But for now I want to share stories of some special gifts that touched my heart. Background information is necessary so you can see the scope of things and God’s love working through each person who has generously donated funds, time, and goods. We really believe that He cares about details, influences people to send various items and funds, and touches people hearts with a desire to help.

Our Visits
I picked up the gallon size Ziplock bags that have become my second favorite ministry tool. Slowly I began filling each of them with a toothbrush, comb, piece of candy, mini book filled with Russian Bible verses (sent by an anonymous donor), a slip of paper outlining the Gospel message with an invitation to accept Jesus, and other basic items.

Pastor Dima, a missionary to one of our neighboring villages, had asked us if we had some small gifts we could give to children they were going to visit. We told him we could do that but asked if we could go along when they visited the families. They were happy to have us join them and the date was set. The village social worker had provided lists of the neediest families. Dima had worked with some of them before but many were new to him.

The previous week I had assembled 110 plastic shoe boxes (my very favorite ministry tool) filled with gifts for Mostysche Orphanage and Sunshine Center for Street Children. The providing church in Ellensburg, Washington had generously included extra things in their twenty large boxes so I had enough to start filling my plastic bags. Then I added items from my reserves upstairs. The final step was to put in some age-sensitive items, something each child might need. I prayed for God to help me put just the right items in each bag.

I had kept in reserve a few of the brand new sleepers, jeans, and shirts for toddlers sent by a church in Cle Elum. So the bags for the 3 through 5 year-olds were easy to fill. Two different retired couples in Oregon had lovingly hand-knitted hats, mittens, socks and sweaters. These too were added to the packages. The older boys were a challenge but winter scarves, gloves and wallets purchased with donated ministry funds helped complete their bags. A box from my friend in Oklahoma provided some items for the older girls. But I was unsure what to put in the last of the baby and small toddler gifts. Then MEEST, the shipping company, called and brought four very large boxes from a church in Canada. Sent the middle of November, the boxes had somehow lost their way and arrived “just the day I needed them.” Now, the babies were very well taken care of. Grandma Rosa project blankets purchased and put together by friends in Washington State were put in large plastic bags for the children 12 and under. Then the zip lock bags for each individual child were added, each large bag was closed and the family name written on the outside. We were ready at last to begin visiting the homes.

Dima’s church bathed our day in prayer. I was profoundly glad about that when we encountered vicious, large dogs as we entered several of the yards. Although going door to door is not my forte, our advantage was that we were laden with gifts. Another plus was Dima’s previous work in this village—getting to know the people—showing them love and acceptance. Most of the homes we visited this time were ones he had been in before. Next week will be another story.

Each home told its own story. Some were relatively neat, others cluttered and messy. Most had foldout beds in the kitchens and living rooms. Some were really dark. Most were not very warm. Several had sick children or adults. Children and adults with sad eyes and downcast faces were the norm. All had a need for God’s love and joy. Dima, Vadim and Lada are recovered drug addicts who are now in ministry. They put their hearts into sharing the message of a better life and they were living proof that it can happen. Our friend, Tanya, interpreted for us. People listened. Vadim played the guitar and they sang songs for the children, others for the adults. Lada, a lovely lady who was addicted to drugs for fifteen years, has a passion for sharing how God can change hearts and lives. She invited and encouraged each person to ask God to help them and to come into their lives. I shared that we lived in Ukraine now because we felt God had sent us here to proclaim his love. I told them that God had given us many gifts, the best His Son, Jesus, and friends in America had sent presents to them to remind them of this love. When they cuddle with their blankets and enjoy their gifts, I asked them to remember how much God loves them. I then asked them if Richard could take their pictures to send to my mother who had the idea for the blankets, and to those who sent the gifts. I am going to get copies made for them.

Three Stories
I saw joy on most of the faces of the kids as they received their presents. Many quietly took them away for opening. I could tell something about each child, but I will limit this to three profound stories.

A symbol of God’s love
Dima jumped out of the van and started to open the gate at a house he had not visited before. This set the watchdog to barking angrily—this works in place of a doorbell. A thin lady dressed in warm clothing (including a hat on her head) came to the gate. Her expressionless face led to speculation as to whether we would be invited in or not. But she grudgingly beckoned toward the house as she stood guard in front of the dog house. The standard Ukrainian house is different than those in America. The door often leads into an entry room—sometimes with chairs—or a kitchen. At this home, the 17 year old son led us through a small dark kitchen which also had a bed in it, through a hallway with two more beds, and into a room lighted by sun through the windows. We sat on the bed there and some stools that were brought in. The lady stood leaning against the door, arms folded tight across her chest, listening to Dima. Her three boys came in. The eldest, Valeriy, had quit school and now repaired cars.. The two smaller ones, Dima 6 and Olexi 11 were talkative and friendly. Vadim asked the question about what they wanted to do when they grew up (this was the only place this question was asked.) Olexi’s desire was to be a policeman but Dima dreamed of being a “footballist”. In America we would say “soccer star”. We discovered that Luda, the mother, had cancer which had returned after a five year remission. She was barely holding herself together.

Eagerly I opened the bag we had prepared ahead for this family. While packing them, I had asked God to help me select the right blanket for each child. In my heart I knew what I would find—sure enough—one of the blankets was purple and covered with soccer balls. (There were only a couple of these blankets in the box I had unpacked.) When my turn came to give out the gifts, I looked at Dima. Smiling with tears in my eyes I told him that God loved him very, very much. I told him I knew this because God had me put this blanket in the bag just for him. God knew his desires. He knew his heart and he cared. I was rejoicing inside.

Lada began telling about our need for God and then Vadim broke in and said he felt we were supposed to pray for the mom—for her cancer—for her health. He asked her if we could lay our hands on her shoulders as we prayed and she consented. She stood very stiff but as they prayed she relaxed. It was as if a very large burden had been lifted from her shoulders. And then she smiled. I’ll never forget that smile. It transformed her face.As we climbed into the van, she was there—smiling. I had told her I would continue to pray for her. I am. And I feel a need to go back. Just to be there for her, if she needs me. We will see if that becomes a possibility.Despair
My friend’s four year old granddaughter had picked out a special blanket to send to a little girl. Yvie prayed for the girl. She told Mimi that she loved the little girl. They sent the blanket. I found it at the top of a box and chose if for a four year old on my list. Halfway through our day, I told Dima that I would really like to see if we could deliver it since I knew Yvie was waiting to hear about the little girl that would receive it. Dima knew the mom. Her latest boyfriend had just gone to jail. We found the boarding house where she lived. The outside door was open and several small children sat on the table and the stairway. One had a dress and nothing else on—not even socks. This was Natasha, sister of the four year old, Ira. There were socks and warm pajamas in the bag I had prepared for her. We went up the filthy, cluttered stairway to the room where the mother and her four children lived. It was tiny with a double bed at one end and bunk beds on each side. There were stuffed animals nailed to the wall above the bed. The two little girls, Ira 4 and Natasha, along with a boy about 5 and a baby 7 months old were on the bed where the mother lay beneath a blanket. She said she had a headache. She was lethargic. In the past she had attended Dima’s church and now they tried to talk to her about her life.. She told them she had no desire to change. She was going to live the way she wanted.

Richard had gone to the van to get some things for the little boy since we only had things for the girls—fortunately I had thought to put extra things in just in case this happened. I heard a man’s voice in the kitchen and footsteps on the stairs. The man was swearing. I asked Dima to go meet Richard and as he left the room, the man stopped at the top of the stairs and started swearing at us. He told us to get out, that when people visited bad things happened. (We found out he didn’t even live in this place.) It was obvious he was swearing even though I don’t understand the language. I started praying for all our safety. The man descended the stairs after Dima and continued to yell at him. Richard came in—Dima told him Richard was American and couldn’t understand him. The man stopped yelling. They came up to where we were. We quickly gave the presents to the children. I told them that God loves them. I told Ira that Yvie had sent her the blanket and that she loved her. We left. I felt very sad. I know that before long those children will probably end up in an orphanage. They may have a safer, better life there. Tanya, our interpreter, said she had never seen such a place. It was an eye-opener for her. I think we all felt a measure of grief and knew that we need to pray for this mother and her children.

A Need to Understand
After the boarding house incident, we decided to visit one last place and then continue our visitations at another time. As we entered the final home, we went through a room with dirt floors and into the kitchen. The grandmother welcomed us into her living room which contained a large bed. It was neat and clean. Our list said Yura was 10 and his sister Nastya 9. They looked much smaller and younger to me. But it’s often difficult to tell. I wished I’d asked them. They knew Dima and go to his Sunday school when he can pick them up. (His car has not been running so they haven’t been able to go recently).

The friendly grandfather came in while we sang some songs. Lada began telling Grandma Olga that God could help her. Grandma took over the conversation. The kids live with them because their mom is a prostitute and has disappeared from their lives. She told us that she had her children baptized and she felt that was the worse thing she had ever done. I don’t know why. She told them a lot that didn’t get translated. Finally, I had Richard tell a bit about how God had brought us to Ukraine to share His love with people and we gave the kids their gifts, then we prayed with the family.

Before we left, the others engaged in conversation with the kids and Grandpa while Grandma tried to talk to me. I grabbed Tanya to find out what she was telling me. She told me she thought she was cursed—her life—her daughter being a prostitute. I usually don’t know what to say in circumstances like these but I immediately said, “No. It is not a curse. A loving God does not curse people’s lives. It’s a matter of poor choices. God loves you very much. He loves you with His whole heart. He cares for you.”

I don’t know where the words came from but I firmly believe them. She said she was so much older than me but I told her she had only three years on me. She’s had a very difficult life. As we got ready to leave, I hugged her. She just kept hugging me. I want to go back. I liked her. I’d like to get to know her, find out what makes her go on, see if I can do something to encourage her. I wonder what God’s plan is in this. I pray daily for her as well.

What’s Next?
During our visits we tried to evaluate how we could help people. At the first home, the 2 year old had on a pair of worn, summer sandals. Our latest box shipment contained many toddler shoes. Tanya wrote down the need and we plan to take them some shoes. There were other needs as well. But I think the biggest need is something that each of you can help us with. Please remember these families in your prayers. These are just a handful in the village down the road from where we live. But the needs are everywhere. In Ukraine, Africa, China, America. Pray for those in need. Be aware of where you can help. Ask for God’s guidance.

And last of all, thank you, each one of you who has provided the goods, the funding, and the prayers so our ministry can continue. Thank you for your hearts for the children of Ukraine. Thank you for your encouragement, for your emails, your calls, and for your interest. You are as much a part of this ministry as we are. We are just privileged to be here and to see some of the results.May you be blessed each day and recognize those blessings,
Vicki and Richard

Songs, the story of the boy who was blessed by sharing his lunch with Jesus and 5000 others, crafts and gifts were all a part of a party on December 1. Fifty-three children and their parents were blessed by the generosity of the Cle Elum, Washington Seventh-day Adventist Church and Smile Alliance International. Richard and I had the privilege of being on-site to present these wonderful gifts shipped from America.

When the boxes first arrived, I was overwhelmed by the amount of gloves, hats, and children’s pajamas that had been sent. I knew God had a plan for them but most of the orphans we work with are larger than the sizes of pajama that were sent. The quantity and quality of all these gifts were remarkable. I prayed that God would show us where they were most needed. I tried to give some of the footed pajamas to a couple of moms who told me they were too difficult for their kids to get off when they needed to use the toilet. They are an entirely new concept here. Then I found a young Ukrainian mother in ministry who was thrilled to have some for her girls. American friends had given them used ones previously and the girls loved them but they were now worn out. I was glad they could use them. But the BIG question was, “To whom could I give the other 60 plus pair?”

Tanya, a young woman who had been our Russian teacher last winter for a short time, contacted us in September. She had married in May. Sasha, her new husband, and she had recently moved to our village and were living with a family from their church. We re-established contact and they started staying at our home when we are on outreach. It’s been a wonderful arrangement for all of us. The drug rehab center up the street from us is a ministry of the church they attend in Bucha. Many of the church members are recovered drug addicts who are now in ministry to other people with addictions and HIV, prostitutes, and others. They are joyful and love God but are very poor. It is a church with many young children. Thus was born the idea of a party to distribute the pajamas and other things.

Crafts were a big hit. The small children were thrilled with the stickers of the nativity scene which they put on construction paper and colored around. I heard one tiny girl naming off the people in her picture—Papa, Maria, and Jesus. It was so sweet. The older kids decorated door hangers with Christian symbols, glitter glue and pens. They created some really beautiful items.

The mothers were thrilled with the warm pajamas and the kids loved the toys. Children two years and under received hats, mittens and large stuffed animals. Three to five year olds received pajamas and hats along with a Grandma Rosa blanket containing a small stuffed animal. The kids, 6 and older, were recipients of hats, wallets, and blankets. They all seemed to be excited.

At the end, the children gathered for a picture and a 13 year old boy prayed for Richard and me, our ministry, and the donors in America. Then many of the kids came and either kissed our cheeks, hugged us or shook our hands. It was beautiful and we were very blessed. So I say, thank you, to all of you who have sacrificed and given to these children.

Just as we were getting ready to leave, three more children arrived. Tanya told us that the lady who brought them lives in the same building as they do. There is one kitchen, one bathroom and numerous rooms that the people live in–it sounds somewhat like a boarding house to me. But she said it was in terrible condition and these kids live with a violent, alcoholic father. Apparently as they were leaving to come to the party, the father was yelling at them and the lady who brought them. He was saying some very nasty things to them. We ask you to remember these two girls and their brother who are trying to come to church and to follow Jesus. I was impressed with how polite they were. We were glad they arrived in time for us to give them some blankets, hats, and other things.

This weekend at church Marek from the Sunshine Center quoted Ecclesiastes 11:1. I share it because I feel it is true for all of us, but especially for each of you who have supported and encouraged this ministry. “Cast your bread upon the water, and after many days you will find it again.” Eccl. 11:1 NIV: When you bless others you will in turn be blessed many times over. That is our prayer for you.

The past eleven months were so busy that I did not blog as often as I would have liked to. I don’t want to bore those of you who are actually reading this so I will add a quick list of the outreaches Richard and I went on in the past few months. It’s always a treat to meet many new children and sometimes heartbreaking to hear their stories.

Drs. Richard and Inna spent many hours in meetings and working to set up the dental room at the Emmanuel Clinic. Then on the weeks there are no outreaches with Mercy Trucks/YWAM, they try to work on children on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Jan. 4: We delivered 65 presents for the widows that Good Samaritan Ministries in Zhitomer works with. We had the privilege of visiting several of the ladies in their homes.

Jan. 6-8: Vicki was excited to be able to help distribute presents to children who came to the play that CBN/Emmanual Ministries puts on each year. 18,000 people viewed it over the 8 days it was in production.

Jan. 17-19: Richard partnered with Mercy Trucks Dental Van at the Kamarivka Orphanage. There are approximately 130 children in this facility.

February 3-March 6: Trip to America. While there talked at a number of churches and service clubs from Spokane in the eastern part of Washington State to Joyce on the coast. We took post-graduate courses in Southern California and enjoyed time with our oldest Todd and his family, visited my mother and sister’s family in Oregon, and spent some time with our other son Jacy and his family in Renton. A very busy trip. Oh yes, we also got caught in a major snow storm on Snoqualmie Pass after visiting our friends and the SAI board in Cle Elum.

March 11-18: Dr. Ed and Pauline Steudli stayed with us and we there were several meetings with Ukrainian dentists and others who are involved in the dental hygiene project that is being implemented in Ukraine. The Steudli’s have great expertise and experience in starting hygiene education programs.

March 29 & 30: Drug Rehab Center in KievApril 18-20: Another trip to Kamarivka Orphanage

April: Vicki spent several days helping friends pack for move to America. Also, distributed numerous boxes sent from donors in the US and Canada.

May 2-5: We went with the dental van to Ivanivka village and worked with villagers in connection with the Methodist Sisters. This was the second outreach with these dedicated women.

May 15-18: Richard–Kamarivka Orphanage with Doug Stoddard’s team from the US

May 25: EEO Orphanage near Chernobyl Zone/ Richard pulls teeth and Vicki, Charlene and Jen do crafts with kids and deliver presents to them from a the Windy Valley Pathfinder Club in Washington State.

May: Friends from Zhitomer visited for a few days and stored items at our house while they went to America to pursue funding and decide on their future. (They will not be returning until September 2008.) Charlene and Jen Ellis visited for 9 days. Vicki helped another couple with movers and distributed their bounteous supply of food and other items to numerous places.

June 19-23: Camp Dream in Lugansk region (A 19 hour train ride from Kiev) See blog below about this trip.

June: Richard spent a lot of time trying to get dental equipment repaired

July 1-6: Camp outside of Uhzgorod (14 hour bus trip west and 18 hour train ride home) Partnered with YWAM team from Faro Islands–Richard worked on many gypsy kids while Vicki was very sick and spent a couple days at the hotel. and was only albe to spend one day at the camp.

July 8-15: Merle and Maria Jacobs visit for a week of R& R between their outreaches

July 15-21: Camp Karitas (Vicki) working with disabled children with Mission to Ukraine

July 22-27: Maukacevo—Richard worked with Mercy Truck in a gypsy village (More about this trip )

July 31-Aug 5: YWAM team of 6 from California plus Jacobs stayed at our house after their three week outreach in Lithiania and another in Odessa.

Aug. 10-Sept. 7: Vicki in America visiting her mom in Salem and son’s family in Renton

Aug. 15-22: Richard with Mercy Truck in Zhitomer Area Villages with Don Miller’s Good Samaritan Team from Oregon

Sept. 18-21: Kamarivka Orphanage with YWAM team from Pennsylvania R & V

Sept. 24-27: Gluhotvsy Village south of Zhitomer with PA Team

October: Month of meetings, receiving and distributing 42 boxes of humanitarian aid—several trips to Zhitomer and other places. Helping friends with move back to America—distributing some of their items. Another 20 boxes were received two weeks later.

October 31-Nov 2: Kamarivka Orphanage/Last team with Jeff Colker Richard

Nov. 5-6: Joined a Mission to Ukraine team from Indiana in a small village south of Zhitomer. Richard enjoyed helping out whenever he was needed and working with the three dentists on the team. Vicki helped Jan Young distribute 200 pair of glasses to villagers. Vicki also gave out toys sent from a VBS in Atlanta, Georgia, hats knitted by a retired couple in Sublimity, Oregon and socks knit by a couple in Milton-Freewater, Washington. The people were very excited to receive these things. Nov. 8: Potiiva School for Disabled kids (130 children) with MTU team. We had so much fun doing crafts with the kids and giving them all gospel teddy bears which were generously donated by Family Christian Book stores. Vicki had sewed buttons on all 130 bears so they children would be able to tell which one was theirs.
Nov. 20-21: Sunshine Center with Nathalie and Marek’s Sunshine Ministry. Used portable equipment and Vicki assisted–gave out hats, gloves, and scarves and gospel bears.Two more outreaches are scheduled next week and then we go to America for a month to spend the holidays with our family. There is a lovely, young couple who stays at our house while we are gone. We praise God for helping us find them.Looking back at this schedule, I realize how hectic the last few months were. No wonder we are often tired. These are just the outreaches. There were also a lot of meetings, gathering of supplies and equipment, distributing boxes and organization of things being stored at our place. But the stories that are behind all these events are the things that keep us going. It’s the kids, the widows, the lives that are touched on each of these trips that make the difference.

In the next few days, I plan to share some of these stories. Thank you to all who are contributing funds and donating humanitarian aid in support of this ministry. Without you we would not be able to share God’s love with as many children and adults. God has promised to bless those who are joining Him in His work.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20

Wow! So many things are happening here in Ukraine. Where do I begin? I am going to share the opening of the CBN/Operation Blessings building on the dental blog But because I shared in an earlier blog about looking for a house we could afford, I have to now share how our Amazing God has blessed us far above what we could ever hope for.

While we were in the US, I received the monthly email newsletter from the Christian Women’s group in Kyiv. Listed in it was a house that sounded wonderful but when we looked at the map we found it was about 35 miles from Kyiv–even though it is on the west side where Smile House and Mostysche Orphanage are located. It was northwest of both of these. Plus, we were in the states and figured it would be sold when we returned.

About a week after returning, we decided that if it was still available we should at least look at it since there are two orphanages near that village–one which YWAM works very closely with. Because it was still available, we hired a driver and went to see it. At first I didn’t want to like it–but I did. An American couple who are missionaries who were working with gypies had purchased it as a shell and finished the first floor in American style–open floor plan, water heated floors, cheerful colors. It’s about 1345 square downstairs and the second floor has heavy insulation and some sheetrock. It has a lot of room to store our boxes–which are still at Mostyshce and have been rifled through–another story. J.D. and Sherry have lost funding for their work and need to return to the states because of some family problems. We could feel that it was a blessed house and that God is very familiar with the address. But the distance from Kyiv and Smile House prevented us from making a decision–even though an electic train runs within walking distance from the house. Best of all, the price was in our range. Unbelievably, the asking price was $85,000. When all was said and done, we purchased it, paid all fees, bought some of the furnishings and a car-23 year old LADA-, and now are once again home owners.

It is exciting in some ways and very, very frightening in another. I am thankful to our wonderful God for providing us with another house. Last year when we sold our home and “things”, I thought we would never have another house and I was willing to give that up for what I felt God was calling us to do. And now, He has so generously provided for us-including a vehicle. But on the other end of the spectrum, we are both having “panic” attacks, worrying about being so far out, fearing having to drive on the Ukrainian roads, wondering if we will be able to communicate with anybody–both in America and with our neighbors. There is no phone or internet access at the moment–although we still have cell phones–and our lifeline is the internet. I have been able to handle this whole thing because I knew I could use my Vonage phone if I get lonely or need something in America. I have the internet and first thing each morning look to see if there are any new emails–I am even beginning to like forwarded things (as long as they don’t say something bad is going to happen if I don’t send them on to hundreds of friends)because it is a form of communication from someone.

Later, I will share more thoughts on the whole move but for now, let me say, we are excited but it’s been an extremely difficult week-starting with a terrible case of flu for Richard and a milder flu for me. We are very sad about the tragic death of one of our builders and injuries to another builder in a traffic accident. (Again consult the Smile House blog for updates.) The house purchase and the news that our Russian daughter finally has legal status in the states were highlights of the week. Our denied visa applications with the accompanying stress is one of the lows. A few minutes ago while jogging, I tripped and although nothing seems to be too damaged, I am already getting sore. So, we just ask for your prayers as this new stage of our adventure unfolds. Slava Boga! Praise God for His continuied plans and grace.

Richard and I are in Washington State–we have been here for a week and a half. During this time, we have been blessed by the birth of our fifth grandchild, a grandson Wylie Scott. We have enjoyed the company of both of our sons, their wonderful wives, and beautiful children as well as our daughter, her great husband and darling daughter. Friends and family have showered us with love and support. And today, the Smile Alliance International board of directors is hosting a fundraising event for the ministry and Smile House in Cle Elum.

I woke up this morning realizing how very blessed we are. This is God’s ministry–not ours. We are very priviledged to be partners with Him. And I am so thankful for the very, very busy people who have commited their time and talents to support SAI emotionally, financially, spiritually and in every other way. Without each of them and everyone of our supporters (prayer warriors, friends, family, financial contributors, advisors, those who give their time and talents to gathering, sorting and shipping, administrators, and so many more), we would not be in the place we are nor would we be able to see the fulfillment of our dreams and be on hand to watch God work. So I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to each of them and each of you for your love and support. May you be blessed abundantly.

We arrived in Washington State yesterday after a long flight with connections through Amsterdam and San Francisco. Our third grandson is still waiting to put in his appearance and we are excited to be here for the occasion. Our children from California will be arriving this weekend. We will be getting together with our Russian daughter and her family at some point as well. We will also be visiting a couple of churches and there is a fundraiser for SAI on the 10th of September in Cle Elum. A visit to the Salem area to my family with a stop at Richard’s brothers in Portland is also on the agenda. It is difficult to see everyone and enjoy them in three weeks but we will give it our best. It is very exciting to be here.While we are gone, two lovely young ladies from the SBS School at YWAM will be staying in our apartment. It helps us to have someone there and we are glad they can have a place to stay while they get ready for their outreach program.

Summer will be over and schedules back to more normal schedules when we return to Ukraine. I have talked with the ladies who work the YWAM Mother’s Care program and I hope to be able to work with the babies at the hospital a couple days a week. I have also talked to some teachers in a village about dental hygiene instruction in their school and possibly an English club. Plus, we have talked with Director Natasha at Mostysche and hope to bring the dental van there on a regular basis. We are talking about other ways we can interact with the kids and I am looking for direction in this area.

The government just paid to have the bathrooms renovated at Mostysche. We were very excited to see the lovely new facilities. So things are progressing. We appreciate your continued prayers and encouragement. Without that, all our plans are in vain.