Maxime trying to fix his fence
Maxime's dog went into heat yesterday and by night fall she had caught the attention of every male dog in the neighborhood. At one point we counted eleven dogs in Maxime's yard. Maxime tried to chase them off, but his actions were thwarted by their broken fence. There was just no way of keeping the dogs out.
Joshua looking at a dog that just got through the fence
This morning I discovered Maxime making a valiant effort to repair the fence and chase away the lingering dogs. I decided that this would be a good opportunity to show his parents that we care about them as well as Maxime. It proved to be a greater blessing than I had anticipated. It wasn't long before Maxime's mother, Vera, came out and asked if Edna and I would like to have tea with her.
Where the dogs get in
Edna and I were invited into Maxime's home for the first time today. We saw first hand just how bad the conditions inside really are. I won't get into any of the details, but I have to say that of all the homes I've visited in the villages, this was the worst I've seen. We were just thankful that Vera felt comfortable enough to have us come in. She sat us down in the small room where they sleep and showed us all of their photos. We were especially touched to see that they had put together a photo album of all the photos we had printed out for them over the last year of us with Maxime.
Me and Andriy working on the fence
While Edna and Vera sat outside to have tea and talk, I began working to repair the fence with the help of the boys. After I rebuilt the frame that had rotted away, Maxime's father, Andriy, cut planks of wood and helped me put them in place. It was the first time that we had really spent any time together and I'm glad that we had the chance to work side by side to achieve something. Hopefully this is only the start of a relationship that will lead Maxime's parents to someday know Christ.
I'm hoping that we can paint the fence to put the finishing touch on this project
"Yesterday was our neighbor Olya's 61st birthday. We were invited to her place last night to have a big birthday dinner with her and her family and friends. By now, we are familiar with everyone and they were so kind to us. They fed us until we couldn't eat anymore. Later, after everyone left we went back over to sit and talk to Olya and eat some fresh watermelon. She said Maxime's whole family is "sick in the head" and to just leave them all alone. What was hard for me, since I don't know enough of the language, was not being able to explain that as Christians we can't just turn our backs on people who are like that. I know for her it may seem a little odd that we remain a part of Maxime's life and continue to help them, but that is what we feel God wants us to do, regardless of what people in the neighborhood think about it. We have to worry about what God thinks of our actions, not our neighbors. We pray in time, they will see our intentions and understand why we care about those who are rejected from this society."
To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. - 1 Corinthians 9:22