We've been back in Ukraine for almost three months now. In all, our time in the US ended up lasting six months. We returned to Ukraine in mid-January, almost exactly one year since we came back to Kharkov in January 2011 from our furlough that year. In some ways, our January 2012 return to Kharkov felt a little like a do-over to me. When we returned in January 2011, it was on the heels of a furlough in which we had spent time with the leadership of our then-sponsoring church talking things over and (we thought) correcting some things that had just not been working well in that relationship. So we returned to Kharkov that January 2011 looking forward to two more solid years of work to do before the next furlough. We got through jet lag, got plugged back into our relationships here, got some good new things started...
And then the hammer fell.
It was March 19, 2011 that we got that fateful call informing us that we needed to start looking for a new sponsoring church. We reeled for a long time after that, trying to figure out how to cope with that and what to do next. At the same time we were midway through a pregnancy and needed to have some stable plans for where we'd give birth and so on. We stayed in Ukraine for a few months, trying not to let our circumstances pry us away too abruptly from the work. But by mid-July we were back in the US to see what else the Lord might have in mind as far as partnership arrangements go. Anything to help us stay in Ukraine through the end of our commitment, at least.
Despite the inherent uncertainties of our situation, the Lord blessed us a lot in those six months in the US. Through many of his people I think he rehabilitated us in some important ways (I'm looking especially at you, you, and you). I know we're still far from completely recovered. But we've moved on enough to be able to say that the time it has taken me to write this post is the longest I've thought about these things in one sitting in a while.
The work here is worthwhile and good, and by God's grace we're back here. And March 19th, 2012 has now come and gone and we're still plugging along with forward progress in the work, instead of scrambling about our support. Yes, 2012 does feel like a do-over of the 2011 that could have been.
P.S. I'm hoping to get back to blogging a little more regularly now. My evolving feelings about online communications in the context of ministry may become a post or three of their own, but hopefully it won't be as quiet here on our blog as it was the last few months.