Here are some pictures of our time in Kherson. These specifically are during our time out in the forest cooking and playing volleyball and futball. Here we have had a marvelous time serving with Agape ministries and just loving on these kids. We were asked to serve as house parents during our 5 day stay, since the other couple had to attend to personal matters. They have given us a car to drive, which has been very fun as we cart these young people around between the village and the city for church and grocery shopping. The girls' apartment is in the city, so also having to go back and forth to bring them to our fellowships. One night they all crammed in the car to go home at midnight. As Jeff drove them half way there, he realized that no one would be left in the car to give directions home! As we "discussed" this with broken english/russian - they told him to just pay good attention. Thankfully he did and made it back safely.
At their request we had a Bible study one evening. They asked Jeff to read with them and then discuss the Scriptures and have a time of prayer. Thankfully our translator Sergey was here to help us, or it would not have worked at all. They were not in any place in particular and just asked that he pick a place to read - and so he did. It was a great chance to share together over God's word and watch these young men eagerly seek to hear and understand the Word of our God. They are amazing young men with a heart to learn, serve, and live their faith.
We have had several meaningful conversations, and one young man in particular here knows a good deal of English - his name is Kolya. He translates for us and we speak often of course about all sorts of things. He is a brand new Christian, having come to faith in January of this year through the work of Agape and has had such a radical change of lifestyle that it is truly amazing to hear his story. He serves diligently and tirelessly without expectation of praise or "fairness" - doing whatever needs done despite others' possible laziness. He is a gentle young man with a kind and generous spirit that wants to do what is right. He has only been here a few months but is learning things very quickly.
We serve here by just being with the young adults. Providing love and encouraging support. Asking and answering questions and discussing the details of life. We drive them around a bit, cook and eat with them, and otherwise just assimilate as part of the family as we share life together and encourage one another to live for the Lord's glory and pleasure in everything we do.
Today we will meet with the director of Agape and talk about how the last 5 days went for us and what kind of future God may be leading us to here. We will discuss all sorts of things regarding expectations and boundaries and funding, etc. We will be having lunch in his home with his wife and children later, so we are looking forward to connecting with them and seeing where the conversation goes. Pray for us as we seek God's will and timing for our family. This will likely be a milestone kind of conversation we think.
Artchiom, Vadim, Dima
Volleyball in the woods.
Futball in the woods. The small "field" did not deter them. A set of goals was arranged and several matches held. It was great fun. Everyone gets along with one another very well. They truly are a family and united as brothers and sisters in Christ. I think they provide an excellent example of what it means to live in and support one another in community.
Occupying Dahlia in the forest was fun. She is very busy these days and wants to explore everything. So thankful for all the "mama" hands that wanted to help hold and walk with her.
Nadia and Yulia (they share an apartment with Vika and Marina)
Sasha and Nadia hamming it up.
Sasha loves this little baby girl (as does everyone else. He is one of the few men that can hold her for any amount of time - she likes him too)
Vlad and Nadia
Liena and Vika about to dive into the roasted pork and sausages that Kolya prepared over the open fire.
Praying together over the food and with thanksgiving as we celebrate and enjoy life together. Today was a holiday for the country - so this is how its done.
mmmm...food....everyone was hungry after all that play.
Kolya and Liena sharing food and conversation.
Daddy and Dahlia having fun. She loves to be tossed around by dad.
Look out for that wild monkey behind you Marina!