Here is a newsletter we sent out to supporters. If you did not receive this and would like to be on our mailing list, please contact us through the contact form on the website or email Justin@pocketsofchange.org
Time sure is flying here in the Ukraine. We’ve been here a week already in Nikopol and it’s hard to believe how quickly the time has gone. Justin and I have heard many stories, so many it gets overwhelming. I have filled an entire notebook already in just one week, and we still have another full week here before we leave for Uganda.
We have seen great need here. We have also seen the power of Christ at work in people’s lives. Those that have nothing praise God for giving them breath and life even though they have very little else. Most have had a lifetime of hardship yet their faith is so much stronger than mine.
One thing that has really stood out to me is the ravaging effects of alcohol here; it is rampant. It’s clear Satan has a hold on many Ukrainians through this destructive substance and their families are hurt because of it. We met a woman yesterday who exemplifies this problem. Her name is Luba. Her husband drinks. And she hates it. The sadness in her eyes when she told us that said more than her words. A pool of tears welled up in her eyes as she shared about her husband. Then she told us her son went off to war, and when he came home he had mental problems and started to drink too.
“I can’t express what a suffering it is,” she voiced about her pain.
Yet Luba gets up every day determined to live as Christ would have her live. God reached out to her and saved her and she lives each day with a joy that can only come from Christ, not from her life circumstances.
For Justin, what has stood out has been how similar the Ukraine at first glance looks to Canada. When you’re driving through the streets of Nikopol and out into the countryside, it looks so similar to back home. Visible evidence like signs in another language and alphabet never allow us to pretend for too long, but the trees, the landscape and comforts of the guest home sure make it feel like home.
But, what Justin has observed, is that the more we talk to people and get to know their stories, the more foreign this country has become. What he read in history books in school is now more real than ever. These people we are meeting have lived through communism, they lived through Stalin’s regime and the concentration camps and the starvation and the corruption. It’s no longer just words in a text book; it’s real people with real experiences.
We would like to encourage those that would like to, to drop us a note once in awhile. Justin and I both are feeling out of the loop from life in Canada and sometimes feel like we’re floating in the ocean without a tether to home.
We eagerly await a chance each day to see if the internet is working and check our mail only to find out there are no messages for us. Certainly we don’t need to hear from everyone all the time, but if you are praying for us, or if you have a cool verse to share or something, we would love to get an email.
Justin and I know that we could not do this project without the support from back home. And we know that there are people praying for us as we have been protected, healthy and gathering the stories of life change we came to gather. Thank you for your prayers, for your concern, and for your friendship. We value each one of you and appreciate your support.