Tonight we head out to another town, a new adventure.  What an absolutely fantastic time we have had here.  We had high hopes for this city and God went above and beyond what we expected.  Yay!  All along we’ve had anticipation and higher expectations for this portion of out trip…I think many things factor into this.  First of all, our sweet little love that first turned our hearts to this country was from here.  Second of all, the Lost Boys are in this region, so we knew if we were going to meet them it would have to happen this week.  Thirdly, we were super excited to meet Slavik and Alyona.  Everything we had read about them and what they do for the Lord really hit us in the guts (in a good way!).  We couldn’t wait to meet face to face.  God did something in our hearts while we were here.  He confirmed, encouraged, broke our hearts in a new way, and connected our hearts to the people here.  It has been awesome, and as much as I miss everyone at home…specifically the 4 cutest kiddos on the face of the planet…I am very sad to leave this place.  That’s how great our time has been!!!

Here’s some snippets from the week. 

Friday afternoon after we saw the Boys (still freaking out about that miracle) we met Slavik for lunch and had our first taste of Chinese food here.  It was surprisingly good!  Then we headed down to see the Black Sea.  It feels like summer has come early here.  It has been pretty warm the past couple days and all the elderly people decided it was time to head down to the beach in their string bikinis.  Lucky us!  Ooooooooh my word, we had some big laughs together about that.  I mean, it was either laugh or cry, right?

Alyona and Mark….don’t look too closely at the background.  Oops!  Ha!

After the beach we said goodbye to Slavik and Alyona.  Booohoooooo.  We’ll see them again.  I’m not sure how I’ll make it till Wednesday though without some baby thighs to squish.  Their baby Maria is seriously Havalah’s Eastern European twin- so soft, so squishy.   

MariaMark, loving Maria TO DEATH.  Ha!  Sibling love is the same all over the world…A little taste of home….they are such sweet kiddos.  We loved them.

 Yesterday we spent the morning exploring the city, then in the afternoon we met Michelle, the American missionary we talked about before.  She took us to meet some other American missionaries here in the city.  One couple we met has been here for a little less than a year and they have 3 small children.  It was cool to hear their perspective and what God is doing through them.  Then we met a couple older ladies at McDonalds.  One of them, Darlene, has been here with her husband for 15 years and they raised all their children here.  It was great to talk with them too.  We just wanted to meet as many people as we could and hear their stories.  

After our meetings we went to the Opera!  It was kind of funny, actually.  Our seats were pretty bad.  Like, laughable bad.  We could only really see if we stood, and seeing how the Operas are like 3 hours long, that was kind of a bummer.  We left at intermission…I mean, it’s not like we understood what was going on anyway.  It was still a great adventure and the opera house was GORGEOUS!  The sound was great, the tickets were cheap, it was definitely not a waste.  

View from our seats…standing up The ceiling

 Another great time we didn’t get a chance to write about was about Thursday when we got to go with Nastya to an orphanage nearby our apartment.  She goes there weekly to spend time with the children, do some songs and a craft, basically to be a presence in their lives.  She really desires to build relationships and love on them.  The Director there is very cooperative and open to help, so that is great!  We had just a great time with those kids.  This is a nice orphanage where the kids get a fairly good education and we could tell their teacher really loved them.  What cuties!!!  Here some of their sweet faces…

Listening closelyPoserThis little guy…oh my word is he not the ultimate in squeezability?  He is absolutely adorable and so funny.  He was playing soldiers and was definitely the leader. So proud of her work.  She was a hoot too.  What a cutie!Ultimate poser Playing

Alright, time to get out of my jammies and start packing for our trip tonight.  Off to meet new people and have new adventures!