We maintain some hope - Love never fails

     We wrote our first letter to the girls this week and shipped it off to one of their caregivers who is visiting the states in Georgia with the hosting program.  She will be able to take these back with her to the school and hand-deliver them on our behalf.  Hopefully we will also be able to get this caregivers email address and maintain correspondence with her, getting real-time information from someone who sees them regularly!  We are thankful to have this opportunity to send a letter with someone who will deliver it for us (the mail is unpredictable and slow), and look forward to putting another one together for them soon.  God has brought a precious girl from our girls' Kherson school to stay with dear friends of ours in Holly Springs...yes we are still amazed at how God weaves peoples lives together...what are the odds!?  She has been such a blessing to this family and we are eager to meet her and spend some time with them.  Through this connection, we look forward to sending another letter and more pictures.

     God continues to make a way for things to happen.  Katya and Karina will get two letters when the hosted children return home, and a direct report about family and life in America from a peer that will have experienced it first hand with our friends (and some of that with us!)  We are committed to doing our part until closure is provided by the Lord.   Thank you all for praying for us in this situation, and know that we are doing what we can and are feeling led to do as we wait on the Lord to reveal the end of the story.

We had the letter translated into Russian by a professional (cant really trust google translator for something like this).  Here it is in English:

Dear Katya and Karina, 7/3/2011
It has been three weeks since we last saw you. I think that as we write this letter you are still at camp near the black sea. But when you get this letter, you will be back at school again and getting ready to start another session. I hope camp was fun and that you had a great time playing with your friends. 
Please write us a letter and give it to Tanya. She will deliver it to us. Tell us: 
How you are doing?
How did you like camp?
What did you eat for lunch and dinner at camp? What was your favorite meal?
What was the best part of camp?
Did you get the Bible we left for you on your beds? Do you like them? We hope they are helpful to you in church and that you learn all about who God is and how much He loves you.
Did you do anything special for your birthday?
Send us a drawing that you made, we loved seeing your artwork – you are very talented!
We had a big welcome home party when we came home from seeing you and went to a wonderful restaurant to celebrate being home. It was Chinese food. We like all kinds of foods, but Chinese and now Ukrainian food is some of our favorites. Amy makes a delicious borsht. We had some of that last week, and ate a whole pot for dinner with all the children. It can get really hot in NC during the summer, and humid. Its been 34 C here during the daytime. We spend a lot of time at the swimming pool or on the water slide in the back yard. At night we like to have camp fires and roast marshmallows before bed. Summer is a great time to take a break from school and play. This weekend is a USA holiday celebration of independence (4th of July). We celebrate with picnics and games. Then when it gets dark we watch a big fireworks show together and thank God for His blessings. When you read this, summer will be coming to an end, and we will start school again at the same time you do. 
We are practicing our Russian a lot. We have learned the alphabet and words that go with each letter. It feels like we are kids again learning to speak for the first time! We practice a little every day and can say some phrases now. It is hard to learn when you don’t have to use the language everyday with everyone, but we are doing our best. We have friends here who speak Russian, so we practice with them. We found out too that a girl named Lydiia, from your school, is staying with friends of ours during the summer hosting. We have not met her yet, but look forward to practicing our speaking with her too and getting to know her. We had no idea she was coming for the hosting, to our very same city! We are asking the people who set up hosting to ask your director if you could come stay with us just for hosting, and come back to school after the break – just like Lydiia did. We hope that the director will allow you to come, since he knows who we are now. Is that something you would like to do? Tell Tanya when you see her so that we will know what you think – OK?
Here are some pictures of us while we were there visiting you. You girls take some great pictures. You could be photographers when you grow up! We miss you both very much and had hoped that you would be coming home with us, but also understand how important grandma is to you. We would never want to hurt you or grandma – ever. We love you both, and grandma too, and hope she can take care of you very well. If she cannot or does not, and you change your mind about wanting us to be your mama and papa, know that we will always love you very much and we will always do everything we can to come back and get you when you are ready. You both are treasures in our hearts and will always be very special to us. Know that we all think about you very often. We hope you like these pictures and have good memories of our visit, just like we do. We will send another letter soon. Please write to us and give it to Tanya, we hope to hear a letter from you soon too!
Love, 
Jeff and Amy (Papa and Mama)



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