Friday, September 28, 2007

Hi, me again

This is my first day in this crazy house and already they have taken about a hundred pictures of me! You might think I am a model or something!
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New Addition to our Family

Hi, I don't have a name, and I haven't traveled far, but I now live with these really cool people who are living in an RV! It's a nice place to live, I think I'll like it a lot. All is well except this guy who likes to embarrass me with his "rabbit ears".
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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mt. Adams in the far distance

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Mt. Rainier

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We weren't kidding when we mentioned strenuous, but it was fun once it was accomplished. When Ron said, "Donna stand up and turn around!" I assured him that I was not letting go of my hold on this snow/ice slope! What an experience!
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Hiking Mt. Rainier

One of our early goals when we returned home was to go hiking. Although we walked everywhere in Moldova and Ukraine, we wanted to experience a "hill". The real kind, called a mountain. This was a picture perfect day on a hike that was incredible. However a note to potential hikers - read the back of the map to find out if the hike is strenuous or not - this one was on that particular list! We quickly found ourselves winded, probably because we hadn't be this high without an airplane for two years, but we just took it slow and easy. It was so beautiful. And no wimps turned back!
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Friday, September 14, 2007

Culture Shock

Okay, I am not stupid and yes I can read but who would have thought! So, I go to the grocery store to get some sandwich bags. You can see the top bag is a quart size ziploc bag. I have a box of those, but they are rather large and costly for just sandwiches. I go to the food storage aisle of the store and look rather quickly at the different brands available and in the section of sandwich bags I grab the cheapest model possible. However, when I opened the box this morning I was so shocked by the size of the bag! Then I looked closer at the box. This is a "snack bag"! What is with this "snack bag" and why?! The most important question. . . what type of snack will fit in it? Maybe two small cookies, four carrots, or. . . the only answer? Only in America! The land of the free and the home of the snack bag.
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Thursday, September 13, 2007


To the left of our new little home!
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More from the front porch
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Some of our view from the front porch!
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Here is a picture of our newest home. I love this spot, always have and living here in this beautiful place is an incredible blessing. So, now you ask, how long will we be here? At least until January and maybe then longer. God does know what the plan is, WHEW!
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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Many Step Process for Cleaning the Mud from Your Feet

Choose your places of walking that incorporate the least amount of mud and fecal matter.
Use the open grid and scuff the largest amount of mud from the bottoms, if there is water under the grid you hear the reassuring sound of the rock plop into the water! That’s a cool sign of progress.
Use the upright things to do the detailed scraping of your shoes. It has the coolest upright thing of metal that not only scrapes the flat part of your shoes, but does a great job on the part of your shoe that picks up the most mud, the section between the heel and the toe of the shoe, even tennis shoes have this section, you have NO idea!

Then scrape in the grass until there is space around the bucket of water, the bucket will have a long handled scrub brush for a more detailed removal of the mud on your shoes, At this time you work on the top as well as the bottom. Rinse the brush as often as you need to in order to have the clean shininess of your shoe to show.
Next wipe and stomp on the first matt at the bottom of the stairs, scuff the potential drippings off at this time. Do use you eyes, if the matt is extremely dirty you will only compound your problem and need to return to the bucket step.
After this step, you just need to do a neat and tidy scuff of your shoes on the top step with the clean matt and enter the church. Or home, or store. Whatever. Unfortunately you need to repeat this process every time you go outside and take one step on a wet and muddy day.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Our Dranita Family

This is the family we have been teaching English for the last three months!

Children's program in Dranita

Our children during their final practice. It's a good thing we are finished, because they are! School is out for them and it's hot, very hot.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Back in Dranita

Steph rescued this little chick with Ron's help. This little baby was the LOUDEST chickie we have ever had to listen to. However, Steph found his brother and she and Viorica returned them to their mama (we think).

The Holy Sisters

Early Morning Prayer Meeting in our "jammies" the rest of the team were too chicken to join us holy ones in the picture!

These are our "Sad Faces"

Good bye Brandy, we will miss you. Brandy has just left for a vacation with her family in the states and we will certainly miss her!

Eastern Europe

Now, you need to know that living in Eastern Europe is a fascinating place. When we lived in Moldova, a truck came several times a week to pump out the septic tank, but we always had water! We didn't know how much of a blessing that was until Ukraine. Now, every now and then we don't have water and. . . you guessed it, a truck comes and fills the well!
The first well, is the neighbor's house, he is our landlord. The second well is ours for our apartment building. After the big truck comes (it does resemble the septic truck in Moldova) they fill our little well with a garden hose! No wonder they recommended that we not drink the water!

Happy Birthday Stephanie

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday, dear Stephanie
Happy Birthday to you!
This is a picture from Steph's birthday party, which we had two days early. Stephanie will turn 25 on the 25th! Cool, huh?!
sorry, Stephanie's mom, we are teaching your daughter bad habits!
She said this is her first birthday party away from home and her first carrot cake for her birthday! It was yummy!
Blessings Steph! La Multi Ani!

Our Personal Superhero Family, The "Undesirables"

Okay, so you need to know the extent of our weird life! This is about our neighbors with the dark brown roof on their house, which was just painted smurf blue. Frightening. Anyway, we have named our neighbors for valid reasons. Okay, the lady is Spandex Mama. Picture this? Well, most of the time she wears a tight tank top and bright purple spandex shorts (with flames on the sides). She has a son. The other night this skinny, muscleless marvel was outside yelling at the neighbor dog (white dog) in his whitie tighties. Only in his white underwear, understand? We call him Underwear Boy. And now there is this young girl, in her late teens. She was hanging clothes out on the line to dry in a tee shirt (I like her tee shirt, it’s larger than her mother's and a bit longer) but it was all she had on. When she reached we got a view of her dark blue thong. Now, we call her Thong Girl. This girl sunbathes in her yard in a tee shirt and socks. And her mother sunbathes in a light colored bra and her dark blue underwear. You need to know the newest members of the superhero family – THE UNDESIRABLES: spandex mama, underwear boy, and thong girl.

Monday, May 14, 2007

We are smiling in the picture, but on this day. . .

Okay, so I want to vent! Yesterday it was a bit hot. Okay very hot, and everyone in the city was in a nasty frame of mind! A man stepped on my foot and had the audacity to yell at me! Hello – I’m not that small that he couldn’t see me! In the grocery store. . . everyone had a cart and they weren’t afraid to use them! They used them to run into others, to block aisles, and as weapons of mass destruction. It was just plain unpleasant! I say, if you are hot, take off your coat!
On the bus, people stood in the aisle even when there were seats; which makes it hard to see where the bus is! It was just an interesting day to be in the city. People were crabby (perhaps because of the heat) and it made me feel crabby! I hope that being in Eastern Europe where service and kindness are rare doesn't become a habit for me.

Krakow Castle

Ron is where?

Ron in the inevitable phone booth! Every country has phone booths in different colors and designs, have you ever noticed that? Well, in Poland they open at the corner and open both ways for a person to step out nicely.

At Church

So, while the team from Moldova was here, instead of our regular routine of going to the villages, we helped with a youth conference. A team from Romania came to provide this for the youth of the local, Romanian speaking churches. Teens from local villages, including the ones we are working in attended and we had some pretty important jobs. Ron preached to the teens about the need to pray, Mike preached on women (we don’t know why that was the topic), and Lilian (yes, even our visitors from Moldova participated) preached on the value prayer has had in his life. The young people sang quite a few songs, and the rather large church was packed! It was fun to participate in this and to see the desire some of the young people in Ukraine have to follow the Lord!

Welcome Moldova to Ukraine!

Several teammates from OM Moldova came for a visit. They came on Thursday afternoon and stayed until Sunday afternoon. Our apartment is the home of meals for our team and it was so crowded that we had breakfast outside on the patio. It was a beautiful morning, Brandy and Steph made the pancakes, Mike and Myra made the scrambled eggs, and Ron and I set the tables, set up the situation for eating, and allowed our space to be invaded!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Train Travel

On the train to Krakow, Poland! We are having fun!
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Hanging out in Krakow

Hi from one of the many beautiful parks in Krakow. This was a great break from ministry and adjustment into a new culture! In Poland, we weren't expected to learn any language, to know how to get around, and we didn't have to try! We just enjoyed the city and the people there.

At one time the castle and main city were surrounded by a moat (the original drawbridge is still there) but that moat has been filled in and is now this lovely park that surrounds the old city.

The city has four historical parts, the old city with the castle and walls, as well as the tower where the famous trumpeter lived. The second part is the Jewish section. It seemed the Jews couldn't live in peace with the others so they moved into their own area which is virtually empty of Jews now. A third area is the ghetto where the Nazi's forced the jews to live, the original wall is still intact and you can see where the trams were forced through a single gate into the ghetto. The fourth area, we didn't see, but didn't think we needed to was the communist section. We assume it's what we live in in Moldova!

As you can see in one of the other blogs, we did a bike tour of the city and got a great overview of the history and Ron, Steph, and Brandy did a tour out into the countryside on the last evening we were there.
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This was an incredible opportunity to walk back in time. It was amazing to see the extent of the evil man could think of for man - frightening. The banner over the entry says "Work Brings Freedom" and the only freedom truly offered was that of death. A heart breaking place. I hope that we all remember the horrible cost of this event and don't repeat it!

It was sunny when we visited and that seemed wrong and right. Wrong that the sun would ever shine on such a horrible place and right that the sun would shine and bring hope for the future.
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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Cruising Krakow!

This is Mike, our tour guide for two trips on bikes. What a great time - thanks Mike for all your work!
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Friday, May 04, 2007


Hi from Poland! We are here for about four days. . .and today we saw Auswich. . .more on that and pictures later. Just know we are having a good time and it wasn't too far by train from where we are living in Ukraine!

Monday, April 30, 2007


We wanted to tell everyone what we are doing here in Ukraine. We are teaching English. A lot.

We teach:
Monday night – one young man who needs tutoring
Tuesday and Thursday night – a class in the new church plant (about seven students)
Friday and Saturday – a couple who are moving to Minnesota in the fall
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, we help Steph with her classes of children

It should be easy, but we are teaching English to Romanian speakers in a country that doesn’t generally speak either language, so there are no resources available except the internet. We spend time searching the internet for tools and information and then Brandy, who is a great teacher, shares her expertise with us and we do it. I think we could do it better if we had some sort of resources available, but what might be here is in Russian. That won’t help us!

We are having a good time and working hard. In some cases the purpose of teaching English is to better prepare pastors who will be working with more and more English speaking pastors, in others the purpose is to draw non-believers to the churches. In the villages the purpose is to help grow the local church. And with our couple we work with, it's to help them be prepared to move to the United States.
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