During our Christmas Vacation from school Anna and I had a "Girl's Day". We had so much fun together. First we did our nails! Anna picked the color out and of course, we had to match! Then we did our hair to match!

Then we had Quilting time together. I worked on mine while Anna worked on hers.

Then while the guys went out to town together, we decided to make brownies for our men!

Then we sat down to enjoy a "Little House on the Prairie" film together. What a Day!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

We had such a wonderful Christmas day full of family and friends. We spent a wonderful Christmas morning as we read the Christmas story together. It was Caleb's turn this year to read!

What a blessing it was to have a house full of good friends. We even had a couple of very special guests that joined us on this special day. Jill and her husband Pat were here in Ukraine adopting a little 3 year old boy. Pat needed to leave early so Debbie, Jill's Pastor's Wife came to be an encouragement to Jill. What a blessing it was for us to have them with us.

Here is a picture of the adults as we sat down to eat Christmas dinner.

Then to end the day we were able to see my family on skype! Even though we were unable to be together for Christmas this year, the Lord made it possible for us to see each other. How wonderful it was to see the faces of the people that mean so much to me. I am just sorry that we were unable to get a hold of the Hess side of the family :( That would have made our day complete. Praise the Lord we were able to talk with Tony's parents on skype a couple days later.

Hello! I know you were probably wondering where I disappeared to. :) Well, We left to the states and visited some of our churches but we are now back in Ukraine. In the next few posts I will be sharing some fun times we had while in the states. As for this post, I would like to share with you a couple testimonies from a couple in our church. I hope this will be a blessing to you. For those of you who have not found that special someone yet, I pray these testimonies will encourage you to be patient and wait for God's will.

Lena writes...

I met Igor at church in 2004. At first we were just friends. Then we grew in knowing each other. When I asked him to share his testimony of salvation, he said that he had been a member of a church since childhood and that he got saved in Sunday school. In 2005 on March 7 he suggested we start dating and I said, "yes". We've been dating for 4 years and were going to get married but God stopped us. My parents didn't mind, they liked Igor but his parents were against it. His mom told me that he wasn't saved and if I married him my life would be miserable. It was very strange that his mom would protect me. Then Igor and I talked to the pastor – he told us that we needed to think and pray. Then when I met alone with the pastor he asked, "Are you sure that he is saved?" I said, "He said that he is saved." The pastor asked, "Do you see fruit in him? Does he grow spiritually?" My answer was No. Pastor said, "You need to think."

In 2009 we had a conference for singles. A missionary preached there and said that even if one of the parents is against it, then it's not God's will. I loved Igor very much and I realized that I had to make a very serious decision. After coming back from the conference I spoke with Igor but we didn't break up. After a little while we did break up, I hurt Igor a lot, and he suffered very deeply. I couldn't believe we were not together any more, I felt very bad and empty but I trusted God. Because of our brake up Igor suffered a lot. By God's grace on Aug. 5, 2009 he got saved. God saved him. From that point he started growing in the Lord. His countenance has changed. He became joyful, and it was obvious that Christ lived in him.

In winter of 2009-2010 I started to fellowship with Igor again. After Single's conference in spring we started praying about God's will for us to be together. To be sure, we talked to the pastor and his wife and they gave us their blessing. We were very excited because we received confirmation that it was God's will for us to get married. We spoke to our parents before we talked with the pastor and they gave their blessing. On May 16, 2010 we announced our engagement at church and started getting ready for the wedding right away. We saw God's hand in everything. How He helped us and blessed us. Because of our brake up, we are now happily married. We got married on Sept. 18, 2010 and now we happily serve God together. It is so wonderful! I'm very grateful to God that He didn't let me marry Igor before he got saved. Now the Lord has blessed us for waiting for this moment.

Igor writes...

Lena and I had been dating for a long time. I was convinced that we were supposed to get married, but my parents were against it. Then Lena and I broke up because we wouldn't get permission for the marriage. It was very difficult for me. I couldn't believe we were not together any more. I started having health problems due to all my sufferings. I started having heart problems. On Aug. 5, 2009 under the roof of a house I have been building, I asked the Lord to enter into my heart. I'm grateful for the suffering I had to go through. My life has changed completely. I started growing spiritually. God started showing me and I knew for sure that Lena should be my wife. I'm grateful to God that we've waited, otherwise I would never have known Him and we wouldn't serve Him together. Praise be to God for everything. My advice to the young people – trust God! He wants only the best for your life. In choosing a wife or a husband, make sure it's His will. Talk to your pastor and parents more then one time.

Lena, Anna, & Brianna

Lena & her parents

Anna ( Jr. Brides Maid)

Nelya (Maid of Honor)

Nate (Ring Barrier) & Brianna (Flower Girl)

Lena & her father (Here comes the Bride!)

Husband & Wife!!!

It was a beautiful exit. (Rose peddles & Bubbles)

The Beautiful Bride

Bride & Groom

Their rented car for the special occasion.

Good-bye, see you later!

(They left after the wedding to go take pictures at the park, then returned several hours later for the wedding reception which lasted 3 hours)

Brianna (enjoying the flower off the cake)
I love this picture!

I have a huge prayer request for those of you who believe that prayer changes things. Today at the nursing home I was teaching the story about Paul and Silas in Prison and how the jailer wanted to know how to be saved. Lena and I spoke to two of the ladies in our room about their need for the Lord. These ladies are the ones I am asking you to pray for. The first lady, Marfa, whom we have given the gospel to before and she had told us "Later", told us that she wanted to die. I asked her if she knew if she died today, if she would be in Heaven. She told us, "no". I proceeded to talk to her about the Lord. To make a long story short, she said that she knew that she was not going to heaven and she has been a Russian Orthodox all her life and she would not abandon it now. We told her that it wasn't about a denomination, church, or religion. It is All about trusting in Jesus Christ! We told her that Jesus loves her and died for her. Her final words to us were, "I know that I will not go to heaven, but I will not forsake the Orthodox beliefs." This is how many people here believe. They see it as religion and not Christ. As I left her today, giving her a kiss on the cheek, I told her that Jesus Loves her, and to think about what He did for her.

The other lady's name is Zoya. She is very hard, but we have have seen the Lord working on her. Today I asked her if she knew if she would be in heaven when she dies and she said she didn't know and God would make that decision when she dies. I told her about Jesus and what He did for her on Calvary. We spent much time with her going through the Bible, but at the end, she said, "I'm not ready". She said she understands but is just not ready.

Today I left there with such a deep burden for them. Satan has such a hold on the people here. Last week we had a lady in another room (that was always happy to see us) say she did not want to listen to us and when the lesson began, she closed her eyes and wouldn't even look our way. Praise the Lord, after a week of prayer for her, she was very excited to see us and listened very closely to the Bible lesson. Please Pray for these ladies and their receptiveness to the Gospel!
Family Fun Night! I am so thankful for my family! We have such fun together!

I posted this picture last time but thought you would like to see Zoya. She received Christ as her Savior last week! Katya and Oleg had the great privilege to show her the way to her Savior. Amen and Amen!!!
We had such a wonderful day at the nursing home on Saturday. Thought I would share some pictures of our visit.

Marfa and I
This day we were celebrating Zoya's birthday and I brought a cake. Marfa cannot move, but very little. She must have someone to feed her. I did not want her to miss out on the birthday cake! She loved it! Please pray for Marfa's salvation. We have shared the gospel with her one day and she said "later".

Katya and Joshua with Zoya
Please pray for Zoya's salvation. Katya feels that she is very close to making a decision for Christ.

Marc and Igor with Grandma Masha.
One day she was telling us that we shouldn't ever touch her hands or her bed because she has germs and she does not want to make any of us sick. She said she wants to make sure that she does not do anything bad. Please pray that she will realize that salvation is through Christ alone, not works!

Marc and Joshua singing. Nadegda loves to sing along. What a blessing this lady has been to my heart!

Lena and Zoya
Please pray for Zoya's salvation. She is the hardest
one in our room. :(
But she knows we love her. :)
I have so much to share, that I’m not sure how to start. Starting is always the difficult thing for me, but once I start, the words start to flow. So here goes… The beginning of January we took a group of about 15 to the nursing home that we visit weekly to sing Christmas carols. We went to each room on 3 different floors and gave each one a small treat and a gospel tract. In one of these rooms a lady began to cry while we were singing. We told her that we come there every Saturday and asked if she would like for us to come visit her as well. She was very excited about it and said she would love for us to come. During this time at the nursing home, the Lord spoke to several of our church people about ministering to these people. My heart was blessed beyond measure when 13 people volunteered the following service to have a part in our nursing home ministry. I was plum excited! So, for the last 2 weeks we have been able to visit in 4 different rooms. There are about 5 to 6 people in each room. Last week we had a lady make a profession of faith and when we returned this week, we found that she had passed away. Praise the Lord, that we had the workers last week when she needed to hear the Gospel. This week we had another profession of faith. This lady is 92 years old. Please pray for this ministry as we reach out to those who need our Savior and His love. There are those who are noticing that we come there every week. We had an older gentleman stop a couple of our ladies from our church and asked them what we do when we come, since he had noticed that we had been coming every week. The young lady told him that we come and visit several of the rooms and tell Bible lessons and sing and fellowship and asked him if he would like for someone to come visit him in his room. He said that he would love that. So here is another door that the Lord has opened for us. Isn’t God good! I am so excited about what the Lord is doing. Please pray as we prepare to have a lesson on how to lead a soul to Christ. A few of our volunteers come from a Russian Baptist background and are having a difficult time knowing when a person is under conviction and ready to repent. Praise the Lord for their desire to learn and to serve. Please pray also that the workers will be Spirit filled and know when someone understands and is ready to receive Christ.

Tony and I will be leaving the country again as our 3 months are up. We will be flying to Poland and spending a couple days with some dear missionary friends. The next time we leave will be the end of April which we will all be going back to the states on furlough for four months. Please pray for Tony as he is scheduling some time with our supporting churches and family and friends.

The kids are all doing well. They are working really hard trying to get their school work done before we leave on furlough. There are days I wonder if there is life outside of this classroom. Ha ha

We have been enjoying the pretty white snow the last couple of days but not enjoying the cold temperatures. We thought yesterday was cold at -17 C (1F) but as I write this update, the thermometer reads –27 C (-17 F). Now that is COLD! We are thanking the Lord tonight for a roof over our heads and a warm bed to sleep in.