# 129 Winter 2012-2013 Paetkau News & Notes
It’s spring. No, it’s winter. No, it’s spring…..no, it’s…… Just as we know many of you are, we wish the weather would make up its mind. A few days ago we were enjoying the snow basically gone and the birds beginning to sing. This past weekend more snow fell in 24 hours than would fall in a normal month (approx 18 inches/45 cm) which completely shut down the country…. Someday……
The past four months have been very challenging. Ministry has continued as per the usual but with a few extra items thrown in (more on that in a bit).
Around Dec 20 we began to sing “its beginning to look a lot like Christmas” because it looked like the snow was going to stay around for the 25th. And it did! It was the first white Christmas that we have had in Sumy for a long time.
Dec 24th, Grace Church had its annual Christmas Eve Service. It was standing room only, as guests came, especially family members, relatives and friends of church members – many who are non-church. The young adults did a great job of putting together a drama/program – a story about a businessman who had no use for Christmas (kind of a modified scrooge). Lots of music (choirs, solos, etc) and the puppet team (with Lanae & Alicia) did a great job with a black light/white gloves story through song. No picture of that one, since the only thing visible in the dark room was the glowing white gloves waving and acting out the story.
On Dec 28th those involved in the ministries to the disabled held an afternoon Christmas outreach. Again 50+ people came and enjoyed themselves and heard the reason for the season.
New Years Eve wrapped up the month with the usual youth all-nighter at the church. Lanae & Alicia survived the entire night, arriving home at around 5:30 a.m. I (John) went until 1 a.m. I was the token “old guy” who took part in the service portion (from 11 p.m. till 1 a.m.) giving a short message. At midnight, the fireworks, food and fun began.
By God’s grace, the snow stuck around and even more came down for the Jr High Winter Camp from Jan 8-12. 36 teens from around the region came and had a great time. A neighbour kid came along and his mom told Leanne afterward: “after camp Ruslan was perfect. Thank you for what you did there”.
26 men and in a few of their young sons came together for the day out of the camp to eat shashleek (Ukrainian bbq), to play soccer, to share and prayed together. The weather cooperated so that there wasn’t a lot of snow on the field and the temperature held steady so that time could be spent outside. As I looked at the faces of a number of the young men, I saw those who two years ago weren’t in the church. God is working.
God is working in the young people. Since Christmas three college-age students have accepted Christ. Praise the Lord! God is also working in the foreign students. Sumy has approximately 1000 university students from Africa and the Middle East. There is a strong group of Christians in that number and they are working to reach out to their fellow students. We had an opportunity to participate in a conference put on by the African students. It was quite the cultural experience and exciting to see how God is working in the nationalities of the world.
God is working in the lives of individuals. The past few months have been very difficult ministry-wise in one sense. There have been significant issues in leadership that have had a major impact on life and ministry. In another sense, it has been so encouraging to see how God has raised up and matured a number of individuals who are taking on ministry roles etc. and moving the churches forward.
That factor – the growth and maturation of individuals and ministries and other factors that are related to our family and ministry are all part of what God is using to show us it is time to transition out of Sumy. See this link for a longer explanation: http://www.thepaetkaus.net/ministry-family-transitions
Needless to say, this hasn’t been a simple decision. We have lived in Sumy since 2000, and have seen God do great and wonderful things. We’ve also gone through very difficult times, and can echo the words of many: “we don’t know exactly how we got through, but by God’s grace we did”.
So we begin to look to the next stage ministry in life. It’s interesting how God works out details – an example is the apartment that we rented in Kiev. Basically, it’s a miracle, and a huge answer to prayer. Read the story here.
In the meantime we’re in the midst of the usual: weekly ministries, preparing for summer ministries and living life in Ukraine. Alicia and Daniel are working hard at school. Leanne is working hard at teaching/overseeing their programs. Alicia is working hard on her piano, and Daniel’s working hard at being 11 years old. Lanae is taking riding lessons and helping take care of horses a few mornings a week and is involved serving alongside our teammate in the English club ministries. Leanne, along with the homeschooling role has being building into the lives of a number of individuals, walking with these gals and encouraging them. Packing and tossing are also becoming part of the routine. We hope to have everything but the essentials we need for camp moved by the end of June. I (John) have to go to Kiev every few weeks for meetings etc., so I’m taking a van load in each time.
So we are beginning to transition out of our roles of ministry in Sumy, and into new roles which will be based out of Kiev. We will still be involved in the ministries in Sumy, but in a different way than in the past.
Summer is just around the corner, and we are all going to be involved in camps. It’s going to be interesting.
Have a great day,
John (4 the 5 of us)