A Day at an Orphanage

There are no words to accurately describe my day at one of the many Ternopil orphanages. Even though I've seen pictures, and have read and heard many stories, I was not prepared for the experience.

The orphanage we visited was mostly state funded with some private donations. It is a transitional home where children stay for a maximum of three months while their situation is assessed. After 3 months they are moved into other orphanages around the country or sometimes back to the street.

There were about 35 children from age 2 to 16 in the orphanage. The home was dark, stunk of urine and was in bad need of repair. The staff of three I saw seemed nice enough. The children were wearing the oddest mix of clothing (all very dirty and worn), plastic slippers were the most prevalent, t-shirts from every era of Americana (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Barbie, Taz, and so on). The babies were wearing onsies with plastic shoes. Forget gender specific… “if it fits, you wear it” seems to be the rule.Continue reading the rest of this post...

Quik-Crete anyone?

Today was great. I did work duties in the morning making cement and building bathrooms in the new building. I've learned cement mixing by shovel… no machines, cement truck deliveries, or ready mix here! You start with water, add ten shoveled buckets of sifted sand (I had to sift sand also) one bag of cement powder, three buckets of gravel, and then a bag what looks live marbles, but are like lava beads. Hand mix on the ground flipping with a shovel and voila… cement! I also learned brick laying, concrete floor finishing and pipe laying. Continue reading the rest of this post...

My First Week in Ukraine

I got into Kiev yesterday afternoon and my friend Natalia who will serve as my translator was there waiting or me. We bought our train tickets for Ternopil then went sightseeing in Kiev. Wow! I was impressed. Downtown Kiev is the best. It's much like the largest western european cities I've been too. Very clean, lots of nice appearing people and lots of green. Much construction all over the city. We went to a mall (even had a food court!) Most of the same stores as back home, including a very nice Columbia Outdoor clothing store. We walked all around town for about seven hours. One major difference is lines! Lots of them most everywhere. Rode the subway around, it was very, very clean! Lots of people, every train was packed. Heard a little English spoken around town. Many of the building are...Continue reading the rest of this post...

Goodbye Lebanon, Hello Ukraine!

My training in Lebanon, PA came to and end this week and I am leaving for Ukraine Sunday. The YWAM experience has been unbelievable! For the past three months I have been faced with many personal challenges and have seen every corner of my heart turned upside down. There have been times of pain, and many times of brokenness, but all to His glory as He continues to make me more like Christ. I am grateful for His work in me. I praise Him for His timing of this opportunity and the support of so many of you that has gotten us this far.

Please keep Pam and the children in your prayers. It has been challenging for all of us since my departure in March and the communication uncertainties I will be facing for the next few months mean an even deeper isolation from each other. Pray for God's blessings of strength and protection for them while I am overseas.