We are thankful to be home in Winnipeg with family for this season. There is much to be thankful for. Too many things to list- but I was reminded last week in church that we give our first fruits to the Lord- in faith that He will always be faithful to provide for all of our needs. These first fruits may be financial, but they can also include the things we hold most dear to our heart- we give them also in our hearts and release them trusting our Lord will be faithful to provide what we need.
We had travelled back to Winnipeg for the summer and due to some different circumstances have had to stay for the fall. Thankfully, our children are flexible 🙂 Cassie does online school so she can really be anywhere. Jay and Kai were happy to go back to the school they went to when we were home on furlough last time. Yesterday was their first day and they were both super happy to:
#1 Bike to school!
#2 See old friends
#3 Bike home from school!
They gave their day an 8 out of 10 which says a lot for going to a ‘new’ school again after having been away for 3 years.
Yesterday I was visiting the school’s blog site and I came across this encouragement from the principal. I thought it was quite insightful:
I remember visiting The Manitoba Museum years ago and seeing the Living Prairie display. Among the many exhibits I saw a sample of prairie grass that was collected after a long drought years ago. What caught my eye was how the small tuft of grass was on display about 25 feet above the floor, followed by its root system that stretched right down to where I was standing. The plant had continued to search for water by sending its roots deeper and deeper into the earth, not only helping it survive in the short run but also providing it with an anchor system of support that helped it weather future storms, high winds, floods and other calamities.
Perhaps the current situation of ever-changing health protocols and the increased sense of anxiety that these create can serve a similar purpose for people of faith. When our daily routines of interaction and community become altered and interrupted, it can drive us to develop a deeper connection to God and His word. When our church community drastically changes, we can still make a connection with God through a deeper devotional life – that source of comfort and guidance is still available to us. And when we feel we are at our wit’s end, prayer can take on a more vibrant role for us.
About a month ago, our team met together to pray and revisit our mission and values. We wanted to really think about what we do, and how we do it, especially because our teaching team has grown to 16 people, and we have many new people this year.
Here are the results of that day.
A few years ago the kids decided to start their own business (along with some urging from mom) selling things like cards and keychains with a Ukraine theme to people that come through YWAM Kyiv. It is pretty low maintenance because they just put out all of their stock on a window sill near the dorms with a jar for money. When they start running out of stock or are walking by they grab the little bit of money in the jar and we input it into the spreadsheet. Hopefully everyone is learning a little about how to run a business.
Cassie turned 13 this year (don’t let the candles fool you). She has also embarked on a new adventure. Due to covid this year, students have been going back and forth between online and in person school depending on the quarantine rules of the Kyiv government. After experiencing a big challenge with having online zoom classes, and also with the tiring schedule of leaving for school at 7am (when in person) and returning at 5:00 (with several hours of school work to do when coming home), she made a big move. Starting in January 2021 we decided to try an online school platform through a school in Alberta. This school specializes in online classes. This meant that Cassie is self paced and working through her different subjects on her own timeline. This has been a great change so far. While making a significant effort to maintain social friendships from school, some additions we have been able to make is having a Russian tutor so the learning is happening at her own pace and skill level, having a gym membership so that we are ensuring she stays in shape, and Mom leads the health class 🙂 I (Angela) have been really loving and treasuring all of the extra time I have had with Cassie this year. She will do this again for grade 8 and then she will likely return to KCA for highschool, but we will evaluate again at that point.
We recently made this short update video for our home church and we thought others may like to see what we have been up to here in Kyiv.
We wrote to all of the graduates from our Titus Projects throughout the last 10 years here in Europe and asked them what they are up to now? Do they still teach? Are they thankful they did Titus Project? We couldn’t share all of their stories, but here are a few so that you can be encouraged – there has been a lot of fruit over the past ten years – with more to come! We are grateful for all of the people who have given, helped, taught, sent, prayed and been there through the journey of pioneering to strengthening the work of Bible teaching in Europe! Click on the photo below to go to our online magazine. If you would prefer to download a copy of the pdf- here is the file for your enjoyment: PDF Version of the Magazine
Our family is studying faith at our dinner table. 5 different aspects of what it means to have faith in God.
Faith is Christ-centered, cross-centered belief. Two weeks ago we focused on it isn’t ‘believing’ in Jesus that is important- it is what we believe about Jesus. Do we agree with the claims he made about himself? Do we agree that He is the son of God and that he was raised from the dead? This is a crucial aspect of being a person of faith.
Faith is trusting God for the future. This last week we talked about how faith is trusting God for our tomorrows. In every circumstance, we can trust him. When we feel afraid of what is to come, or we are unsure, or we know a difficult time might be around the corner, being a person of faith means trusting in God to see us through.
Faith is assurance in the present. This coming week we will look at faith as having assurance in the present, no matter if it is a good experience in our lives, or a difficult one, we can be assured that God will use every circumstance for the good of those who love him.
It is really interesting the feelings that winter brought this year. Every year we spend January training new teachers and then we send them out to teach usually after the first week of January. This year we was no different. In spite of Covid we still sent out 4 teams who are busy with teaching both over zoom as well as in person to small groups.
However, every mid-february we have a ‘lull’ in our calendar where we are preparing for the next SBS which will start in month. There is still a lot to do, and yet there are less people around. The weather is also cold and snowy (at least this year) and so it is easier to stay inside and ‘hunker down’ doing most of the preparation work for SBS alone. This can be a difficult month for our family and our team as we look forward to more sunshine and spring. We appreciate your prayers during the ‘bleak mid-winter.’
Something fun we did as a staff team was celebrate ‘National Carrot Cake Day’ just for a bit of silliness. We made it a competition to see who could make the best cake! Yum!!
Sometimes I get the urge to write a post that describes something that happened, or a conversation that was had. Today, though, I think it would be nice to have some new pictures to help lend some colour to the black and white conversation of type.
And now… 2021 begins! It is going to be a year filled with ups and downs – like any year! But we are surrounded by loving family and friends, and God gives us purpose and love- so we are ready to embrace this year. I asked the Lord for a word for the year as many of my friends do, and I felt like he gave me three- Faith, Hope and Love. So my prayers is that I will approach life with faith, continue to have hope, and pray for a motivation of love for all that I do. Happy New Year!