предложение пойдешь

16 01 2013

предложение пойдешь… that’s the prepositional case, or what I’ve been trying to learn the past couple days. I’ve got Russian nouns and adjectives mixed about in my head, homework exercises to do, vocabulary and word-endings to memorize to try and straighten everything out, so that I can actually use the prepositional case when listening and talking with people.

If it sounds difficult, that’s cause it can be, but mostly that’s because its new and not my native language. Pray that I keep focused, study hard, rest well, and enjoy time with new friends every week. Ask God to give me understanding of the language I’m acquiring through the work I’m putting into learning it.

спасибо большое!      spasiba bol’shoye – many thanks!


quick update

8 06 2011

Hi friends, supporters, and prayer partners. A few of you have asked recently where I’m at with support raising. I’ve currently received 41% of my one-time support, and 32% of my monthly pledges. Hopefully I’ll be finishing an update this afternoon and sending that out via email and snail-mail tomorrow. Over Memorial Day weekend I found a really cheap ticket and went to Minnesota to visit friends and was able to share my Ukraine ministry with a church in Minnetonka. More later – thanks for praying and giving!

pledges through prayer

14 04 2011

No sooner had I posted my 24% monthly support level than it was outdated.  By Tuesday morning, a pledge via email and another pledge from a co-worker at my engineering firm raised my monthly support to 26%.  Tuesday evening I received a generous one-time gift and a monthly pledge after presenting the Ukraine ministry at another small group.

Wednesday after work I drove to Atlanta to share God’s call in my life and his kingdom-building work in Kiev with the church I attended during my Georgia Tech days.  I was encouraged to hear these brothers and sisters praying, to hear how they’re growing in their love for each other and for Jesus–in a sense, to overhear the gospel percolating in their lives.  After a late-night drive back to Chattanooga (including singing along with music I love and listening to a L’Abri lecture Carrie Adams gave on Vocation and Calling), I discovered a friend and two relatives had pledged monthly and quarterly support, bringing my monthly support up to 29%.

So my monthly support has increased 9% in the first three days of this week.  Thanks to those who’ve pledged, and thanks to those who’ve prayed.  Praise the Lord for his provision!

this just in

22 02 2011

Four weeks ago I had a full week of support raising, meeting with an individual Monday evening, two small groups on two separate evenings, and a Ukraine dinner and ministry presentation in Atlanta. Two weeks ago I flew up to the L’Abri conference in Rochester, MN, which I’ve enjoyed attending the past six years. That weekend was an encouraging time of connecting with supporters, old friends, friends I made last year, and new friends–oh, and the conference itself was refreshing as usual. I’m setting up meetings with friends here in Chattanooga and hope to have a ministry presentation at my old church in Atlanta soon. I continue to mail and email pre-call letters out, and follow them up with phone calls for meetings or for support if I can’t travel to where a particular friend lives.

However, I need your help.  I have an aggressive goal of reaching 60% of my monthly support by April. Actually, this is more than aggressive: it will be impossible apart from a my growing team of supporters praying for God to move hearts to give as I work to tell people how God is building his kingdom in Kiev.  So I need you to do two things:

  1. Praise God that with the move of my engineering firm to downtown Chattanooga (3 miles from my apartment instead of 15 miles) I have more time for the Ukraine work before me, and have found a cafe that’s not loud and busy in the late-afternoon where I can focus on my Ukraine work without the distractions of my apartment.
  2. Pray that my work telling people about God’s work in Kiev and my call to serve there will bear fruit.  I believe if God has called me there, his people will give generously in response to the vision of what He is doing in Kiev, provided I tell them.  If I’ve told you about the ministry and you haven’t given, please pray about whether you can join me financially, and let me know if you can.  2 Corinthians 9:6 -8 says,

    “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 

Know that you have the freedom not to give if God has laid other giving priorities on your heart.  My prayer for you is that you are giving generously–sowing bountifully–somewhere, and that God’s grace will about to you, that you may abound in every good work.  Thanks, friends!

humbled, excited, and needing sleep

16 07 2010

When was the last time you were blown to tears by the grace of God? by his insistent, loving hand moving in your life and in your heart to show you (yet again) that He is the Sovereign, He is the King, and to reassure you that He is good, does good, and his covenant faithfulness or hesed pursues you all the days of your life? When was the last time you were deeply thankful for God saying “no” to your request–and not thankful because you initially wanted to be thankful, but only thankful because in your disappointment at the “no” you still knew that God has your best in view, that He knows what you really need? When were you last reminded that when you ask for something and God overrules you and says “no”, his promises are all still Yes in Christ Jesus?  When was the last time a good friend reminded you that God’s sovereignty and his providence are never opposed to each other in your life? when singing old hymns raised your eyes from navel-gazing to a jaw-dropping view of Jehovah’s grace and glory?

“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom 8:32)

God’s no to my request is actually yes to what I really need, and the thing is, He knows better than I what I need. Needless to say, I’ve been blown away by God’s greatness, by his majesty, by his love, by the comfort of the reality that He is enthroned, ruling for his glory and the good of his people–and that includes me, as undeserving as I am.

God has given me new, more demanding responsibilities in my engineering job (i.e., more hours, too), when I had hoped and prayed to reduce my hours for more time support raising. This was initially very disappointing and hard for me, but over the past two days God has done amazing work in my heart and through the prayers of his people.  I need your prayers that I will adjust well to my new schedule and have wisdom for my time-commitments.

Tonight I presented the Ukraine ministry to a group of friends brought together by an engineer who’s a former co-worker of mine. I’m so encouraged by friends and coworkers who give me the gift of time to hear how God is working in Kiev and calling me to serve there.

Part of what God may be reminding me with my new responsibilities and tighter schedule may be my limitations and my dependence on him. One of those limitations is my need for sleep, now.  Its yet another gift from my Keeper who doesn’t sleep.

two full weekends

10 07 2010

I’m thankful for a weekend here in Chattanooga. The past two weekends were good, weekends full of travel, meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends and family. Thank you for your prayers for me.

Friday, June 25th, I drove through two heavy thunderstorms on my way to a Ukraine ministry presentation in Birmingham. A friend graciously organized a dessert and coffee evening, giving me the opportunity to tell ten adults and two children some of how God is building his kingdom in Kiev. I showed my team’s Kiev ministry video, shared a few stories of Ukrainians I’d met the three times I was there, and invited my friend’s friends to consider supporting me with finances and prayer. Saturday morning, after managing to get stuck an hour in an unusual traffic jam, I swung by my friend’s church’s farmers market, picked up some fresh produce, and trekked back up to Chattanooga in time for the second half of the USA v. Ghana world cup match.

Last weekend I drove to Pennsylvania for an Independence Day family reunion with my mom’s extended family, and my parents rode with me. On our way north, we stopped at a Starbucks in Roanoke, VA, so I could meet with a supporting church’s missions committee. I shared the Kiev team video and my calling and vision for how I may join in building up the church in Kiev. I enjoyed meeting these six sisters and brothers who gave me an hour or so of their time on a Friday evening. One of the men, who had been to Ukraine a number of times, brought a small Ukrainian flag for our table, and told me stories of his wearing his Scottish kilt and taking his bodhrán to play music with Odessa street musicians… it was a joy to meet these people.

My maternal grandfather was the oldest of eight siblings. Much of his extended family gathers to celebrate Independence Day and the Saturday after Christmas each year. Over the years I’ve realized that its increasingly rare for extended family to maintain these ties, but its been something I value. Perhaps this is because most of our extended family are believers, followers of Jesus, and that makes us not just distant kin by blood but brothers and sisters with a common Father. This year I showed my Kiev team’s video to interested relatives, enjoyed seeing my cousin Audra and her Ukrainian husband, Oleg, and was gratefully surprised when a great-uncle and great-aunt (Is that the proper term? they’re my mom’s uncle and aunt) told me they plan to give monthly to support me.

After our July 4th celebration with the family, my mom and I detoured to see friends David and Eowyn, who’ve just moved from Berlin to Philadelphia. Over the years, we’ve prayed for David and Eowyn’s family in Berlin-Pankow, and mom was part of team that went to Pankow in 2008 to help with the English Camp. I’m particularly thankful that we were able to fit our brief visit into this trip.

Sunday we spent with my grandmother in Wilmington, and my brother and his fiance came down from northern New Jersey for dinner and the afternoon. It was good seeing Aaron and Susanna, but altogether too brief a visit: perhaps we were trying to squeeze too much into the weekend.

Monday during our drive back to Chattanooga, we stopped for some lunch, and a large, bright-orange moth landed on dad. I came out of the Subway, and dad was leaning against the wall with his hat covering the moth, waiting for mom to come out so he could show it to her.

the moth on Dad

The moth on Dad

close-up of big orange moth

Close-up of the moth

Wow–writing about the past two weekends makes me tired. This weekend, I think I’ll stay put here in Chattanooga. I’ve got support-raising work to do, a bit of cleaning and reading, a run to the bank, and perhaps I’ll catch a performance of “The Crucible” with friends tonight. I’m looking forward to worshiping with my home church tomorrow!

slow building

4 05 2010

Frequently, friends and people who know I’m raising support ask me how its going. My standard answer is, “Slower than I’d like.” I have my brochure, MTW prayer card, and a business card. I am learning how to organize contacts and follow up with people. I’ve taken two weekend trips to share the ministry with good friends in other cities, and I’m beginning to schedule appointments with people here in Chattanooga. I’m also still working full-time with my other job, and sometimes its hard to make time in the evenings for the work of support raising.

This past Sunday morning I enjoyed taking 15 minutes to tell about 45 to 50 people in the adult Teaching Group at my church about the ministry in Kiev, and about my calling and desire to serve there. I had a few brief, encouraging conversations with people after the class ended. Then last night after meeting friends for weekly 75-cent tacos, one of my friends told me he and his wife intent to support me once they complete some longer-term budgeting. God continues to surprise me with unsought encouragement.

Please pray for me. I need:

  • Diligence to keep building momentum in sharing the ministry in Kiev with people.
  • Clarity as I communicate the ministry in Kiev.
  • Boldness when I ask people to support me with finances and prayer.
  • God to move people’s hearts to give to his work in Kiev.
  • Thank the Lord with me for his steadfast love and grace!