She Passed!!!

We met when she was in my ESL class a year and a half ago. She was a pediatric dentist in her country with a dream to become a dentist here in the USA. She had to leave her country with her husband because their lives were in danger from the government there. I won’t share her name or where she is from because she still has family back home.

Photo by cottonbro studio on

She joined my Sunday morning group for a year and we studied together for a year on Saturdays to help her improve her English. When we explored the requirements for her to be admitted to the dental college here, we found that she needed to take the Dental Boards Exam, so that she can be in a special two year program for dentists from other countries.

She took her Dental Boards a few weeks ago. Yesterday she called me to share with me that she passed the Dental Boards. To say she is excited is an understatement. I could tell over the phone that she was beaming. I joked with her that a good way to celebrate is to share some of her country’s food with us on Sunday. It was great to hear her laugh.

It is rewarding when one of my refugee/immigrant friends achieves a goal and to know I had a small part in helping them. It is my conviction that it is important to care about the whole person. If I care about the whole person, genuinely care, then when I share Jesus with them, it means something.

Tomorrow morning will be a special time to celebrate.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Thunderstorms- One Person’s Excitement Is Another Person’s ….

Thunderstorms rolled in last night where I live. It was one long train of thunderstorms as they kept coming for several hours. Thunderstorms elicit various emotions from people, but one group of people were on my mind last night.

Thunderstorms are exciting for me. I love to watch lightning and hearing the thunder makes me think of the power of God. I have even been known to go out driving around in them to experience them better. Exciting is the last word my refugee friends would use.

Photo by Greg on

Words like triggering fear would be better descriptors for my refugee friends. Last night as the thunderstorms roared in, I thought of my Ukrainian friends and prayed for them. The thunder reminds them of the sounds of war and triggers fear for them.

Knowing this, a few weeks ago as I was teaching them about the difference between watch and warning regarding thunderstorms and tornadoes and when to be concerned, we also talked about grounding techniques if panic hits. This morning hopefully they will come to class. It will be a chance for me to check on them to see if memories of war hit them and how they are doing.

After class, it will be off to a renewed venture for me. It will be a return to the aqua track. It is the one exercise I can do that actually helps with psoriatic arthritis. I know that others might like water aerobics, but being clumsy, dancing in water is not for me.

Who knows where I will end up after the aqua track. Perhaps it is a mystery. 🙂

Oh and shout out and Happy Birthday to David of He turns thirty and counting today. 🙂 To celebrate he shared blogging tips today.

What are your plans for Saturday?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Happy Friday-Coffee Shop Time-Book Update

Happy Friday everyone 🙂

This morning I will be spending time at the coffee shop aka my office. This morning’s visit to the coffee shop has a purpose not just hanging out time. I will meet with a friend from my church who is gifted with creating things like a book cover. She also knows about formatting books for Amazon self publishing. My two books, Jesus Understands Trauma and Lifted Out Of The Pit/Called To The Nations, could be ready to publish in a few weeks.

This has been quite the journey. My hope and prayer is for Jesus to work through the books to free up people who are suffering.

This afternoon it will be my blessing to meet with my Ukrainian refugee friends to help them with English. We did not meet last week because of Good Friday and Easter, so it will be good to see them again.

Photo by Greg on

It is full speed ahead to the weekend, which means time at the coffee shop, time with refugee friends, time for relaxing, and this evening, time for storms. It has been HOT the past few days but a cool front will arrive with thunderstorms leading the way this evening.

What are your weekend plans?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Picture With Much Meaning Behind It

I had forgotten about this picture, but yesterday I was in a classroom and there it was on the computer with my login. It is a photo that has a lot of meaning behind it for me.

It represents my life with Jesus. It represents the title of one of my upcoming books, Lifted Out Of The Pit/Called To The Nations. Jesus has blessed me to be able to reach out to and share his love with the many different cultures in my city. My city is home to refugees and immigrants from all over the world.

He has also blessed me with the opportunity to have eleven ministry trips to other countries, Brazil, France, Mexico, and Romania. Because of my trips to France and Romania, it was wonderful to visit Austria, England, Germany, Holland, and Switzerland as well.

Additionally my humble blog has been read by people from 52 different countries so far this year. My prayer is that Jesus work through my blog to reach people and give them the hope that can only be found in Jesus.

I know from whence I came. The memories of growing up in a home with an alcoholic father and mentally ill mother are still with me. The memories of my own failings are still with me. The pit in life that Jesus lifted me out of was indeed a deep one.

If Jesus can take me out of the pit in life and lead me to a life of sharing his love with the nations, just imagine what he can do in your life.

My prayer is that Jesus works through both of my upcoming books, Jesus Understands Trauma and Lifted Out Of The Pit/Called To The Nations, to reach people in many countries.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Sharing Hope in Jesus

Yesterday morning in my class at the Ukrainian Church, a married couple and their four year old daughter came for the first time. They had just arrived three days before. Less than a week in America and they were already in my class.

Photo by Mathias Reding on

In the morning during my prayer time, I felt led to share Romans 15:13 with the class.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I brought it up using Bible Gateway and shared it parallel English and Ukrainian, I asked a fourteen year old boy who comes with his parents to read out loud the verse in Ukrainian.

As we were studying, I felt led to share the song The Blessing in Ukrainian at the end of the class and then a simple message using Google Translate of:

Step by step Jesus will help you with your new life in America.

My friend Alexey gave me a ride to the coffee shop. He shared with me that the married couple are not Christians yet. So by following the leading of the Holy Spirit and not realizing what was happening, the message of hope in Jesu was shared with them.

Photo by Erik Mclean on

We often do not know what is going on in people’s lives, but Jesus does. He can guide us for what and how to share with people like yesterday the message of hope in Jesus for newly arrived refugees.

It has been awesome to be able to partner with the Ukrainian Church. By teaching the class, it attracts new refugees who may not otherwise come to the church. I look forward to continuing with the classes there.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

One Year Later- My Ukrainian Friends

One year ago today, life as they knew it changed forever for my Ukrainian friends. Their peaceful lives were upended by the invasion of the Russian military. Today there will be prayer rallies in many places commemorating the one year anniversary.

Photo by Mathias Reding on

My concern has been for the refugees fleeing the war. Their homes destroyed and lives in danger they fled to Poland. My city is home now for many Ukrainian refugees. Several months ago, I felt led by Jesus to connect with one of the Ukrainian churches in my city to help new refugees with English classes and find other small ways to help.

For the past six months, it has been my privilege to meet many Ukrainian refugees. This morning in our class, we will have a birthday morning for three of my friends who have birthdays this week, We have shared many meaningful moments over the past six months.

It has not been a solo endeavor for me. People from my home church have donated gift cards to a local supermarket that I gave to the families to supplement their EBT cards for food. Fellow bloggers have donated supplies for my class. People have donated for a violinist and for a worship leader to have instruments. Many have prayed for my Ukrainian friends.

It has been one year and more refugees are coming to my city. They would have much rather preferred to be able to stay in their beloved homeland and homes living peaceful lives, but that is not their reality. My desire is to continue to help them in the small ways that Jesus leads me to.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Ukrainian Worship Leader Left His Guitar Behind

Last night I visited the Ukrainian family I have gotten to know quite well. They invited me for a borsch dinner which is a delicious soup in their culture. The children greeted me with hugs, I joked with the wife about having dinner outside in the snowy night, and the husband and I talked about our ‘dream’ of the wife and one of the daughters opening a bakery and the two of us being the greeters sitting there drinking coffee.

They had other visitors who are family friends from Ukraine. They are a family of a husband, wife, a an ever so cute almost three old daughter. They just arrived here from Germany two weeks ago. The wife and daughter fled Ukraine to Germany first with the husband staying behind to share Jesus with people victimized by the war. Then the husband left Ukraine to join his wife and daughter in Germany leaving his guitar behind in Ukraine. Refugees fleeing war bring only bare necessities.

Photo by Philip Boakye on

He was a worship leader in Ukraine. He led worship in his church in Ukraine and after the war started he would go out to the city center and play worship songs and then share Jesus with the people who stopped to listen.

After dinner we sat in the living room and shared worship music videos. It was a wonderful time of fellowship.

So my new project is to get an acoustic guitar for him. Please pray for me to find one for him.

Thank you for praying. 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.

Photo by Mathias Reding on

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.

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on

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.

The Holidays and Then ………

It is that time of year. The holidays have come and gone. We are in the THEN part of winter as in the holidays happened and then-just boring winter. I had a reminder of it yesterday as I walked out of the high school where I teach in the afternoons. The door to the parking lot faces to the north, so any winter wind greets us in the face as we exit.

Photo by Andrew Patrick on

For a city kid like me there is not much to do in the winter time. If I was an outdoor adventure person, I would probably enjoy ice fishing. My idea of ice fishing is buying frozen fish at the supermarket. 🙂

It is true that Valentines Day is coming, but being single I don’t care about that day. Yes next Monday is Martin Luther King Day, but that is more of an important day to remember a great person from history, not a day for fun. So it is just boring winter now.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Have no fear, however, your coffee purist can still hang out at the coffee shop. I am also waiting for my pastor to read the final pieces I wrote for my book Jesus Understands Trauma and for his feedback. There are also my classes to teach and my refugee/immigrant friends to spend time with. So not all is lost.

I am curious how you would finish the sentence- The holidays and then ………

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

God At Work-My Classes at the Ukrainian Church

The first Saturday that I taught at the Ukrainian church was eight days after getting my vehicle. It was also less than two weeks after my friend Alex came here with his family. Alex was a pastor in Ukraine. Yesterday I enjoyed lunch with Alex and his family after my Saturday class. We talked about how fun it has been to partner together.

Refugees come to my English class for help with English. Alex meets the people who come and shares Jesus with them. Yesterday was a great example of that.

A married couple, Bogdana and Andre, came for the first time Friday afternoon and again yesterday morning. They had just arrived earlier in the week as new refugees. We had a nice moment yesterday after we found out Andre’s birthday was January 5th. We sang Happy Birthday to him and I gave him some chocolate,

After class, Alex talked with them. He invited them to come to the Ukrainian church with him offering to give them a ride. They agreed, so this morning Alex will bring them to worship service with him. They are not Christians. God is at work in their hearts and souls.

I wanted to share this glimpse into my classes at the Ukrainian church because they are possible due to having a good vehicle which I have because generous people donated to help me buy it. Some of them read my blog.

God is always at work and connecting the dots such as me getting a good vehicle the same week Alex and his family came here which resulted in Alex and me partnering in ministry.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.