Last year around this time Cassie decided to try an online school that is based in Alberta. The basic concept is that each course (math, science, social studies, and English) has four lessons that need to be completed each week. Some students do all four courses each day, and some do one day of math, one day of English etc. The fun part of this method is that we have been able to supplement Cassie’s other classes like piano, russian and health class during the daytime rather than in the evenings. Also, we can go work in a library together or go to a coffee shop. It has been so wonderful to have so much time with her this past year. Probably for grade 9 she will go back to her regular school, but for this past season, it has been just so life giving to get to spend so much time with Cassie!
The Boys are both in the same school here in Winnipeg that they went to a few years ago when we were home. It has been fun to watch them reconnect with friends. They both really enjoy school, learning and friends. I am amazed at how these boys excel in their learning and also in the way they express love to all of us in our family. Every night the kids yell from one room to the next “I love you!” to each other. I am so grateful that while throughout the day there are definitely arguments, by the end of the day we can all still say, “I love you!”
Out for a walk yesterday here in snowy Winnipeg. As we spend our next two months here, we will be focused on finishing up the book Angela wrote for SBS graduates, Ben will continue to work on his online communications course (he is in a live online class 4 hours, 5 days a week- that is a lot of zoom!) and the kids will continue to finish this semester of school here in Winnipeg.
We will also continue to grieve. My mom was a big part of all of our lives. She was always engaged with our family and we are going to be forever grateful for that. It leaves a big hole in all of our hearts now that she has passed away. For these next two months before heading back to Kyiv, we will spend time with my Dad and all of the rest of our family and be thankful for each moment we have with each other.
At the beginning of the fall I was reading Romans, and a passage that the Lord really highlighted to me, which has stood out and reminded me again and again that I can depend on Him for hope, joy and peace is this:
So we continue to grieve, but still with deep hope, joy and peace, even though there is sadness and tears.
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side, spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other. Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone” Gone where? Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast, hull and spar as she was when she left my side. And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me — not in her. And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,” there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”
A poem variously attributed to Henry Scott Holland or Henry Van Dyke
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.
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 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