I write to you from my first Christmas outside the UK and away from family. It has been unusual in many ways, but I am grateful for the close church family God has given me here who refuse to let me be lonely. Let me first share with you a photo of our church building now that the renovations are complete.
We are forever thankful for this facility with its versatility for ministry in terms of hospitality, accommodation and rooms for our after-school clubs and bible studies. God provided it twenty years ago when it was a sewing factory and continues to help us find resources to fund its maintenance and improvement.
OM Ukraine Retreat
It was a joy to be part of the annual OM Ukraine retreat a couple of weeks ago. The whole team would usually meet together but due to COVID we met at our regional bases and connected as a full team online. Here is a photo of the OM Ukraine Kyiv region team meeting at our church in Kaharlyk for the retreat:
The retreat was two of my favourite days since arriving in Ukraine. I really enjoyed being together as a full regional team (nine adults and seven kids) as we ate, laughed, encouraged and built one another up. It was very encouraging to hear testimonies from around Ukraine of what God has been doing and continues to do despite endless and unexpected challenges.
Unfortunately, immediately after the end of the retreat, Wayne, head of OM Ukraine, began to experience high temperatures and the following day received a positive COVID test. This forced the rest of our Kyiv region team into self-isolation. We are very thankful to God for his swift recovery and an end to self-isolation.
Trips to Rivne
I have been able to make two trips to Rivne, a city 300km west of Kyiv. The primary reason for these trips was to first register for my next visa and then return to pick it up. Praise God for how straightforward it has been for me to obtain my next visa since it can be very difficult. For example, the French family in our team have had a very hard time securing visas to stay in Ukraine. Very frustratingly, they will need to return to France to pick up their visa. They hope to return to Ukraine soon after that but please do be praying for them as they enter a month of much uncertainty.
Back in Rivne, I was also fortunate to be able to explore with my mate Samuel who also works with OM Ukraine. It was a very encouraging time as he empathised with the battle to grasp the language but also offered much help in strategies to press on with it.
We attended the English-speaking club which OM runs at our base in Rivne. It was lovely to get a snapshot of another great example of evangelism in Ukraine being built through simple friendships, sharing food and playing games.
Pyrolysis Project Update
Our team has finished distilling our wax reserves and are moving onto developing a secondary cracking unit for our heavy waxes and integrating the fuel distillation column into the main unit so as we can have continuous processing. In parallel, our safety and automation planning and design is being progressed.
Here is a photo of our Pyrolysis team in front of the shredders. It is wonderful to work alongside them and they are so passionate and motivated to make the project happen. Most of them are not Christians so we long for them to come to know Christ. Please pray that God would speak through our words and actions and open their hearts him.
We have had two virtual interns start projects over their semester break between Thanksgiving and the end of January. It has been a joy for me to engage in weekly meetings as they enthusiastically apply their skills to solving some of our specific problems and being exploring how God may be calling them to serve Him with their professional skills in the future. We’d love more students to get involved with our intern projects. You can find our intern projects through the OM USA intern site (by clicking the image below). If you are interested, please get in touch with me directly.
In this past month, I certainly left the thrilling “honeymoon” phase I experienced when first moving here. It really hit me towards the end of November how long it may be until I go home and how permanent some of my challenges are, such as:
Language: I am so thankful for the progress God has given me so far with learning Ukrainian. It is still often exhausting, and I struggle to be patient with how fast I can realistically expect to progress. One thing I can say is that watching Peppa Pig, or Svinka Peppa as it’s called here, is an incredible resource for learning languages.
Considering the Future: It has been a rather demoralising experience being rejected from many job applications for next year. It has been difficult to discern the wise balance between giving a responsible amount time to job applications without letting it obstruct my day-to-day responsibilities here.
Finding Routines: I have struggled with finding daily or weekly routines with how much plans often get reshuffled in ways I had not experienced at home. Along with this, getting things done here often just takes longer especially with a language barrier.
In all of these, I am being challenged on my tendency to rely on my own strength and ability to engineer my own circumstances rather than on God’s sovereignty. I am always comforted by the words at the end of Job when he appreciates how little he really knows of what’s going on but can trust that his life rests in the hands of our good and just God:
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2 ESV)
I am really thankful to face these challenges alongside the team God had put around me who continually support me in all kinds of ways. An example of a small but meaningful thing which warmed my heart was when Wayne spontaneously brought me some KFC back from Kyiv having remembered I had mentioned my strong affection for the finger-licking succulence when I first arrived in Ukraine.
Thank you again to all of you who continue to faithfully support me in prayer during this time.
God bless you all x
Ways You Can Pray
Give thanks to God for:
The blessing that our church building is with the opportunities it presents for ministry and how God continues to provide the resources to keep it running.
The time of encouragement at the OM retreat and Wayne’s swift recovery from COVID.
The seamless approval and receiving of my next visa in Rivne.
Please pray for:
Peace for the French family during the uncertainty over their visa.
That our Pyrolysis team, who are so devoted to making this project happen, that they would come to know Christ.
Me as God continues to move me into a place of trust in his good and just sovereignty when facing the challenges of language, considering the future and finding routine.
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: