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April 15, 2013     The Road Ahead

We are back in Ukraine, and trying to establish a routine. I came down with a terrible cold the day after we arrived. I was coughing my lungs out, and not getting better, so I called Dr. Valeri, our English-speaking Ukrainian doctor. He makes house calls, but this time he just told me on the phone to get a certain brand of Ukrainian expectorant. If I wasn't better in two days, he would come to see me.

The expectorant did the trick, and I was well enough by Saturday to go to the Bible class and teach the widows. They were so loving and happy. I found out that the widows prayer group had been praying for me the day before, and that was the exact hour that I got well. About 90 pensioners were exiting Natasha's Care Givers class when I arrived. I had 180 in the Bible class. Vera Matveeva had written a poem for my homecoming. After my teaching, my cough came back, and I rested in the other room while Roger taught his evangelism class. Then we went home to a house that had heat, in a car that was working, and a road that had been shoveled-all improvements since my last journal entry.

By Monday I was anxious to do some shopping. The roads are absolutely terrible. A severe winter with lots of snow has left potholes in all the major highways. One hole was at least six inches deep, and yes, we hit it…. Hard!

Though Roger had stocked the cupboards with staples, I was anxious to get a twin-size bed in anticipation of Roger's brother Lee, niece Michelle, and her son Winston coming to visit us this summer. I found just the right bed at the right price at the discount furniture village, but imagine my surprise when my ATM card didn't work. When we change countries (America to Ukraine) our bank registers that something is wrong, and stops our card to protect us. But it is an embarrassing interruption, and then we have to call the bank and confirm that we are the real owners, living in Ukraine.

On the way home, we got a phone call from our worker Sergey, that someone had stopped at the house, and wants to buy it. Oh, I don't know how I feel about this. Roger would sell (for the right price), but I am not ready to leave my home, especially since I just got back here. The man would come to talk to us the next day, so we invited Irina Loktionova to be our translator for the meeting.

The man, whose name is Yuri, has built two of the mansions in the gated community near us. After selling these homes, he now has purchased three wooded lots on our street to build two large homes next to ours. He did NOT want to buy our house. Instead he told us that according to his surveyor, we own 4000 square feet of land on the outside of our wall which backs up to his property. He would like to buy that land.

But the price he was willing to pay was so low, and it would involve re-doing our documents and extra government taxes on our part, so we decided to keep the land. After all, with all the improvements he is doing for the neighborhood, our property value is sure to go up. He will build a new and better asphalt road with curbs and install street lamps every 100 feet.

So the road ahead looks bright, and we can turn the rough terrain into a forest garden area. What a wonderful idea for more parties for the widows as well as other friends of the mission.

The Janzens came back from Israel with many exciting tales of how the Bible comes alive when you have walked the paths Jesus walked. Kim gave a great lesson the next Saturday, and I watched Natasha expertly handle the Care Givers class, teaching "What the Bible Says about Walking through Troubles."

That night our Bernese mountain dog Shanya went into labor. She had gotten pregnant while we were in America, and we weren't sure who the father was. But after the nine puppies were born, we figured out it was probably the large German shepherd that runs through the forest. Two of the puppies resemble him. The others are black dogs with no distinctive markings. I was reminded how God loves us, regardless of our parentage or our sense of worth. Shanya faithfully takes care of each one and protects them, not because they are beautiful, but because they are "hers." We will try to find good homes for these puppies in June. Hopefully there will be people who will want a "free" puppy.

The snow is gone, the trees are budding, and the ground is turning green. God renews his earth and shows His Glory as the little birds return and begin to build nests. Two weeks from now, spring will be thriving again!