The worst thing about our evacuation was being separated from my husband and six of the kids for two long days.
Josh and I are in been in Budapest with Isaac, Anna and baby Ember this week to process our visas so can keep serving as missionaries in Ukraine. Our six other kids are in L'viv, Ukriane (with my mom and dad) waiting for us to get back.
Feb 19, 1AM
Pray for Ukraine. Things are getting really bad in some cities.
Feb 19, 11:30am
Yesterday the violence and chaos became very intense and is spreading to many cities. We have decided to have Josh go back for the rest of the kids so we can all stay together while processing the visa. He is on His say. He jumped on the First train to Ukraine this morning. We now see that we need to spend more time outside of Ukraine than we planned. I am thankful that God had provide for our family to be able to make this trip. We expect to be here for a couple weeks to wait for Ukraine to calm down because of the limitations of our visa during the civil chaos. Please pray for safety and blessing for Josh as he re-enters Ukraine, and for my kids as they travel to the boarder. It's hard to have our family in three different places right now. Feb 11:30am
Feb 19, 8PM
Thanks everyone for your prayers for our family and for Ukraine. God's hand and peace is upon us. Josh and the kids will be traveling over the next 24 hours, so we are very thankful for your prayers. I am finding that I love and miss Ukraine (and the orphans), I've only been away a few days, but I REALLY miss my kids! Pray for everything to work out with our Visa, and for God's timing to go back to Ukraine.
Feb 19, 11PM
Please pray for safety for Josh as he goes to our house to get supplies. There is a hot spot less than a block from our apartment where the news is reporting things happening at the Russian Consulate there. Pray for him to be able to travel by train with no problems or delays.
Feb 20, 9:12 AM
My family missed the train out of L'viv. Now we face another day and night of waiting to be together. The next train is a night train. Josh is traveling with 6 kids ages 4 to 12, pray for many blessings, this is a hard task for anyone.
Feb 20, Noon
God wanted to add a little humor to my day. I woke up to find out that the situation is worse and worse in Ukraine and my family missed the train out. Then Ember lost my contacts. So all morning I couldn't see, and we were searching everywhere, moved furniture... Anna said we should pray, and we did. A minute later I picked up my Bible, opened it and there was my contact case. My lessons... 1. The answer to prayer is found in the Word of God. 2. If I would have started my day with the Bible I would not have been living in a blur up until now.
Feb 20, 3 PM
Please pray for Ukraine, thank you so much for keeping our family in prayer. Pray for my mom and dad who are staying in the city. My visa is expiring this week, so I had to go to Hungary to process the new visa, when we left things were calm. If you have seen the news you know that the trouble is getting worse and worse. Many buildings in L'viv have been burned, and people are advised to stay in at night. Josh and the kids have to catch the train tonight to be able to join me in Budapest.
Our plan was to all be back together in L'viv tomorrow, but instead we will all be in Hungary instead. We are trusting in the Lord, knowing He is directing our path, right now we do not know what the future holds... but of course we know who holds the future. Please also pray for our business to do well, or for God to keep providing in other ways - as we have unexpected expenses. We may go join friends in Bosnia next week after working on the visa here.
Our hope is for Ukraine to return to peace, and for the people to turn to Jesus. We do want to go home and keep loving the orphans. We have no idea when we will return, pray for our visa to be completed at the prefect time, and for peace. But right now I just pray for safety as Josh and the kids travel to come join the four of us here.
Feb 20, 10:38 PM
Good news. Josh and the kids were able to get on the train out of L'viv a couple hours ago and are on their way. A friend is meeting up with them at 3am to help with the border crossing, they have to get off the train at 3am, wait at the Ukrainian station until Customs opens at 5am, cross the border, get on a new train in Hungary at 5:40, (6:40 Ukrainian time) and arrive here at 9:30.
We plan to spend a few days here and then go stay with friends, so it looks like we are going to Bosnia next, unless plans change. It is an adventure. I spent the day sewing backpacks on the new sewing machine we got at IKEA. God really blessed us today, the friend I am staying with gave us her homeschooling curriculum that she isn't using - 8th grade Son Light, and 9th Grade Switched on Schoolhouse. Thank you Rachel Lakatos!!! This is an answer to prayer. We were running out of school books, and didn't bring any with us when we evacuated. Each kid has one backpack, we have the laptops for school, and a guitar.
A couple weeks ago I felt like we were going to have to leave the country for a while, but we couldn't afford the trip out. I asked Josh what we would need if we were going to evacuate. He said $2000 extra. So I put the whole situation in God's hands and stopped fearing. I prayed that if God wanted us to go out of the country for a while that he would provide exactly $2000 to cover all the costs. A few days ago a friend from the US told us that she was nursing her baby and praying and God put it on her heart to send us support. A few days ago $2000 showed up in our paypal account. I had forgotten about the prayer because everything seemed calm and safe. When the violence broke out in L'viv two nights ago we realized why God sent the $2000. That's when Josh went back for the kids.
On his way to the apartment to get the passports he saw cars flipped over and burning, and about 60 guys in riot gear with shields camping out half a block from our apartment at the Russian Embassy. I just have to say how thankful I am that the Lord heard our prayers and knew the perfect timing to send our family to safety.
When we first talked about leaving if the revolution spread to L'viv we didn't know where we would go, we thought about going to Poland. God worked it out for half of our family to be in Hungary already to prepare the way. This has truly been one of the big adventures in faith so far in our family, and I thank you all so much for the prayers, love, support, friendship and help. Keep up the prayers for Ukraine and the many people suffering there. Pray for my family to be reunited safely tomorrow morning.
So I know that my family crossed the border and got on a 6am train... but when we went to meet them at the station they didn't get off the train I thought they would be on... I thought maybe we missed them so we went back to our friends' house... but they didn't make it back to my friends' house either... so I will go back to the train station to see if they are on the next train from the border... They did get on a train in Hungary, that is for sure...they don't have a phone that works in this country.
Feb 21, noon
Crossing the border took longer than my husband had planned, but they were able to get on a later train. On my way back to the train station for the 3rd time this morning I saw my family coming down the sidewalk. All smiles. You never know how much you really love your kids until you find yourself in a moment like this one.
Our whole family is safe and happy to be together in Budapest! Thanks for your prayers!
The government in Ukraine has been overthrown.
For now are staying in a cozy apartment in downtown Budapest above the shops on a beautiful pedestrian street. History is everywhere. The internet hardly works here... but that's okay, we have each other. There is a lot of uncertainty in our lives, but we are at home when we are with each other, and that's what matters. What an adventure.
Feb 24, 3pm
Good news, we were able to go to the Ukrainian Embassy and we got out 45 day visa that allows us to go back into Ukraine... yes we are crazy. BUT the good part is that we can use it ANYTIME in the next year. This is good news because we thought that it would have to be used immediately or it would expire. Now we can use it whenever we are ready to back in... We have been warned by the US government that it is not a good idea to go back in while there is no government in place. So pray for the right timing, the orphans still need love. We are still paying for our apartment with all our stuff in it, and hope we don't have to be out for long... I only brought two pairs of socks. We are truly living simply! Isn't that what we always wanted?
Feb 24, 10:30pm
I bought a few pairs of socks from a sidewalk vendor today. When you realize that you have left just about everything behind in a foreign country you find that little things like this are reasons to be thankful! Here we are, far from home. God is providing everything we need, but I do feel unsettled, I need God's peace.
We will be here in Budapest until Saturday. We plan to spend some time traveling and visiting friends before reentering Ukraine. Our next stops may include Bosnia, Serbia or Germany... the adventure continues.
Feb 25, 2:44pm
Feeling peaceful about all the uncertainty in our lives at this moment. It must be all the prayers... We don't have much, but we have everything. We don't know where we are going to be in a week, but the good Shepherd is leading the way. We know that God has plans for us, and we are always safe in His hands. The adventure draws our family closer together (they two bedroom apartment has the same impact). The simplicity of life and the lack of possessions makes life... simple.
There are so many choices I don't have to worry about, I can focus on what matters, not on what pair of shoes to put on each child. Without clutter, things just don't get lost in the clutter. Without a plan we have time to make music, to write, to play, to pray. Somehow this is a good place to be, it's because we are completely dependent on Jesus right now, and His love is everything we need, HE ALONE IS OUR REFUGE AND OUR STRENGTH A VERY PRESENT HELP IN TIME OF TROUBLE.
Our hearts break for all those that have lost loved ones in Ukraine this week. May peace, unity and healing come quickly to the nation.
by the tragedy of the war we breath.
Nine children now sleeping, in one room.
Without fear. Together here in one room.
We crossed the border, it was time to leave.
I guess you could call us refugees. How can that be?
My husband brought his guitar
so we could have music.
And we carried our Bibles across the border
So we could find peace in it's pages.
Each child brought a backpack, and one pair of shoes
to cross a border as the world watched the news.
Hold hands and whisper softly now my children, on this night.
Don't let them know that you are Americans as you pass by.
A father whispered as the February moon passes above
as I waited on the safe side of the border to see the ones I love.
They took the midnight train out of Ukraine
Fleeing Revolution, as the people cried for freedom, passion, change.
I was safe at the station in Hungary
I was waiting for the morning train
I was longing just to see their faces
I was thankful beyond all I could explain.
But my heart dropped, when they didn't appear
The train came and left as I resisted fear.
I waited for the next train
But still they were no where to be found
And in an age of cell phones, there was no answer.
The hardest part was being apart,
they were safe, they were on their way
But I was left waiting, wondering and watching trains.
First I heard their little voices. Then I saw their smiling faces.
And then my husband held me in his arms.
And little hands were holding mine
the moment frozen in my mind
My family. Now here with me.
I guess you could call us refugees. How can that be?
I left behind a home, and nearly everything I own
I left behind the city that I love
But now behind this door, I couldn't ask for more
My children sleep as my husband plays guitar
Across the border are sidewalks stained with blood
And women weep who have lost the ones they love.
I never thought that we'd be refugees
and we wonder how long it will be.
Oh Ukraine, where freedom's fire burns.
Oh Ukraine, unite tonight, it's time to turn.
Turn a page now in your history, your children plead.
Oh Ukraine, unite tonight and claim your victory.