I have finally made the time for this very overdue update. Samuel has just left having been here as a chemical engineering intern for three months. Here is a recent photo of some of our Pyrolysis team as they said their farewells to Samuel on his last day:
Samuel really helped to push forward our chemical R&D by designing our new laboratory setup and then analysing our current fuel products. Here is a photo of us setting up for some of his final lab tests with some compulsory pizza to carry us through:
Samuel was also heavily involved with our community here with much eagerness to provide hospitality and played a big role in our church worship team. We are very thankful for Samuel’s time here with us. Here are some more selfies we took on Samuel’s last day before flying home:
I have been learning Arduino which is an open-source microcontroller resource which allows relatively simple application of electronics projects. I have learnt from a series of 68 free tutorials from an engineer called Paul McWhorter who is a YouTuber in the west of Texas (who interestingly also happens to have a Bible teaching YouTube channel).
The Arduino has so far allowed us to feed real-time data from thermocouples and flow meters directly to a laptop to greatly increase the quality of our analyses. Here is a photo of Valik and I setting up the Arduino for one of our experiments. We are thankful for the availability of free online teaching and how easy and cost-effective it has been to obtain the relevant components here in Ukraine.
We are also thankful that after many months of frustration of bank transfers and trying to find the right unit, we found a JCB telehandler in the west of Ukraine. This vehicle is owned by a generous supporter in Australia who saw our need to be able to transfer plastic feedstock and other large items around our site, now and increasingly so in the future. Here is a photo of Tom, our colleague from France, using the JCB to give our site a long needed tidy up:
Continued Progress with Learning Ukrainian
I continue to be encouraged to see real progress with learning Ukrainian with increasing confidence in everyday conversation.
I was recommended to make language learning fun, by finding multiple different learning streams of which at least one will seem fun in at any one moment. Examples of this has been the flashcard set, “1000 Most Useful Ukrainian words”, which comes on an app with a word, picture, voice clip and an example sentence. The combination of all of these has proved extremely effective and only requires 10-15 minutes per day. I have also been surprised how much media content has been translated into Ukrainian (and is usually free and in HD online). So I've been watching episodes of Modern Family as well as reading and listening along to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, both of which make the learning very enjoyable.
God is also expanding the opportunities and contexts I have in everyday life to use and learn more Ukrainian. Some examples of this are:
Helping with the under-6s in our kids ministry at church. The kids are very cute and speak slowly, clearly and simply and are happy to repeat if I don’t understand something.
Being given the opportunity to share a short devotion in Ukrainian on Job at the rehab centre in Rzhyshchiv.
Going to the Rzhyshchiv church youth group on Friday night’s. They are very patient with my Ukrainian and love a good time. Here are some photos of us in the middle of a fierce bubble blowing contest and the infamous Move-The-Pepsi-Can-With-Spaghetti challenge.
One-to-One with Shane and Studying Isaiah
I have been incredibly blessed to be able to begin meeting weekly with Shane who lives in Rzhyshchiv and works for OM with his wife Jemima. They are both from Australia and have been involved over in the past decade in a church plant in Rzhyshchiv set up by Jemima’s brother. We currently read a Psalm and pray together first thing every weekday morning which such an encouraging start to the day. His experiences from when he first moved to Ukraine and his wisdom in applying Biblical truth is really helping me in my week-to-week challenges.
It has also been a privilege to realise I am freer here to spend more time studying the Bible than in university. I am thankful for the Cornhill Summer School which I attended last year which built my foundations on applying the Bible’s teaching to my life including the power of simply printing and annotating Bible passages. So having printed Isaiah and listening along to this series from St Helens Bishopsgate, God is expanding my view of the gospel in terms of understanding my tendencies of rebellion to God and his plan for salvation so clear all those centuries before Christ.
Getting Cosy with Ukrainian Sewage
Since the end of January, we have had an ongoing issue with our sewage being illegally blocked by our neighbour. We have a sewage lawyer (yes, that is a thing here) on the case but it is likely going to be lengthy process. So far, we have had many sewage overflows into our church basement leading to more mopping than I have ever done before. We now regularly pump our sewage into our disused fire water tank to reduce the mopping. Then a poo-pumping truck comes occasionally to empty it. I now notice poo-pumping trucks everywhere - it's a big business here it seems. Here is a photo of us in a good team bonding session bailing out the basement with a couple inches of sewage:
Ways You Can Pray
Give thanks to God for:
The time Samuel had with us and the blessing he was and impact he made.
The blessing of receiving the JCB with how it expands our capabilities.
The encouraging one-to-one’s with Shane and time studying Isaiah.
The continued progress with learning Ukrainian and the many fun opportunities with which to continue learning.
Please pray for:
A long term solution to the sewage issue and joy in the mopping.
As well as your prayer support, your generous financial support is always welcome. If you are feeling guided to support me financially, you can do so directly through the OM website through this link: