It’s been a long time since our last update…

We have been living…sometimes surviving.  

The Transition

For some reason, we really hoped that our transition would go smoothly and easily and that everyone would get here and our lives would magically fall into place and no one would skip a beat.  Okay, we didn’t think it would be that easy, but we hoped for better than it has been.

This is just us being real…so if you don’t want to hear about difficult times, stop reading now.

When we were approaching Kyiv by plane on February 16, Mary and I both felt in the pit of our stomachs, “This is real.  We are really moving to Ukraine.”  Suddenly the reality of all we had left behind began to hit.  

Honestly in the hustle of selling our house, moving to a rent house, going through everything we owned and literally weighing its importance to us, finishing out a 19 year career at First Baptist Church of Moore, saying goodbye to friends and family, and packing 33 suitcases and 20 carry-ons, we didn’t have time to stop and grieve what was about to become history.  We didn’t realize that when our previous life came to a screeching halt that we would feel such a tidal wave of grief.  You may remember seeing pictures of the huge tsunami a few years ago and how it came up so smoothly and slowly and silently but left destruction in its wake.  That’s kind of what happened to us when we got here.

Don’t misunderstand, we fully trust God and we know, that we know that we know we are where we are supposed to be.  That’s what kept us from getting on a plane and going back to the USA.  Seriously.  Those first weeks were so hard that sometimes we could hardly breathe.  We were all on edge.  We were not only grieving, but all of our relationships underwent a transition.  Suddenly we were all together literally around the clock.  We love each other more than any other people on earth, but you know you get set in patterns and your relationships with your spouse and children are built around that pattern.  You adapt to the circumstances you are in.

Our circumstances changed overnight and we had to learn a new expression of our relationships with each other.

The kids were paralyzed by the newness of everything and the inability to communicate with anyone.  Not to mention, they had left behind their friends and their church.  One of the kids would not even leave the house and go into the yard.  It was very difficult to watch our kids struggling so and be ill-equipped to do anything about it.  We all had to process everything as best we could with the Lord’s help.  Some days just getting through the day so we could go back to bed…because we also were not sleeping much at night (because of the time change and everything churning in our minds).

After The First Month

The first month was one of the hardest of our lives.  It’s interesting that when you go through something hard, you think that you are happy to have survived it and glad you will never have to go through something so hard again.  But God’s plans are incremental and often one hard thing prepares you for the next hard thing…which turns out to be a little bit harder than the last.

But survive we did.  And coming through hard, brings character and shapes us to be more what God wants us to be.

Once the family got situated and more settled, it afforded me the chance to let down and go through the process I needed to go through.  It seems that trying to be strong for the family took its toll on me and as soon as I had the opportunity, my mind and emotions began to process the fact that I no longer went to “work” everyday.  I no longer got to see the people I had grown to love as family everyday (that happens when you work/minister somewhere for 19 years).  I no longer got to lead worship with the best team of musicians there is.  My life that I had built was finished and a new one was beginning.  I have to admit, that was hard.  I can’t explain in words what I went through after that first month.  Is was something I came through with the strength of the Lord and lived to tell about.  That’s about it.  Hopefully I learned some valuable lessons (I know I did).  

That time of “aloneness” brought me closer to God and gave me a different kind of trust and faith.

Our dear friend Gus Downing Came for a conference here mid April.  Anticipating that trip gave me a something to look forward to and help me make it.

Ministry Here in Ukraine

We are still in language mode and have yet to become deeply involved in ministry.  We have made many “networking” contacts, though, and there is certainly plenty to do and there are plenty of places to plug in and begin ministry.  But as you know, we made the decision to spend 6 months learning language and setting our roots.  I’m glad we made that decision before we got here, because that has been so difficult  for me.  After spending over 20 years in ministry, it was our life.  We were either at home or we were leading or participating in some sort of ministry.  So it has been hard to have our focus on something as mundane as language study!  But it is so important.  We see already some fruits of our learning language (what little we know so far).

Coming to America

In just a few short weeks, I’ll travel to America by myself to attend Blake’s graduation and travel back to Ukraine with him.  It will be a SHORT trip… only 4 days in America.  I’ll get to see my mom for 2 days.  She just had eye surgery and will have another one the day I arrive in America.  She won’t be able to go to graduation, unfortunately, but she will get to SEE me and SEE Blake before he heads home to Ukraine with us.

We don’t know when the next time might be that we are in America, but we know it will be a long time.

Ministry Conferences – Orphan Ministry

Gus and I got to do a ministry leader/pastor’s conference in Kremenets’ when he was here.  It was a wonderful time and we renewed old friendships and made new ones.  I got to make some key contacts for future ministry in that area.

I have planned, tentatively, to return there, by train, before I go to America and do a one day conference.  It will be a conference on Prayer and deepening our relationship with God.  People are the same everywhere and it’s just as easy to let real relationship with God slip into the background of life here in Ukraine as it is in America.

We have summer ministry planned with 2 groups from America and with a few other people.  We are going into three orphanages and doing some “VBS” type programs.  Additionally, we will do some things here in our neighborhood with evangelism and hope to get our neighbors to our home to see who we are and learn why we are here.  We are praying for great harvest during that time.  Thank you for praying with us!


We continue to encourage families to adopt, as God leads.  We have many new children we are advocating for.  See them here… 


Thank you for your continued prayer for our family as we continue to transition and become the family God wants us to be here in this community.  We are trusting Him and depending on Him (and your prayers).

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!