Monday, March 16, 2009

International Women's Day

Women's Day
Tanya, Valentina, Luda, Vera, and Edna making bookmarks

On Saturday, March 7th, the day before Women's Day in Ukraine, Tanya and Edna decided to have a few women over for food and fellowship. We were so excited that Maxime's mother Vera and his grandmother Luda were able to come along with Valentina and Nastya. It was a great opportunity for the women to share their faith with Vera and Luda. Maxime's mother and grandmother have also been coming to our Friday night Bible study along with our neighbor Olya. It seems that lately, God has been opening doors and giving us wonderful opportunities to share the simple truth of salvation through Jesus Christ with our neighbors. Thanks to everyone for your prayers.

Playground Restoration Project Update

Maryna Working on the Playground
Maryna was eager to do some work on the playground

Due to rain/snow, we had to postpone our playground project until April 11th and 12th. Although some of the children have already been helping me to uncover the border around the playground. They have all said that they want to help out so I need to make sure I have enough paint brushes when the time comes.

Several arguments have arisen among the girls as to who gets the privilege of using the shovel and for how long. Looks like we won't have to bribe the children with candy after all. ;)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Playground Restoration Project (Phase 1)

Playground Restoration Project
The playground outside of our apartment

It has always been on our hearts to do something about the condition of the playground by our apartment. We have often cleaned up trash around it and tried to do some minor repairs, but we realized that it wasn't going to be enough. Vandalism and neglect have left the playground looking worn out and in some cases unsafe for the children who play there. During the summer, the playground is a hub for all the families with children and for all the grandmothers who like to sit on the benches and chat with each other.

Playground Restoration Project
This concrete horse slide is all that's left from the original Soviet playground that was replaced by the newer wooden structures.

Sadly, this is one of the better playgrounds in our neighborhood. Most are so badly neglected or stripped for scrap metal that they don't even resemble playgrounds anymore. These playgrounds are maintained by an area work crew, but unfortunately they do little more than pick up a few pieces of trash. We recently discovered that this playground has a concrete border around it with several paved paths, but they are all overgrown due to neglect. We were further saddened when some of the benches were vandalized leaving only a few for the older people and mothers to sit on. A few people did their best to try and repair what they could with some scrap wood, but it wasn't enough.

Playground Restoration Project
These wooden swings were meant to ride on bearings that have completely come apart making the swing unstable and dangerous for small children.

With the help of church members from Calvary Chapel Pryluky here in Ukraine, we are moving forward with a project to help restore the playground and fix some of the more dangerous pieces of equipment. We have been praying about this for awhile now and on March 1st, we began making the final plans and pricing the materials needed. It is our hope that our church here in Bila Tserkva (called "House of Mercy" in Ukrainian) will come together with the Pryluky members to not just fix up a playground, but truly show the Love of Christ in action.

Playground Restoration Project
According to some of our neighbors, this was once some kind of bridge for children to play on.

We are sure that when people see us working on the playground, they will begin to ask questions. The cost of this project will mostly be in labor and that labor will be freely given. We want them to know who we are and why we care so much about them. This will be a great opportunity for our neighbors to meet members of our church and to be invited to our home Bible study.

Playground Restoration Project
Several wooden rungs are missing on this structure.

Please pray that God will provide us with good weather so that we can complete the project as planned (from March 20th-23rd) and that he will provide enough hands for the labor and provide for the financing of the needed materials (about $250).

Playground Restoration Project
Most of the benches around the playground are in bad condition
like this one, leaving few options for the elderly.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

More Help from Pryluky

In the Park
Vlad, Zhana, Edna, Yana, Tanya, Nastya, Joshua, Max, and Dominic

This weekend a group of people came from the Pryluky Calvary Chapel to help us again (Vlad and his wife Zhana, Yana, Max, and Tanya). This time we focused on ways to make worship at our church better and the planning of our playground restoration project that we will complete this month. It was a pleasure to have them in our home. We had a good time just being mutually encouraged.

Stone Bench
Dominic, Yana, Nastya, Tanya, and Edna taking a break in the park.

We were able to get three guitars restrung and in good working order, have a Friday night Bible study with our neighbors, get most of the planning for materials for the playground done, and take a long walk in the park (Vlad also spent a lot of time working on our computer. Thanks Vlad!). We ended our weekend by having Max and Yana (who are brother and sister) lead worship in our church for us. When church was over, they returned to Pryluky with one less person. We are excited to have Tanya staying with us for the next month to help serve in the church here and help us out with ministry. She's definitely an answer to prayer.

Max and Joshua
Of course we let Max and Joshua have a little fun before going back home.