Special Volunteer

When I first arrived in Ukraine, I volunteered at a center for children and made friends with a special boy named Anton.  He was bright, inquisitive and full of fun.  He was one of my first Russian teachers.  Time passed, and I moved on to other ministry projects and always wondered what happened to him.  I found him on facebook this week and he has been very busy with his life.  Very busy indeed.  I am so proud of him!



That Moment When…..


That moment when you find yourself down on Maidan walking with a friend and you are explaining to her where everything happened during a revolution……and you realize….I was here.  This happened where I live.


And now it’s a memory that you know well as you walk across the pavement and remember seeing blood and dirt where there should have been none.  A memory as I climb steps that have been chopped up and still are broken.  Explaining where people died.  Where the snipers were located……


For many people in Ukraine, the revolution in Ukraine is something we are still processing.


And will never forget.  Here is a memorial to the Heavenly Hundred.

What Can We Write?


I took this photo on Maidan in Kyiv, Ukraine during the 2014 Revolution of Dignity

I was reading through my blog feed and one of the authors I regularly read lives and works in Paris, France.  She posted about a week after the Paris attacks and stuttered and bumbled her way through a post, apologizing for not having written earlier and trying to explain her thoughts which were still scattered as she was trying to process the tragedy.  She made no sense and was not coherent.  At the end of the post she added, “I just don’t know what I can or can’t say about what happened which makes this so hard for me.”

I knew way before Maidan why I wasn’t blogging frequently.  I lived in a country under oppression and anything I said could be misconstrued or held against me or anyone, church or organization I mentioned on my blog.  I had to keep a low profile  with our ministry.  I knew friends who were being…..well, the only word I could use would be, “persecuted” for trying to help orphans.  It’s still complicated today.

The potential for harassment made every post feel heavy.  What could I say?  What couldn’t I say? What can I write about that won’t get anyone hurt?  Something that came easily to me, being open and blogging about life, became difficult and complicated.

Then came Maidan which made things much more complicated.  Everyone wanted to post about it and we needed to post about it as it was unfolding, but it was risky.  Very risky.  If things went the other way, as they did for a while when we all technically lived in a dictatorship, there could be more trouble.  At the time, it seemed overwhelming to comprehend.  It still does.  It may sound over dramatic.  It felt that way at the time, but you didn’t really know what would happen next.

This blogger in Paris is feeling the effects of terrorism and civil unrest.  The stunned feeling, the unknown, the bad, the possibly worse things that could happen.  The inability to properly process the world around you even through words, which usually are the balm of your soul and way to express yourself could possibly make your life worse.  It’s a horrible feeling.

This is one of the very negative outcomes of terrorism and war.  Stunned people trying to process the world around them.  The fear of putting things in writing.  The fear of misunderstanding.  The feeling of confusion.

Now it’s not about just praying for Ukraine or praying for Paris……it’s about praying for the world.  And praying for those of us living on this earth who are not choosing to express themselves through evil actions and terrorizing others for power and money.  I’m not just praying for a specific city or country, but I’m praying that we would be able to learn to live our lives and spread peace in the midst of the growing evil and chaos.

Second Anniversary of Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity

Today marks the second anniversary of Ukraine’s “Revolution of Dignity” otherwise and affectionately known as, “Maidan.”

Last year on the anniversary, everything still felt so new that it was still hard to process.  I think people will be able to process better this winter as events of the revolution are remembered.

I know that last year at this time, I was still trying to wrap my head around everything that had happened.  I NEVER imagined something like this unfolding.  I am still amazed at the will and strength of the Ukrainian people.

Slava Ukrainia!