One year.  ONE YEAR!  Today marks one year since we landed in Ukraine to start this crazy new journey.    We’re calling today our “Ukraine-iversary”.

I remember the elevator door opening in to the baggage claim at the airport in Kyiv.  I remember looking around and wondering how on God’s green earth were we going to get all 12 suitcases, all 4 carry-ons, all 5 personal items, the guitar, and all four children from baggage claim, through customs, and to the van that we hoped was waiting for us.

And then.  Then I saw frantic waving through the sliding door as it opened and closed past customs.  There were at least 8 friends from Kyiv Vineyard with HUGE smiles on their faces, waiting to help us out the door.  Oh the relief.  Those dear, sweet friends will never understand what the moment meant to me.  We were not alone.  We had loved ones waiting for us.  And that’s how it has been along this whole journey.


Now some of those who greeted us are like our Ukrainian family.  Now Vasya, the driver who I hoped and prayed really would be waiting for us, is a loved friend who drives us to and from Romaniv almost every single week.

What a journey.  What.a.journey.


This year has been full.

Full of laughter, and full of tears.  Full of hugs and kisses, and full of loneliness.  Full of learning, and full of humility.  Full of intense joy and intense grief.  Full of being a stranger, and full of absolute belonging.

But most of all, this year has been full to the brim, and then overflowing with blessing.


God has blessed us this year beyond our wildest dreams.  His goodness has been without end.  This has been the hardest year of our lives, but also the absolute best year of our lives.  There have been days when we felt like the craziest people on the face of the earth, but God has walked beside us every second.

You know what’s exciting?  This is just the beginning!!!  One year is like nothing!  We’re just scratching the surface of the plans God has for the special boys and young people we serve.  The dreams He has been giving us are even wilder and crazier and bigger than before.




THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU a million times THANK YOU for walking with us on this journey.  Thank you for your prayers, your encouragement, your comments, your emails, your financial support, your care packages, your love.



 We are blessed to have you on the team.




To celebrate this most awesome Ukraine-iversary we have brought back the BeLOVE[d] t-shirts! 

We will be selling the shirts until the end of the month, and 100% of the proceeds will go toward the transportation of our volunteer teams to and from Romaniv.  They are Jesus’ hands and feet to our Boys and your support helps them (and us!) get there as often as possible. 

Check out the sale at

A New Place

We are rapidly approaching our one year anniversary of life here in Ukraine.

Has it already been one year?  Has it been only one year????

So much has happened in this past year it feels like a million lifetimes have passed since we touched down in Kyiv that cold November night.

Before we moved we’d been warned by other missionaries and in missionary books and missionary blogs that the first year overseas is a beast. We tried to prepare ourselves for that, but how can you really prepare, emotionally and spiritually, to leave everything you have ever known and held dear- and start over? How can you prepare to go from being a pretty smart person to feeling pretty much dumb pretty much all the time? How can you prepare for what it will be like to watch your children hurt and struggle and feel lonely? How can you prepare to go from being a vital part of a vibrant community of like-minded people to living on the fringes of society?


You just can’t. You can try, but you just can’t be prepared. You just have to jump and trust that your loving Father will catch you.

This first year has been the hardest time of our lives. It has stretched us and jostled us and turned us upside down.


And yet…

How can you prepare to have your heart invaded by 80 boys tucked away in the middle of nowhere? How can you prepare for the joy of knowing young men and women with special needs who can light up the room with a single smile? How can you prepare to watch God fling open doors that have been shut for years? How can you prepare to feel the absolute smile of God and joy of the Father as you walk right down the center of His will? How can you prepare to watch young men and women loving your children with utter abandonment?


You just can’t. You can try, but you just can’t be prepared. These things are what you experience in that catch of the Father.

My heart came to a new place this past week. I was washing the dishes and thinking about our upcoming Ukraine-iversary, and I realized that I’m good. I’m okay. We will most likely live here for a very long time, and I’m okay with it. When we moved here we sold everything except what we packed in our 12 suitcases (and a couple tubs in storage). We came here with the mindset that this is our new home until God says otherwise. We knew then that if we came for a set amount of time we would forever be looking at that deadline and we wouldn’t settle in for the long-haul. We know that about ourselves.


I can’t know the heart of God, and His ways are higher than mine. Maybe He’ll have us leave here next month, but I highly doubt it. I can’t say I know the future, but I can say that the dreams God gave us are big HUGE dreams that are going to take a loooooooong time. So, as things stand now, I expect us to live in Ukraine for many, many years.

We are here for the long-haul, and I’m good. I’m sad, but I’m good. Thinking about the long-haul a few months ago only made me cry. I’ll be honest. Now it makes me cry and it makes me smile. It makes me cry because I miss my family and my friends across the ocean. I saw pictures of a bunch of my family all together last weekend and I bawled my eyes out. I should be there with them. How can I not be there with them? How can we raise our children so far away from family? How can we bear all the missed holidays, all the missed birthdays, all the joys of daily life? Christmas is coming. How will we bear it? I don’t know and I don’t even want to think about it. I guess I have to trust that God will catch us then too. It’s so hard, but we just have to trust Him that He will fill those empty places- for us and our family in the US.  That part is incredibly hard.  I can’t even tell you how hard.



The long-haul also makes me smile. It makes me smile because of our dear ones here. How could we ever leave our Boys???? How??? How could we leave and not be a part of their lives? How could we walk away and not know what happened to them, where they lived out their days? How could we stop fighting for them? And what about our young adults with special needs? We love them! How could we leave? And what about all our friends? Our church? Leaving here would be just as devastating as it was to leave Salem. I’ll even dare to say it would be more devastating deep down, simply because our loved ones in America are daily loved and care for by many, but our Boys are not.


Sigh. There just aren’t any simple fixes. It’s just painful and joyful and trustful and tearful. All we can do is trust and keep hold of the hand of our Father.

So, I’m in a new place. I’m in a place of seeing the long road stretched out before me and feeling okay with walking in that direction for many more years. There will be plenty of tears and joys along the way, I’m sure of that. But oh the peace that comes from saying YES to Jesus- one step at a time. There’s just nothing like it.

Six Months!

Today marks 6 months in Ukraine.  Happy Anniversary to us!  YAY!

The past 6 months have flown by, yet so much has happened and so much in life has changed in that time that I can hardly believe we’ve only been here for 6 months.  Crazy.

My heart is so full right now as I look back at all God has done, and as I look at what He is doing right now.  I think about the ones who helped send us here, and continue to send us and I am overwhelmed with love.  All our friends, family, and supporters that are so far away- we love you so so much.  We cherish every email, every Skype/Facetime date, every Viber message, every Facebook message, every postcard more than we can even express.  THANK YOU for your continued prayer and encouragement.  It is necessary and such an enormous blessing to us.  We know we aren’t “out of sight out of mind” and that means a lot to us.  🙂

Then I think about all our wonderful friends here in our new home and I get all gushy and teary-eyed again.  How is it that we can be so blessed??  I’ve decided that we are just stinkin’ spoiled rotten.  Our Ukrainian friends love us and our children so very well.  Our lives are so much richer because of your presence in our lives.  THANK YOU for loving us despite our toddler vocabulary.  You are too good to us.  We love you!

Okay, I’m done with my speech now.  I could say so much more, but it’ll get all mushy and you all don’t want to read that.  Let’s just say, God s good and saying YES is worth it.

Annnnnnd for your viewing pleasure, here are some of my favorite pics of the past few weeks, just because I can.  🙂

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First S’mores of the season

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Romaniv Sweetness

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“Mama Nina”

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Fun at our friends’ farm, i.e Seth’s Heaven

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Football!! (Soccer)

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Addy and Hava helping babysit Zakhar, their fave Ukrainian baby doll 🙂

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Fun with friends

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Flying kites with cows. Hahaha

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Free-Range Sethers

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Making friends in our neighborhood. Slowly but surely!

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Ezra found a pet at the park…meet Slimey!

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Bob, a Vineyard pastor in California, came to visit and we made a great new friend. We can’t wait till you come again!

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Olya, my Ukrainian Mama 🙂 Я люблю тебе Оля!

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Semi-scary ooooooold carnival rides are right up Ezra’s alley

I can’t wait to see what the next 6 months hold.  Woohoo!

Road Trip! Yakima and Hermiston

Road Trip Stats:

3 days

3 states

3 rounds of ice cream

3 delicious batches of homemade cookies

3 awesome times of sharing

2 church families we absolutely love

2 amazing host families spoiling us rotten

1 near-missed tornado warning

600 miles

countless hugs

countless welcoming smiles and open hearts

So as you can see, so far so good!

We had amazing times in Yakima and Hermiston. We seriously love those churches! It’s incredible how God can knit your hearts with people when you least expect it and when you really aren’t even looking for it. We feel such a great love for those 2 church families. The excitement, encouragement, and support they have showered on us has been so humbling and heart-filling. THANK YOU our dear friends! We left both places feeling loved and spoiled. 🙂

Don’t be judging the food choice…it’s a ROAD TRIP!

On Friday night in Yakima we led worship and then Jed shared about the goodness of God. After the talk we had a Q & A time with some medical professionals interested in how they can help. I can’t even tell you what it does to our hearts to see others grabbing this vision and running with it. To have someone come up and tell us they’ve been thinking about Ukraine ever since they last heard us speak and they know they just have to respond. “Wait, you thought about what was shared after we left??? YESSSSSSSS!!!!” 😉  We got to have breakfast with the fun and fantastic Lee Family and I forgot to take pictures.  Lame!  I guess you’ll have to use your imagination on that one.  Thanks friends!

In Hermiston we got to stay with the Douglass family and invade their space. It was the bessssst. Man we love those guys. Mark and Lois adopted their son Nik from Ukraine a couple years ago so we have a special bond there, plus they are just awesome, plus their boys are tons ‘o fun, plus they all love our kids, plus they fed us delicious food and let us jump on their trampoline and eat their ice cream and swim in their pool. We had a comfy cozy family time with them that we’ll always treasure. Thanks dear Dougli!

We got to share Wide Awake with Oasis Vineyard in Hermiston on Sunday morning and a good time was had by all. That probably had more to do with the delicious potluck than anything else. 🙂 Why does it all have to be about the food, you ask? Well, I just really like food…that’s why. Heeheeeee…

Now we’re in Boise at an awesome host home with such kind hosts, it’s just great! We shall see what good times await us here.

Thanks friends for praying and following along on our journey. If you could pray for Jed we would really appreciate it. He’s got a cold/cough that he just can’t seem to shake. That’s made speaking and leading worship a tad interesting! He really doesn’t want to be sick and I really want him to be able to fully engage in this trip without feeling sick and tired. Would you pray with us for his healing? Thanks!

Bye for now!

Garage Sale of the Century Recap.

You found us! Yay for you!

I've been meaning to move over to WordPress for a while now, and finally got around to it. I managed to move all the blogger content over to WordPress a while back, and then I forgot I did it and wrote a few more posts on my blogger account. Oops. So…I copied and pasted them here. I'm so hi-tech. Aren't you proud of me?

Now for the real news!

Holy Garage Sale Amazingness!!!

What kind of crazy garage sale brings in that kind of money? I have absolutely no idea how that happened, other than the fact that God must have multiplied the money once it hit the change box. 🙂 So many wonderful friends donated loads and loads of stuff for us to sell. Our oh so gracious and amazing friends Tom and Emma let us host the sale at their house since we live on a super steep hill. On Thursday night we stood in their house attempting to sort the junk sale items, and we literally almost cried (well, not so much Jed and Tom, more like Emma and me…or maybe just me…). It was a serious case of Hoarders. Tom and Emma get a standing ovation for hosting this beast. We made such memories together…I would almost be tempted to do a re-do just for some more quality snacking with T and E…almost.

We priced the items low, and then prayed for loads of buyers. And guess what? Our prayers were answered beyond our wildest dreams!! Tons of shoppers were commenting on how few garage sales there were that weekend…our sale was the only big one in the area…THANK YOU JESUS! He cares about every.single.detail- right down to the friends providing pumpkin spice lattes and milkshakes just when I needed them. 😉 Can I get an amen? Hehe

Tom, Emma, Debbie, Joe and Kim, Duane and Kim, Becki, Curtis and Sara, Jasmine, Ashley, Rosa, Vicki, Carli, Hannah, Mom and Dad, Sam and Ang…and everyone else I'm forgetting, THANK YOU for the coffee, the donations, the blizzards, the doughnuts, the help with the kiddos. You are all ginormous blessings to us and our hearts were/are bursting with all the love and support we felt from our friends and family. High five Team Garage Sale!

The proceeds from that garage sale, combined with one done by friends earlier in the summer raised a whoppin' $3100! That almost paid for our plane tickets. We are most blessed, and we are most done with garage sales.