A Time of Transitions

Christmas tree at Vokzalna (train station) in Kyiv
Christmas tree at Vokzalna (train station) in Kyiv

Walking around the city of Kyiv the notes of Christmas songs still ring out and all the decorations will remain in place for a week or two more. It is strange to me and makes me wonder what month it is.

Currently we are having a heatwave and I welcome the 32 F weather like a long lost friend. The sun seems to be mourning the passing holiday season because she hasn’t shown her beautiful face for several days. With the absence of sunlight and a massive melt from the warmth, much of the city has become a nasty, slushy, muddy mess and everything seems to have turned dark and depressing.The presents are unwrapped and possibly already tossed to the side in search of something new to distract us from our quietly desperate lives. Schools are back in session. University students are having exams. Vacations have ended and the new year has lost a bit of its enchantment as we settle back into the daily grind.

The gray days and Christmas music aren’t the only happenings that have thrown me off a bit. Major transitions have a way of leaving you with the feeling that someone flipped you on your head and spun you around like a top. Day is night. Up is down. Right is left. You know the feeling.

Since 2013 rolled into town, I have moved out of my apartment of fire hazards and frightening elevators. My belongings are being stored and will await my return to Ukraine at the end of March. I am living out of backpacks and suitcases, cannot find a single item when I need it, and I am REALLY looking forward to coming home to America this week.

Location isn’t the only transition for me at the moment; I am also in the middle of changing “jobs”.

For the last two years I have served as a full-time volunteer with CCX-Ukraine’s English Ministry team. It has been an amazing season filled with incredible university students and more fun than should be allowed for something you call work. While I love our students, the last six months especially have shown me just how exhausted and joyless I have become. My role with CCX has been primarily one of needing to be an extreme extrovert – meeting with people constantly, planning and leading large groups, and trying to answer grammar questions (Southern girl don’t know English grammar. Let’s just be real). And so today I end my official time with CCX, though I hope to still drop in and occasionally speak at clubs.

This transition has been on the horizon for a while and at the end of summer I had several conversations that I felt it time to step away from my role with CCX. The problem was that I had no idea what I was stepping into or where I would be going. Would I stay in Ukraine or head home to America or would there be something completely different? So pardon my silence as I have muddled through this process of finding direction.

A couple of weeks ago after much prayerful consideration, more than one emotional breakdown, and more than one conversation containing the phrase “really God?!”, I have taken on the role of Office Administrator for International Christian Assembly in Kiev (www.icakiev.com). Many of you know that I was an administrator before leaving for the missions field in 2009. While I have changed in many many ways the past four years, I still love organizing and being behind the scenes. I will get to use that media communications degree that it seems I will be paying back for the next couple of decades and I also still have the relationship and discipleship aspect of ministry. While I am aware of several challenges ahead, I am truly excited to return to something I feel gifted at while still being able to live in Ukraine and further the relationships that have been established over the last few years.

To everyone who has supported me prayerfully, financially, and with encouragement the past four years, I am so thankful and amazed again and again. I hope that you will continue on this journey with me and I look forward to seeing many of you during the next two months. Please pray for me as I leave Ukraine tomorrow and travel back home to America.

Ditched on New Year’s

Less than two hours into 2013 and I was attempting to find firm footing for pushing a vehicle out of a snowy, icy ditch after an introvert overload evening at the church New Year’s Eve party. It wasn’t really how I envisioned the start of the year.

More than an hour later we skated across the icy driveway of my pastors’ home covered in dirt, freezing and much more awake then we wanted to be at 2:30 am.

Have I ever mentioned that life in Ukraine is NEVER boring.

It was frustrating and I am actually still quite sore, but we have already had more than a few laughs about our method of ringing in the new year.

Life rarely works out as we plan it.

In those moments though, it is so good to have close friends to dig in to those icy, hard, dirty places with you.

I am pretty certain in the course of a year that we will all find ourselves stuck in a ditch or two. It’s just part of life to get stuck sometimes.

I pray that when you find yourself stuck in the muck and mire that you will find those willing to get down and dirty and do whatever it takes to help launch you out of the ditch.