Life in Ukraine
We have been in L’viv for roughly two months now and are beginning to feel more settled. The first month or so was busy with adjusting to jet lag and getting over some sickness, followed by a wonderful Christmas with all of the Pratt family. Nicole’s sister Lindsay came from where she works near Kiev, Ukraine; her brother Aaron and his family flew in from Finland, and her bother Alex visited from Indiana. The Pratt family “locals” to L’viv now include her parents (Mike and Michelle), her brother Josh, and now our family. We all enjoyed the visit, especially watching the grand-kids play together. One of Nora’s cousins is Timothy, who is just five weeks older than her, and they became quite good friends and partners in crime during the visit!
God has been answering your prayers for many practical needs related to our move. He has provided renters for our house in Indiana, and we are now looking for our own house or apartment to rent here in L’viv. Also, we were able to officially register in the beginning of February, which means that we now have temporary residency status in Ukraine. Thank you for praying with us!
December and January are major holiday months for Ukraine, and many people travel to visit family. Now that the holidays are over, we are starting up previous ministries, gearing up for new ones, and making some changes in the church at New Horizons. Starting February 1, we now have two Sunday morning services to accommodate the growing number of people attending. We are also continuing or reopening a School of Ministry, youth group, English club evangelism, and a Saturday night Koinania cafe. One of the new ministries the church is starting is a regular visit to the military hospital, where wounded soldiers from the Ukrainian army are being treated. Members of the church will be visiting to offer some company, materials about the Lord, and gifts.
Josh has begun leading the weekly English clubs and is enjoying that time. There are typically between 10 and 20 people attending each week, both believers and unbelievers. The club is geared toward conversation and practicing English, and they discuss certain topics each week. One primary goal of this ministry is for Josh to develop relationships with people, through which he can share the love of Christ.
Josh is also providing support for the sound ministry at New Horizons. He’s helping to work out some problems they are experiencing with the system and the effects of the room, as well as offering training and support to the young woman who has been involved with running sound for several years.
Nicole will be discipling women from the church and has begun meeting with some of them to develop relationships. With an 18-month old to care for, much of Nicole’s ministry will be done in our home, having women over for fellowship. Nicole is also helping with the worship ministry, leading one of the services most weeks and offering guidance for that area of ministry overall.
All things Nora…
For those of you family and close friends reading this, I know what you were all really thinking as you read this post…”So, what about Nora?!” We are quite accustomed to her being front and center!
Nora has adjusted extremely well to life here, once she got over the initial jet lag. She has taken a quick liking to Ukrainian food, especially red borscht (a traditional soup made with vegetables, including beets, and meat). She’s also starting to pick up Ukrainian words, saying “hello,” “good,” and “goodbye.” She’s making friends in Sunday school and runs around the church building as if she owns the place! We’re thankful that so many of the women and girls at church already love and dote on her.
She is visibly growing, and her hair is quite long. The biggest change we’ve noticed in her since arriving is her newly acquired language skills. She now knows many animal names and sounds (the cow and dog are her favorites!), and she says many people’s names. She loves playing with stacking and puzzle toys, and she constantly wants to read books. Other favorite pass-times are playing outside, walking to a nearby house where they keep chickens and turkeys, and taking baths. Nora continues to be a constant source of joy and blessing, and we are SO thankful that God placed her in our family!
Prayers and Praise
Praise the Lord:
- For renters for the house in Indiana
- For relationships we are developing with people here
- That Josh’s work with Healthiest Employers is going well
- That the body at New Horizons continues to grow
- That God would bring peace to Ukraine and a resolution to the current political crisis in the east
- That God would give wisdom to leaders of Ukraine and other nations trying to resolve the crisis
- That people would have hearts open to the Gospel
- That God would provide a house for us to rent that would meet our needs and provide a yard for Nora to play in
- That God would encourage our family, as we have been facing some health and emotional challenges in the last month
- That God would provide a new church home, as we have outgrown our current building
Thank you all for your love and support! Please keep us informed as to how we can pray for each of you!