Monday, August 03, 2015

Ukraine Pictures

I realize I shared all (and more) of these on facebook, but it's easier to find them on my blog, so here they are. :)

 {Outside the church}

 {Ukrainian Flag}

 {Mitch's favorite candy, a gift from Zhenya}

{Zhenya and ladies preparing food--such a blessing to our team}

{Andrew preaching on Sunday morning}

{Oksana, Barb, Heather}

{Micah wants to stay in Ukraine}

{Butterfly testimony...hehe...nice framing?}

{American crowd draw...they dressed up the Americans and drew the crowd!}

{Birthday party food}

{Micah and Andrew leading sports}

{Teaching Ukranian kids rugby...only my boys don't know how to play rugby}

{Men's Bible Study}

{Young ladies made towels for our team members}

{Formal meeting with the college president (the college is where they have the VBS)}
{Mitch taught a few kids how to say 'naughty' in sign language}

{These children are receiving their first Bibles}

{Packed in like sardines on the way out to the village}

{Adorable! Miroslav}

{At the village}

{Mitch said, "One of the hardest teaching moments. I had to help this very shy beautiful girl to make this bird using only the words yes, no, hi, dog, and good morning."}

{Zhenya spoiled Mitch with triple servings of dessert!}

{Youth outreach}

{Zhenya's hot house and gardens...they ate a lot from there}

{Micah giving his testimony}

{The Khorol church}

Our team with Pastor Grigori and family, and AJ (translator)

Just a Little Update

I can't believe it's August already. Just thinking about how many things I still want to get done this summer makes me start to feel anxious. I hope this morning to post a little update about what we've been up to.

Mitch and Micah had a fantastic trip to Ukraine. Mitch frequently sent me pictures and updates using wi-fi and the WhatsApp. He called me on the same app almost every day. One day we did a video call using Google Hangouts. Once he returned home I tried to sync his phone with the computer and get the images off, but it's not working. It worked just fine before he left. I think I got frustrated and gave up...and then I haven't blogged since. LOL. I am currently connecting my own phone to the computer and will publish a blog post with what I've got.

Eden was gone for 10 days also. She drove out to Seattle with Hope's family, then flew home. She had a super fun time. Overall I was mostly relaxed about the trip, but I don't think a mother can ever stop worrying 100%. She was in good hands. Just before she came home Hope played a little prank on me.

I was surprised at first, and not sure what to think. Hope always asks me permission for every single little thing, and they didn't ask about this! I kept saying, "I would have said yes, but she should have asked first!" I even talked to Mitch about it when he called from Ukraine. Mitch questioned if it was just a joke, but I insisted that it couldn't be anything other than it appeared. Mama Bear was raring up... When Eden finally got home a couple days later she had a good laugh and showed me the earring was just magnetic. Too would have been cute! Good prank. :) Does Mitch know his sister or what?

I was sick while Mitch was gone and that made things harder. I'm just glad that's over now. While they were gone I worked on a project for Micah's birthday. I put together an album for him with pictures spanning the years from when he was 1 year old until now. I used a Creative Memories album that you simply slide pictures into. The positive side to this was it was really fast to put together. The negative side was that the pictures had to be oriented a specific way and I could only put in so many pictures because the album is not expandable. I paced myself so that each 2-page spread was a year of school, and at the end there is room for pictures from the year that is coming up (his senior year). I had so much fun going through pictures and trying to find the best ones to tell his story. I journaled notes on cards and slipped them in behind the pictures. It was an excellent way to remember him on his birthday. When he got home we went out together one day for lunch and I surprised him with the album. It was a precious time--the baby was sleeping, so we had a focused time to look through all the pictures and talk. :)

Just three days after Mitch and Micah returned home, my mom Janet flew up to Minnesota to visit. Eden and I (and Genna) drove down to the airport to pick her up. Before coming home we shopped at Ikea, sweated in stop-and-go traffic on 169, and stopped at a huge fabric warehouse. I loved having this time with her, even if the car was hot hot hot (a/c doesn't work).

While she was here we started a huge project in the basement. That is a separate blog post to come. Here are some more pictures with Mamaw:

We miss her so much already!! I am so thankful she came to visit.

I can't believe she's been gone a week. The days have sped past in a blur. We have continued work on our basement project. Today and tomorrow Mitch has to travel to a training, so we won't get much on that done. I will wait to write up a post when we are closer to finished. I hope to use the time to get caught up on a few other things, knowing that I will never be really "caught up" and praying I will be satisfied in the work that I do finish. ;)

Genesis is 6 months old tomorrow! Writing a blog post and snapping some pictures are at the top of my list.

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
    are the children[a] of one's youth.
Blessed is the man
    who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
    when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.[b]
Psalm 127:3-5 (ESV)

Today I will take out the car to town, and I will bring it back filled to the brim with groceries. All sorts of wonderful foods that my children like to eat. Clean, healthy foods that taste great. Fresh fruits and vegetables. Bread that I didn't bake. Meat. Pounds of meat: a luxury to most of the world, normal to us. When I come home, I probably won't have to go to the store for another week.

I sat on the deck in the quiet of the morning and thought about this. I thanked God for the blessing of my grocery shopping days. Warm tears began to flow as I thought of my sisters in Christ around the world who have to forage for food to feed their hungry children. Or even those who lack the luxury of safe storage for a weeks' worth of groceries and must shop every day. I remember with shame how just a few minutes before I was complaining over an inconvenience. A spilled cup of milk. And now I cry because I know--I feel--I am so blessed far beyond what I am worthy of. It is not because my Father loves me more. It is not because I am more obedient or love more or am anything better than anyone else.

I wrestled with why and didn't come up with a conclusion, but I did find my thoughts upon a different realization.

My children are a blessing, but the sheer number of children I have are a reflection of blessings upon me. My children reflect that

~we have access to excellent health care
~we are well-fed
~we are clothed
~we have shelter
~we have the choice for me to stay home with them

And I plead today that I will not waste it. It is hard to have ten children. It is crazy. It is sacrificial. But it is a blessing. It is possible only because God has made it possible.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Updates from Ukraine

Mitch and Micah joined with three other team members from our church this past Wednesday and traveled to Horol, Ukraine. We are thankful they had safe travels all the way from here to there.

They have had wi-fi access for all of their trip so far, so it has been easy to receive updates. Micah has posted a few videos on his facebook page, and for the most part they are fun and even humorous. I have loved this.

Each team member took 2 suitcases packed with supplies for Vacation Bible School as well as gifts for friends and church members. They packed all their personal belongings into carry-ons. Unfortunately, they were separated from all 10 suitcases.

Today is Micah's 18th birthday. Our friends in Horol planned a special birthday surprise for Micah and I am oh so grateful! With the wonder of technology, this is what I woke up to:

Here are some pictures Mitch sent too:

 Ukraine is 8 hours ahead of us, so just before midnight there, it was only almost 4 pm here. I was chatting with Mitch using WhatsApp and he sent the above picture captioned, "Last picture as an 18-year-old."

A few minutes later he sent the below picture and said, "Does he look any different as an adult? He is 18 now." ^^


 Practicing the birthday song before waking Micah up (in the video above)

He sent me a few pictures of the beautiful countryside.

Today Micah posted quite the grown-up video update, complete with prayer requests.

Posted by Micah Theis on Saturday, July 11, 2015

I would add Barb's prayer request that they would be reunited with their luggage by Monday (the first day of VBS).

On the home front I'm beat up with a cold. I knew that I would be tired because Obi, Mercy, and Genna all wake up at night. I just didn't expect to be tired AND sick. I was able to get to the store today and restock my medicine cabinet. Whew!