Posted on November 19, 2020
We all know that God is our Heavenly Father. And we know that God is a Good Father. But why is He a Good Father? One of the reasons is because He lets us help Him with His projects. As any parent will tell you, kids love to do grownup stuff. Give them the choice between "cooking" with plastic food or cooking real food with Mom, or "fixing" things with play tools versus helping Dad fix something with Dad's tools, and they'll take the real stuff any day.
The Bible says that God was/is "reconciling the world unto himself". Missions isn't something that man came up with, it was God's idea. But then the Bible says that God has "committed unto us the word of reconciliation". God didn't have to do that. I'm sure He would have done a much better job of it. I'm sure He has to be very patient with us as we make messes, and sometimes do more harm than good. But because He's a Good Father, He decided to let us get involved in His grownup stuff.
A couple months ago, when the above thoughts popped into my head, I realized that one of the best things I could do for my children was to let them be a part of something bigger than themselves. Because we live in an apartment, taking the kids to the playground is part of our routine. On Saturdays, I sometimes take the kids to the playground so that Katelin can have some downtime. So we started taking stacks of Good and Evil invitations with us on our Saturday outings. On our way to a playground, we stop in a few buildings and put the invites in the mailboxes. We mark off the buildings on our map, and the next time, we do different buildings. The girls enjoy it, and even Jonathan has gotten in on the action! It doesn't take long, maybe fifteen minutes. After all, little attention spans are short! That said, a couple days ago, we got our first request for a Good and Evil, and we were all pretty excited!
Working together to put Good and Evil invitations in mailboxes.
Getting back to the idea of missions, some might think that missions is something that we have to do. Maybe some assume that it's something that our church or denomination requires. But in reality, getting to do something with your Father isn't something that you have to do, it's something that you get to do. And hopefully my children will one day choose to do the same.
Jonathan follows his sisters to the next building entrance.
Bible First Online
Our goal is to do a beta release of Bible First Online to a group of friends and acquaintances sometime next month, with a public release to follow sometime next year. The BFO application is mostly ready to go, so most of what needs to be done is in the realm of preparing promotional and support materials.
Covid cases are spiking in Ukraine, as they are in many parts of the world. Today's number of new cases was a new record: 13,357. That may not sound like much, but adjusted for population differences, that would be about the same as 100,000 cases in the US. That said, Ukraine's medical system seems to be holding up decently well, and things continue to be calmer in our part of Ukraine.
Katelin and I recently celebrated our 11th anniversary, and we celebrated with an overnight getaway. We left the kids with a babysitter, and I think they had about as much fun as we had! Katelin and the kids also regularly call Katelin's grandfather, who lives alone in a nursing home, and can't have many guests because of Covid. Thanks to the regular calls, the girls are probably closer to their great-grandfather than they ever have been. The girls are also hoping it will snow soon, although Katelin and I would prefer a bit more fall weather before winter sets in!
Nothing like a good old-fashioned romp in the leaves!
Posted on October 24, 2020
New Translation Project
If I were to rank the all the books I've read in terms of the impact they have had on my life, a book titled By Divine Design would definitely be in the top three. I'm excited to report that we have recently started translating it into Ukrainian!
Despite being fluent speakers of Ukrainian, we don't actually do the translation ourselves. Instead, we hire a translator to do the work, and the result is a text that sounds much more like it was written by a native speaker. But that doesn't mean that Josh and I are off the hook! We read through the translation, comparing it with the original, making notes on the spots that didn't quite get translated right, and then sit down with the translator to sort them out. And since By Divine Design contains a lot of higher-level language and concepts, there is a lot to do! Take this closing thought from Chapter One as an example of one of the more thorny spots for a translation team: "In forming this independent soul and then releasing him to his own cognizance, in a real sense, God had entrusted His sovereignty to this man and his descendants. This and all that would result from it were and are by Divine design."
We are continuing to make progress on different web development projects. Sometimes it's "two steps forward, one step back", but the good news is that we are still moving in the right direction.
Not much to report on here. Except for a couple sniffles, we are happy and healthy, and life continues on!
The whole family!
Posted on September 18, 2020
Just last night, Josh and I were testing a new feature of Bible First Online that makes it easier to sign someone up for Bible First wherever you happen to be, using just a smartphone! Our goal is to finish up a few last features, then recruit some friends to be beta testers while we tie up some more loose ends.
Just tap the Invite Now button, and you get a QR code, or a signup key and web address!
While we work on Bible First Online, it is nice to see a steady stream of people finishing the Bible First course. So far this year, about 3-4 people have been graduating each month. We also occasionally get notes and testimonials which remind us that others are using Bible First as well!
New Coronavirus cases in Ukraine continue to rise, averaging about 3,000 per day now. The good news is that new cases in our corner of Ukraine have remained stable.
Cooler weather is returning to Ukraine. It will be nice to have a break from the heat, but that also means that a long, cold winter is coming. This morning, Katelin and the kids were trading out their sandals for shoes and digging out their jackets! Yesterday, Katelin spent the day canning tomatoes. Fall is in the air!
This swing is just right for three sisters!
Posted on August 27, 2020
Carpathian Mountain Outreach
CMO 2020 went great! At least, as far as I can tell! For the first time ever, thanks to COVID-19, I was not a part of CMO at all. Instead, CMO took place in Colorado and was organized by CMO alumni. To see pictures and read reports, you can visit the Onward for Christ Facebook page.
Bible First Reprint
The reprint of the English Bible First lessons is still in progress. Our graphic designer recently came back on the radar and mocked up some initial designs, so that's a step in the right direction.
Web development is also going well. One of the things I recently learned was how to use a new CSS framework called Tailwind that we plan to use in the future. CSS is what makes a website look nice and puts the content of a webpage where it's supposed to go. (If you'd like to see what websites like Amazon or Wikipedia look like without CSS, click here.) In the here and now, however, the CSS framework I was using for this blog was going obsolete. And so I was able to put my newfound skills to good use by replacing the old CSS framework for our blog with Tailwind.
This is what our blog looks like without CSS.
On the one hand, over the last month, new Coronavirus cases in Ukraine have roughly doubled from about 1,000 per day to 2,000. On the other hand, cases in our area of Ukraine have remained fairly stable. We will see what the future holds.
While on the subject of sickness, our family got hit by a nasty virus a couple weeks ago. That's one of the reasons this update is later than usual. But we are thankful to be healthy again.
Aside from the time we were sick, it's been nice for us to start getting back together with friends and attending church in person. School has started again, so that's keeping Katelin and the girls busy. Jonathan recently had his second birthday, and Lydia's birthday is right around the corner!
Soaking up that summer weather!
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