It has been a bit of a roller coaster week. The past week at camp was very busy with the usual stuff, along with helping the leadership there in the process of ministering to refugees from the fighting raging down in the southeast. We wrapped everything up on Monday and came back to Kiev on Tuesday. So we now have a moment to sit and tell you more of what has happened and Lord willing, what will be the next steps.
So here is the overall picture and details that we know at the moment. First – we are not in a “run for your lives” panic etc. The situation – at the moment – is still “stable”, that being that it is contained in one area of the country and far from where we are. We are moving forward in an orderly manner, hoping to get everything done in such a way that we can wrap life up here properly (more on that below).
In short – we will be back in Canada by the end of August. This past March when we sat as a family discussing our red line etc, we also decided what we would do if that line was crossed in spring (prior to summer ministries) or late summer and on (after summer ministries). If it had happened in spring, we would have just gone west to either western Ukraine or Europe and taking part in summer ministries there, and assessed what we would need to do. But if it took place after our summer ministries, we would move our time table of departure from spring 2015 to fall 2014. This departure was part of our original plan in order to be in Canada/US for approx 2 years to help the girls transition. So that is what we are going to be doing.
Obviously, that decision isn’t easy and it has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster as we have had to tell our UA friends and ministry partners and our SEND teammates that plans have changed pretty drastically. We will be transitioning to a ministry role within the SEND Canada office, based in western Canada. It will included what we have done in the past (reporting on our ministries) but primarily will include more of a role of serving churches and individuals in the areas of missions for SEND. Details will be clarified in the coming days.
Most likely, we will not be living in Bow Island for our time in Canada, but someplace more central like near Calgary. This is in order to facilitate what we want to do for the kids and for what our ministry role will be over the next few years. That too is something to be determined.
Here is our plan/itinerary for the next few weeks. This is all very tentative and could change quickly depending on the circumstances here in country. Lord willing we will be able to more or less follow this plan, but are prepared to change it as necessary.
July 23- 31: Pack up our apartment in Kiev this is packing in the order of priority: priority 1 – if we have to suddenly flee; priority 2 – what we want to take with us back to Canada, have it prepared to get on the plane; priority 3 – the rest of our stuff which needs to be put in storage, sold or given away so that our apartment is empty
Aug 1-4: in Sumy attending SGC family camp and saying goodbye
Aug 5-6: back in Kiev for a couple days
Aug 6-8: travel days to Romania (1.5 days on train, and overnight in Bucharest)
Aug 9- 21: visiting John’s brother and his family in Romania, and then take holidays as planned earlier down on the Romanian coast of the Black Sea (this will be our quiet moment in the eye of the hurricane which is called our transition)
Aug 22: return to Kiev
Aug 23-25: at some point get on a plane and fly to Calgary late August, early September: we will be in Alberta/western BC – spending time with Lanae, helping her get to school by Sept 12; spending sometime in Edmonton region and Bow Island (need to get stuff out of storage for Lanae).
What that will look like at this moment we don’t know. And at some point thru this process get a place to live and everything that goes with that. We are going from day to day with our plans, tentatively figuring things out as we can.
Overall, we are doing pretty good – God has been very good to us and has helped us to keep (overall) a balanced view thru this and our stress levels are normal (well, as normal as they can be) Of course our stress level is up, but it is manageable and it will be ok. We are leaving Ukraine at this time, not because we have peaked/are falling apart or because the situation has suddenly gotten extreme.
We are leaving for two reasons:
a) we asked God for wisdom in spring and trusted Him to give us wisdom as we made our decisions regarding our “red lines” etc. So we are following through on the wisdom He gave us then, and on our promise to many (especially those in the west) who have been very concerned for our family throughout these times.
b) we promised our kids years ago that when it was time for them to transition from our home into the next stage of life (be it further studies or whatever), that we would make changes in our ministries for the time period, and that they would be a higher priority. So we would make changes (move, ministry roles etc) that would help facilitate them during that period in their lives. Yes, Lanae would have been “ok” if we had persevered here for another 8 months or so (we aren’t coming to rescue). But we also know that it will better for her and all of us if we are in a closer proximity for the coming year. So once we turned the corner on the decision early last week, everything has been moving very quickly.
Obviously, what happened at the end of the week with the commercial airline has caused us to be even more aware and flexible in our planning – everything we are doing right now can be changed very quickly if necessary. So please pray for us in the coming days. Any questions etc, please let us know.
Feel free to call or email.
talk to you in a bit,
John for the 4 of us on this side of the atlantic