We had an invitation to the home of some good friends today. We thought it was to enjoy tea and coffee and conversation. And the whole family was invited. That’s not an easy thing to do (invite a family that has 8 kids and 5 of them with Down syndrome). But away we went at 1:00 to Tolic and Olya’s house.
We got there and quickly figured out that we were actually going to be enjoying a lunch (shoshlik — barbecued pork ribs). And it was a normal Ukrainian lunch. TONS of food. Salads, bread, cheese, sausage, juices, compote, lots of cookies, meats… And in LARGE quantities.
We all got sat down in the living room and in came three men we didn’t know. One was a visiting pastor from Poland and two Ukrainian believers. They had heard from Tolic that we were coming over and he had told them a little bit about us and they really wanted to meet us so they came. They had MANY questions. I spoke to them in Russian as I could and they seemed surprised. It was kind of humorous because clearly I don’t understand much but sometimes one of them would ask a question about me to Tolic and I would answer in Russian. It surprised them and it was kind of confidence building for us. Not only did we understand them, but they understood us! That was encouraging.
Anyway, they had lots of questions about our kids, why we moved here, why we would leave America, etc. It gave us a great opportunity to share what God is doing, what He has done, and what we think He is doing.
It was obvious that they didn’t quite understand that we had 5 kids with Down syndrome, but they were not uncomfortable with the kids. In fact, Eliana, true to form, sat in all three laps at some point and gave hugs. They didn’t seem to think anything out of the ordinary about it and just loved on them without reservation.
It was a great experience and we are grateful to have had it.
The lunch was delicious and they went out of their way to make us feel welcome and made sure we were all well-fed!
We got to see their very large garden — huge amounts of strawberries, potatoes, cabbage. We saw their chickens (10 laying hens and 1 rooster). And no, we didn’t kill any of them and eat them for dinner — they are strictly laying hens. We found out where we can buy ours. We will try to get them next weekend (if I can get the hen house built before then). After that, it will have to be July before we can get them. And I’m not sure I want to be building a hen house in July!!!
Hannah and Eli
Yuri on left and Sveta (next to Micah) are our friends and neighbors. They joined us for lunch. Zahar is in the blue shirt. He is Tolic and Olya’s son.
For some reason, Ethan got scared when we went outside to eat. He would NOT let me put him down. He held on for dear life. The first few minutes of lunch he cried and cried. Finally he settled down enough that I was able to turn him around to face the table, but still he wouldn’t let me put him down. No idea what was wrong with him or what he was afraid of.
Hannah and Bethany at lunch.
A TERRIBLE pic of Eliana, but there she is. And of course you can see Matthew and Micah in the background.
Our three new friends. The one in the middle is from Poland — he has 9 kids also, aged 22 down to 2!
We know God has brought us here. We know He has plans for us. But we recognize that the WHEN and the WHAT is HIS business. Our’s is just to obey. That we will do.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord.