The Logic of a Six Year Old Boy

During conversation practice with students, we take turns asking and answering questions. That might be a time my sense of humor comes forth such as telling the students I was born in 2000. Last Friday when I said that along with that I am 22 years old. my friend Azari told me I wasn’t. He told me I am 25 years old.

Azari is a six year old boy who comes to my Friday class at the Ukrainian church with his mom. He knows exactly where the snack box is and likes sharing snacks with the adults. So what was his logic behind thinking I must be 25 and not 22?

In his six year old mind, I have a beard and men cannot grow a beard until they are 25 years old. The color of the beard does not matter just that I have a beard, so I must be 25. I thanked him for his astute observation that I am 25 and gave him some chocolate.

Children are a blessing and valued greatly by Jesus. He blessed children while on earth such as we see in Matthew 19:14:

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 

I enjoy seeing Azari each Friday afternoon, I wonder how much longer he will think I am 25?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Her First Friday in America

Yesterday afternoon in my English class in the Ukrainian church, we had a new person join our class. She is a twenty three year old woman who arrived less than a week ago. She is living with her aunt who has been here for a while. She was already in the room because her aunt is the one who opens the door to the church for us.

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After class, some of us went out for coffee and she joined us. We talked about the class and how she felt. She shared that she felt shy and nervous at first. One of the things I do in class to make it fun is to throw Hershey’s kisses to them. She shared that helped her to relax.

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Ester, the young woman who received the violin a few months ago, sat next to our new person during class. Ester and her parents joined us at the coffee shop and talked a lot with our new person. A new friendship was formed.

Our new person smiled and laughed with us at the coffee shop. Less than a week ago, she was in the refugee camp in Poland. Some months ago, she fled the war in Ukraine. Now she is living with her aunt in my city and has already made new friends.

At the end of class, I asked my friend Alex, who is a pastor from Ukraine, to pray for her. She knows Jesus and he is helping her with her new life in America.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A No Alarm Clock Day :)

It is Tuesday evening and both the school system for elementary to high school in my city and the college I teach at have announced classes canceled for Wednesday due to a winter storm coming. That means no morning, afternoon or evening classes for me to teach and Wednesday will be a No Alarm Clock Day. 🙂

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What are my plans for such a momentous occasion you might ask? Good question.

After waking up whatever time that happens, first things first coffee time at home. Coffee time at home means listening to worship music while spending time with Jesus and enjoying a few cups of coffee.

Then it will be time to catch up on blogging. I am regretfully behind. I look forward to catching up with my fellow bloggers.

As if coffee time with Jesus and blogging are not enough of a whirlwind of a day, I have a feeling it will be time to visit Middle Earth again. Yes, that means watching Lord of the Rings. I have the extended release ones for each of the three movies, so that will give me over ten hours of Tolkien entertainment.

That’s my agenda for this Wednesday. What are your plans?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Life Change- Decision Made

A few months ago, I shared a post A Life Change about a possible change coming for me. It is a reality now. After teaching in a program called Family Literacy for thirteen years, I resigned from it effective January 31st. I will continue teaching for the college and continue my ministry, so I am not leaving my work with refugees/immigrants.

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In fact refugees are part of the reason for my change. I felt led to offer a morning class at the Ukrainian church a few mornings per week. I will also teach a morning class for the college two mornings a week, so there will not be a big drop in income.

I am looking forward to this change in my life. It will include one added little extra for me. I will have Friday mornings off. That is something to really look forward to. 🙂

In recent weeks I also felt the need to ease up on my crazy schedule a bit. Starting in February, the two mornings I teach for the college will be in Zoom from home, so I can basically roll out of bed, get ready, and then teach and when class is over, I am already home. The two mornings at the Ukrainian church will start mid morning not 8:30. It may not sound like much, but a little extra sleep will help A LOT.

So there it is my not so big news, but something big for me.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Special Deliveries Yesterday

Sitting at home is boring. It is funny how when life is going normal for me, I am so busy that I wish to have a day at home. But now freshly out of a hospital stay and with Thanksgiving Break, staying home is the last thing I want to do. 🙂

I am thankful for two special deliveries yesterday. The first was a drop off by the director of the Family Literacy Program I teach in. The students in my morning class made me get well cards. One of the students also made a plate of food for me. The director stopped by to drop them off for me along with a gift card to my favorite burger place in town.

Yesterday evening my new friends from Ukraine, Alexey and Ruslana, dropped off some food for me. I only told them I was sick without going into details. It was great to see them even if only for a few minutes. They are new grandparents with their first grandson being born last week here in my city. I am not sure if I will let my Ukrainian friends know I was in the hospital to have my heart shocked back into rhythm.

Cards made by hand, food so I don’t need to cook, and friendly faces are nice. However, I think I am feeling good enough for a visit to the coffee shop today. I had my day at home. It is time to get out for a little while. 🙂

Tomorrow I am invited over to a friend’s home for Thanksgiving. I like the start time of 4pm I can sleep late. If you are in the USA, what are your Thanksgiving Day plans?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Opportunities In The Midst Of A Hospital Stay

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

This verse has a promise in it for those of us who have placed our faith in Jesus. But what exactly is the promise? Jesus is not saying we will be immune to problems. The promise is that no matter what happens in this life, we can rest in knowing Jesus has overcome this world and all of its problems. Jesus lived in this life, so he is our perfect Sympathetic High Priest we can come to in prayer any time.

I had such a time this week already, actually this past week. but Sunday and Monday were the culimnation.

Due to dealing with having bronchitis, I felt like doing absolutely NOTHING including no energy for blogging this past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening I had pain in my ribs from all of the coughing. So after consulting Dr. Google and finding what what the pain could mean, I decided to go to the ER thinking they might stick a needle in my side to draw out some fluid.

Once I was hooked up to the machines, the Physician’s Assistant said something about not liking where I heart rate was at- beats per minute. I didn’t realize how seriously it would be taken. Next thing I knew Cardiology was involved. The Cardiologist ended up telling me I was in a version of AFIB and that they wanted me to stay over night to have my heart shocked back into rhythm. I agreed to do so and ended up staying over night.

It was what transpired that transformed the situation into three divine appointments. It started with the young woman who was my nurse overnight. We had conversations every time she came into my room. I got to know her and her life story. At one point after realizing she is a baby Christian, I asked her to pray for me. She shared that she did not know how to pray, so I told her to just pray from her heart. She prayed for me.

In the morning, a student nurse was handling my case. She went with me for the cardioversion, shocking my heart back into rhythm. She was with me most of the time in the morning. I was her only patient. I got to know her and her life story. We talked about Jesus and the church she goes to. We laughed a lot. I was part of her education.

When she left around 11am, a nice young woman took over. She had a tattoo that simply said, Jeremiah 29:11. I quoted Jeremiah 29:11 to her which got her attention. I got to know her and her life story. She is a baby Christian as well. We shared a lot and at one point I asked her to pray for me. She told me she had stage fright about praying in front of people. I shared with her she could simply pray from her heart and not worry about how it sounded to others. After she prayed, I shared Romans 8 26-27 with her.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

I shared with her that no one knows how to pray but we do not need to worry about it because the Holy Spirit helps us as we pray translating between God and ourselves. When it was time for me to go home, she gave me a hug.

So three young women who are nurses, one big unexpected turn of events in the hospital, and me asking Jesus to get me through it, turned into three divine appointments to encourage and strengthen new believers.

I am feeling better and after coming home, took a four hour nap.

By the way all three of them brought me chocolate ice cream. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Story from Ukraine That Got to This Teacher

As a teacher, one of the stories I heard at the Ukrainian Appreciation Dinner that really got to me was when Tania Synia shared about her work as a photographer and one encounter she had. Tania had a photography studio in Ukraine before the war. She focused on weddings, families etc. After Russia invaded, she stayed in Ukraine to photograph the effects of the war on people.

She came to one town to a school that had been destroyed. Two boys were getting into the school to look for books. They were excited to share with Tania that they found books they could study biology with. Most kids try to get out of studying, but being deprived of school due to the war gave the boys a desire to have their education continue. Tania has a website where she shares her photos. It is tetianasynia.com.

More stories to come. I am still on the mend. I do nebulizer treatments at home four times a day. That is a first for me.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Mexico, Switzerland, Vietnam, and Ukraine in 1 Day

Yesterday was a normal kind of day for me that involved spending time with people from four different countries. It was just my kind of day. 🙂

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It started with teaching three moms from Mexico. The moms from Afghanistan could not be in class. Since only the moms from Mexico could be in class, I used Spanish to help them understand some things about English.

Then it was on to a coffee shop to meet with a student from Switzerland to help her practice conversational English. She shared pictures of her family with me. She is here doing an internship with a man who works with clocks and watches. He is originally from Switzerland, so we have a few young people come here each year to do an internship with him.

Next it was a friend from Vietnam who had been my student. We met at a different coffee shop. It was great catching up on what is happening with my friend’s family. My friend wanted to give me a box of books for studying English to share with Ukrainian students.

My day concluded with teaching Ukrainian refugees English at a Ukrainian church and having dinner at the home of one family. The father/husband of the family was a pastor in Ukraine. We used Google Translate to share. He shared with me how much he enjoys meeting people from other countries in other classes here. I shared with him that having students from many countries gives me an appreciation for what Jesus said in John 3:16.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 

The world has come to my city. If I walk through some of the supermarkets here it is like walking through an international airport. I am grateful Jesus has allowed me to share his love with the world.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Grateful Jesus Continues to Give Me Opportunities

Precious in the sight of the Lord
    is the death of his faithful servants. Psalm 116:15

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! Philippians 1:20-21

On Sunday after my morning class at my church, I visited the Ukrainian church for their special service and lunch. During their worship service, Psalm 116 was on the screen for a scripture reading. It sparked a thought for me.

I am at the age that maybe I have five years, ten years, or up to twenty years left in this life before Jesus takes me home to heaven. Being in heaven is definitely something to look forward to but the whole death thing not so much. I would prefer to be taken up in the Rapture. 🙂

The thought that sparked in me was gratitude that Jesus continues to bless me with opportunities to share his love with people from diverse cultures like my new friend Alexey and his family from Ukraine.

It has been a blessing for me to help new refugees from Ukraine and also my Hispanic friends in my Sunday morning group at my church. In my morning class at the school, it has been a blessing to help new refugees from Afghanistan. In my afternoon class at a high school, it has been a blessing to help my Yazidi students and Ukrainian students. In my evening classes at the college, it has been a blessing to help students from diverse countries.

So in my later years, I am grateful that Jesus continues to bless me with opportunities to show and share his love with the nations right here in my city.

What is something you are grateful for?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Grateful She Did Not Have Her Baby During Class

Yesterday afternoon the 21 year old daughter of the married couple from Ukraine came with them to my class at the high school. They had just come from the doctor’s office for her check up before she gives birth. She is due any day now. The doctor told her that she is close. When she told me that, I thought-“I hope this doesn’t happen during my class.”

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I am happy that the baby did not come during my class. I am also happy for the family that they can have something wonderful happen after having to flee the war in Ukraine, for her and her husband. the birth of their first child and for her parents, the birth of their first grandchild.

My only plan for if she had gone into labor during my class was to call 911.

The family is eagerly awaiting the baby coming,

It makes me think about the 2nd coming of Jesus. Is the 2nd coming of Jesus something we are eagerly awaiting? We do not know when he will return, but we can look forward to Jesus coming again. It is something we need to be prepared for as Romans 13:11 says:

And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.

We do not know when Jesus will return, but one thing we do know is that each day brings us one day closer to his return.

Today I am grateful for two things, that Jesus is coming back-hopefully soon, and that my friend from Ukraine did not have the baby during my class. ::)

Thank you for reading. God Bless.