We are working to try to catch up on the months in 2015 that we missed, but hope you enjoy reading about what has been happening in 2016.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 2012

January began with us watching the fireworks from our 8th floor window.  We had a great view of the city and watched fireworks in various directions for about thirty minutes.  There were even people throwing firecrackers out their apartment windows nearby.  Yura seemed to enjoy watching with us.  Even after we were all in bed and trying to sleep, we heard fireworks going off after 2 AM.  Sunday's New Year's service was moved to 3 PM (from 11 AM) because of the celebrations from the evening before.

On January 5th, Denise and Phil celebrated the 25th anniversary of their first date by going to McDonald's.  We decided to go there because it is smoke-free and because we hoped to go to TGI Friday's the next week in Kiev.

Eastern Christmas was on Saturday January 7th.  We went to Pastor Cola's church as guests for their special service.  Denise opened the service (with Phil trying to translate).  Phil preached a Christmas message (in Russian) and sang a song (in English).  There were other songs and activities and, next thing we knew, we were having a question and answer session.  That was a bit challenging, so it was good to have the help of a Ukrainian who knew English and could help translate.  Afterwards we enjoyed fellowship with tea and cookies.  We had a great time!

Pastor Cola and his wife (part of the worship team)
Phil preaching to the small congregation
That evening we had our extended family over for chili and cornbread (which they love).  It was our first time buying frozen hamburger from a street vendor, but we were pleased with how it turned out.

Slavik and Phil playing checkers while Laura and Yura play Mario Kart
Sometimes our family is large
From the left:  Tanya (Slavik's girlfriend), Slavik,
Maxim, Yulia (Maxim's girlfriend),
Laura, Hope, and Yura
Not everyone cooperates!
Our registration documents were submitted on the 3rd, so we decided that it would be best for us to head to Kiev so that we were there when our registration was ready.  Phil already shared about our travel to Kiev and finishing up our registration process in his blog post, Belarus - Travel.

On Wednesday evening, Denise and Phil each enjoyed a delicious steak dinner together at TGI Friday's.  We went to a great market across the street from the restaurant and bought some delicious fruit and vegetables.  They are more expensive there, but very excellent!  The vendors are a little more "in your face" there.  One lady wanted us to buy caviar (which neither of us likes).  She proceeded to tell us that we needed to sample her caviar and gave us both a sample.  When she started to open another kind for us to sample, Phil thanked her but we definitely do not like caviar.  She thought we were crazy.  Not like caviar!  Humph.

With our registration completed (nothing short of a miracle!), Phil left for Belarus (look in his blog for the posts about that trip), while Denise and the girls stayed another night.  They went to another friend's place on Friday afternoon and enjoyed waffles and the fixings before boarding the train for the ride home.  They made it back home without any problems and settled into life there again.  Part of our extended family was over regularly, but Maxim was there every day to help Mama out.  He did dishes, swept, and helped her go shopping (by carrying everything).  He was a huge blessing!

Maxim likes to have fun - here is wearing Laura's cow hat
When Phil got home, Yura told him that it was boring without him because no one understood what he was trying to say.  That was not totally true, but he does speak fast.

We were without electricity for a couple of hours two different evenings.  Our first thoughts were, not again!  But everything seemed to get back to normal after that.

After not having much cold winter weather or snow, the weather turned extremely cold and we had several days of strong winds and more than -20 F wind chills.  The balcony off the living room is not insulated well, so we tried our best to block the cold air by hanging a shower rod with sheets, blankets, and other things stacked in front.

Our attempt to block the cold air
Eventually we took down the stand by the TV to improve it
We publicly shared with everyone (at home and here) about our upcoming move to Simferopol during January.  It was most difficult to tell our three boys about our move.  It was a big surprise to them and they will really miss Papa, Mama, and their sisters.  And we will miss them as well.  That is the hardest thing about moving - saying goodbye to dear friends and loved ones!

Our friend, Alina, left for two months in Canada the end of January
We will miss her!
Phil completed three more classes towards ordination this month.  Only a few left!  As usual, Denise and Phil continued studying Russian.

January closed with us preparing to go to Simferopol for a couple of weeks as part of our new adventure and to move there in about a month.  There are some busy days ahead!

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