After smooth and comfortable flights, I arrived safely in Lutsk last Tuesday evening. Since then, we have had a whirlwind of activity and I must admit that my physical body has been transitioning faster than my heart and emotions. But I’m so thankful that God has been gracious to use His Word, His Spirit, and His body to turn my eyes toward Him and to work in my heart. And on my 2nd evening here, God even brought an Oklahoma-like thunderstorm which lifted my spirits!
It has been good to be reunited with friends! Sveta and I now share a 2-room apartment on the 8th floor of the same building where we previously lived. We do have an elevator in our building but I prefer not to use it - it's small and slow and I just prefer the exercise on the stairs. I have never lived above the 2nd floor in Ukraine and we have a great view! Our apartment faces north looking over a nearby village toward the main part of Lutsk.
This past week we completed many of the tasks necessary to get me closer to registration. We are now waiting on an approval letter from the local government, which we hope to receive by the end of this week. We will then take all of the documents to the migration office for final approval of my registration and, Lord-willing, issuance of a 1-year residency permit. Please pray that this process is completed without any complications.Sveta and I also spent time this week purchasing necessary items for our apartment. I don’t often have a great need for a car in Ukraine, but I was definitely missing mine as we carried bags full of large items from store to store, through the busy open market, and on the bus. On Friday we went to a Lowes-type store just to look and plan our purchases for when we could secure a car. We were so thankful when 2 friends walked into the store. Since they were there in our ministry’s van we were able to get our large items in that one stop and later used the van for another large purchase. So now we have pots, pans, some utensils, and pillows, Sveta has a lamp to read at night, and I have a fan to stay cool and drown out the street noises below. Our apartment is definitely coming together with a few more purchases planned for this week!
Some of you might be wondering what effect the fighting in the east is having here. I am certainly not aware of all the effects but I know a few. The value of the US dollar is up from the typical 8:1 exchange rate to 13:1. Yesterday there was a presentation at church from a group of men who took food and supplies to the soldiers and refugees in the east. They said people were very grateful and that the soldiers reported that they do not always receive the supplies sent by their own government because of corruption among some of the officers. One soldier asked for multiple gospel tracts, stating that the protective equipment they have been issued is not adequate and the men need God. Another difficulty for Ukraine is the inability to pay Russia for the gas they supply. As a result the hot water supply has been turned off for at least the next 2 months (one local report says it will be back on tomorrow but we'll see). Some apartment owners have previously installed small hot water tanks – unfortunately our landlords have not so we boil water on the stove and do the best we can. We have also been told that schools will be in session 6 days a week and students will not have a fall break so that all schools can be closed in December and January to save the cost of heating the buildings.
August is a time for vacation for many Ukrainians, including all of those in our ministry. Following the end of camps in July the rehab center has remained closed. We are scheduled to have a team meeting next Monday and work is to resume on Tuesday. It has been nice to have this time free to run errands, visit friends, and settle in. This week I hope to establish a plan for language lessons and begin preparation of the training school. I have already been asked by multiple people when the PT training center will open. It’s wonderful to have so much interest but it means I must get busy organizing and planning it.Thank you to the many of you who have been praying!! I am so blessed to be in the body of Christ! Below are a few more pics from the past week...
Walking home from church with friends
Reunited with friends