Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Pet Mouse!

Following is an email we received from Marta this morning:

Hi! I am at ARK passing out candy today! Ihar & Liza (oldest little girl who helps me translate some) are here with me. The family is sweet but I have no private time with Ihar. He is very quiet and bored today! He loves his MP4 player, but isn’t talking much to me. I think it is because there are too many people around. I'm not eating much…but trying to drink bottled water. I slept about 7 hours last night. My family has 7 children. The oldest is David, he is sick and has a 103 temp. And Liza slept with me last night; she coughed all night. Today they celebrate New Years Eve…I don’t know how? We’ll see. Am trying to be flexible….only 1 shower, no hair washing yet. Hey, when in Belarus I go with the flow! Tomorrow I hope to see Tatiana and she wants to take Ihar & me sightseeing. I still need to find out needs of Ihar’s orphanage and have not been in a single shop yet. I hope to get someone to take me. I really want Ihar to open up to me….I think he’s happy. Oh, my family has a house mouse for a pet! Yes, you heard correctly. Only my favorite animal..not!
They have 7 children, David, Liza, Hanna, Angelina, Masha, Dasha, and Lupe.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Arriving in Belarus

The trip to DC on Sunday was uneventful. The pictures we've posted are of Marta and Cheri after our arrival at Dulles. All the flights were on schedule and they did not have problems making any of their connections in Frankfurt and Minsk. They were able to get everything through customs in Belarus without any questions or added fees.

Marta was exhausted after the long flights and the bus ride from Minsk to Mogilev where she is staying. It was after 8:00 Monday evening (Belarus time) when she finally arrived at the home of her host family. (Almost 38 hours without sleep). She found out that the family lives about a 5 minute walk from Ihar's orphanage. Their apartment is right next to the movie theatre that's in the square with the huge Christmas tree in the photograph that Ihar sent.

Marta called at about 12:20pm Tuesday afternoon (our time), 7:20pm Belarus time. Though she had only got about 5 hours of sleep the night before, she sounded great and was having a blast! They had gone to the ABRO headquarters Tuesday afternoon to sort out all of the gifts the group had brought for the orphans. They were amazed at the variety and abundance that had been provided.

Tatiana, the interpreter that came with the group of children that came to Charlotte this summer, was at the ABRO headquarters to help sort the gifts. Marta was excited to be reunited with her. After they had sorted the gifts, Tatiana took Marta to Ihar's orhpanage. They spent about two hours there talking with the director, seeing the school, and, of course, seeing Ihar!!! Ihar was able to go back with her to her host family's home and spend the rest of the afternoon. Tatiana also invited Marta and Ihar to have dinner at her house tomorrow night.

We will post more later,

Rommy and Zack

Monday, December 22, 2008

My Host Family

I have posted 2 new pictures Ihar just sent me. You gotta love the picture of him at the "tree lot"!...notice they are artificial trees!

I Have a Family!

My host family is Anzhelika and Sergei Atroshkin. They live in Mogilev near Ihar's orphanage. They have 6 small children. The oldest girl has been to America with the ABRO program and speaks some English. Who knows how much? I will find out! It should be interesting!

Don't forget to check the web site by clicking on the link. You will see current weather conditions and time. It is about 31 degrees and snowing as I write this.

We depart for Washington DC on Sunday around 6:00 am. I appreciate your prayers. May we be the hands and feet of Jesus. And may I have a chance to share Christ with Ihar. Pray for understanding (with the language barriers) and a soft heart.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Packing and Ready to Go

"...He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."" Mark 10:14

Many many thanks to all the people who gave items to take to the orphans. Without you, it would not be possible for Cheri & I to take so many wonderful gifts to these precious children. Scarves, gloves, hats, jewelry, stuffed animals, legos, k'nex, games, balls, purses, wallets, dolls, jackets, sweatshirts, socks, chapstick, lip gloss, tooth paste, tooth brushes, sports bags, etc....I really didn't think it was possible to get everything packed but God knew exactly what it would take to fill our bags and it fit perfectly! We serve a totally amazing God who oversees the smallest details of our lives.

We are almost packed and ready to go. I thought you might like to see some pictures of Cheri and I as we are trying to decide how to pack so many gifts!
I received my schedule. We will begin visiting orphanages as early as December 31. I will be taking an international cell phone (I am renting) so I can call and give Rommy updates. He will be responsible for updating my blog while I am away! My treat so that Ihar can talk with Rommy, Miranda and Zack!
Please keep praying for open doors to share the Gospel, our protection, all the little details of our trip (no lost luggage, flight connections, etc.), and most of all for us to be a light for Jesus. Many thanks to each of you, your reward is in Heaven.
A quick comparison! Miranda and I served at Samaritan's Purse on Monday processing shoeboxes. They said they were shipping out a record number 8 million shoeboxes this year. I started thinking what it would look like to see 8 million shoeboxes and thought about the fact there are 143 million orphans. Approximately 18 times more children than shoeboxes. But our God knows each child's name and knows the number of hairs on their heads....they are precious in his sight.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Flight Information

"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him." 2 Cor 2:14

I have my VISA! Praise God! I would like to ask each of you to please cover me and the other 13 people I will be meeting up with in DC in prayer while I am away. It is already very cold, high 27, low 25 and snowing (and will only get colder as the month continues..brrr!!!). You can click on this link to see the current weather conditions for the capital of Belarus and the time (7 hour time difference). I have already told Ihar I am coming and he says "he will wait for me" I praise God for this opportunity. I believe there is a great harvest in Belarus and to look with "eyes of faith". I am excited to see all God is going to do. May I be a sweet "fragrance" to those I come into contact with.

My Departure Flight Information:
Dec 28 Washington DC to Frankfurt, Germany 5:50 PM-7:30 AM Dec. 29
Dec 29 Frankfurt to Minsk, Belarus 10:10 AM-1:30 PM Dec 29

My Return Flight Information:
Jan 09 Minsk, Belarus to Frankfurt, Germany 2:25-3:50 PM Jan 09
Jan 09 Frankfurt to Washington, DC 5:00 PM - 8:05 PM

Once I arrive in Minsk I will travel to Mogilev (the town where Ihar lives). It will be a long trip by car, plane and train. :-)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Quick Facts

Quick Facts About Belarus:

Capital: Minsk
Location: Eastern Europe, east of Poland
Border Countries: Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania
Coastline: Landlocked
Population: 10,350,194
Climate: The climate is moderately continental and humid with an average temp 18 degrees in January and 64 degrees in July. Belaurs is situated parallel to the Hudson Bay, Canada. Temps may get as cold as -20 for a low.

In a country about the size of Kansas, there are over 600 orphanages and over 50,000 orphans. There are over 143 million orphans worldwide.

"When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow." Deut 24:21

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Preparations for my trip to Belarus

"When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands." Deut 24:19

As most of you know, Rommy & I stepped out in an act of faith last February and made application to host an orphan from Belarus for the summer. This past May we found out we were going to be hosting an 11 year old little boy named Ihar. He arrived in Charlotte June 16, 2008. His first trip to America speaking very little English. My family and I fell in love with him. He loves baseball, chocolate, pizza, coca-cola, hamburgers, and rap or hip/hop music!

Now, I am preparing to go to Belarus Dec. 28 for 2 weeks with the organization which brought Ihar to us. It is a trip to visit Ihar as well as to bring Christmas to several orphanages and shelters which we will be visiting. Christmas in Belarus is January we will celebrate New Years first then Christmas...

I wanted to set up this blog to journal my trip to Belarus and to show you pictures. I am very excited!!! I know barely any Russian...but will have my dictionaries with me! There are 14 going on the trip.

I pray your lives will be touched by this journal. It is God acting in and through me that I am reaching outside my comfort zone to take this trip without Rommy. I believe there is a great harvest in Belarus that God is wanting to reap. Pray I will be bold when God gives me opportunities.