Most of my posts are a short and sweet look at a specific topic related to being a missionary or a missionary parent. This week’s post is more of a birds’ eye view of our lives here, what we’ve been doing and some plans for the next few months. I’ll plan to share these updates quarterly with you all.
What’s Going on at New Horizons Church
New Horizons continues to be a packed house most Sundays! It seems like the church is yet again bursting at the seams. We praise God for the growth and continue to hope for a building to call our own, or at least a place to rent with more space.
Throughout the winter and spring, we’ve been continuing with existing ministries: Sunday services, youth group, home fellowships, English club, and we’ve added a monthly time of prayer and worship. The first of those worship nights surprised us by the level of interest – about one hundred people came to participate in a moving time of fellowship with God!
This spring is also a time of vision planning for New Horizons. The staff and leadership are meeting regularly to pray and plan about the goals for our church Body. We desire to actively disciple believers so they are maturing in their own walks with Christ and becoming effective leaders in the areas where God has called each of them to serve. We’re working on resources and program development to that end this spring and summer.
How Josh and I are Serving in Ministry
Josh is a regular part of the New Horizons church staff. This spring, he and several other staff members are taking on more leadership responsibilities, helping to oversee church functioning and provide our pastor with support while he leads us in vision planning. Nicole has also been participating with the leadership on that planning process. With a background in project management, she has been helping strategize ways to meet our future goals for discipleship and raising up leaders in the church.
Josh is still leading the sound ministry, and he and Galya take turns running sound on Sundays. Please pray for a third person to volunteer so they can begin to train another sound engineer.
Josh is also continuing with the weekly English club. Another missionary couple is now planning and leading the lessons, and the three of them participate in the conversations and activities each Wednesday night. It’s a great time of relationship building and has led to some students showing interest in God and the church.
My (Nicole’s) role in the worship ministry has continued to change, as another worship leader steps up more and more. I am primarily involved as an advisor at this point. We are praying and working with several members of the worship team to train others up to also lead worship. We’re hoping to have two or even three people who are able to lead on a regular basis.
I continue to disciple several women from the church, meeting with them in our home or in town, and keeping up with them throughout the week by phone or messages. There are more and more young couples in the church, and it’s close to my heart to encourage these wives in their relationships, praying for God-centered marriages.
We’re also continuing to support our “Babushka Lida.” She is a dear friend who was basically adopted into my (Nicole’s) family when we lived in Dnipropetrovsk many years ago. Babushka still lives in Dnipro, and she has very few family members alive to care for her. Along with my parents, we’re helping take care of some of her personal needs, and we make two visits each year to Dnipro to spend time with her. We’re thankful for awesome friends in Dnipro who look out for her on a regular basis, as well. Babushka Lida is an amazing woman, and we feel privileged to be part of her life!
Nora continues to have bi-weekly play dates with Ilona, a girl from church who is helping her learn Ukrainian. Nora is still shy about practicing, but we see that she is slowly understanding more. She actually shocks us by the number of words she knows, when she overcomes her shyness to tell us!
We frequently laugh about the little oddities of our kids growing up in Ukraine. According to local etiquette, Nora’s dolls never dream of leaving shoes on when they “come in the house.” She frequently “makes” borscht when she’s play cooking, and she’s started “reading” her books in Ukrainian. Check out some other funny missionary kid stories from both my childhood and our kids’ in one of my posts, Exploring the Concept of Home – Musings of a Missionary Kid.
Titus will be one year old on June 3! I know it’s cliche, but man, that time went fast! He’s healthy and mostly happy these days. He’s completely mastered crawling, and he’s trying so hard to keep up with his big sister. Nora does great with Titus, and he absolutely adores her, but they definitely have their battles now over toys and attention from Mama and Papa.
Big Update – We’re Job Searching and Praying for Additional Finances
Josh is currently looking for a new job. When we felt called to serve in L’viv, he took a job with an Indiana based tech company, where he has worked remote for the past three years. The company has been making some changes and need to move Josh’s position back to the States. This has obviously led us to pray, pray and pray some more about God’s direction. After seeking Him, we believe we are still called to be in L’viv, and Josh still feels that part of his ministry here is demonstrating that a man can help in the church and work to provide for his family at the same time.
We are blessed to have a few churches and individuals supporting us financially, but Josh’s income has always been our primary means of provision. We are looking for another job – something remote from the States or another western country – or a job here in Ukraine. We’re also praying that God provides additional missionary support – He’s put it on our hearts to try to raise another $600 each month. Please pray with us for these needs, and if you have networking ideas for job opportunities, please send us an email, and we can chat!
We’re Coming Back on Furlough!
We will back in the States from mid July to mid October this year. This will be our first furlough since we moved to L’viv two and a half years ago. Nora has changed so much, and Titus has never even been in America. While we are there, we will be based mostly in Indiana, but we hope to travel some, as well, to visit family and churches in other states. We would love to catch up with you while we are there – grab coffee, have dinner, enjoy the outdoors together. Please, get in touch!!!
We are also planning to speak at churches and events, to share what we are doing and about the church. If you have a church home, a Bible study, a small group, or a business that is open to hearing about this ministry, please send us an email. We’d love to set up a time to come and speak.
As always, thank you so much for reading our updates, for staying in touch with us, and for praying for our family and the ministry here! Please send us emails and catch up on Facebook.
Below are some things we are specifically thanking God for, as well as some prayer requests for you to consider.
Praising God for:
- The church Body, which continues to explode
- People from English club who consistently come to church now
- The new vision God is giving the leadership for discipleship and ministry
- His blessings on our family. There have been so many challenges, physically, emotionally and spiritually, since we moved here, but we see that God uses them to draw us closer to each other.
- The opportunity to visit with you all in the States this summer.
Pray with us for:
- God to continue working on hearts and in marriages and families. We see that many families in the church struggle with Biblical principles of parenting and marriage.
- Wisdom on how to best maintain relationships with people here while we are on furlough this summer.
- Some ongoing health issues Nicole is having.
- Opportunities to meet and share with churches and people in the States.
- Direction and provision for a job and additional missionary support.
Partner with us:
- If you would like to partner with us and help support the ministry here in L’viv, please, prayerfully consider donating here.
We are so thankful to all of you who read, pray and support us in any way! Please continue to pray with us!