Sunday, July 30, 2017

Dream Trip to Germany

I blogged every day while Mitch was in Ukraine. Once he went to Germany, I didn't blog at all. I knew I would regret He has a lot of stories and memories, and there's no way I can share it all. He was welcomed by Kathi and her family, then by Patrick and his family. Both families were amazing hosts and he had an amazing trip. I will share a small part of it. (This doesn't include any of Kathi's or Patrick's pictures, nor any of the great videos Mitch has to share.)

 {Kathi and Mitch, and a castle way in the background. Castles are so very cool.}

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Last Day in Horol

Today was a sweet time of celebrating and goodbyes. Victoria and Mitch sent me pictures. I have so many, that there's no way I can share them all!

First off, I have the video message they filmed yesterday...

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Day 10 of Ukraine Trip

At about 20 minutes to 4 pm my time, I had nearly given up on getting to talk to Mitch again today. But within a few minutes, he texted me--even though it was nearly midnight his time. He said they had been super busy packing gift bags for all the volunteers (35), and that Heather is awesome at that! (p.s. Calvary family, that's what all the peanut butter and brown sugar was for, plus more items).

They had a quiet morning today. At some point they drove back out to the sunflower field for more pictures and to record a message for our church family. That will play tomorrow, so I'm not going to post it until then. But you can see the great pictures! They also went shopping this morning for food and supplies.

 {Oksana and Heather at breakfast}

Friday, July 14, 2017

Day 9 of trip, Final day of VBS Kids' Camp in Ukraine

I have many beautiful pictures to share tonight from the last day of kids' camp and from the team's trip out to the village. Sorry for the long delay. Today was the first day that I finally was able to make head-way on my to-do list. Once I caught that momentum, I didn't want to stop!

I seriously have so many pictures, I'm not sure where to start. :)

Our team started out the day at VBS and Mitch provided some pre-exercise entertainment by juggling.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Day 8 of trip, Day 4 of VBS Kids' Camp in Ukraine

Today was a rainy day! Mitch said that they got lots of hard rain. Because of the rain, some campers didn't come today. But 15 new children came, and a total of 150 children were there. You are going to want to read all the way to the bottom for a great compilation video Mitch just sent me.

{Vica helping lead exercises, I tried following along the hand motions they are doing and, well, I'm just not that talented. ;)}

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Day 7 of trip, Day 3 of VBS Kids' Camp in Ukraine

Today was a great day!!

First off, someone made sure I got these photos from the American meal. They love me. :)
 {This plate of corn dogs Victoria is holding looks so good that now I want to try this recipe here when Mitch gets home. Great job, team!}

{Gathered for the American meal.}

Now on to today. Thank you for your prayers for the weather. Storms were forecast for today, but they didn't hit until after camp was done. Pastor Grigorii said that it was good to get rain for the farmers. Then Mitch said, "God kept the storm from our harvest, and brought the storm for the farmer's harvest." Pastor added, "Our harvest is more important though." Even more children came today, for a total of 170!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Day 6 of trip, Day 2 of VBS Kids Camp in Ukraine

The team had another great day in Ukraine!

I'm having some technical difficulties on my end with photos, but I'll start writing and in the meantime I'm hoping that everything I need will finish uploading. Maybe I already used my daily allowance of WiFi data? LOL It's finally working. Can I get a "Hallelujah"?

Today I talked with Mitch a few times. He had a lot of trouble sleeping last night, so he was awake when we were going to bed (4 a.m. his time). I did send some unisom with him, so if he doesn't sleep well tonight (or right now, actually), I hope that tomorrow night he will take it. It was sweet though because he got to say good night to the kids. We had a little fun with the Facebook Messenger app.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Day 5 of trip, Day 1 of VBS Kids Camp in Ukraine

Today I got many great pictures and videos of the first day of kids' camp/VBS. I enjoyed a quiet phone call with Mitch too, which was a blessing.

 {Heading to camp}

Today took a lot of organization and orientation. Kids arrived at all different times, so some got to play longer while others didn't really get a chance to play. When kids arrived, they got registered, then received a hat and a t-shirt. The backdrop I had a picture of yesterday makes a great photo booth, and kids had cameras or cell phones and were taking pictures by it. Mitch said that the kids rotate through 3 stations--crafts, Bible time, and sports. They spend an hour in each, except the last 15 min of sports is actually snack time. It actually got quite hot today and they were all feeling it! After the snack, they have a closing time with songs and a skit.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

The 1st Sunday in Ukraine

I got a lot of pictures and a video today!

{Nightly devotions with Pastor Grigorii}

I know this is a precious time for the team. One of my favorite things about being on a short-term missions trip is the focused time for devotions and time in the Word. While I have a personal time each day where I read the Bible and pray, it is special to be in a small group--sometimes of people that I don't know very well--and to share together. I hope these are times of renewal and refreshment for the team, that they are fruitful and unifying. Our team members are taking turns leading each night. 

{The Horol Church}

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Day 3 in Ukraine

It's so strange that when I am going to bed, Mitch is almost waking up, and he is headed to bed when it is still afternoon here. Anyway, it gives me lots of daylight to write a blog post!

Last night Mitch woke up around 3 a.m. his time and struggled to get back to sleep. Finally, around 4:30 a.m. (8:30 p.m. my time) he gave up trying to get back to sleep and texted me instead. We texted back and forth a little while, but eventually he decided to just get up and get started with sermon prep for Sunday morning. I decided it was time to wrangle the kids and send them to bed.

As I headed to bed I looked outside and was surprised to see a full moon rising in the pink of the setting sun.

I asked him if he could see the moon setting, since it was rising here. By that point, it was already blocked by hills, but instead he sent me the sunrise over Zhenya's hothouse...

Friday, July 07, 2017

Day 2 in Ukraine

I was able to talk with Mitch via Facebook Messenger app today. The kids were all excited to say hi and "see" their daddy. We also got to say hi to their host family and the rest of the team, and received a blessing from Pastor Grigorii.

Last night after arriving in Horol, our team got out some of the sports equipment they brought and taught the family how to play 4-Square. Mitch said they played for hours (which is funny considering how long they had been awake). Victoria made a time-lapse video, so I hope to see that. :) One of the translators whom we've been friends with for nearly a decade, AJ, said that he is very competitive and he loves the new game now. Mitch is really competitive too...I'd like to see those two have a game after Mitch is rested up. Haha. I wish I had sent Mitch's knee braces now. :)

{Here is an old picture of Mitch and AJ from 9 years ago on Mitch's first trip to Ukraine. I bet they both think they are still this young.}

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Made it to Ukraine!

We said our goodbyes to Mitch yesterday morning, after a crazy morning of finishing up packing and getting ready for the trip. I took him to church, where a group of people gathered to pray over the team (Mitch and two others from our church). After the time of prayer (we were running late), we shuffled and weighed the checked bags again. They could each bring 3 large suitcases, but they had to be under 50 lbs each. This one was over, that one was get the idea. Mitch took quite a bit of heavy stuff in his carry-on bag. And we even took out a few pounds of less-needed items and put them back into storage for the next trip. Someone snapped pictures of the contents in each bag (in case they were lost). Then it was really time for me to say goodbye. I could have easily been crying all morning, so at this point, when Mitch leaned over and gave me a kiss on the head, I had to make a run for the car where I felt I could cry and get it over with. ;)