Friday, November 6, 2015

Latest in the design plans as the construction team is working on 
the engineering drafts for building Stephen's Home.

Layout for the basement that will serve as the cold/root cellar for the home.
Freezers are not a commodity in Ukraine. 
Storage of fruit and vegetables through the winter months 
is largely stored in these underground spaces.

This is a very rough cross section of the center of the house.
The main living area in Stephen's home is an inner room with one small exterior wall
Natural lighting will come through high windows toward the top of this
lofted area and will also provide fresh air to this space.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

For many of you keeping up with Oksana, one of the gals who's close to my heart, she is so looking forward to having a place in Naomi's home. When I shared with her this last week that we bought land for Naomi's home it was neat to slowly watch the understanding sink in and the smile spread across her face. 

This special gal, and orphan, has been through a lot in her short life of 20 years. We've spent much time building up to October 7th when she had almost 7 hours of major surgery. She's been through some long nights of pain after major jaw reconstruction so her teeth could line up so she can eat normally. There are challenges that still need to be overcome, but we got the okay from the surgeon today.  It was our 2 week mark after surgery. 
Oksana really is doing very well by the grace of God.


2 weeks after

Kamitra, Beverly and I
have tried to be the nurse at home that Oksana's needed with the help 
and encouragement of many ladies from the local church and friends here in Austin, TX.
So very blessed and cared for.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Today is Friday
Jennifer and Joe Brown offered their time again today to work with Sasha to transplant trees, take out trees that got infected and put in new trees in the therapy garden at the Stephen's Home plot before winter sets in. So grateful for their help and Julia's too in selecting the best trees for the garden.

This is what we are going with, the Ukrainian designers approval of the floor plans we submitted to them with very minor changes.
From here the construction designs can begin.

So the unanimous vote by the board was for option #1. The owner was willing to come down in price to $8000 and this past Tuesday, October 14th, the payment was made and ownership papers were given over to our director, Sasha, on behalf of PROMISE. Here are a few more photos of the plot, the existing building that will most likely come down, when we begin building Naomi's Home.

Looking at the front door of the existing little home on the plot, back at the road,
the yellow pipe in the air is the gas pipe for the village, 
so the gasline, it's close.

This is a well on the plot, but the plot does have city water, 
it simply needs to be hooked up/turned on again.

The house from the road. It sits in the north west corner of the plot.

The owner had the electric meter removed so folks couldn't hook other equipment
up to it and have him be charged the expense. He is willing to help pay for the
hook up of the electricity again once we'll need it for building Naomi's home. 
You can see in this picture, there is an electrical line coming into the existing building.

I hope while I am here in the States with Oksana to begin the designs for the women's home.
The process we went through with Stephen's home, we learned a lot. Planning to use what we learned
as a stepping stone as we go into designing Naomi's home. Excited! The ladies will have a home too.

Monday, September 28, 2015

We have a meeting with the Board of Director's of PROMISE, this coming Thursday, to decide whether or not to purchase one of 4 different plots available for Naomi's home. Below are some images of the plots we are considering in the village of Darivka, just blocks from where we are building Stephen's home.

Option #1 - My favorite, it's wide open and the amount of land that we need
for Naomi's home and some expansion. It's got garden space and it's a good price.
We could keep and expand from the small house in the far corner
OR take it down without much work and begin fresh and anew.

Option #2 - Has potential, good size main building that would 
need major refurbishing, but is laking a gas hook-up
that is not close so it'd be costly. Sits along the main highway so it could be loud
if we didn't put up more trees as a noise barrier. No back yard to speak of.
2 back out buildings, one quite large in size

Option #3 - A farm, right outside the village of Darivka, 
these crossroads in the foreground take you into the village.
It is 3.5 hectors, 2.8 acres to a quarter of a hector
Lots of land and therefore the cost is higher, but appropriate. 
The amount of land would allow for lots of possible expansions, but the concern
is that we'd just create another isolated community, like what they've been in all their lives
and we are trying to help them become part of community.

Option #4 - the original plot we been considering, just not certain
how honest the owner is, he's really wanting to get rid of it,
uncertain of his motivation. It's the closest to the church and Stephen's
Home plot, it's a good size, but not enough to give us space to expand.
Smaller than option #1 and twice the price. Has a illegal well on the plot, not registered.
We'd need to completely start from scratch, saving what materials we could from the structure as many
of the materials are reusable and then use the foundation and add on to the structure. 
Lots of paperwork to do all that if it's worth it. Again no gas hook-up here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Jennifer and I went through the fruit trees, after consulting two other ladies with green thumbs, and discussed which trees needed to come out, which trees are healthy and can stay, how many apple trees we really wanted as a majority of them are apples and such. We've narrowed down the number of trees by half to allow for space for each to grow and mature. There are plans to plant other fruit trees in the central part of the garden once the construction is complete. But for now we plan to have 2 cherry trees, 4 apple trees, a pear, 2 peach, an apricot and 2 plum trees. There is a dead walnut tree that we tried, but it just didn't make it through the hot summer, so we'll replace that this fall with a new one to become the central shade tree around which the rest of the garden spreads out. The Japanese flowering tree has grown taller and the grape vines are doing great, we've got 10 of those in varying kinds that are unknown at this point, 
Sasha just knows he bough 2 of each :-). Hibiscus plants will go in this fall, possibly hollyhocks as well along the neighboring fence line. All other smaller plants and flowers are going to have to wait as this central area of the garden will be a work area through the building of Stephen's house.

Trying to discern how far from the neighbor Larisa's property line we want to have 
the back trellis with morning glories planted. 
It will form a semiprivate wall at the back of the swing.

Trying to wrap the smallest grape vine around the string supports 
so it will grow up and not out.

Measuring for the width of the the sidewalk and then the width of the trellis that 
will shade the sidewalk area leading back to the swing.

Jennifer represents the location on the new apricot tree, 
I am standing in the spot of the spot of a lilac transplant 
to fill the far corner and mark the boundary.

The plot for the therapy garden is just now beginning the transfer process of documents from the owner, Larisa, to PROMISE. We've had to wait as local offices are changing across the country to consolidate the number of little offices in villages, to one local office at the largest village in the surrounding area. That's the slow step #1 that we've had to wait on. #2 is that Larisa does not have any documentation stating that she is the owner of the property. This is typical for elderly here in Ukraine as the plot has simply been passed down from one generation to the next without question.  #3 This therefore implys that she does not have documents privatizing her plot, making the land hers as well as the house on it. That is necessary in order for us to then go through the official purchase process. Hoping that all this will process sooner than later, the Lord knows, grateful.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Over this past week Jennifer and Joe Brown, along with Sasha and I have done some major cleanup work on the property. The perimeter has needed to be cleared and Sasha's done almost all of the edges in preparation for the plot to be officially surveyed and staked so we can put up temporary new fencing through the building process. 

The health of the trees has been a big concern, both those that were transplanted but the new ones and grape vines too. The snails multiply buy the hundreds it seems, overnight so I painted the scented white paint that's popular here in Ukraine, it's usually goes on at the start of the season. We're a little slow, that's all.

These are our 10 grape vines of varying types and colors, though labeled, we may just have to wait a few years to find out for certain what kinds they really are.

This area will have a foundation on it, we pray, this next year.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Spent a few more days this week working the land that will be the therapy garden plot for Stephen's home. With the hot sun these days, watering the transplanted trees is the main focus, though weeding is going to be a never ending endeavor if we don't try something new. 
So we bought something we were told is comparable to Roundup and sprayed it yesterday. Today the weeds all look the same. I don't think it's comparable!
Considering the price we paid for it, $4 to make a 5 liter spray container, tells me it's not the same. Sasha's willing to wait a day or two, I'm willing to maybe go look in another store to see if they sell Roundup. 
The soil is rich in Darivka. It's wonderful for growing plants, we drove through fields of blooming sunflowers this morning on the way to church. The problem is weeds grow just as quickly, if not faster. The vine that's formed across the entire garden area is all connected and it's roots are a bear to get out, well if your like me and have little upper body strength. The hoe I use is sharp, but requires a few more wacks to get to the bottom of the problem :-).

We have about 20 of these two or three year old fruit trees around the perimeter of the 
therapy garden that were transplanted this past fall and spring from the plot you see in the upper left corner where we will build the home. 
(The variety of trees: apple, pear, plum, cherry, apricot, peach and 10 new grape vines that are about 2 feet tall now. We also have a Japanese flowering tree and a walnut tree that will become the center of the garden area.)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

I'm trying to be prepared for anything and everything to change at the drop of a hat, because that's what's been happening lately concerning my understanding of legal requirements and how they differ in so many ways depending on location. "STANDARD" is a foreign word in Ukraine - but seriously, nothing happens the same way twice, there's always a loop hole or glitch some where in every case whether it's plot contract or visa registration. The plans we have for the house, pictured below are the plans we are building with, but they are too big for the plot on one side  (the right). So on that one side, where we are purchasing the adjacent property, we have to go through the process of purchasing the plot of land to make it legally owned by PROMISE, which will take about 2 months, maybe 3. Then we can work once again with the architect and bring the designs back to her to approve. This bumps our start date for building back to May of next year, 2016, but this is our best option all the way around. Peace that only the Lord can give is sufficient.

This page shows two separate levels of the house in one image
The lofted area on the upper left is the attic/storage area in a rafted area of the ceiling accessible by a drop down ladder. This is the only part of the entire house that has not been made handicapped accessible. 
The center basement area has an extra long run on the stair case as we've made the rise of the stairs much lower (4 inches) and the run longer (12 to 14 inches) to allow those who can walk to easily help get food and other items out of the cold cellar.

Monday, June 8, 2015

So things go according to God's plan and not my own
This is something I have struggled with over the past week and a half or so as 
we got some of what we needed when it came to design plans, 
but not nearly all of what we expected and anticipated. 
So this past week was the first week for the design workers here in Ukraine to really begin fixing, exacting and clarifying what I was given so the house will fit properly on the plot of land, needing to be precise so the next step in the design processes could begin. 
The house ended up being too large on a few sides, 
so a meeting tomorrow may help answer some questions.

the front and back color elevations

a rendering of Stephen's home

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Back in Ukraine and putting my hand to the "hoe" not the plow, but close. Sasha, Nadya and I worked out on the garden plot of Stephen's home today clearing weeds and watering the 20 or so fruit trees, most of them having been transplanted. (apple, pear, plum, peach, apricot, and cherry)
There are 10 grape vines as well, planted around the back area where there will be a trellis and garden swing. In the process we found 6 poppy plants and a few wild daisy plants we'll move into a flower garden area. Oh, the other finds were 3 self planted walnut trees, so were keeping them in case the one we've planted as the center of the garden is just a tad larger than a stick, if doesn't make it. 
We've not got enough room for all of them, unfortunately. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Sasha has spent a lot of time filling out documents and paper work, sitting in offices, waiting in lines. 
Everything for the property ownership needs to be registered correctly so we don't run into problems in the future. I'm very grateful that Sasha is willing to go the extra mile to make sure the certification happens as needed, 
I just don't know that would have the patience he does.

I've been working closely with the architectural firm, eMi (Engineering Ministries International) here in Colorado Springs. We are close to wrapping up the design plans for Stephen's home. Once complete I'll pass these off to Sasha to submit to the architect in the Darivka region with a prayer and the intent that she will approve things rather quickly so we can get working on building the foundation an basement this fall.

The exterior entryway took a bit more work to get completed. 
It came out looking very pretty and safe for all who'll use it.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Finishing the front entry of the church
that is now handicapped accessible
Inside the church looking out at the entryway and front door

Entering the church

Finishing the insulation process, the outer layer of plaster that is applied.

From the road

Friday, February 27, 2015

The finishing work out at the church is what's been able to happen through
these cold months. The first indoor bathroom at the church is now working. 
I can say this with confidence as the outhouse is no longer standing.



Much of what has been progressing out at the property lately, doesn't include pictures. It's document after document that has to be filed here or there. Sasha's spent much time going back and forth between many of the same offices as forms have to be perfect to be accepted. The good news with all of this documentation that's been submitted is a significant step in progress. 

Stephen's home property is now officially owned by PROMISE
our Ukrainian charitable organization

Friday, February 6, 2015

Sasha, project manager, & Rex, architect, with eMi
Engineering Ministries International(eMi) out of Colorado Springs, CO is partnering with us
to help in creating handicapped accessible floor plans and layouts for the rooms of Naomi's and Stephen's homes. Rex spent 3 days waiting in Istanbul for the fog to clear so he could come to Ukraine.
When Rex finally arrived we were down to less than 48 hours to do a whole lot of planning before he had to hop in his next plane. Gracious and willing to do whatever it took, we spent lots of time talking, planning, dreaming and praying the Lord would bring wisdom so we can do what will be best for 
the young men and women who will be living in these homes.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

With the cold winter weather outside, progress has still been able to progress at the church addition inside. The bathroom is just about completely tiled, so the toilet hook up and sink installation are about all that's left. 
I did have to use the out house a couple times on these bitter cold days. 
Squat-potties are the norm. We take a lot for granted having indoor plumbing in 
our homes when so many still don't even think about such niceties.

This is a typical Ukrainian style bathroom, 
in the sense of walls and flooring being covered with tiles from top to bottom.

This is not the toilet that will be installed, it's for placement purposes only. 
We've talked about how the height of the seat will make a difference for those 
needing to transfer from their wheel chairs. Help bars will be installed here in the church facilities too. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

It's the holiday season here, for about another week. Ukrainian's take their holiday's very seriously. We did have a white Christmas here, I spent January 7th with the congregation in Darivka and Ingyletz, named after the river, Ingyletz, pictured here below. It was a
 great day of celebration and fellowship.

The plot we'd like for Naomi's home backs up to this river. 
It's about a mile around the bend to the left.

On the road out to the village Ingyletz, looking back at Darivka.