This week, we had TWO road trips! One through NC, SC and GA to visit friends that have either visited Ukraine or support us in some way. Then, we went with Justin and Amanda (two of our good friends) to visit Justin’s grandfather’s farm in Virginia. David and Justin were in the same homeschool group as kids when the Sneads lived in NC.
Florida is usually the most relaxing time of our trips to America (you’ll see why in the pictures!). It’s a mini-vacation on a long work trip. 🙂
Here are a couple of photos from our second week in America! We went to a family reunion on Padre Island in Texas and then flew to Florida to be with David’s dad and stepmom. One of our friends from Ukraine also met us here. Here name is Zhenya – she lives in Califonia now. We didn’t take as many pictures as we should have at the family reunion; however, we often see that as a sign that we’re having so much fun that we forgot we had cellphones! It was amazing to see all of David’s family there, including cousins, uncles, aunts, and more.
Katya and I are finally in the States after three years of not visiting family and friends here. We went to Texas first, and a couple of days after we got to Dallas, we heard that our “sister” (she’s actually a very close family friend and Katya’s sister’s roommate) was diagnosed with double-pneumonia. She has already had trouble breathing for several months and has been sick with autoimmune hepatitis for several years.
The next day, as we were making our way down to San Antonio, she died. Oksana really was a part of our family – she was there for Katya’s mom and sister when Katya’s dad died the last time we visited America. She was an amazing servant in the church, a good friend, and a very generous person.
Please pray for our family and friends back in Ukraine and for us as we can’t really mourn with them.
We’re starting a new sermon series on prayer! I’m really excited for it. Ruslan (our pastor) let me kick on the sermon series by talking about Christ’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. I don’t know how many of our readers speak Ukrainian, but if you understand it, here’s a video of the sermon:
Praise the Lord. Another sermon down. One more to go. Here’s what “The Life of David” looks like right now:
- 1 Samuel 16 – God has His Own timing
- 1 Samuel 17 – Who is your Goliath?
- 1 Samuel 18-20 – Love, Jealousy and Obedience
- 1 Samuel 21-24 – Temptation and God’s promises
- 1 Samuel 25-27 & 29-30 – You offended me!
- 1 Samuel 28, 31 & 2 Samuel 1 – The death of Saul
- 2 Samuel 2-5 – Civil War
- 2 Samuel 5-9 – After you God’s friend?
The last sermon, #10, will be on David and Bathsheba. I’ve learned so much about preaching, planning, and God’s faithfulness through this series. I had the privilege to preach sermons 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 9.
Those scripture passages are HUGE! I don’t know if I would do it this way again. It might be best to break this story up even more to about 12-15 sermons.
That’s what I mean by “know your limits to go further.” I’ve gotten some great feedback / constructive criticism during this series from one of our teachers at the seminary and from my wife, Katya. They and others have encouraged me in this process, exhorting me to bring more focus to the messages.
For instance, I could probably teach three different sermons from 2 Samuel 5-9, the passage I thought from today. A lot of pastors actually try to do that, trying to squeeze every exegetical lesson from the verses they are expounding on.
I don’t know about you guys, but, when I do that, I end up having a wide, hour-long puddle of a sermon, instead of a narrow, deep well that the congregation can draw water from. It’s hard to drink from a puddle in the same way that it can be hard to receive deep, impacting truth from a sermon that is about everything and nothing at the same time.
All that to say, I’ll learning my lesson. Today the sermon was about 60% of the length from last week, much more focused, and (imho) just as deep / impactful.
Please pray for this week… I might talk to my pastor and ask him to take this one. WAY too much going on right now.