Posted on April 12, 2021
A New Milestone
When Katelin first arrived in Ukraine, she studied the language just like everyone else on our team, and as a result, she is very conversational. However, fluency is something that has always eluded her. As a result, one of the things Katelin has never done is public speaking in Ukrainian. But as of last week, that has changed.
Lately, Katelin has been doubling down on her language skills, and when she was asked to give a 20-minute talk on child training, she agreed. Not being quite comfortable with speaking from notes, she wrote down what she wanted to say in English, and I translated it. A friend proofed it, and then Katelin practiced reading it until she was comfortable.
The big day finally arrived, and Katelin went to her ladies' Bible study and delivered her talk without a hitch! Although what I consider to be a much bigger accomplishment, was that Katelin was able to take part in the two hours' worth of discussion on child training that followed! It's one thing to put together a presentation, it's totally another to take part in an unscripted discussion where anything is fair game.
Katelin didn't get any pictures of her talk, but here's a picture of a different ladies' meeting that she attended. :)
The Steele Family
Now that the health of Joshua Steele's parents has stabilized, he is back on the Ukrainian side of the Atlantic. Jet lag really did a number on him this last trip, but he is now back in the saddle.
Katelin and I recently received our renewed residency cards and we are good to go for another year! Technically, there is one final formality to the registration process, but that is on hold until the current Covid lockdown is over.
Spring has finally arrived, and we are loving it! It's so nice to be able to pack up the snow pants and winter coats, and actually have things be warm for a change! Granted, there is a decent bit of rain in the forecast, but hey, how else are we going to get our May flowers?
First balcony picnic of the season!
Posted on March 19, 2021
Carpathian Mountain Outreach
Unfortunately, CMO has once again fallen victim to the coronavirus. However, if you had your heart set on coming to CMO, there is good news! CMO alumni Elliot Shupe and Ben Sargent are once again organizing a mini-CMO in Colorado. (To avoid acronym confusion, instead of being called Colorado Mountain Outreach, it's being called Rocky Mountain Outreach, or RMO for short.) If you are interested in going, get your application in soon, as space is limited and filling up fast!
Passing out tracts during RMO 2020.
The Steele Family
Joshua Steele is currently in the States for the second time this year. For the past few months, his parents have faced health challenge after health challenge. While things are looking up at the moment, his parents are not out of the woods yet. More information is available on the Steeles' blog.
Bible First Online
As a result of Josh's travels, progress on Bible First Online has been a bit slower. The next step is to sit down with an attorney and put together some terms of service for BFO and make sure that things are watertight from a legal perspective. While we'd like to just charge ahead and release BFO to the world, in this age of lawsuits and such, we feel like discretion is the better part of valor.
Our family is in the middle of the process to renew our residency permits. Thankfully, we have an excellent attorney that helps us through the whole process. I still have to spend a decent amount of time running around town to gather all the necessary documents with all the appropriate stamps, but thanks to our attorney, I always know exactly what I need.
Snow, snow, and more snow! Okay, on the one hand, we haven't gotten that much snow over the past month. On the other hand, there are still piles of snow sitting around from the snowstorms we had over a month ago!
Despite the snow, Katelin and the kids have been able to get together with a lot of friends lately. In addition, Katelin has recently plugged in to a ladies Bible study, and has really been enjoying it!
There's so much snow, you can barely see the cars!
Posted on February 17, 2021
Bible First Online
The Bible First Online project continues to move forward! The folks in our Pioneers group, as we call it, are moving through the Bible First lessons and some of them are moving over into coaching roles. To that end, we hosted another Zoom call where we demonstrated the coaching side of BFO. We are excited to see what some of these Pioneers will do with BFO in the future!
In the mean time, we have a steady stream of new students into the Ukrainian side of Bible First. In the last 30 days, we've received requests from 16 people to enroll in Bible First! Also, it's interesting that 75% of the requests were to study online, as opposed to receiving paper lessons. (When someone fills out our enrollment form, they can choose between paper and online.) It's exciting that we finally have the online version of Bible First for the people that prefer to do things online!
Despite the cold and snow, our trip to Kyiv to renew passports went well. This morning, I was notified that our new passports have arrived at the US Embassy in Kyiv, and should be delivered via courier in a couple days.
Next month, we will start the process of renewing our residency permits.
In the past ten days, we've gotten more snow than we have in the whole rest of the winter combined! Initially, the kids were excited, but now I think everyone is looking forward to spring. We can't complain, though. Despite all the cold and snow, our utilities have remained on, unlike friends and family in the States.
For a while, the girls were numbering their snowmen. But I think we may have lost track!
Posted on January 21, 2021
Bible First Online
Earlier this month, we were finally able to do the initial release of Bible First Online! About 30-35 people tuned into a Zoom call where we explained how and why we use Bible First Online (BFO) in ministry, and went over some basic details of how BFO works on a practical, day-to-day level.
Most of those people have since signed up as BFO students, and are getting acquainted with the student side of the BFO web application. In a couple weeks, we are planning to do another Zoom call to explain the coach side of BFO.
So far, we've gotten a lot of positive feedback, and people are excited about using BFO in their own ministries. On our part, we are also excited about putting this tool that we designed for our ministry into the hands of others!
Part of life in a foreign country is keeping your documents current. Melissa, Briana, and I all need to renew our passports, and we'll be taking a trip to the US Embassy in Kyiv early next month to get that taken care of. It used to be that a consular official would come to Lviv from time to time, and we could handle passport renewals without having to make the almost-300-mile trip to Kyiv, but for now that isn't an option due to Covid.
We finally got some good snow, and we've all gotten in some decent snow time. Right now, everything is melting, but next week, there's more cold and snow on the way. Looks like we have more sledding in our future!
Making gingerbread cookies.
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