29 November 2009

Harvest Day, Bethany Baptist Church, Bucha, Ukraine

Not long ago I shared photos of a church where our choir visited on Harvest Day. The following pictures are our own church. Harvest Day is similar to Thanksgiving in that it is a celebration of the harvest. Unlike in the west, it does not have a set day and thus different churches celebrate on different days. What they all do is set up a beautiful display of the harvest. Everyone participates in this by bringing their very largest and most beautiful fruits and vegetables. I just thought you'd like to see how lovely it is.

Adult choir on Harvest Day. Though this was a few weeks back, notice that we all have our coats on. We are still without heat in the church, but praise be to God, we have been having some unusually warm weather. It could be much more severe, but weather has been in the 40's and we are grateful. Please pray for the resolution of our lack of heating and that God would provide for a new furnace. Please also pray for the corrupt officials in our town that are wanting a large payoff(bribe)to remove a fine.

Children's choir on Harvest Day.

Pre-teen choir in Bucha Church on Harvest Day. Second from left is Leah our daughter. No, she's not a pre-teen, she's 22, but she helps with the pre-teen choir as does the girl next to her so they sing with them.

Youth girls singing on Harvest Day.

Thanksgiving, Overseas Missionary Style

Thanksgiving always brings images of family and close friends sharing all that we have to be grateful for and celebrating with a wonderful huge dinner. Though we miss having family around, nonetheless, we all come together to share that tradition that makes us fellow citizens not just of America, but of God's kingdom. Several families from around the Kiev area gathered together at Pine Branch Lodge in Kolonitsi, Ukraine, which is about and hour out in the forest. A lovely place for a gathering and the same place we held the women's conference just two weeks prior. We all had a lovely time and thankful that God gives grace when family is so far away.
Creative snacking tree done by Leah and I. You know we have to put artsy in there somewhere.

Like any real Thanksgiving dinner there was also football. We got to watch the Houston Oilers play the Buffalo Bills. Oh, you say you didn't see that game? Well it was a 1993 game downloaded from the internet. Maybe not current, but nostalgic of American Thanksgiving celebrations nonetheless.

The crowning glory was the real turkey we had to eat with stuffing and all the trimmings. Oh, and the desserts were the best of variety. But most joyful was to have the time to sit back and relax with friends, some old and some new. Cutting the turkey for us was William D.(Dai) Wysong, Kiev Christian Academy director and principal.

25 November 2009

The Amazing Journey of Faith Conference, November 2009

This month gave several of us the grand privilege of working with some 50 women who attended this conference. We had ladies from a large cross section that included Ukrainians, Americans, South Africans and Dutch. The Lord blessed and we all went away feeling refreshed and encouraged. To see more pictures that are not on this blog go to http://teaontheterrace.blogspot.com/

This sweet lady was Vicky's translator for the conference. She's the one who really tells the message.

That's me in the white working with the ladies. Our ages ranged from 18 to 73 and what fun we all had. It is such a blessing for me to encourage their natural creative urges. The Father in heaven was the ultimate Creator and he gave all of us a touch of that creativity to express in different ways.

A Hawaiian Luau was our surprise for Saturday night. This also happens to be the drama team that came from the Zhitomyr region. They did a great job with skits each day telling the story of an "amazing journey." Everyone loved it and the dinner served by Pine Branch Lodge was excellent. Pine Branch is located a couple hours northwest of Kiev and is a lovely place in the woods.

Ladies having fun scrapbooking their "Amazing Journey of Faith." This makes for a tangible testimony that they can share with friends or family. A legacy of faith.

24 November 2009

The Amazing Journey of Faith Conference

The week before this conference we thought we would have a small group, but at the last it filled up and there were more than we had room to house. Our limit of 50 filled and we had ladies in cabins and the lodge of Pine Branch Retreat. We had a great time of fellowship, crafts, and meetings. Vicky Nelson led the group in talks about the journey of faith. Tanya Sokolovski led in being women/wives of faith and I (Coleen Franks)led them in scrapbooking their journey of faith. I am the one knelt down in front. Vicky is right behind me and Tanya is to my left. More pix soon.

15 November 2009

Ukrainian Pastor Dies from Flu and Pneumonia

Please pray for Pastor Victor's widow and children in Fastiv, Ukraine. He passed away yesterday after a diagnosis of flu and pneumonia, which got out of control. His brother Stepan is deathly ill, and may follow Victor to join those awaiting in heaven. Pastor Victor was the brother of Nadia, a member of our church in Bucha. Nadia is very active in the children's EE ministry. She is in Fastiv now with her grieving relatives.

06 November 2009

Bucha Church in the Cold

Dear Friends of Bucha Church,
I'm writing this to ask you to pray for our church. We no longer have an operating heating system and thus we are worshiping in coats, gloves and scarves. Sometimes it is even colder in the church than outside. The church has been in need of a new heating system for several years, but without the funding. It is estimated that they need about $5000 to replace the current system. In addition, we have 48 old wooden windows that are in need of changing to modern energy efficient models. Those windows run $300 each. Maybe your Sunday school class would like to sponsor a window or give to the furnace need. Our furnace really is our priority as we need the heat. We have a mighty God who is capable of taking care of this need in no time with your loving prayers of petition. Please join us in calling on Him.
Jeff and Coleen Franks

04 November 2009

Communion Sunday in Ukraine

In Ukraine they celebrate communion on the first Sunday of every month. The church is always more full on that day. Sadly, some come to get their monthly fix like a good luck charm and wouldn't miss it for anything. Then they don't come the rest of the month. Several years ago when we first came to Bucha a communal cup was passed around. That tradition stopped when there was a tuberculosis epidemic in Ukraine about five or six years ago. We now have the little cups, but there are those traditionalist that still want to drink from the cup. Fortunate for them there are not many.

Bucha Church Fall Break Camp, Ukraine

Bible time and movie time.

Recharging with a bit of lunch.

This little elf is holding his CD Mini-Book the kids did with the theme "You Are Special." Each child made one.

Some of our youth leaders. Even they had a great time.

Hand painted in preparation for poster print.

First group, the big kids.

Second group, the little ones. See story just below.

03 November 2009

Bucha Camp Story

Kids were on school break last week so at the end of the week, Friday, Saturday and Sunday they did a short camp. The leaders asked me to do crafts for the camp on the theme of "You Are Special." We had 20 kids, most of which were children from our Village of Hope orphanage. Our daughter Leah, along with about 7 other young people led this camp and did a terrific job with the kids. They did sports, songs, bible lessons and crafts. We made a CD mini-book covering old CDs with pretty scrapbook papers and their individual picture plus group shots. Theme of the book was also "You are Special" with their picture right on the front. I think these little orphans went home feeling real good about themselves after three days on that theme.