That is one of the most common phrases I hear in my life now. Where are you going, can you buy soap? Don’t forget to pick up some soap. While you’re out, can you grab some soap? Oh, you’re going for pizza, maybe you can buy some soap.

My hands are cracking from how often we wash dishes in the little kitchen downstairs, but I have learned more now than ever, that God does work in the unexpected places.

Our meals are very rarely prepared for the inhabitants of the house. We often have 3-5 guests stop by the house before noon and they are always met with hot tea and a plate full of food. Pastor Vasyl pretends he doesn’t understand the word “no.” I laugh a lot as guests hide their plates under the table, so he cannot put more food on their plate than they can eat.

We are always setting, cleaning, resetting and gathering around the table. We are laughing in the soap bubbles in the kitchen. We are racing around each other like a perfect ballet on Sunday mornings, preparing breakfast, sermons and cappuccinos.

There are a lot of spills. There are a lot of burned arms and cut fingers. Sometimes rushing through things causes more damage than we intended. But there is joy here, between the potatoes and the cucumbers, over the cutting board and stewing in the mug. There is laughter, there are tears and there is Jesus, sitting, living and breathing with us.

It’s this little place that starts my days. By watching both Pastor Alla and her husband, Pastor Vasyl, pour love out, I am reminding in the early hours that my day is not for me alone. We are all called to pour out love daily.

I move from the kitchen to the car and head out to the village of Ceredne, where our Romani (gypsy) friends live. Ruvim Vuxta and I have the joy of teaching English to eager children twice a week. We prop up a small white board on two chairs and rest them against the pulpit of the church. We scribble away letters and laugh at each other pronouncing “th” for the first time. On Saturdays, we get to lead a children’s ministry opened to all of the village of Ceredne. We get to learn new songs and dances as well as what the Bible says and some new crafts or games. Sometimes I think there’s more laughter than learning, but maybe that’s because Jesus is joy, not a copy book. We hope to start up summer movie nights again soon. We will project a cartoon on the outside of the church and huddle together on the ground to watch Mufasa calling out to Simba from the stars.

In Kamyanitsa, the village where I live, Ruvim and I lead preteen English club once a week and occasionally the preteen ministry. This is a lot of trial and error, playing games with the kids and racing through the village for a candy bar. On Sundays we teach English to the youth, 15-30 years old.

Throughout the week, in between lessons, Ruvim and I try to spend time with the youth of Kamyanitsa. Mostly I just teach them how to make basic chocolate chip cookies.

I’m learning a lot about patience and joy in my work. I’m constantly reminded what the heart of a child looks like and Jesus telling us to come like these.





With all of these activities and people come a lot of prayers. Our requests now are:

*For our two newly married couples that they may continue to walk with Christ and to share the love of Jesus with others. That the husbands may be spiritual leaders and the women may be flooded with compassion, understanding and wisdom.

*For the hearts of the youth to open to the word of Jesus, that they may find love in him and deeds that please the Lord rather than the world.

*For the Vuxta family as they are constantly pouring out, that they may be poured into as well.

*Personally for endurance and to trust in God’s promises and His word even when the storms come

With abounding love to all who are reading and praying,