In many ways, it is hard to believe we have been here for six weeks. The time has gone by quickly as there have been many new things we have had to learn (ie. bus schedules, words to say what you would like to buy and then words for the price you need to pay, familiar items at the grocery store that have very different names, how to get to language school everyday, what church to go to, how to say if you want the bus to stop so you can get off, what to do when you miss your stop and go all the way to the end of the line!!, how to transport things in big bags because you don't have a car anymore to take you places). But in many ways it seems as if we have been gone a long time (you start to feel isolated in public because everyone else is speaking a different language that you can't understand, and they don't easily understand you, church services are in Russian and language study can become very consuming). But in saying all of that, we are not discouraged or unhappy at all. We count it a great privilege to be here training to bring the good news to those who we can see are without hope and without the Lord. That is what keeps us moving ahead along with God's amazing and abundant grace. We know that your prayers on our behalf have been answered, and we hope that strengthens your faith and joy in seeing God at work in a very specific way. Below are some praises and prayer requests.
Praises from Ukraine:
1. Our things that were shipped over at the end of July arrived with only minimal damage. It is so good to have our own belongings to use!
2. Our apartment is perfect for us--very comfortable and located very conveniently. We have great neighbors who are Ukrainian believers, and their 20-something son speaks perfect English.
3. We both have different teachers for Russian, and our teachers are perfect for each of us. Jerry's class is just a little ahead, and he loves the challenge of his teacher who has been the most recent convert to Christianity and who reminds her students of their great opportunity to serve the Lord with this language. Kellie's teacher is patient, compassionate, and gives their class loads of writing to do which helps cement the grammar in her head.
4. We are attending a church just down the road from our home (about a 10-minute walk). It is a church that is reaching out to professionals in many creative ways. We have been challenged by the great needs around us. They are friendly people (about 50) and many are new believers.
5. We thank the Lord for our SEND team here in Kiev. They have been very welcoming, with many having us over for meals and extending warm hospitality. There is a passion here to do all we can in the time we have to reach as many Russian-speaking people as possible.
1. Making sure we are in the best church for us. Please pray that we can get together with the pastor and his wife soon so we can understand the direction and passion of the church. We want to fit in and be of help if we can.
2. So far, we have really poured ourselves into learning this language. We have a long way to go, and even after two years, we will still have a long way to go to learn it to communicate effectively. But it has been encouraging to begin to take baby steps in our speaking and understanding. We are making progress! Please pray for continued diligence and concentration especially in class. Both of us have language helpers whom we meet with an extra 3 hours each week. We want those to be very effective hours especially in speaking more.
3. To continue to understand and live in a way that demonstrates our total dependence on God (loving Him and learning more about Him and loving others in concrete ways).
Please feel free to reply to this and give us requests that we can pray for for you. We are so grateful for the team God has give us of faithful prayer warriors. We are challenged by and appreciate your love for God and us.
Because of Christ Alone,
Kellie (and Jerry)