Thursday, December 18, 2008

Part One of Our Holiday in South Africa

We are having so much fun we have been neglecting our communications with people! :) I know most of you don't mind, though I'm sure a few of you are wondering what is going on with us.
For those that need a quick update here you are. We are currently in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. We were gifted this trip earlier this year, and the earliest we could go was during these Christmas holidays. This situation worked out great for us, because it is cold in Ukraine right now! But here in SA it is warm and sunny. I got a sun burn the first day out here (don't worry mum, I am not forgetting the sun block).
We have had some good time seeing the sights of SA, the uniqueness of the country, and the people. But some of the best parts of the trip are the opportunities we have to be involved in encouraging the workers and Christians here. As we are visiting the AIMers here, we are also getting to tag along with them in some of there work here. I have had opportunities to preach and teach and we both have spent time encouraging our brothers and sisters. We are so grateful that we could meet other Christians here and spend time with them! It's a good reminder of what we will be experiencing together in heaven one day... something we can't have now because of the huge land masses and bodies of water separating us.
But on top of that we have been able to participate in some God's creation here in South Africa. We took a short trip to Cape Town and along the way stopped at a bridge to jump off! I have now jumped off of the World's tallest bungy jump. I have a little certificate to prove it. I have a little video below of the jump as well. (The scream you hear is one of joy and excitement, not fear).

After the jump we continued on to Cape Town where we stayed the night before jumping on a boat the next morning to look for Great White sharks. On this trip we saw hundreds of seals, a whale with her calf , penguins, and .... GREAT WHITE SHARKS!!
My wife was nice enough to brave seasickness and she also allowed me to jump in a cage to watch Great Whites! It was amazing. At first I didn't think the trip would be worth it, but as soon as I jumped in the cage a White Shark showed up and hit the bait right in front of the cage. It came so close that you could touch it! I'm not exagerating it at all, I know it was close enough to touch because after it missed the bait, I reached out and touched it! You might think I'm crazy, but it is probably your jealousy because I touched a 2.5 meter White Shark. This is a short video of the second time it showed up. (I'm in the cage you briefly see.)

There are many things that we can tell you about our trip, but we need to stop for now and get this posted. Thanks to all for your prayers... we've been safe and are really having a wonderful time here. We'll update you again soon on more adventures we're having!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Enjoying Life!

Hello to you all! It's been awhile... we've been busy! But, it's time for us to update you on what's been happening around here. Life has been good here in Kharkov-- God is so good to us!
It's hard to believe the holidays are already upon us. We went out a couple weekends ago and shopped for a Christmas tree and decorations... it turned out great! I'll have to post a final picture of the tree later, but here's a few pictures of the process. As you can see, our nephew Canaan helped us out. My parents sent us a few decorations from the states as well with the Jarboes, so that helped make things more festive around our place.
Last Saturday we had a bunch of people into our home for Borsch soup. It's a very common Russian soup that's delicious (main ingredients are cabbage and beets -- see picture below). A good friend of ours, Valeri, came over and cooked everything for us! Valeri is a chef (see picture to the left), so it was the best borsh we've had yet! Here are a few pictures of that day. That same weekend, our team was blessed to have a visit from Eileen Ench, a missionary in Rostov, Russia. We were able to visit with her about her work and just encourage one another. She even taught us a few children's songs in Russian, so we look forward to implementing those into our Bible Classes on Sunday morning! Further down are a few more pictures of our guest that day. We had the whole team over, plus Andre (in the picture with Eileen and Dougle) and Luba (in the picture with Eileen). Our house was packed, but we had a wonderful time together. :)
We are also excited to announce that we've found a permanent apartment! It's a very nice place, nicer than we were anticipating, in fact. We signed the agreement and will move in on December 29th. We're so thankful for many of you and the prayers you offered up for all of our apartment searches. Our whole team has now found apartments and are within about 10 min walking distance of one another, plus we're in the center of the city. God truly blessed us with exactly what we were hoping for! Please be praying for us and for our new landlords.
We're leaving today, Thursday, and going on holiday to South Africa! We were gifted this trip back at our graduation and are finally able to go on it. We'll be visiting a friend, Lindsay White, who is working down there with the Adventures in Missions program. While we're there, we'll be doing many touristy/holiday stuff, but we'll also be spending time with the local congregations in Port Elizabeth. David will be speaking at 3 different congregations while we're there. We're excited about going and spending Christmas there. We will return to Kharkov on December 27th.
We hope all of you are doing well. We appreciate all the comments, encouragement, love, and support you send our way. God bless!