Monday, February 22, 2021

 Wall of Windows

The gas company in Belezorka has remodeled our home, as they required that Stephen's Home not have an open floor plan in case there is a gas leak in the kitchen. Evidently that seems to be a problem here in Ukraine, so we had to put doors on all exits from the kitchen. Just about finished, but this closure was the most complex.


out for a winter stroll

On Monday, February 15, 2021 our first guy that’s been institutionalized most of his life moved into Stephen’s Home. Kostya, the houseparents disabled son has been living in the home now for about a year. Slava joining the family is going to take some time of adjusting for everyone. Getting the schedule balanced for all the assistance working to help support our mom and dad is still in progress, but we’ve made it through our first week.

You can be in prayer for Slava, his adjustment time is just beginning and fears have already begun to surface. He’s very attentive to everything going on around him, but doesn’t understand why people come and go and he stays at home. Even through reassurance that we will return and we love him, he’s not certain what to think.

Yesterday was his first day to go to church. Saturday, that was the focus of his questions. Were we going with him, what were we going to do, what would we talk about… He loved the experience, but was wiped out by it about 90 minutes into it, so I went back to the house with him to rest until lunch time when Nick came over to join us for a meal. Slava found another friend in Nick, and after lunch Nick’s son Timothy and his wife, Katya, and her mom joined us for tea. I think Slava is just starting to catch a glimpse and experience that people care.

Sunday, September 6, 2020


That has been the name of the game now for at least two or three months, trying to get the house to feel like a home. One reason came mid summer as we had guests staying in the home, but the overall need has pushed for some creative measures.


This floral fabric was a treasure found in my grandmother West's 
basement, a bag of old, but good remnants of yesterday's past.


Good old country style


This too some creativity to coordinated both materials of curtains along with making them completely double sided, as needed. The end result was worth the effort.



There will always be more to make, but for now, the curtains are completed.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Where are we at with WORK? 

WILL Stephen's Home get completed?

Since the start of the year we have had a handful of workers doing as much as they can, living on the premises and putting in long hours. The reason for so few worker? Those working for us, also have other ministries and the Lord is opening opportunities for them to expand. So that limits their availability to work for us, but let me share that the men working with us are a great team of guys.

Valic, who is installing doors is having to do some creative work as our doorways were not made according to the plan, 10 centimeters taller than they're supposed to be, so even with the framework, there's a bit of a gap. Needless to say, we’ve had our share of “what happened here” and this is just one more case. Gratefully, these guys working with us are used to fixing one another’s unique ways of building.

Our heating/water system is now officially completed. Slava has spent the past two months fixing what was done incorrectly, installing a holding tank for heated water, and making sure everything is safe and hooked up properly. For the second time, the heating system in the home was started up with the intent that it will now function much more efficiently and provide the sources needed so our residence will stay warm. The Lord is putting together a wonderful team for PROMISE, with Slava as the house father for these guys. Slava has already blessed Stephen’s Home with his professional knowledge, patient understanding, and persistence to make sure PROMISE provides what’s needed in this department.

Air conditioning units, four units to begin with, were delivered then installed within three days’ time by a local pastor and his team of young guys. With these few units, we’ve focused on installing them in areas of the home that will be lived in most by the first round of young men we move into the home. We are prayerful that will be in May. With the virus and quarantines around the world, we are trusting the Lord in this timing.

Jennia, a general handy man, is a blessing right now too. His work is professionally done and he works from sunup to sundown, going home only on the weekends to see his family. When there are jobs that Maxim, Sashinka or I can do, we pitch in and help out, but a good portion of our time is spent obtaining the needed supplies and having them delivered so the work can go on. Thanks to Jennia, the main hall is just about complete. 
Tiles and laminate have now been placed on the base of the wall. He completed all the plastering in the Safari Bedroom and prepared and primed the walls to be painted. He’s finished framework so that the guest bathroom can be completed and next he'll complete the tiling in utility room. After the kitchen cabinetry is installed he will work on completing the tile in that room. 


Monday, December 23, 2019

Over the passed two months we've had three trainings for those who will be planning to work in Stephen's Home.

Our first training session was October 31st to November 1st

Those that took part in this first training included the two potential couples who will help as parents for the guys we'll bring into Stephen's Home. Since this training we've had further conversations with each couple as we've also continued to prepare all the legal aspects needed for this first home. Further talks will continue, but for the full-time couple, please pray with us as we are coming close to making a final decision to bring them on.

Slava and his wife Nataliya

~ getting started ~

Sergei and Marina

Nataliya and Nadejda Borisevna

The second training covered the same materials that the first did, with a second group of 10 differents folks from the PROMISE staff and local churches who plan to help out at Stephen's Home. The focus for the 1st day was Trauma and the impacts of it. The 2nd day of training focused on early childhood separation, the impacts during childhood and its effects long term.

Training #3 included 10 of the previous participants, including the couples preparing to fill the role of houseparents and other who plan to work in the home.

Slava and his wife Nataliya with Oksana in the foreground, Ludmila was our trainer again
for these session this past Saturday, the 21st of December.

Discussion groups were formed - the topic for this day was how a person with disabilities affects others in the home and how they are perceived effects them as well.

Presentations of each group helped share thoughts, but allowed Ludmila to make us think deeper and gain a better understanding.

Friday, September 13, 2019

The Grand Opening of Stephen's Home
SEPTEMBER 6th, 2019

We invited local pastors, friends and those who worked at the construction site over the past 3 years. About 65 folks showed up and celebrated with us.
By opening I shared that "the building standing behind me was not constructed by any one person's hands, but through the vision and planning that the Lord placed on my heart years ago." And then He included all of those who were gathered that day to take part in the work He's started to love on and bless the young men who will call Stephen's Home their own.

Welcome to the Grand Opening of Stephen's Home!

our MC for the day, Nastia, did a fantastic job
I'd work with her again any day 😀

Sasha, my first project manager, returned
just in time, from the states with his wife to share in the celebration.

Andrew Kavetski translated for the day. He and his family
are long time friends now and continue to be a wonderful encouragement.

Paliv Smolikov, alongside a host of pastors, closed the first part of the day. As the regional director for the local churches and a board member for PROMISE, his wisdom and understanding brings great blessings and insight as we continue
down this path the Lord has set before us.

It was a very winding day, so I had tied the red ribbon tightly so it would stay in place through the first part of the program. We'll I forgo that when Maxim and I went to untie the bow and found the knot, so the ribbon was cut, with very dull scissors.
take a look



bedroom and baths for the guys who will live here

main hall and kitchen

therapy garden coming together
All cleaned up for the special day!

 Our wonderful friend Ralph Wilson came from Chapelstreet Church in Geneva, IL
to work for two weeks, his third time to Ukraine, to put on a handicapped accessible deck and ramp with the assistance of Jack(Jennia), a local Christian and construction worker. They did a fantastic job!

which included lots of good sweets