Dominic, Edna, Kaylee, Ashlee, Greg, and Joshua in front of the famous Nizhyn Pickle (Огірок)
We spent (Western) Christmas (as opposed to Orthodox Christmas on January 7th) in Nizhyn (Ніжин) (or Nezhin if you say it in Russian) with the Fournier family. Paul and Gretchen Fournier invited us to spend Christmas with them and their three children Kaylee, Ashlee, and Jesiah at their home in Nizhyn. Paul is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Nizhyn or Церква Голгофи as it's known in Ukraine. We were also joined by Tracy Groves from Chernihiv and Will and Ira McIntosh from Nizhyn. Will is from San Luis Obispo (small world) and Ira is Ukrainian, but speaks English so well that it's difficult to notice her accent.
We had such a great time while we were there. Dominic and Joshua said it was one of the best Christmases so far. All of us fell in love with their beautiful children. Dominic who has never wanted to hold a little one before, was carrying around one year old Jesiah and having fun entertaining him. The boys had it rough at night though. Paul made them sleep outside in the play structure that he built. OK, they begged him to let them stay out in the fully insulated, heated, electrically equipped, club house complete with DVD player and two beds, but they were rudely awakened in the morning by a rooster that decided to perch on the roof and crow.
Ashlee, Kaylee, and Joshua on the play structure.
Joshua, Kaylee, and Ashlee in The Fort
On Wednesday night we were excited to be able to attend a service at the church in Nizhyn. After studying God's Word, we hung out and talked with some of the members of the church. We felt so welcomed there and were encouraged by all that God is doing in the lives of His people. The church began as a Bible study that Paul and Gretchen led among students from the university there in Nizhyn. Their faithful work has brought about much fruit. We were blessed to hear how God has been leading Paul and Gretchen there in Nizhyn and in the time before they moved there. They are a huge encouragement to us. We are so grateful to them for opening up there home and their lives to us.
The walkway up to the church / Ira and Edna after the service
On Christmas night we all gathered around to watch the 1953 classic "Roman Holiday" with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. It's a story about a princess that just wants to lead a normal life. I'll leave you with what we agreed was the most memorable quote of the movie from Audrey Hepburn.
"You have permission to withdraw now."