Two strange birds

conf rehab fotoEight of us went to a conference on Saturday.  It was the first one we were involved in organizing for central Ukraine and we invited volunteers from eight other rehab centres to come.  Looking over the hall and seeing God’s grace in the lives of these guys and girls was amazing.  The unusual thing was that in this picture, Marie and I are the only ones who weren’t addicted to drugs or alcohol.  That’s a fact.  Actually, I just realized, I took the photo…  Marie is the only strange bird pictured!   

To my surprise, the conference was pretty much perfect.  Rather than have several sermons or Bible studies, we had one sermon and the rest of the day was filled with questions and answers that touched on rehab ministry.  The super-happy guy up the back had just been released from prison and was still high from freedom and the love of his Christian family.  (Most of these guys have spent time in jail.)

Steady as She Goes

IMG-1928That’s how I feel about the ministry right now.  Sure, we’ve had a few incidents with a couple of different people and situations; but by and large, things progress steadily and to God’s glory.  Thankfully, the horses and sleigh in the picture is not our permanent new means of transport.  An old friend from the village let us come and enjoy the unique experience for a bit over an hour in January. 

We had a close call a couple of weeks ago when one of our guys didn’t come home after work and we discovered him the next morning drunk and penniless, having spent his paycheck on gaming and grog.  He assured us that he had made up his mind to go home to his family and nothing we could say would change it.  Normally when someone who has believed in Jesus says this, we don’t argue, but encourage them to go, warning them of what they can expect as a child of God in rebellion to Him.  My heart breaks when I see someone leave like this… and I sincerely hope that I never get used to it.  Kolya went home, was rejected by his parents, found a friend to live with for a few days, and then, prodigal-son-like, turned his thoughts towards “home”.  We encouraged him to come back and took him back into basic rehab – probably for a couple of months.  It was good to hug him again.

The Holidays are nearly over

famoThe clock has just ticked past midnight, signaling the start of Orthodox Christmas on the 7th.  For the second year running, we joined most of the protestant churches around Ukraine and celebrated on the 25th of December this year.  Amazingly, it just didn’t seem quite right.  I proposed changing the date of New Years as well… but the joke went down like a ton of bricks. 

Jesse joined us for Christmas and invited a couple of friends from Oz to join us.  It was pleasant spending time with them and experiencing their love for Christ.  Jesse is still with us and leaves in 10 days or so to go back to the life of a student at Brisbane School of Theology and minister in a church in Brisbane.

The November burning.


IMG_1029It’s kind of been an exciting  and very full weekend. 

We’ve had one of our rehab guys and his wife and daughter staying with us since Saturday.  They’re nice people who are now walking with God, so even though it’s been extra work, it has still been rewarding and just “fun”.  They want to move to Rzhyshchiv permanently once the husband finishes rehab.  If the last two days is anything to go by… they will be a blessing.