In just a few short weeks, I will be coming back to the United States. Can you believe that I’ve spent about 4 months out of the country!? Although teaching in another country has its challenges, it was worth the long wait!
Since my last update, I’ve experienced many firsts! The high light is that I led my first missions trip. Three high school students joined me during their Spring Break in visiting orphanages. We were able to visit four different institutions for children without parents. For the students, it was the first time that they told stories to children with the help of an interpreter and it was my first time back into an orphanage since my adoption from Krasnodar, Russia in 1999. The children in each facility stole my heart and God used that experience to remind me of why I am in Ukraine. I’m in Ukraine to teach the children whose parents devote their time to sharing the Gospel to the Ukrainian people. I am also in Ukraine to learn Russian so that I can someday personally interact with orphans, sharing the Gospel of Christ with them!
I traveled to Budapest, Hungary for the first time and received my visa with no issues. I was able to also travel through Paris on my way back to Kiev and climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower! After spending almost two full weeks without seeing my students, it was great to get back in the classroom! We are currently finishing up a unit on geometry in Math and learning about the Civil War in History. We are also in the process of writing our last cursive pen pal letters. To those of you involved, thank you again for such a fun experience for my students!
Outside of the classroom, I’ve joined a ministry called English For Life. It is an English club that meets once a week at one of my student’s parents’ home. During this time, I get to spend a few hours talking with Ukrainians and Russians who are about the same age as me. Recently, I began to reread a devotional book called “Not By Sight” by Jon Bloom. At one point in the book, when talking about unplanned detours, the author states: “God’s ways are not our ways. They are frequently bewildering to us, but they are always better because God is orchestrating far more than we see or know in every unexpected event or delay.” I believe that God is using what I thought was a delay in returning to Russia as a great ministry. To the people I meet at the English club, my love and desire for a country that isn’t allowing me to return is astounding and fascinating. They ask me constantly why I would ever want to leave America. This presents me with such an awesome opportunity to share how good God is and how sharing His love is worth so much more to me than living “The American Dream.” I fully believe that even if I never receive my Russian passport, the opportunity I am getting here to reach out to those my age is worth every minute.
I am so thankful for your partnership with me in encouraging long term missionaries in Ukraine by teaching their children. Yesterday, I signed a contract to return to teach at Kiev Christian Academy next school year as well. I am excited to see what God has in store for me next year!