Thankful to the Lord – we have arrived!
On December 6th, we landed at L’viv International Airport after more than 40 hours of traveling! It was a tremendous blessing to have Cassie Vawter travel with us and offer an extra set of hands, some extra luggage space, and a never-ending positive attitude and infectious laugh. Cassie has been a friend of Nicole’s family for over twenty years and actually helped her family move to Ukraine years ago. How amazing that she has now moved three generations of our family onto the mission field!
Last weeks in Indianapolis
Many, many thanks to our family and friends who helped and supported us in so many ways during our last weeks in the U.S. Horizon Christian Fellowship Indianapolis hosted a going away dinner, Calvary Chapel Bloomington invited us out to speak, friends and family helped finish up some last projects on the house and offered to store keepsakes for us, and our neighbors fed us, helped with Nora, and opened their home to us for our last night in the States. You are all a tremendous blessing!It was a bittersweet time, as we are excited to move into this next season God has planned, but truly felt the sadness of leaving you all. We pray God’s richest blessings on each of you and hope to stay in touch through email, Facebook, Skype…you name it!
A long journey across the sea…
We left from Indianapolis Airport on December 4, along with our friend, Cassie. One of our layovers this trip was in Washington DC, where we waited about five hours, both on and off the plane, while the mechanical team troubleshot problems with the aircraft and finally de-boarded everyone and moved us to a new plane. Nora slept fairly well on that long flight over the Atlantic, and we were super relieved that a fever she’d developed the day before we left didn’t reappear (at least not much) while traveling.
As a result of the delay in DC, we missed our flight to L’viv and spent most of the day in Munich airport running from airline service centers to shuttle buses to airport gates trying to make a new flight-any flight-that would get us to our final destination…all of this with three rolling carry-ons, three backpacks, and a stroller-well, and a baby, of course! After a very tiring and slightly ridiculous run around the airport, we were advised by airline staff that we would need to stay overnight. Praise the Lord for His provision-due to the mechanical problems in DC, United Airlines paid for hotel rooms, dinner and breakfast included!
On Saturday morning, we finally arrived in L’viv, and amazingly, the only piece of luggage lost in the frenzy of flight changes was Nicole’s guitar, which was returned on Tuesday. We had a happy reunion with Nicole’s parents, Mike and Michelle Pratt, her brother, Josh, and his fiance, Masha Kolpakova.
Beginning our time in L’viv
In the last week, we have focused on helping Nora overcome jet lag (NO small feat, we should say!!!), regaining health (all of us were sick by the time we arrived), and starting to get settled. It’s a blessing to stay initially with Nicole’s family so that we don’t have to stress about finding our own place immediately and unpacking all our belongings. We’ve attended our new church, New Horizons, the last two Sundays and have already been so blessed to fellowship with the believers there.
Josh also attended the English club evangelism last week, which he will be leading next year. Cassie led a women’s seminar for the church on Saturday, and Nicole led worship in Ukrainian for the first time in many years.
Ukraine at war
As many of you know, Ukraine has been in a state of unrest for over a year now, and they are now at war with Russia in the eastern parts of the country. This past Sunday, a chaplain from the Ukrainian army spoke at New Horizons, sharing a message and stories from the front. It was moving and heart-breaking to see the pictures and hear the stories of heroism and sacrifice. Please continue to pray for the brave men who are fighting for Ukraine’s freedom, for their physical safety and eternal salvation. Pray for New Horizons, that we would help in any way that we can.
L’viv is in a strange sort of state with regards to the war. In many ways, life seems normal as always-people going to work and school, meeting with friends in coffee houses, and going about their usual days. On the other hand, most of the city is experiencing electrical outages due to shortage, the Ukrainian currency (hrivna) continues to plummet in value, and it is common to pass demonstrations throughout the city to support the troops. Several families in the church have sons who have been drafted, and a number of refugees have come in contact with our church after fleeing to L’viv from the east.
We’ll keep you posted in the coming weeks as we settle in more to the new roles God has planned. As always, thank you for your prayers and support! Please let us know how we can pray for you.
- That the Body of Christ at New Horizons would be full of the Spirit
- For God’s will to be done with the war in Ukraine and that many souls would be saved eternally and physical lives saved from war
- For a renter for the house in Indiana
- For a new home here in L’viv
- That our in-country registration would be processed in a timely fashion