Sunday, January 24, 2010

Perfecting the art of saying goodbye…or trying to

One thing I’ve come to realize about my life is that it is continually full of ‘goodbyes.’ Some of them more permanent then others, but the reality is that they are always there—whether in Ukraine or the US, I can’t escape the fact that either I or the people around me seem in continual motion.

No matter how many times I come and go from ‘home’ (even that word has started to have multiple meanings) I still have the same feelings surface as I have to pack up my bags and again say goodbye to some of the people I love the most- as I did a week ago. Tucking my sweet nephew in for the final time, that final trip to the airport, that last tearful look towards my mom as she waves me on through the security line and I do my best to remain composed…- it’s as if in these moments all the emotions boil to the surface and there is this little part of me that is tempted to run back and say, ‘Okay! I’ll stay.’ Suddenly that tiny part of me that would rather stay in the safer place wants to burst out and run back into the arms of ‘home’.

But somehow, when I find myself alone, seated on the tarmac, engines starting, with some stranger sitting next to me, I close my eyes and I hear that familiar still small voice whisper ever so gently, ‘trust Me, you are right where you are supposed to be.’

I can’t tell you how many times in moments like this I have opened my Bible and the words that seem to find me are these: “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:29

Believe me, I’m not trying to paint myself as some saint because I know I am far from it. But the reality is that when I read those words they are just so tangible to me. The people that Jesus lists in that passage are real and have faces of people attached to them- faces of people that I love. Which makes reading that passage even harder at times. But reading those words and reading the promise helps to remind myself of why I’m living in Ukraine. It has to be because of Jesus. And ultimately that helps puts these quick earthly goodbyes in perspective.

But in all actuality I prefer to say, ‘I’ll see you soon!’

Some sweet moments from my time at home...

Christmas morning
weekend with some of my dearest friends of the hardest parts of saying goodbye! I mean- look at those eyes!! :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Highlights of 2009

While I've been at home as I was able to do a presentation in my church about my life in Ukraine and the
recent happenings in ministry and in life. I put together this little video as a 'highlight' of sorts for 2009 and
thought I'd share it here as well for you all to get a different kind of glimpse.
The song I used, "Albertine" by Brooke Fraiser has become quite special to me. She wrote the song after
a trip to Rwanda and was convicted by the Lord to share the stories of those she met...specifically a girl
named Albertine. Her song has reminded me that it is the faces that matter-- it is their stories that matter.
That's why I try to share them here with you all.

So take a look into the eyes I was privledged to look into this year...they all have stories of their own to tell.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sweet Reunions

I've been having fun getting caught up with family and friends while I'm home, but one of the sweetest moments was seeing Oksana Jones for the first time at my home church. Many of you may remember when I wrote about Oksana when she was being adopted by a couple from my home church last winter.
Well now she is home and speaking beautiful English! When I said goodbye to her in April I told her she'd be speaking English the next time I saw her. She didn't believe me at the time, but I was right! She is doing awesome with her language. It amazes me how quick these kiddos learn!
We had a very sweet reunion at church on Christmas Eve! And my dad and her dad had a fun time capturing the moment on camera! It was a very special moment seeing her for the first time.

I also got to spend the day with their family at home over the new year. When I walked in, Oksana said, "will you do my hair like yours?" Next her little sister Kylie wanted her hair done, and then we decided Natasha needed to join us as well, so I taught Oksana how to do her Mom's hair. Never knew I could start a fashion trend so quickly!
It was awesome getting to spend the day with them and just catch up on life.
I love you Jones family and feel blessed to be a part of your journey!!

our 'fancy' hairstyles!