This morning we said goodbye to some very dear friends.
They came all the way from Ukraine to visit us. Well, us and all of their churches and supporters and friends and family here in the States. They are missionaries with YWAM (Youth with a Mission) and have lived and served their community in Simferopol, Ukraine for the past fifteen years. They are in America now on a 6-month furlough, and are the ones we collected clothing items for last winter.
Their story is a fascinating one. They are those kind of people who embrace adventure, give with their whole hearts, and live by faith in every sense of the phrase.
Sharyn and I have known each other since college. I was her boss in campus fundraising all those years ago, and we forged a lasting friendship. I remember hearing about this guy, Ruslan, whom she met on one of her missions trips, and loved staying connected with her life as we both got married to our Slavic men and pursued the work of the Lord.
Their two daughters (Gloria & Emily) are impossibly cute and funny and they tell the most entertaining stories. Ask Gloria to tell you the one about Spencer the duck.
We've enjoyed sharing our home and our town and our friends with them over the past four days: making waffles, drinking goat's milk straight from a goat, having them speak to our young adults group (and trying the fish snacks they brought to share.. fish snacks that look and taste like fish!), taking walks, having their caricatures drawn at a local farmers market, frozen chocolate-dipped bananas, playing games (ladder golf anyone?), the park, the community pool, singing songs and late night conversations.
If you have ever considered overseas missions (short or long-term), contact Sharyn. She has made a career of this and will gladly point you in the right direction.
Until we meet again.