Lance & Megan's Blog

Memories of Marilyn

June26

A dear friend and role model died this June to leukemia. Marilyn Gibbs was an important figure for my first years in Ukraine. She had been in missions over 20 years in different countries such as Austria, Romania, Hungary and Ukraine. I was inspired by her fearlessness and determination in all that she did. She loved the Lord and it was evident in all that she did.

Marilyn always opened her home to girls for movie nights, dinner parties and Bible studies. I was very often at her home for movie and dinner, there were more than one occasion where we watched multiple movies in one day and stayed in our PJs all day.

One memory I have is when we were preparing for a friend’s bridal party she suggested doing the limbo. “I can totally get down to the limbo,” were her words. She was always ready for a party and good laugh.

When I first came to Ukraine, Marilyn was already doing the English Club that we have kept going since that time. She was faithful to come every Wednesday and loved on every person that came through that door.

My first Christmas in Ukraine, I invited Marilyn and two friends over to my place Christmas Eve. She came and stayed until almost 1am. We ate good food, talked late, and watched movies. Wherever Marilyn was, there was bound to be good food and good conversation.

Since she was single and was happily doing ministry in Ukraine, I was determined that I could also remain in missions no matter my marital status or where I was. She was someone I looked forward to being with when I chose to move to Ukraine.

Here are some photos and memories of Marilyn.

First time I ever spent time with Marilyn

First time I ever spent time with Marilyn

English Club adventures

English Club adventures

Easter sunrise service

Easter sunrise service

party with Allison

tea out with tesol girls

Giving Marilyn her TESOL certificate

Giving Marilyn her TESOL certificate

Playing games at my bridal shower

Playing games at my bridal shower

Last time Marilyn was in Ternopil

Last time Marilyn was in Ternopil

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Staff Retreat 2016

June4

Every year we take time as a staff to stop what we are doing and just have fun together. Youth With A Mission values working in teams, we are not just a group of people who happen to work in the same building. We want to have a sense of family and to nurture this we need fun times together.

Last year was the first time we stayed at the base, we decided to do the same thing again this year. The retreat started on Monday evening with dinner and devotions. We had different staff lead devotion time each day, we can always learn from each other.

Senya leading devotions

Senya leading devotions

Lance took some time to share the different goals we came up with during our Leadership year planning meetings that were in March. We came up with some 1 year goals, 5 year goals and 10 year goals. It was important that the goals be shared and that everyone understood where we want the base to go.

Lance sharing on goals

Lance sharing on goals

We also planned a little scavenger hunt that took teams ALL over the building. We strategically made sure that no two clues were on the same floor at a time so everyone got their workout! And because that wasn’t challenging enough, all teams had to be linked together.

Traffic jam in the stairwell

Traffic jam in the stairwell

We made use of Lance’s corn-hole game he made for Marriage Week and had a corn-hole tournament in the evening. We drew names for the competitors, there was a kids bracket and an adult bracket, first to 11 won. It was really close for some pairs but there has to be a winner!

Let the games begin!

Let the games begin!

corn hole winners

Our winners just happen to be father, daughter. Conspiracy?

Wednesday, after devotions, we had some hangout time and after lunch we had an outing to see some castle ruins. Just some time to get out of the city and be in nature. It was good to get some fresh air! Wednesday ended with pizza and a movie in the evening.

Taking in God's creation together

Taking in God’s creation together

Thursday we just had devotions and clean up before we ate lunch and parted. It was a great time where everyone got to spend more informal time together and have good conversations over food. Looking forward to seeing what next year will bring!

All together

All together

We are just missing four kids in this picture.

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Marriage Week

June4

Right after we returned from Turkey, we jumped into preparing for Marriage Week in Ternopil. This is a huge multi-church, city-wide event based on an international organization. Its purpose is to encourage marriages in their commitment and to value families. In a time where divorce is common, we believe it is necessary to celebrate and help families stay together.

getting it all ready

getting it all ready

English version

Example English version

To achieve this, there were different events throughout the whole week. Special speakers, movies such as Fireproof and War Room were shown in a local theater. Lance and I helped with game tables in the center where families could come and play together. There were also stations were families could get their photo taken. There was a lantern lighting ceremony near the lake.

Special speaker in the square

Special speaker in the square

The family that plays together, stays together!

The family that plays together, stays together!

For the final event we had a parade down the center of the city that ended in a park where we had a Family Festival. There were tons of free games for kids, trampolines, cotton candy, a floor ball court, face-painting, and drawing stations. Lance made a corn-hole type game while I manned the prize table. We had little tables set up with questions where couples could come and just sit and talk while they sipped on a refreshing drink. The Family Festival ended in the evening with a concert. It was a great day for families!

Start of the parade

Start of the parade

Playing games and winning prizes

Lance helping with corn-hole and me giving out the prizes.

You catch a glimpse of Lance and I at 1:20, 1:48, and at 4:28. I’m wearing a coral cardigan and Lance is wearing a hat and red plaid shirt.

posted under Lance, Megan, Ukraine, YWAM | 1 Comment »

Funny moments from English Club

June3

Just thought we would share a few funny moments from English Club. We have English Club every Wednesday evening for anyone who wants to come. It is very casual, we usually just play games and have conversation.

~ Some time ago we played Apples to Apples, the word was strange. Everyone put in their cards and the winner was Super Bowl. I chuckled and asked why they chose that word to match with strange. They said “it would be strange to see such a big bowl.” Ha! They all laughed too once I told them it had nothing to do with a bowl but with American football!

~ Another time we were playing a game that involved describing items without directly saying it. The word was actually meatloaf but no one knew what that was. I said “its ground meat in the shape of bread.” Everyone got it and instantly wanted to try this bread shaped meat.

~ During the same game, the word was bull. The student said “the husband of a female cow.” It took everyone some time but they eventually got the word. I thought it was a clever description!

A wedding in Turkey

June3

In 2014, my dear friend Joanne moved to Turkey to volunteer with a group there. We went through TESOL together in Washington, we taught English together for several years in Ternopil, we were in Romania together, we lived together and spent many late nights together watching old black and white movies.

Our TESOL graduation photo, where we first met.

Our 2010 TESOL graduation photo, where we first met.

When she asked if I would be in her wedding, I of course said “YES!” Turkey is not far from Ukraine so it really was not difficult for us to go. Joanne knew my parents and family from our trip to Romania and from my wedding so it was a fun bonus to have my parents join in the wedding festivities too. We were all able to travel together to Turkey with other friends from Ukraine.

Together again!

Together again!

We came a little early to be there for a bridal party and help with extra planning. We did get our nails done with all the bridesmaids and had extra time to fellowship.

IMG_0818

Another happy couple

Another happy couple

The wedding site was in an olive grove, how cool is that! Joanne had made simple decorations but the beauty was already there. Joanne met her husband in Turkey while he was also volunteering. They are both so loving and compassionate!

Giving a toast to the newlyweds

Giving a toast to the newlyweds

With the happy couple

With the happy couple

There were a few fun Turkish elements to the wedding that made it unique and memorable. One was that there was a bridal party dance, the bride and her bridesmaids are on one side of the dance floor and the groom and his groomsmen are on the other. The bride dances and her bridesmaids must copy whatever she does, then the groom dances and his groomsmen copy his moves. Let’s just say it was hilarious! Turkish men know how to dance and have fun on the dance floor.

Bridal party dance

Bridal party dance

There are also lots of sparklers and flares and sparkler fountains, anything bright and flashy. They had sparkler fountains going all around the cake when it was brought out. Sparklers when they left and flares when they were about to leave.

Don't worry, the cake was fine

Don’t worry, the cake was fine

We had so much fun celebrating Joanne and Isa. They will be a dynamic couple in Turkey.

After the wedding, we got to see more of the area and were able to take a day trip to Ephesus. We all enjoyed seeing the ancient ruins of the city that Paul writes of. There were interesting facades and motifs everywhere you turned, little passages to go through and colonnades to to stroll. It was quite a large area and of course there were mobs of people but we still enjoyed soaking in the history.

Exploring is our specialty!

Exploring is our specialty!

With my parents at the library of Celsus in Ephesus.

With my parents at the library of Celsus in Ephesus.

At the amphitheater

At the amphitheater

At the Church of St. Mary

At the Church of St. Mary

At the Basilica of St. John

At the Basilica of St. John

Skipping rocks in the Aegean Sea

Skipping rocks in the Aegean Sea

 

posted under Lance, Megan, travel | 1 Comment »
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