Looking Forward to 2023

The long overdue update!! So as you know by now, we are back in the states after 11 months of ministry overseas. We came back for a couple of reasons: family health issues, a new baby, and in need of spiritual reconnection/renewal after a tough and challenging year.

Meeting some great grandparents for the first time.

Our original plan was to come back in February for a few months to visit family and fundraise. We were about to announce this in late November when we learned that Vladimir’s grandfather’s health had taken a rapid turn for the worse. We both felt strongly that we should return home sooner rather than later, and plans to leave in 2 months turned into 2 weeks. We got to see those grandparents in Portland, Oregon (ok technically it’s Vancouever, Washington but they’re close enough it’s basically the same thing) and got to stay for Christmas. It was a good visit and he was able o recognize us. (As I write this post, he has now been moved to hospice care and is rapidly approaching the end. We are so glad we pushed to come back now instead of waiting another month.) Then we made it to Montana in time for Anastasia’s baptism, and joyfully reunited with our church. It was a much needed and celebrated return. We had barely recovered from that when Vladimir learned that he had a short job working on a roof in Atlanta, Georgia. Since they were driving through Nashville on the way, we started trying to figure out how me and the baby could go down as well to see my family. Again, we did not anticipate being able to get to Nashville so soon, but suddenly there was an opportunity, so of course I took it! Even better, as I was looking at flights to at least fly one way, we realized we had enough airline miles to fly round trip! God is so good!! The timing for all of this worked out perfectly, even if it has been an absolute whirlwind!

At Anastasia’s baptism with her godmother (far right).
Anastasia with another set of great-grandparents.
Grammy meeting her first grandbaby!

But what comes next for us? How long are we staying? Where are we staying? What are we doing for ministry now, and when/will we be going back? The answer(s) are a bit long winded, but stick with us. Our “Plans,” as we learned last year, don’t always match up with what God has for us. So we think of them more as general ideas and possibilities, and we pray God will show us specifics as we come to them. We neither want nor plan to leave the mission field, but our time in Romania seemed to be drawing towards a close. And yet Ukraine still is not safe to return as we would like.

It is a hard place to be, in limbo and not knowing exactly what is to come. But we walk in faith, and God has shown up every time.

First of all, we will be living in Thompson Falls, Montana. Our friends James and Shannon (who run Business for Orphans and came to visit us in Romania a few times) own a large summer type camp property with lots of cabins. They are currently in the process of pioneering a new YWAM base there, aiming to start a DTS in March and using their base as a training facility with a heavy focus on sending and supporting missionaries in both the short and long term. We are very excited about what God is doing through them, and are planning to help at least in the beginning as they get things rolling. James and Shannon are great people with a huge heart for missions, especially Ukraine right now. This, we feel, is one of the ways we can still be involved in missions and Ukraine from the States during this short transitional time.

The first time Shannon came to visit us in Romania!
Recent snowfall at their property.

Secondly, we are planning to organize a few teams to take to Ukraine for short trips this summer, building houses with YWAM Cluj and Kyiv. This past year they managed to build 100 tiny homes for people, mostly elderly living in the most destroyed villages around Kyiv. These temporary shelters are literally saving lives as they struggle to rebuild their permanent homes. And more are being planned for the summer! We don’t have a lot of information on taking teams yet; this project is still very much in its infancy. But if you are interested in this at any level, PLEASE let us know!

So this is how we will stay involved in missions. Thirdly, we will be working while in the States. As I’m sure you’re all aware, life is expensive here. We don’t have enough support to stay and not work at all. So we will be working to supplement our support and save up some resources for when we return. Ultimately, our long term goal is to buy land and a house in Ukraine (approximately $10-15k) where we can move and live full time. We really want to help rebuild when it is safe for us to return. Between Vladimir’s construction experience and my experience working with kids, we feel God will use our skills to truly help the country recover. It’s just a matter of when.

Speaking of, I am still interested in pursuing a master’s degree in developmental trauma. But the program I looked at still does not have an online option. Last I talked to them it is still being developed and they weren’t able to get that up and running just yet. So I am searching to see if there are other options. Until then I will be following the resources for parents, and continue listening to their podcasts, reading books, and watching the videos on my own.

So this is what we hope 2023 will hold for us. While there are not a lot of definites right now, there are a lot of exciting options and possibilities we will be pursuing. And we trust God will reveal further steps for us to take. Although he seems to have a pattern of showing us “last minute,” at least in our human time-line. Thank you to everyone who has continued to support us through this transitional phase. We look forward to continuing ministry with you!

All the siblings together again!

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