So, here we are in Ukraine, livin' it up, doing our thing, and you might be wondering,
“What are they actually doing there?”
That's a valid question with an answer that changes every day. :
When we first arrived, Ira, the Director at Mission to Ukraine (MTU) told us “We have an additional beatitude in Ukraine, 'Blessed are the flexible, for they will not be broken.'” Ha! Bring it on, we're ready.
We just want to bless MTU and their vision as much as possible, so we have given them ourselves. They are welcome to use us however they want. We just desire to be a blessing and not a burden. Ira wisely decided it would be best to focus on tasks month by month, reevaluating often where there is the most need and where they can use us most effectively.
For the month of December we are mostly helping in different classrooms around MTU. Jed and I take turns going to MTU, while the other stays home and teaches our kids. We're only a couple of weeks into it, but so far so good! One thing I do know is that I've got to get more organized with our homeschooling. Yikes. I'm not used to this “team-teaching” thing! I'm just used to teaching the kids while Jed's off at work and he doesn't really have a hand in it. I love the idea of him teaching the kids! I just am realizing it's going to take a lot more organization to be able to pull it off well. All my Homeschool Mama friends are laughing at me right now. Stop it! I see you and that smirk on your face! 🙂 Let's just say I've not been known to be the most organized Type A homeschooler out there. I'm more of the “let's just do the next thing” type, with a good bit of “We don't need to do that” thrown in there (like worksheets and such). I'm not neglectful, I'm just relaxed. Yeah, that doesn't really work with more than one teacher. I realized that I'm going to have to write out lesson plans or else Jed will have no clue what to do and all the schooling will fall on me…which won't work because I'm not always going to be home. Whew. Pray for me and my relaxed, unorganized, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants self!
While at MTU we act as extra hands in the various classes they teach. There is a special needs preschool class that we help at, as well as some life skills classes for all ages and abilities. It is so fun!!! I already have a few favorites (if I'm allowed favorites). 😉 I hope to share their pictures with you soon, I just need permission first. The staff at MTU is stretched very thin, so they really need extra hands in every area.
Jed is working with Natasha, one of the staff members who is in charge of development of MTU's volunteer base. His experience at Family Building Blocks is just what Natasha needs and wants. So, that's cool. He's also helping out Tatiana in the communications department with social media stuff. And of course there's Fridays. Woohoo! On Fridays Jed and I take turns volunteering at Romaniv Orphanage with the MTU team. To say it's a highlight of our week would be an understatement. Just tonight we had our friend Olya over for dinner, she's an occupational therapist at MTU, and were brainstorming with her about Romaniv and what we can do for the boys there. The need is overwhelming, but God doesn't call us to fix all the problems. He just calls us to take one step at a time and daily listen to His voice and obey. Whew!
Last Saturday we took the kids to visit Awanas! Ha! Funny right? One of the churches here in town hosts Awanas on Saturday afternoons and the kids had a blast. It's all in Ukrainian, and the teacher said they did just fine! It felt super strange to leave them there, but when we were in the room they were looking to us too much, so we thought they'd do better if we left. I've gotta say, our kids are pretty stinkin' brave. They want to go back too!
Other than all that, we're just spending our days learning how to live in Ukraine. It's a new culture, new language, new pace of life, new everything. We seriously feel like babies. I want to scream to people “I'm really not as stupid as I sound! I really am a smart person…I just don't know how to ask for the right kind of cheese at the deli counter.” Haha! Oh dear. We are babies, learning a whole new world, taking baby steps, talking baby talk. It's humbling and invigorating, and humiliating, and frustrating, and wonderful.
I simply would not have it any other way. God is so good it's almost laughable. 🙂