Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ukraine: Saturday, July 12th

After such a long day (almost 2 days) of travel, I awoke at 5:30 am and couldn't fall back asleep. I finally got myself out of bed at 6:30, took a shower and got ready for the day.

Cheryl, Debbie and I ate breakfast with our host family. The husband's name is Vasya and the wife's name is Mariya. They have 2 boys: Misha, 23, and Vitalik, 13. Neither spoke English well, but we had some conversation with them. We were all able to tell them about our families and our work. For breakfast we were served granola cereal, yogurt (the best yogurt ever!), bananas, meat, cheese, bread and crackers. All of it was very good.

The first taxi ride was good. Mariya called for our taxi and instructed him where to go. He took us straight to Cornerstone. No major events to tell about. Once at Cornerstone, we went through our orientation. We learned about Ukrainian customs, language, and our schedule for the week. We also had time for some praise and worship and devotions.

After orientation, we went out for pizza. Now their pizza is totally different than ours. There really isn't any sauce on the pizza. Just cheese and toppings. No pepperoni or sausage. But they did have olives, tomatoes, ham, pineapple, and other things too. I opted for just olives. When they served the pizza, they offer a dipping sauce, which was essentially ketsup. Ukrainians dip a lot of things in ketsup, I guess. The pizza was good, just not like home.

When lunch was done, we walked over to the church to see what Children's Church was like. Our "home" church for the week is one room. The sanctuary and that's it. Sunday school really isn't an option for the kids, because they don't have anywhere to meet. The first thing we saw at Children's Church was their praise and worship team. They have 4 girls singing and 3 kids doing the motions to the songs. It was loud, lively music. All the kids were having a blast! It was awesome to see them in true, genuine worship. After worship, they played games and had a bible based lesson. It was really cool to see that not just one person ran the show. It was a combination of 5 or 6 ladies who divided up the duties to make it work. A true network of help.

After Children's Church, we walked through town and eventually ended up at Patrice and Alex's house. In town, we got to see the shops and markets. Nothing chain, all family owned businesses. A lot of street vendors selling produce and goods. We even walked through an open air market where you could buy almost any grocery. Extremly fresh!

At Alex and Patrice's they prepared hamburgers for us for dinner. While they were preparing dinner, most of us Americans took a nap in their living room. We were all exhausted, still trying to adjust to the 10 hour difference! We had yummy hamburgers for dinner. After dinner, the women from the church came over for a Women's Fellowship.

Some ladies from our group shared their testimonies. Some Ukrainian ladies shared theirs. Mariya (our host Mommy) shared her testimony. She is an incredible woman of God. She will get her own post later... One Ukrainian woman asked how many of us do NOT come from Christian homes, or don't have Christian husbands. Some of us raised our hands, and she asked how we did it. How did we come to know Christ? How do we live out a Christian life without a Christian husband? God truly used this time for Jan to speak out of her experience and testimony. She was able to really relate and touch this woman's life. I believe she got the encouragement she was seeking by hearing Jan's story. It was truly moving.

We ended the night in prayer. First the American ladies surrounded the Ukrainians in a circle. We prayed aloud for them. Then we switched. When the Ukrainian women prayed, It was amazing. They are very dramatic and dynamic in their prayers. Very emotional and heartfelt. I just wish I knew what they were saying! :)

Overall we had a very good day. We got to see and learn the basics of Ukrainian life.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ukraine: Thursday July 10th and Friday July 11th

So this is long overdue, but I will try to stay on top of blogging at least one day each day.

On July 10th, 10 ladies and I boarded a plane in Fresno to make our trek to Ukraine. What a LONG day it would be too! We boarded around 11 in the AM Thursday. Our first stop was Denver, then Munich Germany, then Budapest. The longest duration on the plane was about 10 hours from Denver to Munich. It really wasn't too bad. There were several movies and videos to choose from while on the flight. I got some sleep, and felt well once we landed in Budapest.

Once we landed in Budapest, we loaded all our luggage into 2 vans and drove 6 hours to Uzhgorod, Ukraine. It happened to be really HOT on Friday and the vans did not have any air conditioning. YIKES! Jan, Andrea and I were in the van with most of the luggage. Our drivers were missionaries from Germany, and didn't speak any English. We had to drive through the entire town of Budapest on surface streets to get to the freeway. We were burning up because there was no airflow in the van. It didn't help that we were trying to drive through Budapest at 4:30 on Friday afternoon either. Yes, they have just as bad of a traffic problem as we do! Once we hit the freeway, all was well.

The freeways were beautiful, actually. Very green landscape. Well kept roads. Public restrooms very frequently (much like our Rest Stops, but SOOOO much cleaner). The thing that was really beautiful were all the fields of sunflowers in full bloom!

We had to cross a border check in both Hungary and Ukraine, about 2 miles apart. Neither border gave us any troubles. Once we arrived in Uzhgorod, we met Alex and Patrice at Cornerstone English School. This would be our meeting point and headquarters for the week. The 10 ladies divided into 3 groups and we finally dispersed to our homes for the week.

I roomed with Debbie Linman and Cheryl Kent. We ended up with a fantastic family, who you will learn a lot more about later. We didn't arrive to the house until 12:30 AM, and we were all EXHAUSTED! We pretty much went straight to bed.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mega Memory

This weekend, the family was able to go down to Pappa's and Grandma's house in Bakersfield. When we got there, Paige was very excited to get into the pool! We had a very nice swim. Very relaxing and cool!

After the swim, Paige and I were sitting on the side of the pool and she pointed to the yard and said, "Look eggs." I looked at the family and then remembered the last time we were there was at Easter time and we went for an egg hunt. I was shocked! I explained to Paige that we only looked for eggs at Easter and it wasn't Easter right now.

"Blow bubbles," she then said. This was another activity we did on Easter. I was speechless. My 2 year old daughter is remembering things from over 5 months ago! Better than me! It's scary to think that!

I know I'm going to have my hands full with this kid. She is just too smart for her own good! She'll definitely be keeping Jason and me on our toes! :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Daddy's Nectarine

Jason left a whole nectarine on his plate after dinner tonight. We all left the table and started playing and doing chores. A few minutes later, Paige came running down the hall and said, "Paige. Peach." She then opened her mouth to show me the "peach" in her mouth. She turned around ran down the hall and back into the kitchen. It took me a while to figure out what just happened, but it all clicked. I went into the kitchen after her and there she was. Sitting in Daddy's chair, eating his nectarine. I just let her continue eating it, as I didn't think she'd get but 1/2 way done with it before she gave it to me. She ended up eating the WHOLE thing! Needless to say, Daddy didn't get his nectarine tonight.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"No, Paige cool!"

Last Friday night we were all sitting at the table eating dinner. Chinese take-out, Yummy (sort-of)! Jason randomly asked her, "Paige is Daddy cool?"

Her response, totally unprompted, "No, Paige cool!" Jason and I just laughed out loud. It was too funny!

So then I had to ask, "Paige is Mommy cool?"

Again the response, "No, Paige cool!" It was the funniest thing she has come up with yet. We have tried to get her to say it on video, but it's never as funny the 3rd or 4th time around! Oh well. We are just beginning the funny things that toddlers say phase. I'm sure we will have more to share! :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Painting Pallette?

So I am looking to give our main Sunday School room a face lift. It is bad need of a little modernizing and COLOR!!

This room is a large rectangle shape. Across one of the long walls is windows. The front wall is mostly whiteboard (soon to be projector screen). I really wanna add some pizazz to the room, but not frighten everyone either. We're talking about a church here, ya know? :)

If you could do anything, what colors would you put in a Sunday School Room? I really don't have any starting point, or direction of where I'm going. I am drawing a total blank.


Friday, August 1, 2008

February 15th

Well, for those of you who don't know, the Wedehase family will be growing 2 feet in mid-February. Jason and I are very excited to add a sibling for Paige. She doesn't quite get it yet, but I think it'll be a lot easier as I get bigger and she can feel and see movement.
I have been feeling okay. A few episodes of morning sickness here and there. But so far everything is tolerable.
Just like we did with Paige, we won't be finding out the gender. We had so much fun with that, and it sure makes labor and delivery a little more tolerable for Mommy! :)
We are struggling a little with names, so if you have any SERIOUS suggestions, please feel free to add them. We have a girl's name picked out, and a boy's middle name picked out, but that's as far as we've gotten. Luckily, we still have some time.
Here is an ultrasound picture that was taken before I left to Ukraine. The baby was about 7 weeks, if I remember correctly. We got one so early because the midwife wanted to be sure baby was where it was supposed to be, especially before I left the country. Everything is perfect! In the picture you can see the head at the top little plus sign. The baby is facing left, so you can make out some of the facial features. Just below that pointing to the left are the arm and hand nubs.
God's creation is so amazing. At just 7 weeks, so much is formed! We are praising God for our family and excitedly await the addition!