One year and counting…

One year ago today we landed in Ukraine — with our 33 suitcase and 20something carry-on bags and 3 strollers (2 double, 1 single) and a carseat and a bunch of other stuff we were carrying.

I can’t believe it’s been a year since we moved here.

I also can’t believe that it’s only been a year.

The last several days we have been thinking a lot about the last year and specifically about the last days we were in the USA and the journey to get here.   We’ve been recounting the funny, the unbelievable, the inconceivable and the miraculous things God did.  We’ve even been watching the clock and reminisced about what we were doing at given times during the journey.   Like taking a pickup with a trailer for our luggage to the airport.   Or the wonderful ladies at British Airways that checked all of our luggage all the way to Kiev even though they were supposed to make us pick it all up and take it to the hotel with us (on our one night layover in London) and then recheck it the next day and then proceeded to check about 15 carryon bags for us so we didn’t have to actually carry them on.

We laughed about the tiny tiny tiny tiny hotel rooms in London.   The elevator and hallways were so narrow that we couldn’t even get the strollers through.  The rooms were so small that you could talk on the phone, answer the door, look out the window and use the bathroom all at the same time.

We remembered how the littles were so good on the trip the entire time.   Granted they were probably in terrible shock.  I know we were.

We considered the deep sinking feeling Mary and I had in our stomachs when we landed in Kiev and realized that this was our new “normal.”  We thought we had done “hard” before. We found out that we hadn’t.   In fact, we didn’t even know what it was.  Probably we still don’t – because who knows what God will ask of us next.

We thought about how everything we owned in the world was in suitcases.   Literally.

We wondered when we first arrived what would happen to us.   How would we possibly  survive?   What was going to happen to our kids?  How could God really provide everything we would need?

God has been so good.

Here’s some notes from the kids.   I am not editing these at all – so you can see what they are thinking.

From Blake:
The past months have been some of the best and hardest months of my life. I knew my life wouldn’t be the same once I moved, but it has been so much better than I could have imagined. God has given us so many opportunities to share his love with the people around us! He’s given me new friends along with my old friends. I’m excited for the next year and to see what God has in store next!

From Hannah:
It is hard to believe that a year ago today we arrived in Ukraine.   This past year has been kind of hard.   We’ve all been homesick at sometime or another.   This year has also been very good, though.   God has not stopped providing for our needs since we’ve lived here and He has blessed us with good friends.   I can say that I am glad that God brought us here to Ukraine.   He has taught me to trust in Him completely and to trust in Him Alone.   I can’t wait to see how He will use us this next year and in the years to come.

From Bethany:
My first year in Ukraine has been scary, fun and full of excitement.  We have been very busy here in Ukraine: learning the language, church, school, [taking care of the] littles, Bible study, camps, and many more things.  It seems like just last month we were getting on an airplane to fly to London [we had a one night layover in London].  It has been so much fun here, bu some days I do get homesick.  It is cool to know that we can change people’s lives here and we can’t wait until we can speak the language so we can reach more and more people.

From Seth:
The first year in Ukraine has been a little scary.   It was hard to get used to a new life.  There were good things this year.  We got four black cats and one red eared slider turtle named “squirt” and a lot of visits from family and friends.  I miss my friends a lot.  Sometimes I wake up and I think I am in America.  The little kids are doing fine living here.   I think Micah was a little sad when we got here.  I miss our old house a lot but I know tomorrow will be better than today.

So you can see that our kids are doing okay.  We all have our moments that are very difficult…but we also know that we are where we are supposed to be and are glad to be in the Lord’s service in Ukraine.

Here’s some pictures from the last year…

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Sveta, Blake and Mary on Thanksgiving Day

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Thanksgiving Day


Fall Festival at Hannah’s school.  (Yes, that’s Micah dressed as Mr Fredrickson from “Up”)


Who needs snow?  Ethan and Bethany playing in the yard.


Fun in the city during Gus, Wartha and Sally’s visit.


Making playdoh.   Yes they ate some.   Oh well.


Relaxing at the camp where we spoke back in the summer.


Happy Birthday (we’ve all celebrated a birthday in Ukraine now (except Blake)).


Thank you for your consistent prayers and for your support.  We will be amazed what God does in the next year.   We’ll turn around and another year will have gone by and we’ll be just as thankful to the Lord.

Today and always.   Blessing the Great Name of the our Great God!