Let me introduce our new friends...Sergei and Sveta!

We all have these experiences. Being in a completely different place and yet being reminded of the brothers and sisters God places along our path. Things were no different in Ukraine. Right there in a very small village we met a couple who stole our hearts.  Sergei and Sveta. They are a huge asset to Andrew and Jenny. They work for Andrew and not only are a big help with construction, repair, cleaning, etc. at the camp but they offer so much more. They are Russian, but live and  love the Ukraine. They speak the language. They understand the culture. They love the children that Andrew and Jenny work with and help them in more ways than I can tell. They live across the road from the Camp, in a house that until a few weeks ago had never had electricity or water. No bathroom. No kitchen. 100 year old house. They are expecting their first child in November. We all fell in love with them. They are the sweetest couple who worked right along beside us and though we couldn't really talk to them...we learned so much from them. We decided to throw a Surprise Baby Shower for them. They don't have Baby Showers in the Ukraine so we had to get pretty creative to come up with decorations, food, gifts, etc but it turned out great and as you can see...they were quite surprised and delighted!!!!

Such a precious couple!
The smiles tell it all...they were shocked, surprised, overwhelmed...which just made it all the more fun!
As you can see, we managed to come up with some fun sweets...American Homemade cookies and Ukranian Cakes. The sign above them said "Boy or Girl?
(We found out after we left, they are having  a Boy!)
 Love this picture of them taking all their gifts home to their house! So were so excited!

One day at lunch, they cooked all of the crew Pork Kabobs on their grill...actually it is their outdoor kitchen, as their 100 year old house has no kitchen or bathroom. The food was amazing and they were so precious about serving us! Doesn't take you but a second of being with them and seeing their surroundings to realize how completely SPOILED we are! We take so much for granted. I am ashamed of how I am constantly thinking of things I would like to change or do on my house...when our house would be a mansion in their eyes. Running water people...we just don't even think about what a luxury that is. This couple was overwhelmed with thankfulness that they have an outdoor shower area! Boy, it made us realize what blessings we have been given...and are we truly thankful? I am ashamed to say I have not been as thankful as I should.

 Larry and Sergei-they really hit it off! Sergei was so interested in how Larry built the cabin. New ways of doing things and he was so intrigued and so anxious to learn. Wish they could have had more time to work together...maybe next time! :)

We had the GREAT joy of getting to build them an outdoor shower, an outdoor dining room, lay a water line which meant digging a huge ditch from the camp, across the road and up to their house, a new wood shed plus we dug up a huge "extra" garden area for them. Sergei helps Andrew out and right now that leaves very little time for him to do things at home. We had so much fun helping them out and they blessed us so much with their sweet spirits and their faith!
Their new outdoor dining room.
Their new outdoor shower. It is hard to describe how excited they were about this addition to their home...kind of puts things in perspective, huh!
The new wood shed...plus all the wood we cut up for them. Sergei said he would stack it! I wish I had a picture to share right here of their wood sheds! It looks like a painting...every piece is cut exactly the same size and when they finish stacking them they are perfect!
The last night we were there, we took Andrew over to Sergei and Sveta's house as our translator. Here is a picture of Larry beside their house.
Sergei so excited, he had just moved their table out into their new dining room!
Sveta, being no different than us, ran inside and got a plant to set in the center of her table...and then shook her head as if to say, "Now, it is really home!" The smile on her face...I will never forget!
My new sister. Sveta is about the same age as Ashley. It hit me how different their lives are and yet how similar. Both having the desires to have children and the joys of being a wife, mother & homemaker. Yet, when we were looking for baby gifts...it struck me how LITTLE we had to pick from or could even find in the Ukraine when our shelves in the USA are loaded with multiple choices of each item. She may have very little compared to us but her joy overflows!

There is so much more to this story, but our University minister really did such a great job on telling their story and a great way we hope to help (and if you are so moved to help...well, you can too!) so I am going to just give you a link if you would like to hear more! I hope you can find time to do so. 

We ALL were so moved by this sweet couple, the work they are doing and yet we found out a real need they have. We talked, we prayed, we discussed it as a group and prayed a whole lot more. We made the decision to help them. We have committed to try to raise the money to make sure they can stay across the road from camp. 

I will close with a few more pictures. Larry and I walked down the sandy main street of the village. Our alley's are in better shape. But along the main street you would see benches beside fences. In the evening, many of the residents would come out and sit on their benches and watch the day come to an end...visiting with their neighbors and probably watching the crazy Americans! :)

 A very common site on the main street of the village
 How is this for a bird nest! CRAZY!!! I also love the rainbow in the sky!
 A grandfather and granddaughter moving the cows to another pasture.
 The Post Office (Yea! A word on that sign is in English!!)
 The village school...closed because of no teacher...which means the children in this village don't get to go to school. So sad.

 Most every household has a garden...this is the way they survive. They eat off this garden and sell off what they don't need.

Some of the locals...I love how when we started to take their picture they would break out in a big smile! We couldn't talk to them...but smiles and waves seemed to be enough.

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