Winter Finally Arrived

Late in January, after an unusually mild fall, the dreaded winter weather arrived in Ukraine. Having grown up in the sunny South, the ice and snow outside now could have just passed us by this year and that would have been fine with the Colkers.



One good thing about the arrival of freezing temps and day after day of snow is that we have not had our feathered friends peering in at our windows. After 15 months of poultry in the back yard (and all of the mess that they make) we have gained a greater appreciation for municipal zoning laws that keep chickens out of residential areas. And goats, can’t forget the neighbor’s goats.



Greg’s Departure
The big event for our family was Greg’s departure for Northern Ireland to attend Discipleship Training School (DTS). For several years Greg has had a desire to serve God as a missionary. During the past year in Ukraine, Greg has taken active roles in ministry and has developed his talents. The time came for Greg to follow God’s leading for formalized training and time of personal growth. The day before Greg left Kyiv we had a going away party for him and he was blessed to have his friends and fellow missionaries with whom he has been serving come to wish him well. We all had a wonderful evening of stories and pictures with prayers and best wishes. Finally came time for us to say goodbye. We all prayed for him and this new season of his life.



He arrived safely in Ireland and to the school in Closkelt, just south of Belfast. It seems to be a very remote and small community. Greg has posted quite a few photos of his surroundings, as he has been captivated by the green and beauty of Ireland. He has now completed several weeks and is getting to know his classmates better as they are getting to know him… As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and this photo of Greg tied up and stuck on a drum shows the impression he is making on his fellow DTS students. You can read about his ongoing journey at http://greg.colkerfamily.org/



The rest of us For the rest of us winter has been peaceful. Before the “real” winter came we were able to take many trips to the forest for picnics and just time being outdoors. Pam found a special place marked by a fallen oak. The children love having lunch there and playing, climbing and just being kids. We were blessed with winter’s late arrival as it allowed us to enjoy our forest outings well into January.



We have also begun a busy birthday season, starting with Alison turning 7. We recently celebrated Jennie’s 11th birthday and next week will celebrate Emily’s 13th birthday. It’s a fun time of cake and a party with family at home. The children even have a homemade pin the tail on the donkey game, which we tape up for each birthday. One of the little girls favorite pastimes in America was rediscovered recently when their old dress up clothes that Greg and I shipped before we left the US last November finally arrived in Kyiv.



We’ve have had a parade of ballerinas and other beautiful outfits since the arrival of the box. It is interesting to see Sarah and Elizabeth wearing ballerina costumes that Emily wore to recitals almost ten years ago. They are all growing so quickly. Even Paul and Grace are catching up quickly with their growing vocabulary and their ability to do new things. They are constantly on the move and talk non-stop. They have so many important things to tell us as they keep up with their older siblings.

We continue to be amazed by God’s provision through others. Though we are still praying for those who will commit to monthly support that we can budget around, our needs are still met each month. God has been so faithful in provision. We are so blessed to see Him work through so many of you. We continue to receive unexpected surprises in the way of care packages. The receipt of a box from friends full of things we miss so much from back home brings all of us much joy. A couple of weeks ago we received boxes lovingly assembled by The Atlanta Boy Choir, with whom Steven sang until we moved to Ukraine. The boxes represented Christmas giving from Choir families and meant the world to Steven and the rest of our family. Each box seems to come with unexpected surprises. Here four of our younger girls model their PINK CAMO pajamas from a wonderful family in Tennessee.



May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.