Lance & Megan's Blog

Happy birthday Lance!

September19

Lance turned the big 30 this year! For many years in Ukraine, he hasn’t been able to really celebrate his birthday, so I wanted to make sure that he had some kind of celebration this year.

I could not wait to give him his birthday present, I got him an ukelele! My sisters brought it over when they came to visit. He got to play with Kathryn’s ukelele when we were home last and enjoyed it so I thought he would probably love to have his own. He pretty much plays it every day now.

Joanne bowling

Lance bowling

bowling group

In the afternoon, a small group of us went bowling. No one was nice on the birthday boy, he lost. Actually, to be exact, I beat him. 🙂 Doesn’t matter who won though, we just had a good time together.

We had enchiladas for dinner together and then other friends came over for dessert later. We had everyone share their favorite memories of Lance. There were some funny memories, many people remembered Lance’s 5-fingered shoes and his yummy sourdough bread. Lance got a guitar stand as well as a Ukrainian shirt.

playing the uke

blowing the candle

Lance really likes gooey brownies, I do not. So I told Lance I will make him gooey brownies once a year, on his birthday. He got gooey, chocolate chip, peanut butter M&M brownies for his birthday “cake.”

It was a fun evening together celebrating thirty years of Lance!

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Fit to Serve

September19

During the Equip school, we had a special guest speaker for one day. Coach Tim Powers came to Ternopil to run a short Fit to Serve seminar. What a fun day we had!!

Ready to learn, AND move!

Ready to learn, AND move!

The day started out with some simple teaching but quickly went into some practical elements. We did not just learn about how to keep our bodies fit but we actually practiced! We started out with some simple calisthenics outside in our courtyard.

Stretch!!!

Stretch!!!

Then we went back to the classroom for some more teaching but it was only a short teaching because we soon headed right back outside to the local track stadium for some running exercises. The day was PERFECT for fitness; not too hot, there was a nice breeze to cool us down.

Skipping backwards is no simple task!

Skipping backwards is no simple task!

Sweaty but happy together!

Sweaty but happy together!

As the day wore on, we became increasingly more stinky, sweaty and tired. A strange foul smell began to take up residence in the classroom but we only noticed it occasionally. After lunch, we had a short break but jumped right back into some teaching and then some more fitness.

The only piece of equipment Coach Powers brought and had us use was the ladders. We all thought it would be easy but let me tell you- THAT IS A LIE!! Try to imagine doing brain exercises with your feet, it took a lot of concentration! We ended the whole day with running sprints, not my favorite thing in the whole world but I know its good for me.

Trying to skip through the ladders

Trying to skip through the ladders

And for the record, I was very, very, very sore the next day, Lance was only a little sore.

Date day adventure

September19

Lance and I got to have one day off during the Equip school. We thought about just staying home, which can be nice some days, but we decided that we would go out and explore some of the sights around Ternopil. We packed a lunch, grabbed our cameras, and jumped into the car!

Kremenets from below

First stop, Kremenets, a city about an hour away from Ternopil. We often pass this way as we go to other major cities and we often look up and see this castle on a hill. We usually say to ourselves “We should stop there someday.” Well today was that day. It was a lovely stormy day, sunny for almost all day but very windy with dark clouds rolling in. The castle is only in ruins now with most of the wall remaining and one tower but it is always so fun to see such history!

Kremenets Lance & I

Kremenets wall

Next stop was Pochaiv, a city about 30 min away from Kremenets. We had heard that there was a lavra here (Lavra: a type of monastery consisting of a cluster of cells or caves for hermits, with a church and sometimes a refectory at the center.) There was a huge lavra in Pochaiv and is considered a spiritual center for Orthodox. They believe that Mary, the mother of Jesus, came to the monks there and left her footprint in the rock. Now all the waters the come from a spring in the rock are considered holy and to have medicinal properties.

Pochaiv lavra
Pochaiv front

It was an interesting experience for us, not being Orthodox. Many times these spiritual centers leave us feeling empty and lost. So many people come looking for answers or looking for God but they are only led to something else, in this case, Mary and her footprint. We had lunch in Pochaiv and then planned to head home but discovered something else…

Pidkamin tower

We went home a different way and as we were driving I looked up and saw what looked almost like another castle on a hill. We thought we would pull off the main road and try to find this place whatever it was. Why not? It was an adventure day!

Pidkamin monastery arches

Pidkamin on the wall

We managed to find it after a few turn arounds and discovered it to be an old monastery. Built in the 17th century by monks who escaped from Mongol attack in Kyiv. Over the years it served as a jail, psychiatric hospital, a stable, and an artillery warehouse. The ancient chapel is being rebuilt at the moment from damage down by water damage as well as remaining artillery fire from World War 1.

Pidkamin church

Pidkamin rock from a distance

When we reached the monastery, we were able to see on the next hill over a huge lone rock surrounded by stone crosses. Would you drive away and not explore such a sight? I didn’t think so. We hiked down and over to the wondrous sight. This area is so quiet and serene, to stand amongst 17th century tombs during a growing storm in front of a mountainous rock was surreal to say the least.

Pidkamin the rock

The rock is called Devil’s Rock because as the story goes, the devil broke off a rock from the Carpathians and threw it at the monastery intending to destroy the monks and their monastery but the rock fell short and the monastery remains to this day.

Pidkamin handholds

We walked all about the rock and discovered foot & hand holds that led to the top. Again, would you walk away without trying to get to the top? I didn’t think so. We made it to the top just as the rain drops were beginning to fall and the thunder and lightning became fierce. We enjoyed the moment and sight from the top but then quickly realized that standing on top of a rock in the middle of a storm was probably not the best idea.

Pidkamin lance on the rock

We made it back to our car before the torrent of rain came and continued our trek home to end our fun adventure-filled day off.

Pidkamin panoramic

Equipped and ready!

September12

This summer was filled with training! Lance and I were both staff in the Equip school in Ternopil. This was the same school that Lance and I were students in way back in 2012. You can read all about it HERE.

5 Arlen teaching

Guest speaker, Arlen, shares Philippians with us from memory.

6 Communicators

We all received the award of Professional Communicator!

Last summer we ran an Equip school in Ternopil, so this year it was our second time and everyone felt much more organized! We had 8 students from Russia, Ukraine, USA, and Finland. The effects of the school would spread even beyond those borders or any physical border though. Many students feel that what they learned in the school would not only apply to Discipleship Training Schools or just to YWAM or just to missions, it was life skills for followers of Christ.

7 teamwork

8 Darlene skype

Got to love technology! Guest speaker, Darlene Cunningham, shared via Skype!

It was 7 weeks of intense training, full days of lectures, homework, time together, and preparation. We had all sorts of topics, from being a disciple to staff development, from confrontation to communicating with God, and from leading the classroom to crisis management. All different topics that leaders need to be trained in. Students were reading different books, they were making presentations and doing research.

10 Jim Isom teaching

Jim Isom comes to teach on how to disciple students from difficult backgrounds.

11 evangelism

Sharing the Gospel on the streets of Ternopil.

14 Crisis Mgt. Last week

The panel of experts on crisis management.

Everyone graduated at the end of the 7 weeks and took home a plethora of resources. Many of those students have already jumped into leading schools and some are staffing schools that are about to begin. They are putting into action what they have learned and will pass on to others.

 

You’ve heard my message, and it’s been confirmed by many witnesses. Entrust this message to faithful individuals who will be competent to teach others.” 2 Timothy 2:2

17 whole group

Graduation!! As the DTS goes, so goes the mission!