River of Joy base from the road

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

Saturday, August 11, 2012


With the Midwest in a hot dry oven and rain seemingly far-far away here in Crimea Ukraine as well, the need for a covering, a roof, may also seem far away. But as we titled our last Blog post Everyone needs a covering (roof). 

The most important covering you and I need is the Lord. >>> Psalm 91. The whole subject of coverings was hot in Christian circles back in 1992-3 when The Lord sent me over here to the former Soviet Union. I was a hopeless freak in many eyes because I had the backing of no big (or little) church, no mission agency or board, few supporters, no visible assurance I would survive in a hostile environment with a whole different alphabet, not to mention I was already 48 years old and didn't even know Russian yet.  No sane church would have picked up my option.

This is Sasha after we removed the porch roof completely on July 30th. As we removed the old roof clear to the ceiling we also began to pray AGAINST RAIN! Sasha had convinced me to leave the old clay and straw insulation above the ceilings in the rest of the house in place. It actually provides better thermal insulation than modern building materials and leaving it in place will cut our costs. But if it gets wet the sagging ceilings could fall before we can shore them up with new ceiling panels. Sasha asked me to hire his younger brother Sergei for his same wage, $25 a day. Sergei would support Sasha and as it turned out he had some good ideas on building too. "The roof must be strong. We need a top-center Board."
Sergei Zhitkov tells me how he sees
the roof construction going ahead.

 This is a different culture with an infamous mafia, a corrupt government and a history of cold-war anti-western sentiment. When I hit the ground in Ukraine It felt like I was in a Twilight Zone episode. (Where is Rod Serling when you need him?) Seemingly I had time traveled back to 1936 during the great depression. It was all a bit disconcerting to put it mildly. 

On my first trip back to Santa Barbara, where I was about to quit my well paying job as a product manager with a high-tech medical equipment company I made it a point to ask a pastor I liked about my lack of covering issue. Understandably he could not take me under his wing, but he prayed for me, then directed me to Psalm 91. I have never lacked for a covering since. God covers me with His wings. You couldn't ask for better coverage.     
ASBESTOS! This cement and asbestos panel roofing is still the favored roofing material in the former Soviet Union! But it adds to the depression that the old ugly buildings here give to an art lover. We are saving these old panels for under-laying our mission tile, which is a beautiful, historic roofing undervalued by builders here. We buy 80 mission tiles for $10! We clean the mossy surface of the tile and of the, "sheafer," asbestos panels, then paint the corrugated valleys a color like mission tile. The asbestos saves us trough tile. We use just over half as many tiles on our roofs as normal. But now the race is on to get the roof waterproofed before the rains come. We must get the old roof removed and the new gable up post haste. I am concerned that I have but two roofers.

It is already a dry summer here in Crimea. The Spring rains were light this year. "Burulcha," our creek, is disappearing rapidly. We hope the wells hold up. The heat is awful. I start carrying cold water to the builders. The old roof comes down in two days. But storm clouds are gathering.
Our ancient foe seeks to work us woe. The forecast is for rain tomorrow. What a mess that would make of our project  Will it be rain or shine?

The morning sky reminds us, "Red sky at morning sailors take warning." It looks like we are in for a storm. As we sit outside at breakfast under lowering sky I suddenly remember Jesus promised, "Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." Matt. 18:18-20 (emphasis mine).

Alina gets her chickens under cover.
So we all pray a prayer of agreement. "Dear Heavenly Father in Jesus' name we ask that you DO NOT ALLOW IT TO RAIN ON OUR BUILDING UNTIL WE GET THE ROOF UP."  We remember to ask only for the building so as not to exclude local farms from much needed moisture. 

I am not sure How God does weather, but I remember that Elijah prayed both for and against rain and God answered. (1 Kings chapters 17 & 18). By lunch time the wind whipped the market umbrella over our table so hard it tried to take flight. The clouds were rolling in...OH NO! LORD you promised to answer our prayer of agreement. Still thunder and lightening heralded a heavy shower in the offing. I remember Satan is called, " the prince of the power of the air." The heavens above us are in uproar. 

Big drops of water began to fall. Not many but with all the wind and thunder it looked like we are in for a heavy downpour. Sasha and Sergei take shelter under the uncovered ceiling and began to crack nuts. I rushed to that house, looked in the front door. The ground in the porch area was not yet fully covered with water. Remembering the believer's authority I SHOUTED these words."SUKA, SUKA. SUKA, (DRY, DRY, DRY, ) RAIN YOU STOP IN JESUS NAME!"  

The rain stopped right away. The guys went right back to work.  

The next day we learned that a tornado did a good bit of damage just a few kilometers away about then. Seems the wind prince was angry.  

I went to buy boards for the roof framing. They asked me to buy rolls of plastic as rain insurance. I bought the hydro-barrier we were going to need anyway for the waterproofing layer after we had the boards up.  Perhaps it would show no lack of faith to do that much. 

Sasha and Sergei laid it on the rafters before continuing. I wonder why we have so little faith in the one who put the whole weather system together. Stay tuned for more graphic updates....

My roofers are not yet paid for last week. Today another missionary offered to loan me money to get that done. I believe God will provide...always.

To donate please see the yellow panel on this page for how to send help. (link)

Love & Blessings, David


  1. Brother David
    I like reading your blogs, an inspiration to me. God Bless! Jerry Hebel

  2. You know asbestos is a silent killer right? That in 10-40 years people who have inhaled the asbestos dust will stop breathing? Drilling, cutter, hammering, and just handling it is VERY dangerous for your health and anyone near you. Not to mention the people occupying these buildings.

  3. To 'Unknown'. Your statement is not at all true. Asbestos can be found naturally in the air outdoors and in some drinkable water, including water from natural sources. Studies have shown that members of the general (non-occupationally exposed) population have 10,000-999,999 asbestos fibers in each gram of dry lung tissue, which translates into millions of fibers and tens of thousands of asbestos bodies in every person's lungs. Asbestos exposure becomes a health concern when high concentrations of asbestos fibers are inhaled over a long time period. People who become ill from inhaling asbestos are often those who are exposed on a day-to-day basis in a job where they worked directly with the material. As a person's exposure to fibers increases, because of being exposed to higher concentrations of fibers and/or by being exposed for a longer time, then that person's risk of disease also increases. Disease is very unlikely to result from a single, high-level exposure, or from a short period of exposure to lower levels. About 90% of the buildings in Ukraine are roofed by Asbestos strengthened concrete. That includes schools and hospitals. Western reactions to studies of asbestos mining hazards show a typical liberal media over-reaction. Strengthened by greedy builders desire for reconstruction money the whole issue has been blown way out of proportion.