Our First 3 Weeks

Traveling with 13.
It was always such fun to walk up to the check-in counters at each terminal and slap 13 passports on the table - asking if it was possible to get us arranged as closely together as possible.  The agent's eyes would always widen, but they gladly helped us out each of the 3 legs of our journey.  The kids did great and really enjoyed the flights over - sleeping, eating, and watching movies - air travel was good.  Baby Hope did fantastically, as did Dahlia, minus the one 15-minute meltdown as we touched down into Munich.  She was throwing a tantrum, but it didn't last long thankfully.  No one spilled any food ( a big concern of mine) and the older children were so helpful with the younger ones that they paired up with.  We were (and are) very proud of them and the ways they worked together and helped one another out.

Snoozing on the plane

Joel snuggles in Anna's lap

Baby Hope sleeps!

So does baby Alex ;)

Dahlia, post-meltdown
.
Happy girl in Munich during our layover.

Our hosts for the night picked us up at the airport and we had a nice rest at a dear friend's house near Kiev before making the final 8-hour drive to Kherson the following morning.  We had comfortable beds and an opportunity for a nice meal together as we took a break from all the hustle and bustle of trekking through the airports. It was so nice to have the friendly fellowship of our wonderful hosts to be our first experience in our new homeland before moving on to our new home.

A busy transition... 
The transition has proven to be a very busy time, just keeping everyone fed and cleaned up from day to day in the middle of a move like this is tiring work.  Add to that the various little needs that you normally encounter when moving to a new house and the days begin to fly by.  We are thankful that EpiCenter (our Home Depot) and a shopping mall with Silpo (Walmart) are close by for the back and forth of little items...like a sponge to clean dishes, or a set of strong trash bags for all the debris in the yard from construction.  It  to takes a little longer to get things accomplished using public transportation, but we enjoy being a part of the culture in this respect.  At the same time, looking forward to the arrival of our van!  The bus rides into the city where we visit Silpo and EpiCenter is only 20 minutes, but we have to wait for the bus to arrive, not to mention walk between locations and carry all the stuff we buy around with us.  With a few extra hands (the kids always want to get out and explore), we make it all work ok while our van is in transit.  We have been shown the best Renok,  "farmers market", in the area, 2 bus rides away - so it may be difficult to get there until the van arrives with any regularity.  Days are filled with going to the ATM machine, getting a couple of supplies from one of the 2 places mentioned, and getting back home.  Then we work or play outside in the garden trying to get our trees cared for before they die.  They need fertilizer and water...so we had to make a few adjustments to our well system configuration to get a water supply to the garden.


Our new house!

Kids working in the yard, weeding.

Caleb the Wise.

McCoy House Tour

A Warm Warm Welcome
Our friends, translator, builders and church home have been an amazing blessing to us.  They have brought us food for an army (which is good - 'cause we eat like a small army!).  They have greeted us as a congregation and warmly embraced our presence and participation in the local church community.
This family of believers has not stopped blessing us since our arrival, help with transportation to Sunday morning church services and youth group Monday and Thursday evening (it's a long way by bus), food and guidance on where to go to purchase things economically.

A gentleman named Slavik approached us this past Sunday - his wife expecting child number 7 soon - and offered us his large van for the next week or so as he has no need for it right now.   It seats 12 and is similar to our sprinter.  We are thankful over and over again for the pouring out of blessing and support from our new church family.  They are a kind and generous group of people and we cannot wait to be able to express thanks and have meaningful conversations with these friends.
Our Beautiful Church building.


The welcome we received our first Sunday at Church :)  We love our new faith family!


Fantastic spread given to us by our builders/friends upon our arrival.


Welcoming Bread given to us at Church our first Sunday morning.



The Bread did not last long!



Our second Sunday at Church, we were inundated with awesome food! Cabbage rolls, soup, bread and all kinds of sweeties.



Our friend Alys came for a visit and brought lots of goodies for a lovely tea time.

Swing on loan from our friend Vera makes life easier on mom :)




We couldn't find Dahlia's shoes our first Sunday, but a family gave us these shoes so that she would have something on her feet!

A stroller given to us by our church family.  Now Hope can nap nearby and mom can get some things done...



Jeff with the 13 passenger van loaned to us by our new friends, Slavic and Olya.







Food Shopping
We have learned to do our food shopping at the local Renok or open air market.  It is set up in the city center EARLY in the morning and all kinds of produce, meat, dairy, bread and sweets abound.  It's local and fresh.  You really can't find much unseasonal items.  Easy seasonally, which is supposed to be the healthiest way to eat, is the only choice and we are loving the summer time goodies.  Now to learn how to can pickles and jams!

From our first trip to the renok.






We were also shown a local warehouse type strip of stores where everything is sold in bulk with great prices, which is great for a large family.








Pig heads are not unheard of in North Carolina markets, but Jeff just had to take a photo of this one.  

Are the kids doing okay???
The kids (Joel on up) have immediately begun going to a summer outreach event on Mondays and Thursdays (kids hanging out at the church with games and some snacks).  They always come back having enjoyed their time there.  The language is a challenge now, but doesn't stop them from jumping in and playing games together.  They are learning through immersion and establishing relationships with others in the church.  We had some concern about the older kids transitioning and feeling terribly homesick and there has been some of that.  But for the most part, they are having an amazing time, making many new friends and there is always some sort of fellowship going on whether it be scheduled fellowship with local English-speaking missionaries, youth group activities (which are daily!), to friends dropping over for some coffee and conversation.  So it's almost impossible to get lonely because we are surrounded by such gracious hospitality that we can't help but feel at home here...even our teenagers!



Feeling Safe and Meeting Neighbors
We have met neighbors and found a local raw milk supplier who visits us every other day, by bicycle, to delivery freshly produced milk.  We see the cows out along the side of the road as we travel back and forth to the city and are thankful for this relationship and supply.  Another neighbor across the street has greeted us kindly and offered us a kitten from his litter, which we gladly accepted and thanked him for.  Neighbors across the field from us saw Jeff digging with one highly inadequate tool for the job and started hollering at him while holding up a hoe.  He offered this tool for the work and indicated that we should keep it as he had many.  We have not encountered any situation to make us feel uncomfortable or unsafe.  The issues in the east are not openly observed here in any way.  We know it is a completely different existence for people elsewhere and pray with others here for peace, unity, and security for Ukraine.

Our kitty-gift is a missionary kitty.    



She looks over kids that have fallen down 10 ft holes while they nap after said trauma.





She cuddles with babies as they sleep.
She makes sure no one steals your favorite flip flops.


She helps babysit and lets you know when there's a poopy to change.

What a wonderful gift she is...

Regular Visitors
Daily we have visits from our favorite neighbors, Sasha and Roma.  They come for coffee, kvass and conversation and they are a welcome addition to our daily routine.  We talk about everything under the sun (with the help of Alex and Google Translate!) and the more we get to know them, the more we love them like our own family.  

Jeff gives Roma a haircut.



Roma, Alex and Sasha.



Jeffrey and Price with kvass, the Ukrainian coca cola.


Special Visitors
One of the things we would like to do as residents of Ukraine is to provide a temporary home to adopting families during their stay here, both to provide fellowship with English-speakers but also to help save money on what is already a very expensive endeavor.  Our first family to stay with us was also dear friends of ours from back home!  The Dewberrys!  Their visit was a great encouragement to us in our new abode and we had a blast with these wacky kids staying with us.



Misha, Kolya and Bogdan in our not-so-finished guest area.   
Our boy Alex hit it off with Misha and of course was happy to see his old buddy Kolya
Kolya and Misha, with Alex at youth group at church.
Misha and our neighbor/friend Vitaly doing some cleanup in our yard.
Misha helping Vitaly install the door on our school room.
Gracie and Nicole.

Dewberrys and McCoys, together again!
Nicole and Amy :)  My happy place!


Send in the clowns...



Katya and Karina

Karina, Jeff and Katya

Ever heard of the face that launched 1,000 ships?  Well, these faces launched 13 McCoys to Ukraine!  It has been such a blessing to be a part of their lives, in person.  They turned 13 this month and grandmother let them spend the day with us.  We spent the day with lunch, games at the mall and then cake at home.  They text Jeff often and we look forward to seeing them again and again since they have also become fast friends with the McCoys kids, all of them!

That's all for now!  God has been so good to us through His people.  We have been welcomed with open arms and blessed immensely and our spiritual, physical and emotional needs met, beyond what we would have ever thought or could have asked for.  The biggest complaint we have is that we have no idea how to keep our kids' feet clean!  A gaggle of kids in and out of the house into the dirt of our unfinished yard keeps us busy cleaning.  But we are thrilled to be in this beautiful country and pray for peace in her whole land. Slava Ukraina and C Bogum....






1 comments:

  1. Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful!!! Miss you ALL but so happy to see how God IS and Will use each of you.
    We Love you!!!
    The5Toros

    ReplyDelete

 

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