Saturday, February 16, 2008

We Have Moved, Again!

We have not had internet for a month as we have been in transition between homes. Our life has been so crazy lately. We had a wonderful Christmas with Carra, then the day after she left we moved out of our Bucha home and stayed in a church for 2 nights. ( Hotels here are only for the very wealthy, even a small room costs hundreds of dollars a night.) We then drove for 2 days to Hungary for a training near Budapest. The teaching was incredible, Erik Thonnes did a great job and will forever be one of our favorite preachers as he fed our souls at such a critical time in our lives! Spencer had a great retreat with other MKs and a team from a church in California did a vbs type of program with the kids. The kids learned about the lives of children in the 10/40 window, and met so many friends from all over Eastern Europe. I never imagined that I would be meeting and discussing the great commission with people from Serbia, Albania, Belarus and Russia! Pray especially for Belarus and Russia as many evangelical missionaries have been "invited" to leave those countries, some have served there for over 5 years with no problem but now cannot get their visas renewed. More on that later.

After the conference we drove back for 2 days. The drive was not uneventful, as you can imagine 9 hours a day on bad roads with 5 kids. We had 2 throw up events and a little accident with a gas pump. We were so happy that we got through the border pretty quickly and we stopped for gas right inside of Hungary. Our back window was blocked by our luggage so as we were leaving we backed into a huge trashcan/gas pump owned by the gas station. So we had to sit there for an hour giving a Hungarian gas station attendant our insurance information. So much for getting through the border quickly! Then once we got back to Kiev we stayed in the church again for 5 days. If you can imagine one big room with 5 beds with 7 people, no internet or TV, for 5 nights; and it was finals week for Spencer. (Poor guy had to shut himself in the bathroom to study, but he did great!) Needless to say we were ready for a little less family togetherness by the time we were finally able to move into our new home on February 1.

Our house is Wonderful. We were becoming quite discouraged as we were looking at homes in Kiev. A very small 2 bedroom house with almost no yard is around $2,ooo per month. We assumed this is what we would have to settle for. We were looking at one bigger house and getting very excited about it only to have our friends translate for us that it was $5,000 a month!!! Never Mind!!!! But, our friend noticed as we were sadly driving away that the house around the corner had some people moving out. She called the landlord and asked if we could see it and how much it was. Miraculously, Praise the Lord, it was 6 bedrooms at $1700 a month.
We have friends renting 2 bedroom homes for that price. So here we are, with a guest room just for you to come stay with us. We are down the street from the best grocery store in town and walking distance of some really cool open air markets.

Our neighborhood is very strange, every other house is falling apart but then the others look like huge Florida beach houses with landscaped lawns. Ours is not falling apart but looks very Ukranian with white brick and these curved iron bars surronding the porch. We have a great yard. In Eastern Europe houses are surronded by a fence so they are all like little fortresses, you pull your car into your fence and lock your whole property every night. People ring the doorbell at the entrance to your fence. So it is great for kids to play outside protected in the front and back yard. It reminds me of feudalism. We think some foreign diplomats live down the street and probably some Ukrainian government officials. Another strange "coincidence" is that an American family lives down the street who work at Spencer's Christian school and the wife went to Moody and lived in the exact dorm, floor and wing (Houghton 9W) as Carra now lives on!

Well we are finally getting settled now that we know we will live in this house for at least a year and have a renter in our Little Rock home who has signed a 2 year lease which began in February as well. (Thanks to Janet and Skip Savary for arranging this!) Isn't God amazing!!!!!! As we have been talking to other missionaries we have been advised that owning your home in America is a wise thing, many have rented out their homes for over 15 years. So we are grateful that our house didn't sale and rented out so quickly to allow us to move in here. God knows how things should be and takes care of us even though we have no idea what we are doing! We were even able to go to a furniture store by ourselves and communicate with Russian speakers who knew no English and purchase some furniture! In Ukraine You buy say, a couch, you pay 100 grievna (which is about $20) then they deliver the couch for free and collect the rest of the grievna. They are very trusting. There are not rental agreements for renting houses, it is all by your word. So pray our Landlords will let us stay here for the price agreed upon the whole time we are here. Sometimes they will just tell you one day that your rent is now raised $500 a month or that you have to leave by next month. We have a verbal agreement that won't happen for at least a year, but there are no laws regarding these things yet. Pray for us to be okay with whatever happens and just trust the Lord as we are really weary of moving and want to focus on ministry and language study over the next couple of years.

We will post pictures soon, we are doing great and are very grateful how our Lord, Jesus Christ is providing all our needs exceedingly abundantly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love and Miss you all!!!!!!!!!

Mark and Jill

5 comments:

boo4baby said...

Jill, I loved hearing all about your latest days in Ukraine. I am so glad that you have a house and i love the picture of it (as well as the others). Your kids look like they are adjusting well. I would love to know how I can pray for you and yours. you can email me anytime at abecky@hughes.net. We miss you all! Love, Becky

HappyMomof5 said...

We miss you all, too! I am so thankful that you have found a home to "homemake" in and that the whole family seems to be doing so well. Praise God for the opportunity to minister to the people there! You are in our prayers! Love,Terri

Seth said...

That was really great for me to hear Ms. Claxton!

bbarrow said...

Thanks for putting the pictures and the lastest events of your life online. This helps Donna and I not feel so far away. Bert

Susie said...

How wonderful to hear from you guys, and the pictures are great!!!
What an amazing turnout for the
conference. Stephen is in New Zealand at Torchbearers and will get home July 2, Scott will be going to Mexico in June.. Who knows where the Lord might lead...
We love you guys... Susie