River of Joy base from the road

River of Joy base from the road
Picnic Patio goes to work

Monday, June 13, 2011

False Impressions

Visitors to Crimea from the West get a false impression of apparent wealth
and well being of the people here from the way people are dressed on the street. Particularly, young people, who often live in a torn up dormitory or other severely substandard housing, tend to invest in a few articles of nice, flashy, or fashionable clothing so as to make a good impression in spite of their difficulties. Our cook Marina, who with her sister and two children lives in Belogorsk in a tiny cheap rental with an outhouse. Marina dresses in bright cheerful clothing. She asked me to buy her a Nokia classic mobile phone last Winter and paid it off in several months by setting aside a day's pay each week. I wish she would use it less when she is on the job but she is happy to feel a part of the modern world with a phone like mine. I should be ashamed that I had felt deprived because I had no iPad like one of my American colleagues.

I am no clothes horse but in an architectural way we are doing the same thing here with our building project. We have begun to make an impression that is misleading.  Looking at the artistic reconstruction of old buildings and our use of mission tile you could get the impression that this mission is rolling in dough. In fact quite the opposite is true. We try to build only when we have money, so building has been sporadic, halting and slow.

When all is finished this arch is
the hillside entry to the farside picnic patio breezeway.

We buy used roofing tile dirt cheap and scrub it clean so we can make a good impression on visitors. We employ tile, hardware, doors and windows we received in humanitarian aid containers, and old building blocks and bricks we inherited from previous owners of this property years ago when we bought it. We use free stones from the creek for our rock facades and employ cheap local builders for most projects. We do feed our workers so as to make them satisfied with a low paycheck. That's where our cook comes in.

In the Spring when we start preparing for children's camps we take on larger projects by faith. Our faith is rewarded, but not always without difficulty. This year we have been trying to build a picnic patio and are turning an old woodshed (foreground above) into a tiny guest cabin. This is to make the site ready for visitors, more camps and orphan housing construction. Money is needed for this and some has come in, for which we thank you who have given. YOU ARE THE BEST, But somehow recently the money has gotten stuck on the way here. It seems that not everyone who helps us in the West has committed to do so when we need the help, but only when they feel there is free time available. So as I type this we have our first camp workers coming in a week, No groceries for camp purchased, foundation personnel unpaid, workers, who we usually pay weekly and feed daily, waiting for unpaid wages, some miraculously free fish in the freezer and 55 dollars in pocket to buy camp provender feed 8 people this week and buy necessary building materials.

Marina holds up a big Ctavridka,
a smaller relative of the Bonita!

Marina bakes bread well. We also have 37 small fish in the kitchen that a fisherman who came to the all night prayer meeting last Friday left in our fridge freezer! He called me after forgetting them the next morning and said they are ours! Is it a prophetic happening? We may be on the brink of a miracle, certainly such a fish miracle in itself is not near on the scale of Jesus' Loaves and fishes miracles, but a miracle of the Lord's providence just the same and for me it is a sign of His involvement! I wonder how far the Lord will make these stretch or if He has something else in mind. A faith walk is always an adventure.

Its after lunch now. We fed 5 grownups and two children with these fish, potatoes, bread and a green salad.

There were two fish left on this plate
The cats under the table ate tails.

Stay tuned for a blog about the all night prayer meeting.
Love & Blessings from Crimea, Ukraine,


  1. The fish look really good. I will be keeping you guys in prayer.


  2. The fish looks great you all must of loved it . I will pray for you guys.