Hi, I’m Nicole, and I’m the writer of this blog. I became a missionary kid at twelve years old, when my parents, my four younger siblings, and I moved to Ukraine. In my thirty-some years, I’ve lived in three countries and six cities. I’ve been part of four different church plants on two different continents and travelled for pleasure and missionary work to at least fourteen countries.
Now I’m a social worker and a missionary in L’viv, Ukraine with my husband and two kids. We’re part of a church plant, and we work in pastoral support, community building, english clubs, worship and sound ministry, and discipleship.
This blog is about missionary life.
A friend recently asked me to share about my perspective as a missionary wife and mom, because so often we hear more about the husband’s experience. She asked me what makes life more challenging for a wife and mom here in Ukraine than it was in America…what does my daily life look like.
I began blogging about the comical, mundane, incredible experience of being Mama on the mission field. And as I did that, I realized – there are peculiarities to my life, for sure. But in all honesty, many of my joys, challenges, heartaches, and excitement are similar to those experienced by Christians all over the world – the same things you experience every day.
And so, I have two goals for this blog. One is to tell you what it’s really like for us to be missionaries on a foreign field. And the second is to encourage you in your daily Christian life by sharing my own experiences and reflections.
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Our Missionary Life in a Nutshell
Our family has lived as missionaries in L’viv since 2014. We help with an evangelical church plant called New Horizons. There are over 100 people in the church, mostly university students, but a growing number of young families, too. We’ve been here two years and have no plans of leaving at this point, unless God changes something!
My husband, Josh, serves in pastoral support, English clubs, discipleship, sound ministry, and is on the church staff. I’m involved in discipleship and counseling, worship ministry, and managing various projects for the church (behind the scenes work).
We’re excited about the vision God has given us for a new ministry – community building. Starting in the fall of 2017, I’ll work with the church to assess the major needs of our city – we want to determine which populations are not being served by other churches or ministries. We’ll then develop programs to meet those needs. Some of the ideas we’re praying about are a police chaplaincy, services for soldiers and refugees from Ukraine’s war, and ministry to women who are being prostituted or trafficked.
L’viv is a gorgeous city with history dating back to 1256 and Eastern European architecture that still makes me do a double take when I stop to appreciate where I am. The language is Ukrainian, and the culture is VERY Ukrainian in a country that has many influences from Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, and Russia.
A little more about me
I’m a wife, mama and born again Christian. Walking with Jesus is not an easy life, and I stumble and make lots of mistakes. But I’ve learned by experience that I’m way better off with Him than without Him.
My husband, Josh, is the perfect combination of patience, strength and understanding – God knew exactly what He was doing when He brought Josh to this stubborn, strong-willed woman! Our daughter, Nora, is almost four. She’s a spitfire with tons of energy, lots of laughter and oh, such, a strong will! Titus, our son, just turned one, and he’s sweet and tender and 100% attached to Mama!
I love being a missionary and a social worker. I’m passionate about building people up in every facet of their lives – supporting them as they grow stronger as individuals, in relationships, at work, in ministry, and most importantly – in an active relationship with Jesus Christ.
I have experience in professional writing, project management, and community organizing. English is my native language, but I’m also fluent in Russian and familiar with Ukrainian. Oh, that I would finally be fluent in both!
Intercultural experience is a major passion of mine, and I’ve been privileged to do work in Ukraine, Hungary, Kosovo, Slovakia, Serbia and multiple other countries. One of my life goals is that our kids would grow up appreciating and learning from many different cultures around the world.
Before coming to L’viv, I worked for over two years as a project manager in the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, Human Trafficking Prevention Program. In this capacity, I collaborated with government agencies, law enforcement, non-profit and private sector entities in a statewide anti-trafficking task force. I was also Vice President of the Board of Directors for a nonprofit called Restored, which is dedicated to human trafficking response work.
As a writer, I’ve contributed on statewide press releases, grant proposals and professional journal articles for the Office of the Indiana Attorney General. I also served as a consulting writer for Restored, a non-profit that serves human trafficking victims. Now I write this weekly blog, as well as programs and policies for New Horizons church here in L’viv.
You can also follow our weekly blog via email or on WordPress. Please read and comment, engage in conversation! Ask me questions. Tell me what you want to hear about. Tell me about yourself. Let’s get to know each other!