Switzerland Adventure, Day 1

Here we are!

We are here!

 

After a full day of travel we arrived in Bern, Switzerland and we are as happy as can be.

 

Little bus from our house to city square.

Big bus from Zhitomir to Kiev.

Metro to big train station.

Bus from train station to airport.

Direct flight from Kiev to Zurich. Woohoo!

Train from Zurich to Bern.

Walk from train station to lodging. YAY!

 

I'm sleepy and tomorrow is a big day, so I'll just share some pics and call it good. Mmmk?

At the metro in Kiev, feelin' fresh.

METROOOOOO!

On the bus to the airport.

Santa at the airport! I tell ya, Christmas is still going in Ukraine. You can hear Christmas music in all the stores STILL! I was made for Ukraine.

We arrived in Bern! Jed loves this chair. He hasn't even let me sit in it yet.

We walked around in the rain tonight and it was beautiful.

I'm a sucker for twinkle lights. We had dinner down this street at a restaurant that serves traditional Swiss food. Yes please!

The prettiest bottle of water I ever sipped.

This was AMAZING. It was leeks, cream, sausage, and potatoes. Shut the front door.

That's a big ol' bowl of fondue!

Fondue. Again, shut the front door.

Dippage for the fondue.


Window shopping for chocolate. Look at that! Outrageous!

This makes me laugh. I was positively giddy about my coffee! HA!

 
Tomorrow we hit the consulate bright and early. I hope we can update again tomorrow evening with visas in hand! Pray with us pretty please?
Good night! 🙂

 

A Wide Awake Adventure

This weekend is a weekend for adventure!  Jed and I are going to Switzerland!

I know, I know, the things we suffer as missionaries.  It’s okay, really, It’ll be rough, but we’ll make it.  😉

Really though, Switzerland??  I never thought I’d get to go there!  This is such a fun, unexpected blessing!

Quick recap:

1.  We have to leave Ukraine and go to one of their consulates in another country to get our visas to live in Ukraine.

2.  There is a Ukrainian consulate in Bern, Switzerland.

3.  There is a church near Bern that wants to support Wide Awake and they have asked us to share about Wide Awake at their service on Sunday.

4.  A passionate orphan advocate and encourager of Wide Awake attends the church and invited us to stay with her family and get some good face to face time.

5.  Sharing Wide Awake + Getting visas + Meeting a big time encourager IN PERSON = Killing three birds with one stone and a whole lotta fun.

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Jed’s parents have been here visiting from their home in Kosova where they have lived as missionaries for the past 14 years.  We have had the best visit!  It’s been so fun to show them our new home and see Ukraine through their eyes.  They offered to stay here in Ukraine with the kids while Jed and I make the trip to Switzerland.  For one thing, the kids don’t need visas, so they don’t have to come to the consulate.  For another, taking all four kids around a country we don’t know at all, standing in line at the consulate and figuring out public transport sounds less than super fun.  Annnnd for another, two plane tickets is aheckofalot cheaper than six.  BAM. Decision made.  The kids get Grammy and Papa time and Jed and I get a little Swiss Adventure.  Everybody wins!  We’ve got to be killing at least ten birds with that one stone.

Here’s how the weekend will look (if all goes as we hope it should):

Thursday: Fly away to Zurich, find train and take train to Bern.  Explore, change money, drink coffee.

Friday: Hit the Ukrainian Consulate bright and early with documents in hand.  HOPEFULLY we’ll get our visas by the end of that working day…pray pray pray!!!  That afternoon we’ll take the train to another town to meet our friend and gracious host, Sandra, who will take us to her house.

Saturday:  Jed’s Birthday!!!  Hopefully we can explore our hearts out this day.  We’ll do birthday dinner with Sandra and her fam. 🙂

Sunday:  We share Wide Awake at Sandra’s church in Lucerne.  It’s an international church that sounds pretty stinkin’ cool.  We are excited to meet the people.  Please pray for hearts and eyes to be wide open to what the Father wants to do that day.

Monday:  Head back to the Ukrainian Consulate if things didn’t get wrapped up on Friday.  The Consulate is only open for visas Monday, Wednesday,and Friday, so we wanted to make sure we gave ourselves two working days- just in case.  If we have our visas we’ll just explore some more!

Tuesday: Home again, home again, jiggety jig.

So that’s the scoop!  We would love your prayers for a quick and easy time at the Consulate.  Also please pray for our kids and Grammy and Papa back home in Ukraine.  We’ve left our kids before when they were back in the US and we were visiting Ukraine, but this is the first time we’ve ever left them in Ukraine.  It feels very strange.  But, God has been so good to us, we know we have nothing to fear.  We just want their little hearts to be settled and peaceful.  Also for our time at the church on Sunday, pray that God would have His way and we would only speak His words.  Pray that people would be encouraged to say YES to God in their own lives- whatever that may look like.

Thanks friends!  Your prayers and encouragement are such a blessing to our family!  All of you saying yes and partnering with us is a huge part of what makes this journey so sweet.

How it Went Down

We are here! We are here! Holy, moly, the outpouring of support has blown us away. We feel so loved and spoiled! Our friends and family rock. So many Viber messages, so much facebook encouragement, so many emails. Thank you all for loving us so well.

Here's how it went down.

Portland:

We said goodbye to my family and it was p-a-i-n-f-u-l. Picture Addy clinging to the window, sobbing as our family walked away and you'll be able to picture the level of sadness. Our family has so fully released us to this and we know it is hard. I can't imagine how we could even do this if they didn't let us know that they are behind this 100%. Thank you dear fam for letting us go. WE LOVE YOU!

We were feeling rather pathetic, so we hurried off to distract ourselves with a long security line. That line made us want to poke our eyes out, so the other sadness was forgotten for a bit. It felt like all we had ever known was that line and our 4 roller carry-ons + 5 backpacks + 1 guitar. All time stopped and we were lost in the vortex of shoe-taking off, pocket-emptying, luggage-heaving, and luggage-scanning and re-scanning. Did I mention the miracle that we got to check all 12 bags ALL THE WAY to Kiev, and 7 of them were a couple pounds overweight and they made us pay nothing? Oh the cheering that rang out at the American Airlines ticket counter!! Did I also mention that TSA officers have a knack for opening the bags stuffed with loose legos? Yep, they chose the lego bags without fail. Hehe…it was like an explosion of legos every time. Annnnnd it never stopped being funny.

Flight #1

This flight was pretty uneventful. As we were heading down the runway I explained to Havalah that we have to go really fast before we go up in the air. She said “Oh, when we start to drive really fast will our hair blow back?” 🙂


Chicago:

TSA really had a ball with our luggage this time. They must have scanned Ezra's backpack 4 times. I think the nerf gun bullets were the culprit…or maybe the scary shark toy? I guess it will always remain a mystery.

We ate some yummy food, took a train, changed terminals and we were off again!

Flight #2

This was the biggie. We were flying from Chicago to Istanbul and it was a 10 hour doozy. The kids did AWESOME!!!! They really couldn't have done better. We watched movies, ate, and slept. I won't bore you with all the details…

 
Istanbul:

Before we arrived in Istanbul we explained to the kids that when we got off that plane we wouldn't be in America anymore, so they needed to expect things to be different. The first sign of different was when we went through the security check. O.M.G. As Havalah went through the x-ray scanner deal-io the TSA officer (a woman) grabbed Havalah and started smothering her face with kisses. HAHAHA!!! It was so awesome. She was going on and on in Turkish, grabbing, kissing, talking, more kissing. At that point we were certain we weren't in Oregon anymore. Seth got the same smooch treatment and we were on our way. I'm not sure they took note of anything in our bags, they were just too enamored with our kids. I loved every second of it, and Hava and Seth didn't seem to mind it much either. 🙂

Flight #3:

This flight was less than 2 hours long, so I don't have much to say about it. Quick and painless, and before we knew it we were in Kiev! The feelings as we touched down in Ukraine were like nothing I've ever felt before. Jed and I met eyes and were like “Holy cow. We did it. We made it. God did this. After 3 years of dreaming, we are here- with our kids. WOW.”

Kiev:

Once we got down to baggage claim in Kiev we were in good hands. We looked out the glass doors and could see a group of our dear friends from the Kiev Vineyard waiting for us, waving and smiling. YES!!! All we had to do was get our bags from the carousel to the door and then we had many hands hugging us and helping us. Praise God for the Body of Christ. Praise God for family in Kiev. We love them so much!

Want to know the biggest miracle of all? ALL 12 BAGS MADE IT TO KIEV. Jed and I were literally whooping with joy when we grabbed the last bag off the carousel. It was definitely a moment to celebrate. 🙂

Our friends helped us to the van we had hired and we were off on the road to Zhitomir! All the kids except Seth fell asleep on the two hour drive, so that was easy peasy. When we arrived at the house our friend Oleg was waiting with keys to let us right in. He even brought food for breakfast this morning! All our friends here made us feel so loved and welcome. Then we logged online and all our friends from the US were cheering us on like crazy! It's like one ginormous hug fest and we are loving every second of it. Thank you, dear ones, both near and far.

All in all, the travel couldn't have been more perfect. Tomorrow I'll show you pictures of the house, so stay tuned! Woot! 😉

We are so unbelievable thankful that God has brought us this far. He has covered every single detail. It just goes to show you that the children we've come to serve are so stinkin' dear to His heart. He will stop at nothing to have His way. He will stop at nothing to bring light into darkness. All of this is for His glory. He continues to pave the way and we simply can not wait to see what He has in store next. He is changing the atmosphere and softening hearts. He is opening eyes and we are humbled to be His hands and feet in this place.

To God be ALL the glory for the great, amazing, fantastic, unbelievably good things He has done.

 

Today We Fly

And we're off! Thank you dear family and friends for showering us with love these past few days/years. 🙂

 

We have been drowned in love and we leave with full hearts knowing that we have been fully released to our destiny. We go “fully loved, and fully free to love.”

 

We can't really comprehend that this is really happening, or what this really means, but we know that God goes before us and His plans are gonna rock.

 

Bye for now! So many hugs and so much love to family and friends. We LOVE YOU!!!!!

 

Happenings and About-to-be-Happenings

Next week we fly away!

 

Next week the new adventure begins!

 

Seven days to go and we're feeling gooooood.

 

Today we went to Portland and finished up the last of our shopping. Oh man, we rocked it! Jed got shoes, Addy got shoes, I got jeans, Jed got jeans…we were knocking things off the checklist like beasts. It was awesome. I think the only things left to buy are a brown belt for Jed and some good walking shoes for me. We won't have a car in Ukraine, so our current shoes won't really cut it. We'll be walking A LOT. I finally resigned myself to the fact that I'll need to spend more than $20 on a pair of shoes for them to last in U. 🙂

 

We had the best weekend. Our dear, dear friend Cody came to visit us this weekend from Florida. Cody and I were friends in college, and then after we graduated she moved to Oregon to live with me. Cody was there when Jed and Kim became Jed and Kim. 🙂 In fact, it's a little known fact that Cody was the catalyst in the whole making of Jed and Kim. Back in those days Jed was in love with me and I wasn't so sure…hehe. Then Cody came along and helped me realize what a catch I had right in front of me. So…I guess we owe a whole lot to our Cody. Cody was the first one I screamed with after Jed proposed, she was in our wedding, she was there when Addy was born…it only makes sense that Cody would have to be a part of this ginormous life event we're in the middle of right now!

 

Boy did we need some Cody in our lives this weekend!! Jed and I were feeling rather burned out on packing/item-deliberating/stuff-decision-making. We're so sick of looking and relooking at our stuff! Cody came along and gave us just the right amount of bossiness and energy to get 'er done! 🙂 On Sunday my friend Angie, Cody and I layed out ALL OUR STUFF and ALL OUR SUITCASES and packed, packed, packed. It.was.awesome. Not only was this weekend super productive, but it was super refreshing and life-giving. I didn't realize how much I was missing my friend. Having Cody here was like a weekend-long hug/bowl of ice cream. Comforting to the extreme. Great, now I'm making myself cry. Grrrr. Anyway, thank you Cody for being such a sister to me. I love you and I miss you already. Come baaaaaaaaack!!!!!

 

Welp, now I got all emotional and lost my train of thought.

 

As we tackle the next few days left here in Oregon I just want to savor friends and family. I want to drink in everyone. I want to make sure we get to say goodbye to as many people as we can, so if you're reading this and you want to make sure you get in a goodbye just give us a call! You aren't a bother. We have a lot to do, but nothing is more important than making time for the ones we love.