PONY Ukraine in Kremenets!

img_20161015_1645091

PONY Ukraine took a team from Lviv to Kremenets to play in a weekend tournament/camp  and I was able to go and meet some of the new kids in Lviv who are have started playing in Ukraine’s PONY league.

20161015_112514

We had a lively group of kids.  We stayed in an internat(orphanage)/boarding school.  Many of the internats in Ukraine are being phased out so they have extra room in them.  We were warmly welcomed by the staff with tasty Ukrainian food and comfy beds.

20161015_114717

A lot of training went on as well as baseball games.

img_20161019_153718

20161015_113401

20161015_105513

20161015_111338

img_20161019_153555

img_20161019_153327

It was pretty cold, but that doesn’t stop baseball players in Ukraine!

For more information on PONY Ukraine, click HERE!

 

Advertisements

Thank You Atlanta Braves!

IMG_20160622_170916

The Atlanta Braves sent us all kinds of gloves and batting gloves!  It is so encouraging when Major League teams get involved and support developing baseball/softball among young people.  That’s the way it’s supposed to be!  Baseball is a great sport and one where those who are blessed will give back!  I am so thankful to be a small part to connect and bless children in Ukraine!

For more information about our organization’s work in Ukraine, go to www.youthofukrainephoenixproject.com

My World Has Been Chaos For Two Years

189663_4967498109471_641074372_n534076_10151088296726386_1075072274_n-1

So I kind of blew the whole National Blog Posting Month thing and skipped the last couple of days.  But the cool thing is, that I’m figuring out how to rearrange getting things done so trying to post each day and not accomplishing that is not in vain.  Life really has changed a lot in the last few years and sometimes you have to sit down and figure out how to accomplish more, what you really need to be focused on and how to manage your time better.

I had a very productive, yet hard week last week and when Friday came around I felt rather beat up and mentally tired so I decided to put a lot of things aside and just rest and spend some down time reading and listening to worship music in the evening.  I’m so glad I did, because I was not so shocked the next morning when I woke up to find out about the terrorist attacks in Paris.

I had decided to rest on Saturday and not spend time on the internet, but I as has been the habit for the last two years in Ukraine, I check my news feed for any important news that may be going on.  When you live in a country that’s been invaded by Russia, that’s just your regular, daily habit.

I was shocked and saddened to read the news of Paris and completely missed Lebanon’s bombing and the huge anti government rally’s taking place in South Korea.  I think that’s what it’s going to be like now.  Whatever country has the most media outlet access and social media will get the attention.

All I know is that for the past two years Ukraine also has been dealing with terrorists.  In fact, the invasion of Ukraine is not even called a war and it’s officially called an “Anti Terrorists Operation”  About 7000 Ukrainians have been killed and 1.5 million people have been displaced from their homes as internal refugees.

The world is increasing in chaos, that’s for sure.  It’s frustrating seeing the media coverage in Paris and knowing that there’s probably not one major news outlet in eastern Ukraine right now covering the war there.  It’s sad to think that so many people have to suffer because world leaders cannot make decisions nor seem to want to work together for peace.

None of these things are truly shocking when looked through the filter of scripture.

“From whence comes my help?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.”  –  Psalms 120:2-4

Why did I post these two photos at the top of the page?  Because these two boys are reasons why I do what I do when the world gets crazy.  Sergei, a boy who didn’t have to go through the hosting process and hope someone would come back to Ukraine to adopt him, but was adopted by Ukrainians and Vadim, who after I confiscated his plastic gun and told him he was going to have to choose between being in the mafia and being an athlete, almost fell to the ground laughing and said, “I’m not an athlete!”  He was wrong.  To his surprise he hit the winning grand slam for his baseball team.

This is life, this is what we should be focusing on and how we should be spending our time.  There are evil people in the world who make other choices.  The won’t win in the end.

Baseball Is More Important Than Food

IMG_8186I have a few non formal rules about baseball and here’s one of them:

Baseball is more important than food.

Right now, it’s just my rule and it’s one I take very seriously.

I don’t care what kind of food is sold at a ballpark.  I don’t care how hungry anyone is.

When baseball is going on, it is more important than food.

Don’t take me to the ballpark at the beginning of the first inning and think I will stand in line for food.  I won’t.  You have passed the recommended baseball game arrival time and seats must be secured before the first pitch.  If you didn’t plan to come early to stand in line for food, then you are out of luck.  Baseball is more important than food.  So you are stuck with eating whatever some poor soul is selling in the aisle.  The same person that I will yell at if they come between me and my line of vision of what is happening on the field.  If it’s a poor food mix, that’s tough.  Chocolate malts and cracker jacks not a meal for you?  That’s tough. Baseball is more important than food.

If you need me to pass food down to you, then wait til an appropriate moment’s break in the game, preferably between innings. Better yet, just throw it over my head but you better catch it because I’m not running to the bathroom for paper towels if you spill something. Baseball is more important than food.

I once had a friend bring me a hot dog with everything on it……not quite how I eat mine.  I take just mustard. He was kind, “I will go get you another one.”  “No you won’t,” I said as I carefully scraped onions off it onto the ground.  “The game is starting and baseball is more important than food.”

Yes, I go to the game early, I get my food and usually have it eaten before the game starts. Baseball is more important than food.  If I am absolutely starving and there’s no one in line on the way back from a bathroom break between innings, I might grab a pretzel, but that’s the only exception.  Baseball is more important than food.

Who are these strange people who call themselves baseball fans who never plan their meal times and leave for three innings to go get something to eat?  They MISS THE GAME!  Don’t they know?  Baseball is more important than food.

The baseball players aren’t eating on the field (sunflower seeds are not included in this rant of the sport. That’s another blog post.)  Coaches aren’t eating and umpires certainly are not eating.  Why?  Baseball is more important than food.

Don’t ask me to cook, go buy food or forage for a short hot dog line when baseball is going on. I won’t do it.  Baseball is more important than food.  Eat before or eat after.  The game’s the thing.

Baseball is more important than food.

Why Baseball?

1271437_546537522067155_307621189_oWhat happens when you can’t have a baseball seminar outside because it’s pouring rain?  We go inside and underground.

736066_546537988733775_965660383_o

Makeshift batting cage.

 

1268140_546538248733749_1210677579_o1244233_546538992067008_334708553_o

1262901_546539445400296_854211450_oPeople keep asking me, “Why baseball?”  My answer is, “Why not baseball?”

Please check out our website:  www.youthofukrainephoenixproject.weebly.com

We need softball equipment (used is fine) for girls.  Please email me if you can help or have a contact of someone who might be able to help.  Thanks!

semkee@yahoo.com