We were supposed to be leaving for Ukraine at the end of September, but that isn't going to happen. We haven't gotten all of our support raised yet, so we can't go until we get it. We have about 2/3s of it raised, but we still have a long way to go before we get the rest of it. The economy of the U.S. hasn't helped us at all this year. People and churches are becoming very careful about where their money goes, and, to be frank, money is becoming scarce both in the churches and in homes. One church recently dropped our support because the money simply wasn't coming into the church the way it had been and the church didn't have it to send for us. This really hurt us because that church supported us with more than $250 a month. Right now we are hoping and praying that we'll be able to leave at the beginning of 2009. Pray along with us that God will speak to people and churches about our needs, but especially about the needs of Ukraine.
We feel as though we need to do something concrete to show people (and the Lord) that we are really serious about getting to Ukraine. So in August we started studying the Russian language. Frank is really doing good. He is working through the Rosetta Stone language lessons and is just about through Level I. He hears the sounds so much better than I do (this is Chris writing), and having learned Greek while in seminary, he finds the Cyrillic alphbet much easier to learn and follow. I'm struggling along, still in the early stages of Level I. I've made flash cards with the alphabet letters so I can get that memorized with the proper sounds. If the letter looks like a 'c', it should sound like a 'c', right? Wrong!!! It sounds like 'ess', or 's'. 'B' sounds like 'v'. Etc., etc., etc. And there are some letters which are totally new and different.
We're also doing lots of reading that goes along with the small group Turning Point ministries which we are looking forward to using in the Ukrainian churches. Not only do we have to do the reading, but we have to submit summaries to the Turning Point Ministry to receive credit for it. Fair enough. The material is interesting, but there's a lot of it. I'm getting ready to read the book, Caring Enough to Confront, by David Augsberger. This has to do with confronting people with life-controlling issues in order to help them overcome their problems. I'll write more when I've finished the book.
So much to learn, so much to remember, so much to put into practice when we finally get to Ukraine.