A Ukrainian Worship Left His Guitar Behind BUT Has One Now

A few weeks ago I shared about a Ukrainian worship leader who had to leave his guitar behind when Hheleft Ukraine in my post A Ukrainian Worship Left His Guitar Behind. A generous person read the post and donated a guitar for him to have.

Nicolai came here with his wife and three year old daughter. He stayed behind in Ukraine for six months to share Jesus with Ukrainians fleeing the war. He reunited with his wife and daughter come to here.

Yesterday we met at my church’s office for him to receive the guitar. He was thrilled.. He tuned it and played a few songs. A picture if s is worth a thousand words. so here are the pictures of him opening the box and . holding the guitar.

He has a guitar now and can start helping with worship in the Ukrainian church here.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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.

Question for My Doctor

Last Friday afternoon, I had a appointment with my cardiologist. I found out I was back in what he called heart flutter rhythm, which means I will have a minor procedure done in the coming weeks. It was not exactly the kind of news one wants to receive two days before Christmas, but at least as my cardiologist said, it is the best problem to have with the heart because it is easy to fix.

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My appointment finished in time for me to make it to the Ukrainian church to teach English for refugees. We had a good time together My plan was to go home after the class, but I found out that the children and youth of my friends in my class were singing in a Christmas program that evening, so I stayed to listen. It was a blessing to listen to them sing especially considering their children had just fled the war with them only a month or months ago.

Back to my appointment and a question I had when he told me I would need a procedure. My first question was about recovery time. I told him, “my concern about recovery time is how long it will take because I am helping Ukrainian refugees and need to know how long I would be away from them.” My concern was more about my Ukrainian friends and friends from other countries than it was about me. I was relieved when he told me I would be back to work a few days after the procedure.

Anytime I find out something medical that is one of my first thoughts. How will this affect the people Jesus has called me to serve?

Living with chronic illness has meant needing to make adjustments. Some are easy such as letting my friends from other countries know about my need to gluten free foods. Some are a hassle for me personally but do not affect them such as which day I inject my once a week medication knowing the next day will be low energy day for me. That has been my reality for many years. That is why one of my first questions was how long will the recovery time be.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Their First Christmas in America-My Ukrainian Friends

How life has changed for my Ukrainian friends. Two years ago life went on as normal with no clue as to what would happen a few years later. Last year at this time, there were perhaps murmurs of Russia invading. Now here we are ten months after Russia invaded. In fact on Christmas Eve, it will be ten months to the day.

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One year ago, my Ukrainian friends had no idea they would be celebrating Christmas in a new country as refugees. Yesterday afternoon I used bible gateway on the projector to have one person read in Ukrainian from Matthew 2:13-15 about the angel warning Joseph to take Mary and Baby Jesus and flee to Egypt.

Then I used Google Translate to share with them the thought that Jesus was a refugee as a young child, so he understands how they feel. I shared with them that Jesus being a refugee is part of the Christmas story.

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This is their first Christmas in America. I am sure if they had their choice it would be for Ukraine to have never been invaded and their lives be safe in Ukraine, but sadly that is not their reality. They are fortunate to have a good church full of Ukrainian speakers to help them.

The Ukrainian church I am partnering with to provide English classes for them is having some special Christmas programs in Ukrainian. So they will have that blessing this Christmas.

Please pray for my Ukrainian friends during these weeks of holiday celebrations and for me as I serve them and seek to help them.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

December Is Here

December is here and bring on winter. I am ready for snow, I want to see what it is like to drive in the snow in my new vehicle that is a SUV. I am ready for snow days off from school, so I can stay home and watch movies.

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December is here and goodbye to November. I do not want to go through a month like last month again. I had bronchitis most of the month and then there was that short hospital stay.

December is here and bring on Christmas Break. I am so looking forward to having a few weeks with nothing to do except meet with refugee/immigrant friends and do some writing.

December is here and hopefully it brings opportunities to share Jesus with my refugee/immigrant friends, The best part of Christmas for me is the way it opens opportunities to share Jesus with friends from other cultures who are curious about Christianity.

December is here. Are you ready for winter, Christmas, and a new month?

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.

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.