Articles written by: Joshua and Maurie Hanauer
Summer is Here!
Hello to everyone. The past two months here have been a whirlwind! Time is moving so quickly, and we cannot believe that only two months remain. In this edition we will be combining the last two months into one, fun-filled newsletter. Enjoy.
Joshua: I know of very few people who get to use their undergraduate education immediately after they leave the university. However, this is exactly what I have gotten to do here in Kyiv for the last year. While not everything I was taught applies to every thing I have experienced, my classroom work did prepare me for what challenges would await me in our work. Living in a different culture and learning a totally different language can be very difficult at times. But, it has been overwhelmingly rewarding as well. I got to reap some of those rewards in a four-week class I taught on personal evangelism.
The idea came while I was watching the BBC from London on television. I grabbed some paper and a pen and began writing the ideas as they came to my mind. I wanted the class to be something that you don’t normally learn about in an evangelism class. I wanted to approach the issue, not from a program point of view, but from a lifestyle point of view. It was a great learning time for me as I prepared the lessons. As the first class approached more and more people seemed to be interested, and that was great. Christians from two area churches were invited to attend and we had about ten people involved. Some of the classes were discussion based and that was excellent. After all, I understood my limitations when it comes to teaching another culture group how to best share the gospel with other members of that same group.
The topics ranged from what the gospel is to how to balance social action and evangelism. We discussed the ways Jesus evangelized and compared that with the way you see churches doing it today. In preparing the lessons, I realized that some of this material might be suited for an American audience as well. I am making plans to formalize the training so I can present it to area churches once Maurie and I are at home. From the feedback I received, the classes were educational and well liked, but only time will tell how they affected the group.
Relationship Building Continues
Maurie: I had so many responses to my last report about my growing relationships with Christians here that I have decided to do it again.
“ANNIE is obviously not a Ukrainian name,” you may think! Well, she is actually another Anya, but for the sake of not mixing them up, people have called her Annie since Americans first came here. We live very near one another, and she was a huge help to us as a guide and translator when we first moved to Kyiv. Annie graduated from International Christian University in 2000 and immediately began moving up the career ladder. Presently she is working very hard for the Science and Technology Center of Ukraine as their General Accountant.
I am not sure how we started the tradition, but I think it was one night last November. I had planned a “Girl’s Night,” where all the girls from our Home Group had been invited to our place to watch movies, talk, and spend the night. Everyone was planning to come, so I had a lot of food to prepare! Annie offered to come over a little early and help. We talked about both spiritual and serious things, but also laughed and had a great time together. Before we knew it, the hours had ticked by, and no one else had shown up! It really didn’t faze us, although we wondered what we were going to do with all that food.
I found out that night that Annie also loved cooking and baking. She borrowed both my cookbooks and copied down some recipes. Since then we have gotten together monthly for a huge cooking project. The one rule is that we must make something we have never made nor tasted before. It has been quite an adventure hunting down some of the ingredients and improvising, and we have spent many a late night discussing issues as serious as the fear of trusting people and sticking to commitments. After all, it takes quite awhile to wait for things to bake and cool after we have made them! God has truly blessed me through these priceless times. Although Annie and I do not get to see one another very often, a special bond has been built.
LILIA actually likes to be called “Lily” instead of her true Ukrainian name. She is one of the church’s strongest Christians and leaders. She graduated from Shevchenko University last June and is working now at a local British/American owned company as a personal assistant. Lily was also a tremendous help to us when we first moved here. She called agency after agency looking for our apartment. She met with us weekly to explain in English the parts of Zhanna’s Russian lessons that we could not understand. The list could go on and on. Joshua’s and my relationship with Lily has grown mainly because she has been so welcoming and open to our knowing one another and becoming friends.
All of us know what it feels like to have company. The house has to be clean, perhaps a meal prepared, and when your company gets there, you must sit and talk to them, be attentive and entertain. Frankly it is draining! We have a lot of company here, but Lily is the one person that doesn’t feel like company. I know that I don’t have to clean the house, cook and sit there with her if I have other things to do (although I often WANT to do these things!). Many times she is in the computer room checking e-mail, Joshua is watching a movie, and I am doing something in the kitchen. It is like a family! We always have a great talk and often pray together at one point during these visits that have become a Sunday afternoon tradition.
Lily has taught me a great deal about showing love and appreciation verbally. She often will verbalize something she appreciates or loves about me, and I will find myself thinking, “I hope she knows I feel the exact same way!” It doesn’t occur to me to say anything until she actually does! Her passion for serving the Lord and all of her dreams for her life are an incredible encouragement to me.
I am receiving more from the people here than I could ever give to them. God has blessed me richly.
Joshua: So that is all we have for you this time around. Our last newsletter will be sent out at the end of August. We plan to include a list of things we have learned here in Kyiv. Please continue to pray for our time here as well as for the church that will remain long after our time has concluded.