We’ll be in the U.S. on our first furlough this summer!
This post is one of my periodic, bird’s eye updates on our family’s life and ministry in L’viv, Ukraine. We’ve now been on the mission field for two and a half years! Wow, has that time flown! As we prepare for our first furlough, we want to share a little about what God has done in our ministry so far and the vision He’s given us for the future.
A few facts about us and our work:
Our calling is to support a church plant in L’viv, called New Horizons. We were sent out as missionaries by Horizon Christian Fellowship of Indianapolis.
Josh has worked full time as a “tent-maker” to support us on the mission-field. He has a passion for building up men to be strong leaders at home, work, church and in their community.
Nicole is passionate about reaching underserved populations, as a social worker with a background in anti-human trafficking work.
The church where we serve has outgrown its meeting space twice in the past three years!
What We’ve Been Doing These Two and a Half Years
Collaborating on a weekly English club evangelism, which regularly sees 30 to 50 attendees.
Providing pastoral support, serving in a ministerial and administrative capacity to enable the senior pastor to focus on his primary duties.
Directing sound ministry, by running sound on Sundays and recruiting and training new engineers.
Working on the church staff, participating in overall vision planning and programming.
Conducting pre-marital counseling.
Discipling women in the church and conducting pre-marital counseling.
Leading worship and overseeing the worship ministry.
Providing strategic direction as project manager on various church programs.
Writing a weekly blog to inform about the mission field and offer encouragement.
What’s Been Going on in our Family
Titus turned one year old on June 3! This furlough will be his first time on American soil, as he was born here in L’viv. He’s on the verge of walking and is desperate to keep up with his big sister. It’s fun to watch Nora and Titus together, as they clearly love one another but have a decent amount of sibling rivalry already. Titus says, “Mama” and every once in a while, we think he’s saying, “Papa,” as well. His favorite word is “da,” which is Russian for “yes.” We continue to speak to him in both Russian and English, and he definitely has an understanding of both languages.
Nora is busy learning Ukrainian language and keeps asking us when she can go to “sadik,” which is kindergarten. We hope that this fall we can start having her attend one or two days a week for a few hours. She’s a social butterfly, and we believe it would be great for her to make some more friends and practice Ukrainian.
As you know from an earlier post, Josh was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in early May. He had surgery on June 6 to remove his thyroid and two lymph nodes. The surgery went well, and we should have biopsy results at the end of June. The doctors will then advise whether further treatment is necessary. Josh is doing well overall!
I (Nicole) am keeping busy as wife and mama of two small kids. I’m also enjoying writing our weekly blog. It’s a time of personal reflection, as well as hopefully an opportunity to speak into the hearts of others and share the hope of Christ.
Vision for Future Ministry
We’ll be in the U.S. on furlough from mid July to mid October, 2017. Our goals for that time are to reunite with family and friends, reconnect with churches that support us, meet with additional churches and individuals who would like to get behind our work, and attend a family wedding!
After that, we’ll return to L’viv to continue serving here. We’re excited for the vision God has given us for the next season. We’ll be continuing in most of the capacities I wrote about above, but here are a few new things we’ll be doing:
Josh’s role is changing. He’s always worked as a “tent-maker” to support us on the mission field, but the American company he works for needs to move his position back to the States. At the same time, we see that needs continue to grow in the church here in L’viv. Josh is looking for a new part time, remote job, but we’re also raising additional funding so he can work fewer hours and devote more time to ministry. He feels called to help more in planning and carrying out regular church functioning.
We’re both involved in developing a new discipleship and training program for church members. The goal is to strengthen them in their identify in Christ, equip them to recognize their gifts and callings, and train them up to serve effectively in the church and their community.
I will be developing a community building ministry with the church. We’ll start with a community needs assessment to determine which populations are most underserved and use that information to develop programs for reaching those groups. Some of the ideas we’re praying about are a police chaplaincy program, outreach to women who are being prostituted or trafficked, and services for soldiers and refugees from Ukraine’s war.
Here are some specific opportunities for you to partner with us:
Pray. For open doors to develop community outreach. For spiritual maturity in the church. For new workers to help meet the needs of the church.
Invite us to share. We’ll be in the States from mid July to mid October. We’d love to have a cup of coffee and chat in person with you! You can get in touch with us by email at email@example.com. We’d also be happy to come speak at your church, a group meeting, or your place of business. If you have connections with other groups that might be interested in having us, please let us know! Click here to download a one page flyer that you can send to your pastor or other connections or post on Facebook.
Give financially. We’re raising funds to cover monthly personal and ministry costs, as well as periodic yearly expenses, such as annual registration in Ukraine, car registration and insurance, and more. Click here to give.
Offer job connections. As I mentioned above, the company Josh works for is moving his position back to the U.S. He’s looking for a new part time remote job, so we appreciate any connections you might have. He has worked in the insurance, health and wellness and technology fields. His current position, which is being moved, is Director of Client Enablement for a technology company.