As for me and my house we will serve the Lord....

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How do you say goodbye?

We have almost two weeks left in Manitoba before returning to Ukraine, Garry had to get our tickets bought on Sunday evening, he is a little anxious to return, but has a new project, finding a used milk parlor for the trade school barn and making arrangements to box it  (the mechanical parts, not the metal) up and ship it there.

Sunday (which was wonderfully springlike- around freezing instead of the many degrees below zero we have grown used to) after church we met the new EFCCM director for lunch, since he was speaking there, and had a good talk, before dropping in on some friends who wanted to hear more about the work in Ukraine. A busy day, and yesterday was almost as busy, with Garry going off to referee basketball with our son Josh last night (and the next two nights.) I have been working on some little doll and pony clothes for the girls for before grandma leaves presents, since it turns out the new dolls/ponies that I bought for Christmas need wardrobes.

Garry is out in the barn this afternoon, the boys' milking crew has been thinned recently with injuries and illnesses- mostly the same terrible cold Garry had last week.  Now that he is feeling better, he has been helping out with whatever they are doing, milking, chasing fresh heifers. Today the guys hope to even combine some of the corn that was left in the fields when the snow arrived in November (to clarify, the snow is still here, but the temperature is just a little below freezing instead of arctic-like.)

I haven't talked to him since I discovered on facebook this afternoon that two of the dear Christian men in our lives have gone home to God after battling cancer. We found out when we returned home in November that one of our dear church friends was in hospital. The first time we attended a mission conference at Emmanuel, the little boys were excited to attend a kids program run by "Dr Chuck" whom they insisted said they could call him Chuck, which they still do, because they loved the smiling man and his wife who sat near us in church, who always talked to them. Dr. Charles Nichols was a professor at Providence College and Seminary, so I saw him many times while I was there, in fact, he was the one who suggested I go take the TESOL course there, while we were thinking about becoming missionaries. One of the highlights of any trip home to Canada was a hug from Chuck and telling him how things were going in Ukraine, I was treated to one when I was home in September. Our whole family will miss our friend.

John baptized two in the Dniper River in August

John getting photographed with the young ladies
The other was our friend and founder of the trade school, John Wiens, who found out he had cancer only five weeks ago. It was such a blessing to meet and work with John in Ukraine for both of us, and we are so glad that he had been able to go to Hawaii on a family vacation with his wife Ev and their grown children in November. We last saw him in the summer, when we went to the baptism in Zaporosia, just before he and Ev went home to British Columbia for five months. We hope to help fulfill his dream for the trade school for orphans, it should be up and running again in the fall, after this year of finishing things.  Someday the school could expand to other programs besides the dairy track, as John hoped. His church plant in Zaporosia was so excited about his planned return for Ukrainian Christmas, they are going to miss their pastor very much.

We never know when God will welcome us home in heaven, we can only hope that we can all be people with a heart for God and people like these two wonderful men. We will miss them both greatly here on earth. Memorial services for both men are being held this Saturday.

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