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Work at Women's Center

Holly Friesen on May 6, 2014 Comments (1)

Today a group of volunteers met to organize donated baby items for the Women's Center. They joyfully sorted through donations gathered by people here in Odessa as well as items that were sent from the states. When they finished one of the ladies said we need to thank the Lord for sending us these items and for the people who gave them. They were especially excited about the handmade baby blankets that churches and individuals in the U.S. had sent and wanted to be sure that those churches knew we were grateful. If you would like to know more about...

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Women's Center Open House

Holly Friesen on April 1, 2014 Comments (0)

While this report is a bit delayed, I would be remiss not to share with you some of the March events in Odessa. On March 8th we had an open house for the Women's Center. This was a chance for volunteers to bring their friends and family to see the center and also a chance for pastors and others who have supported us in this process to come and see what we are doing. We began the day with a short service of dedication attended by our steering committee, some of our post abortion ministry leaders, and some pastors. It...

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Volunteer training Feb 2014

Holly Friesen on February 17, 2014 Comments (3)

Thank you for your prayers for our first volunteer training. Here are a few pictures of the training. We had 51 who attended. Praise the Lord for this answer to prayer! We are so grateful for our trainers Carolyn and Bev who were sent by Life Matters Worldwide to lead our training. It was a great blessing to have them here and to be able to learn from their years of experience. This seminar was just the beginning of our training process. Pray that we will have wisdom as we finish up training the volunteers, and especially as we work with our counselors...

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Forgiven & Set Free Bible study groups

Holly Friesen on October 14, 2013 Comments (1)

This week four groups of ladies will begin the 10 week “Forgiven & Set Free” Bible study for women post abortion. Miriam has been working diligently at mentoring our leaders for these groups, and will be co-leading one of the groups. We have two ladies who have taken the leader training and will be observing our experienced leaders during this study in preparation for being able to lead groups themselves. Please pray for our leaders as they prepare to lead the groups each week. Pray that God will give them the wisdom and discernment they need to effectively minister to...

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Volunteers!

Holly Friesen on October 7, 2013 Comments (0)

On Saturday, we had a meeting for those interested in becoming volunteers to work in the Pregnancy Care Center that we hope to open Feb/March of 2014. We were very excited about the enthusiastic response! We had ladies and a couple of men from a number of Odessa churches who came to learn more about our plans and how they can be involved. We received 7 completed applications on Saturday and a number of other people took applications to fill out. We also had several ladies sign up to go through the Forgiven and Set Free Bible study for women...

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Bocherova

Holly Friesen on September 18, 2013 Comments (0)

Tuesday Miriam & I saw patients at our Bocherova clinic. People at this clinic line up to be seen hours before we get there. Missionary Ted Welch has been arriving there early in the morning and preaching to them while they wait. He and his wife Deb then stick around to visit with people while they are waiting to be seen or to visit with those who have more questions about spiritual things. They have been able to share the gospel with a number of the patients individually during this time. This past Tuesday was the last time that they...

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Prayer House for Valentinovka

Holly Friesen on September 12, 2013 Comments (0)

This past Tuesday I enjoyed seeing patients in Valentinovka. This is a small village that has just a few believers. These believers attend the church in the neighboring village of Makarovo when they are able. Pastor Volodya from Makarovo has held Bible studies there at different times and the Makarovo church has done outreach there. We have been holding clinic there every other month for several years as an evangelistic outreach.  Initially the clinic and any other outreach was held in the village club. Then for awhile a family let us use a home that was sitting empty. But that...

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Church Presentations

Holly Friesen on September 9, 2013 Comments (0)

Sunday we had our first church presentation for Choose Life at Tabernacle Baptist Church in downtown Odessa. Our video and power point were finished at the last minute - but praise the Lord they both turned out well. Our ladies did a good job of representing the ministry and there was a good response. It is a small church, but we had 3 people express interest in being volunteers who took applications on Sunday. Pray for Miriam as she works on getting us into different churches every sunday over the next couple of months. Pray for those who will be...

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Invitation to Prayer

Holly Friesen on September 5, 2013 Comments (2)

This Sunday September 8 members of our Choose Life Steering Committee will be presenting our ministry plans in my church in downtown Odessa. We are planning to present in a number of other Odessa churches throughout this fall. Our desire is to gather prayer support and to recruit volunteers for the pregnancy care center we hope to open in March of next year. We need you to pray with us that these presentations will be effective and that God would burden people to partner with us in this ministry. The next several months will be crucial in laying a good...

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A Note of Thanks

Holly Friesen on May 8, 2013 Comments (0)

  This note was sent to me by one of the Odessa pastors that we work with. He is also planting a church in the village of Limaniy where we hold monthly clinics. This note was written to YOU – those of you who support the ministry prayerfully and financially. May you rejoice to see how God has used YOU to bless this pastor! Beloved children of God! Peace to you! We are eternally grateful for your love in Christ. Praise to Him! May the Lord richly bless you in all things! God has greatly helped us in establishing the...

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Prayer Warriors

Holly Friesen on April 9, 2013 Comments (4)

  One of the blessings of home ministry is the reassurance you receive that people are regularly praying for you. I have enjoyed watching families I stay with pray together, choosing a missionary card each day to pray for and seeing my card in the stack. It is good to see my letters hanging in churches and to have people tell me they enjoy reading them and praying for me. It is especially encouraging when people ask me about certain things I have mentioned in my letters because they are still praying about them.    I had the privilege of...

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Drive Time

Holly Friesen on March 19, 2013 Comments (0)

  My life over the last several months has included a fair amount of travel. Sometimes the next stop is just 1-2 hours down the road. Some days I have to travel 3-4, 6-7, or even as many as 10 hours. How do I feel about all this time in my car? I will admit there are times where the day gets long, I get the urge to get out and run, or I just feel weary. But, overall, I would have to say that I have found my hours spent in the car to be quite enjoyable.   I...

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Home?

Holly Friesen on February 1, 2013 Comments (1)

  Life since I arrived back in the USA… Initially there was the extreme fatigue of jet lag accompanied by the extreme joy of being with those loved ones most precious to me. Even though I was able to maintain contact through phone calls and e-mails, there is nothing quite like being able to sit face to face and talk, and talk, and talk… There were those fun times of just sitting around reminiscing and playing games with siblings, cousins, aunts & uncles during the holidays. Getting to know all the new additions to the family – the ones that...

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Jan 2013 News from Holly

Holly Friesen on January 15, 2013

  “that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” II Thess. 1:12   I started off the new year with some precious family time. I enjoyed the chance to relax & just soak in the time with my parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, & my Grandma. I am thankful for a family that shares my love for the Lord  & for the spiritual encouragement that they are to me.    Now that the holidays are over I am preparing...

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December 2012 News from Holly

Holly Friesen on December 11, 2012 Comments (2)

  “ For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16      May we continue to be filled with wonder at the amazing miracle of God becoming man in order to redeem us from our slavery to sin! I hope the most incredible gift of all time will be your focus during this Christmas season. I have much to be thankful for as I reflect on God’s blessings over this past year. Here are just a few: Provision of a visa...

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Noticias de Holly Diciembre 2012

Holly Friesen on December 10, 2012 Comments (0)

   “Y esta es la vida eterna: que te conozcan a ti, el único Dios verdadero, y a Jesucristo, a quien has enviado. “ Juan 17:3     ¡Feliz Navidad! ¡Qué privilegio poder compartir el mensaje de vida eterna! Doy gracias a Dios por el regalo de la vida eterna que recibí y porque además, él me ha dado el privilegio de servirle y compartir estas buenas nuevas. Gracias por tus oraciones por el ministerio en Ucrania. Me encantaría contarte algunas de las respuestas a tus oraciones y sugerirte cómo seguir orando.   En julio mi iglesia organizó un campamento...

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548 babies being killed every day!

Holly Friesen on November 20, 2012 Comments (1)

  Every year there are 200,000 abortions in Ukraine which means 548 babies being killed every day!  In Eastern Europe, for every 1000 women ages 15-44, there are 43 abortions. This is in comparison to 18 for the average in North America and 28 for the world average. For every 100 live births in Ukraine there are 49 abortions. This is actually significantly less than the rate of abortion during the former Soviet Union and the years following its collapse. In the years proceeding 2001 there were actually more abortions reported than live births.    This past Saturday we invited...

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From Wyoming to Ukraine

Holly Friesen on November 13, 2012 Comments (3)

A friendship from a summer at camp, brought about the opportunity for me to share my ministry in a little church in Wyoming several years ago. That is where I met a Wyoming farmer and his wife and they joined my support team. That farmer read my prayer letters and was burdened to pray specifically for one of the Ukrainian pastors we work with who also farms in order to support his family.  But the chain of events does not end there…   This farmer decided to make a trip to Ukraine to meet Pastor Volodya and his family and...

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News from Holly November 2012

Holly Friesen on November 8, 2012 Comments (0)

  “ But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22   “It’s like looking into a mirror and realizing that your face is dirty!” This comment was made by one of the ladies taking my counseling class (the “Self Confrontation” course). I have to agree with her 100%! As we dig into God’s Word together and examine our own hearts in preparation for helping others, God is faithful to reveal the sins and errors in our thinking. Pray that we will not just see the “dirt” but that we will be willing to be...

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Thanksgiving in Ukraine

Holly Friesen on October 22, 2012 Comments (5)

Canadian Thanksgiving is past and the American Thanksgiving is still a month away, but I have been celebrating Ukrainian Thanksgiving all month! There is not a day set aside for Thanksgiving here, but each church chooses a Sunday during the fall to have a Harvest Celebration. Beautiful decorations celebrate thankfulness for the harvest. Songs, poetry, and sermons are full of praise to our God for His many blessings throughout the year. This year I enjoyed celebrating with the church in the village of Makarova. Ukraine has actually been experiencing drought for the last several years and the area around Makarova...

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News from Holly October 2012

Holly Friesen on October 15, 2012 Comments (0)

  “ It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High.” Ps. 92:1   This time of year, the churches in Ukraine plan a special Thanksgiving service to give thanks for the harvest and God’s blessings over the past year. I have had the joy of being a part of this service in two of our village churches in the last couple of weeks. It has reminded me of how much I have to be thankful for. I want to share with you some of the blessings of this past...

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Fall 2012 Medical team

Holly Friesen on October 10, 2012 Comments (4)

It is hard to summarize in just a few paragraphs the blessing of two weeks of ministry with a short term medical team, but I will attempt to give you a glimpse of our two weeks with the team that was here Sept 8-22.  Dr. Jamie Oakman, opthomologist, made his 6th trip to Ukraine to provide eye care for our needy village patients. His son Robert accompanied him for his 2nd trip as his assistant. Relationships are very important in establishing trust and providing a platform for sharing the gospel here in Ukraine. Many of our patients in the Odessa...

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News from Holly Sept. 2012

Holly Friesen on September 6, 2012 Comments (1)

  “ Meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ.” Colossians 4:3     Medical Team In addition to our regular monthly village medical ministry, we have the joy of hosting medical teams 1-2 times a year. These teams help us provide specialty care for some of our regular patients as well as to reach out to new villages & encourage the pastors & church planters in these villages. Ophthalmologist Dr. Jamie Oakman will be joining Dr. Miriam & I for daily village clinics Sept 10-21....

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Bass guitars & crafty moms

Holly Friesen on August 25, 2012 Comments (0)

What do a teenage boy bass guitar player and a craft class led by a young mom expecting her second child have in common? Sergei & Olya are the young couple leading the youth ministry at my church (their second child is due within the month). They have been burdened to see our church do more to reach out to our community. Olya enjoys various handcrafts and Sergei is pretty artistic as well so they decided to offer free craft classes at our church on Wednesday evenings.  Ilysha is the teenage boy who plays the bass guitar and helps run...

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News from Holly Aug 2012

Holly Friesen on August 18, 2012 Comments (0)

“ Sing to the Lord, for He has done excellent things; this is known in all the earth.” Isaiah 12:5   I am excited to share some answers to your prayers! Our Lord has done excellent things here this summer due in large part to your partnership in prayer!   CHILDRENS CAMP At the last moment the children’s homes did not give permission for their kids to come to our camp, but we still had around 60 kids. I enjoyed helping as a co-counselor with a group of 9-12 year olds. The highlight of the week was having two of...

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QUEST - Purity Retreats Ukraine 2012

Holly Friesen on August 14, 2012 Comments (6)

Introducing something new is always a bit scary, especially when you are working in another culture. I am so thankful for the way the Lord directed and blessed our efforts as we planned and carried out the first ever purity retreats for teen girls in our area.  To give you a bit of background – we had two retreats Aug 1-3 and Aug 5-7, and worked with two different groups of churches to plan each one. I met with church leaders to explain our desire to organize these retreats and to get their help in recruiting leaders. It was obvious...

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Church Camp 2012

Holly Friesen on July 27, 2012 Comments (0)

Thanks for your prayers for our church’s children’s camp. We had a sailing theme so I got to dress up like a pirate a couple of times! I did not get a lot of pictures on my camera, but I will try to get some more from my friends to share with you later. I enjoyed the chance to help with a group of 9-12 year olds. There were a couple in our group as well as several other kids and even a kitchen helper that made professions of salvation. Pray for God’s continued working in their hearts and for...

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News from Holly July 2012

Holly Friesen on July 10, 2012 Comments (0)

“ For You are my hope, O Lord God; You are my trust from my youth” Psalm 71:5camp meetingIt is such a joy when young people place their hope & trust in the Lord  and choose to serve Him from their youth. Summer provides us with unique opportunities to minister to young people. The last several weeks have been full of meetings & preparations for camp ministry. Your prayers for our final preparations & for these weeks of outreach are greatly needed. My church is joining with another church to put on a CHILDREN’S CAMP July 18-25. In addition to...

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July 4th

Holly Friesen on July 5, 2012 Comments (1)

The last few weeks have been filled with lots of meetings, phone calls, e-mails, and a myriad of other details as I prepare for the 2 purity retreats in August. But…I still took time for a 4th of July picnic with American (and a few other nationalities) friends. There were no fireworks but we grilled, enjoyed some great fellowship and joined our voices to sing the “Star Spangled Banner”. The picnic was in a WWII memorial park where a battle between Nazi and Russian troops was fought. It was a good reminder that freedom often comes at a great price....

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News from Holly June 2012

Holly Friesen on June 16, 2012 Comments (0)

Meeting of potential "Forgiven & Set Free" Bible study leaders - teaching "Self Confrontation" - church picnic - birthday celebration with clinic staff (click to enlarge)“ So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Is. 55:11  Since May I have been teaching the “Self-Confrontation Course” for counselor training. I have been reminded over & over again of the sufficiency & power of the Word of God to guide us in facing & dealing with...

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Another year

Holly Friesen on June 6, 2012 Comments (1)

I love birthdays! Who doesn't enjoy an excuse for a party and presents?! J It is also a good opportunity to reflect on what God has done in my life to this point and the many ways He has blessed me. This year was no exception and I enjoyed celebrating my day (May 29th). The Lord has truly been good to me! One of the ways He has blessed me is with special friends. I have been surprised and touched by the people who have taken the time to wish me a Happy Birthday and give me a card or a gift....

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Choose Life - Developing Pro-Life ministry in Odessa

Holly Friesen on May 20, 2012 Comments (1)

I was so blessed this afternoon when I stopped to reflect on all the ways God is at work to establish a pro-life ministry here in Odessa. While things haven’t always moved as quickly as we had originally planned for the development of the ministry, God has been at work in ways we never could have imagined or planned! You can see this best when you take a look at the mission & purposes that we have outlined for the ministry. These were formed as a part of our current process of writing up a constitution and moving towards legal...

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All in a Week

Holly Friesen on May 12, 2012 Comments (2)

I actually had my camera out several times this week, so thought I would share some of this weeks happenings. This is not necessarily a typical week - my life is not always this eventful! :-)Started off on Sunday with special visitors at our church. Our church has a weekly ministry at a nearby home for the elderly and disabled. Some of the ladies from that home came to our church on Sunday and shared some special music with us.On the way to clinic on Tuesday we enjoyed the beautiful spring weather and all the fresh green and flowers. We...

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A bit of April

Holly Friesen on May 1, 2012 Comments (0)

Posting on the blog has gotten pushed down on the priority list lately because so much has been going on! I will try to catch you up a bit with some pictures.Passover celebration at churchEaster Sunday - vocal ensemble did an amazing job!Headed out to visit an orphanage on Easter Sunday afternoonShowed them the Jesus film for kids and enjoyed visiting with them & giving Easter treatsEnjoyed some beautiful spring weather & scenery along the wayEnjoyed being able to make the trip with this great group of friendsLunch on one of our clinic days - Sushi made by our clinic...

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Is it really necessary?

Holly Friesen on April 2, 2012 Comments (0)

We know that God forgives all of our sins at the moment of salvation, so is it really necessary for a woman (or man) with an abortion in their past to specifically address this sin and its impact on their life? As we move forward in developing our ministry to women post abortion, I am becoming more and more convinced that YES it is! Abortion has been so prevalent here, that even most believing women who were not raised in the church have at least one and usually more abortions in their past. Many of them are interested in helping...

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Entryway full of shoes!

Holly Friesen on February 28, 2012 Comments (1)

I hosted the youth in my home for our Monday evening Bible study. It was great fun to have a house full of friends and to enjoy singing together & a time of fellowship around God’s Word.of course we can't get together without eating! :-)

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Surviving the cold!

Holly Friesen on February 23, 2012 Comments (0)

 Just to let you know some of what I have been up to lately…. I have seen patients in Valentinovka, Makarovo, Limaniy, and Sahanskoye. I am very thankful for our driver Volva who has braved the snow & ice to get us there and thankful to the Lord for his protection. Led a meeting for our Pro-Life ministry steering committee (Miriam was sick & unable to be there). We have some important decisions to make in the next few weeks so please keep this ministry in your prayers! Studied some Russian (yep, I will keep doing that for a good...

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in the pursuit of a visa.....

Holly Friesen on February 9, 2012 Comments (1)

I arrived back in Ukraine on Sunday (5th) after 3 weeks in the states. While I did not achieve my main purpose for returning to the states (which was to obtain a new visa) – the Lord did abundantly bless my time there. I will elaborate more on the visa situation another time. Suffice it to say I can be in Ukraine 90 days without a visa. Pray that during that time we can get things worked out so that Dr. Miriam & I can both obtain visas to stay in the country. My first week in the states was...

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Celebrating Christmas Ukrainian style

Holly Friesen on January 13, 2012 Comments (0)

Just to give you a closer look at some of the things that have been filling my time the last several weeks. New Years Celebration at my church I got in on the food prep and decorations which was actually half the fun. Enjoyed working with my friends! Enjoyed the fireworks up close and personal! Enjoyed great food, games, and fellowship! We had a service from 11pm-12pm. Prayed in the New Year, watched the fireworks, ate some yummy food, and enjoyed some games & skits. We started wrapping it up around 3:30am. By the time I helped with clean up...

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Gifts

Holly Friesen on January 8, 2012 Comments (1)

One of the things I love about Christmas is the gifts! Of course it is fun to receive gifts – especially when it is something you really wanted but would never buy for yourself, or when it is something particularly thoughtful or unexpected. But I especially love giving gifts! I get excited when I find that perfect gift that I know the person will love. Sometimes it is not so much the gift itself, but the opportunity the gift gives you to connect with someone and let them know you care about them. This year I made cinnamon rolls for...

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Christmas - just the beginning

Holly Friesen on January 4, 2012 Comments (0)

Since Ukraine celebrates Christmas according to the Orthodox calendar on Jan7th, the celebration here doesn’t really start until closer to New Years. I like taking advantage of the fact that I am an American and enjoy the celebration all through December and then celebrate like a Ukrainian all through January! This year I invited our kid missionaries over again the weekend after Thanksgiving to help me decorate and I am still enjoying my beautiful tree. Dec. 25th we had our regular Sunday service and then I spent the rest of the day hanging out with the Taylor family. They treat...

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Forgiven & Set Free

Holly Friesen on December 12, 2011 Comments (1)

When we think of Pro-Life ministry we most often think of saving the lives of the unborn – but how often do we consider the impact of abortion on the woman and her family? Many women suffer from a host of emotional difficulties including guilt, depression, anxiety, etc. after having an abortion. Or, they may have a sense of emptiness and absence of emotion. There is often damage to their relationships with their living children, spouses, and others. Even when these women come to Christ and accept His salvation and forgiveness, they often continue to struggle with their feelings of...

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Mission's Movement?

Holly Friesen on November 21, 2011 Comments (1)

Where do you think the next great missions movement will come from? Our brothers and sisters in central & Eastern Europe are catching the vision for world missions and I personally believe we will see some exciting things happening in this area of the world in the next few years. In early November our region hosted a mission’s round table in Kiev, Ukraine and I was able to take part in it. ABWE missionaries and their national partners from all over central & Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean met to learn more about what is being done in the area...

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Home

Holly Friesen on October 31, 2011 Comments (0)

If the saying is true that home is where the heart is, then I think it is impossible for me to only have one home! There is nothing quite like the sense of “home” that I get when I am with my parents and family, but there are certainly several other places where my heart feels “at home”. It was wonderful to be at my “home church” in Kansas this past month and to spend time with people I love and who have been part  of my life for a long time. I can’t think about places my heart feels...

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Thanksgiving & Celebration

Holly Friesen on September 28, 2011 Comments (1)

Ukraine does not celebrate Thanksgiving Day, but the churches have a tradition of having a harvest celebration each year. On Sunday some of the youth from my church participated in the harvest celebration at another small church plant on the outskirts of Odessa. We provided some special music and they provided us with some great food! As we sat around the table, the pastor asked people to share blessings that they had received this past year. How wonderful to hear one man testify that this year his wife and daughter were saved and to hear another man praise the Lord...

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U can do it!

Holly Friesen on September 21, 2011 Comments (0)

Ukraine can reach the lost! Ukraine can train church leaders! Ukraine can cross borders!God preserved his church here in Ukraine during the years of oppression and persecution. In the years following Ukraine's independence there was an explosion of growth in new churches being planted and people coming to Christ. It was in those early years that ABWE missionaries were used of God to start the Church Ministries Institute (CMI). This ministry has continued to faithfully provide training for church leaders. The CMI is now on the verge of expansion and changes to allow them to be even more effective in ministry. This includes...

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I will build my church

Holly Friesen on September 12, 2011 Comments (2)

There was great rejoicing my church yesterday as three people obeyed the Lord in giving public testimony to their faith through baptism.  ~ A taxi driver who was searching for truth and who heard about Christ from one of his passengers (who happens to be a member of our church). His hunger to know God more, passion for the lost, and desire to serve are a challenge to us all. ~ A lady who is disabled and has spent a good part of her life in a nursing home. She was saved a number of years ago but never had...

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Doubts????

Holly Friesen on August 27, 2011 Comments (3)

Do doubts ever plague you? I have to admit that at times as I have considered all that needs to be done to establish a pro-life ministry here in Odessa I have had my doubts about whether or not it will ever actually become a reality. I have wondered if we are really going about it the right way, or if I am just pushing my own personal agenda. Sometimes I look at the task ahead and feel very inadequate and ill prepared. …but then, God graciously reminds me that this is His work and not mine. I am inadequate...

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Visitors from Wyoming!

Holly Friesen on August 7, 2011 Comments (2)

It was truly a blessing to have Dr. Jim Naramore and his daughter Jessica (currently living in Colorado Springs – but a Wyoming native) here this past week. Dr. Jim Naramore & daughter JessicaDr. Naramore saw patients Monday through Friday in 6 of the villages that we visit each month. His daughter Jessica came along and led an afternoon children’s program in each village. Our clinic staff and translators really enjoyed working with Jim & Jessica and we have already heard good things about Dr. Naramore from some of the patients that he saw. I also enjoyed having Jessica in...

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Sunshine-Grammar-Pizza-Kids :-)

Holly Friesen on July 23, 2011 Comments (2)

During the hot, sunny days of July I have once again been focusing most of my energies on wrapping my mind around the complexities of the Russian language and attempting to get my brain to retain a bit more vocabulary. There have been, however, some lighter, more enjoyable moments that I thought I would share.Having friends over to help me make and consume home-made pizza! Spending a day with a team that came from Colorado to minister in orphanages and nursing homes! They had prepared a short play that gave an excellent gospel presentation and were able to give out children’s Bibles...

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Samaria & Beyond!

Holly Friesen on July 6, 2011 Comments (5)

Our last clinic day for the month of June we were joined by a group of young people from one of the churches here in Odessa. These young people were starting out on a several week missions trip. They will be in several areas in Ukraine and even in to Russia. They will be helping with evangelistic outreaches, children’s ministries, and sometimes assisting churches & villages with work projects. They provided music and an evangelistic message to start out our clinic day and then hung around all morning to visit with our patients as they waited and played more music...

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Unexpected Blessing

Holly Friesen on July 5, 2011 Comments (3)

Did you ever decide to do a “good deed” and find that you received far more than you gave? When we had to evacuate our camp in the middle of the rain storm, I took pity on a family of 8 that did not have a place to go and brought them back to my apartment.This family came from northern Ukraine on the train so that their kids could attend camp and they could help with the program. They actually have 13 kids! …but, some of them were doing other things for the summer. They have several biological children and...

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It was a dark and stormy night....

Holly Friesen on July 2, 2011 Comments (0)

Camp didn't turn out exactly as expected this year – but we can be sure that God was not taken by surprise and trust that He will work in hearts as a result of the short time we had with the kids. I headed out to our campsite last Friday and got in on some of the final preparations for the arrival of the campers Saturday morning. Decorating the camp siteKids ArrivingSaturday was a beautiful day and camp got off to a great start.opening session Amazing what they produced from this kitchen!cooks helperschow lineFun at the beachRain during the night Saturday night...

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May Dental/Medical Ministry

Holly Friesen on June 13, 2011 Comments (3)

Here are a few highlights from the May 2011 dental team:~Hearing Dale & Mary Ann’s testimonies and being blessed by their willingness to use their retirement years for ministry. They make 5-6 ministry trips every year & have been all over the world since Dale retired from his dental practice! ~Having my cousin Sara as a part of our team. ~Great translators and Ukrainian partners in ministry. ~Spending time with the Wingets & Ferrari’s in Kharkov. ~Too much good food! ~We were in 10 different villages, countless teeth were pulled & lessons on dental hygiene were given, I saw 250+/-...

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Cousins

Holly Friesen on June 5, 2011 Comments (5)

My cousin Sara Winsky was here in Odessa with me for most of the month of May. She was a great help with the 2 weeks of dental clinics - but we also had time to do some exploring around Odessa. I showed her some of my favorite places and found some new ones!Enjoyed the adventures, laughs, talks, encouragement...

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Birthday Blessing

Holly Friesen on June 4, 2011 Comments (4)

A week ago I celebrated my birthday for the second time here in Ukraine. This birthday in Ukraine was extra special & when I realized what it was that made it feel so special I just had to share. Last year I celebrated with my team-mates and with a few Ukrainians that I was just getting to know and could barely communicate with. Surprise party after church on SundayThis year I celebrated with people that I can truly say are my friends. My Russian still needs alot of work, but it is a joy to be able to communicate more...

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Easter in Ukraine

Holly Friesen on April 29, 2011 Comments (4)

The celebration of the resurrection in the churches here in Odessa really began the week before with services to remember Christ’s final days on this earth and death. My church took advantage of the opportunity to do several evangelistic outreaches using the Jesus film. I was able to participate in some of those outreaches. We showed the film at the boys home where my church has a weekly Bible club. The boys listened very attentively and several of them prayed to accept Christ as their personal Savior. Pray for God to continue to work in the hearts of those boys....

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Joshua Days

Holly Friesen on April 11, 2011 Comments (2)

In the days leading up to Miriam’s departure my Bible reading just happened to be the last part of the book of Deuteronomy and starting in to the book of Joshua. While Miriam’s departure for 6 months from Ukraine is not nearly as momentous as the death of Moses was in Joshua’s life, I still found these verses to be very encouraging. “And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deut. 31:8 “As I was with Moses, so...

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What's special about March?

Holly Friesen on March 25, 2011 Comments (4)

Every month has some special, a little out of the ordinary moments. Here are a few of those moments that I have photographic evidence for...A cake made for us by a patient on International Women's Day.Attending my young friend Luba's piano recital.Visiting my friend Donna and getting to cuddle her precious little boy.Connecting with friends and ministry partners while participating in the Good Soil conference.And I am continually amazed by the view from my office windows. Pictures just don't even begin to do it justice!

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fLeXiBiLiTy

Holly Friesen on March 21, 2011 Comments (4)

Anyone who has ever taken a missions class, mission’s trip, or served as a missionary has probably heard the character quality of flexibility touted as an essential for any missionary. I would have to agree (although it is a pretty important quality for any human being). Sometimes the best laid plans can be sabotaged by factors unique to the “missionary” setting such as cultural misunderstanding, language barriers, colleagues coming and going, or simply the realities of life in another part of the world. Sometimes those plans are impacted by factors common to all of us such as the weather, illness,...

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My Church

Holly Friesen on March 10, 2011 Comments (3)

The name of my church is Skeenia «Скиния» - which means Tabernacle.This church grew out of a Bible study that started in a Christian bookstore downtown. It is still held in the bookstore, although it is generally filled to capacity on Sunday mornings and we are praying for a larger place of our own to meet. The last couple of weeks I have attended the Wednesday evening Bible study on the book of Acts led by my ABWE team-mate Ted Welch. Wenesday Bible StudyWe have enjoyed some lively discussions! You can tell from the picture that we are meeting in...

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It was February...

Holly Friesen on February 19, 2011 Comments (1)

Not much out of the ordinary happens in Odessa in February but in case you are wondering what I have been up to besides studying Russian & helping with some clinics - here are a few pictures! We do of course have snow in February - however, we have not had nearly as much as most of my friends in the US!I shared my testimony in Russian at my church - along with a few pictures. Enjoyed an evening of fun & games at the Welches with the youth group.Complete with a special appearance from the newest member of our ABWE...

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What's in a Name?

Holly Friesen on February 17, 2011 Comments (0)

What's in a name? Well…that depends! Right now our Pro-Life ministry steering committee is working on a name for our organization and future pregnancy care center. There are many things to consider as we contemplate the image we want to project to the community. Pray that God will give us wisdom in choosing a name that will reflect who were are, but will also be a drawing point for those we hope to minister to. This is just one aspect of the task currently facing our steering committee. We have set the goal of being ready to open a center in...

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Wrapping up 2010 - Anticipation for 2011!

Holly Friesen on February 10, 2011 Comments (1)

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? If so how are you doing? I have never gotten too excited about making resolutions but generally when a New Year is ushered in, I spent a bit of time reflecting on all that God has done in my life during the past year and thinking and praying about what He has in store for me in the New Year. Since becoming a part of ABWE this process has become a bit more official as we are asked to submit ministry & personal goals each year as well as provide an evaluation of our...

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Holiday Reflections

Holly Friesen on January 10, 2011 Comments (0)

Christmas has always been one of my favorite times of year – and this year was no exception. Since I have not posted for a while, this one will be mostly pictures! :-) stage decorations @ Hope for the People Church Christmas morning at the Taylors  I have enjoyed some of the special church events, celebrating on Christmas Day with the Taylor family & later with the rest of our team, welcoming the New Year Ukrainian style (we started about 10:30pm & went until about 4 am), celebrating Christmas with my Ukrainian friends on Jan 7th kutia (including trying homemade “kutia” –...

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Thanksgiving + a little Christmas!

Holly Friesen on December 3, 2010 Comments (5)

  I love this time of year! I love the pretty decorations, the good food, the music, the gifts (giving & receiving!)…. I like how as Americans our holiday season starts off with Thanksgiving – a day set aside to reflect on all God’s blessing and to thank Him for them. I think it is a fitting way to begin a month centered on the celebration of God’s greatest gift to the world – His Son! I know it is easy to get lost in all the busyness and trappings of the season but my desire is that all the...

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Weekend Blessings!

Holly Friesen on November 21, 2010 Comments (1)

 Saturday morning Miriam & I headed to Limaniy for their church service. This is a church plant where Miriam holds monthly clinics. It was started by a church in Odessa & each weekend Pastor Anatoly & his wife Alla and often a few others from the church travel almost 3 hours to minister there. They have a Friday afternoon Bible study with the believers there, spend the night and have a Saturday morning church service and Sunday school. Then they head back to Odessa to minister in their church on Sunday. They spend the remainder of their time while they are...

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Izmail Life Care Center

Holly Friesen on November 19, 2010 Comments (0)

Yesterday I took an almost 4 hour one way minibus ride with my adventuresome friends Leah & Susanna (missionaries with SEND international). (please forgive the poor quality)We went to visit the Life Care Center in Izmail, Ukraine. It was established in 2006 and it was neat to see how the Lord has blessed the ministry there. Our visit with the director Snezhana and assistant director Angela gave us some good insight into what works best with this type of ministry here in Ukraine.  We were also able to sit in on a talk on abortion that Angela gave at a local school. They will...

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Eyes & Hearts

Holly Friesen on November 15, 2010 Comments (1)

 It is difficult to capture with a few words & pictures what two full weeks of village ministry is like. But, perhaps I can wet your appetite for the real thing and you can join us next time!Our team~Dr. Oakman – this was Dr. Oakman’s 5th trip to Ukraine! Maybe one of these days we will get him to stay! I enjoyed the chance to get to know him & experience his sense of humor as well as his heart for ministry. Sara & the Cummins family – I enjoyed sharing my home with Sara & getting to know Steve, Lisa, &...

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He Restoreth my Soul....

Holly Friesen on October 27, 2010

 After spending a week in Greece for our regional conference that is how I feel. View from my roomOh sure the sunshine, beach, great food, and chance to see ruins of one of the places where the apostle Paul likely preached were wonderful. But those things pale in comparison to the spiritual refreshment that I received this past week. Our times of worshiping together in song were the highlight of my week. I did not realize how much I had missed singing some of my favorite songs in English & it literally brought tears to my eyes many times. The...

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a few of my favorite things.....

Holly Friesen on October 13, 2010 Comments (4)

Three weeks at home provided multiple daily doses of many of my favorite things! These are a few… HUGS!!!! Top of the list are hugs from my Mom & Dad although hugs from my sisters & “little” brother are right up there. Some of the most precious hugs were from my favorite little niece & nephew – I love those 2 soooo much!!!! It was extra special to get to hug my Grandma and I was so excited that I got to hug Aunt Joni & Elizabeth too! COFFEE!!!! Pumpkin spice latte!!!  So yummy! & There was the chocolate truffle and...

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they neither see nor know!

Holly Friesen on August 27, 2010 Comments (4)

icons for sale Have you ever seen someone kissing a picture repeatedly, praying and crossing themselves in front of it in obvious distress? Have you ever seen someone lighting candles for a dead loved one in the hopes that it will help them make it to heaven sooner? These were just a few of the things that I observed during my time in Kiev. There are numerous very ornate orthodox churches and I enjoyed the chance to see the incredible art and architecture. However, as the days progressed I felt my heart growing increasingly heavy as I observed the worshipers in...

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Distracting “Stuff”

Holly Friesen on August 13, 2010 Comments (4)

Have you ever noticed that the more “stuff” you have the less time you have and the more distracted you are? Now that I have my own apartment I find thoughts of where I could put that piece of furniture, what else I need to buy, where I could hang a picture….filling my mind when I really should be concentrating on things like Russian grammar, vocabulary, & pronunciation. Shopping for more “stuff” for the apartment is much more appealing than working on homework. A more serious problem is when “stuff” distracts me from my relationship with God & my service...

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Hold On!

Holly Friesen on August 10, 2010 Comments (4)

 Miriam & I spent the last couple of weeks ministering with a great dental team. Their theme was Hold On! to Him who is able to keep you from falling from Jude 24-25. I enjoyed hosting the Maddy’s & Maria in my home (my firsts guests). Dr. Dave & Dr. Tim pulled lots of teeth with the help of their wives Barb & Debbie. Our patients appreciated the “almost” painless extractions which is very different from what they often experience if they are able to see a dentist here. We loved having Pastor Joe there to provide impromptu sermons, visit...

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Camping!!!!

Holly Friesen on July 26, 2010 Comments (4)

 This past week of camp was a bit like wilderness camp at Whispering Winds Bible Camp but with not quite as nice of an outhouse and without a doubt more mosquitoes!!! I must say though that being within walking distance of the sea was definitely a plus! I loved the chance to spend more time with the boys from the boys home as well as meet kids from the other churches that camp. I also enjoyed getting to know the team of young people that camp from Colorado to help with the camp. Pictures tell the story much better than...

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jUlY cRaZiNeSs

Holly Friesen on July 15, 2010 Comments (6)

Wow! we are only halfway through the month of July and so much has already happened! It has not been without its challenges but it has also brought some special blessings. The month started out with a fun 4th of July celebration with fellow Odessa missionaries. It was a great time of fun & fellowship with the larger missionary community. In true missionary fashion we also had representatives from Canada, South Africa, and Ukraine. Some of them did amazingly well at U.S. trivia! We even enjoyed an impromptu barber shop style rendition of the 'Grand Old Flag'. Another special event this...

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White Harvest Fields

Holly Friesen on June 23, 2010 Comments (3)

Every time I see the beautiful fields of ripe wheat I am reminded of Jesus words to His disciples in John 4:35 “Do you not say, There are yet four months, then comes the harvest? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest”.There is just something exciting about wheat harvest time! This Kansas girl loves the sight of the ripe wheat and the combines at work in the fields with the grain pouring out into the trucks. I remember sitting on my Grandma’s porch in Moundridge and watching the line of...

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Makarovo

Holly Friesen on June 14, 2010 Comments (6)

This is a little after the fact, but I did not want to miss the chance to tell you about the other clinic that I was able to help with earlier this month in the village of Makarovo.Makarovo prayer house This village is a couple of hours from Odessa and has a fairly well established work. They have their own prayer house (church building), and this past year Vlodya was ordained as the pastor. This village is involved in outreaches to the villages of Valentinovka and Berdinovo where we also hold clinics and has also been involved in the planting...

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Worth it all!

Holly Friesen on June 8, 2010 Comments (5)

 I was not able to have Russian class today because my tutor had family arriving from out of town. So I made plans to help Miriam with the clinic that is held in our part of Odessa once a month. Even when things don’t go quite as planned it is encouraging to see God’s hand in orchestrating events. Miriam ended up having vertigo today so I was the only provider at the clinic. It made for a challenging day but I am thankful that God had already arranged my schedule so that I could do it. My first patient of...

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snapshots

Holly Friesen on June 4, 2010 Comments (9)

 I am finding that I am not as quick to pull my camera out these days. They tell us to take lots of pictures when we first arrive because later on things will start to look normal to us. Maybe that is true or maybe you start wanting to feel less like a tourist and more like a local. Anyway- I wanted to share a few pictures with you from the last several weeks to give you another little glimpse into my life. This is Rostik, the little boy that I met in the park near my apartment the other day...

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Glimpses of May

Holly Friesen on May 18, 2010 Comments (0)

The first week of May here in Ukraine is time to get out your picnic gear & maybe fire up the grill. May 1st is Labor Day and May 9th is Victory Day celebrating the end of WWII. During the course of that week I enjoyed two picnics – the first with the young people from the small group that I participate in at church and the second being an all church event. We enjoyed beautiful sunshiny days outdoors – volleyball and fellowship. With the young people I enjoyed my first taste of shashlik – quite tasty!!!Shashlik is meat -...

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Good Soil Project

Holly Friesen on May 16, 2010 Comments (0)

The purpose of this post is to give you a glimpse of another exciting thing going on here in Ukraine and to give you the opportunity to participate in it through your prayers and/ or financial support. Below is a letter from my team leader:The Church is the Body of Christ and it is God's chosen means to communicate the message of the Gospel to today's world. Our team believes this so wholeheartedly that we have chosen to focus our ministry in Ukraine on the strengthening and multiplication of the local church. One of the greatest needs we have identified...

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“Well we want to get started before the Lord comes back!”

Holly Friesen on May 7, 2010 Comments (2)

This was the response from one of the pastors to our tentative timeline for the starting of a Pregnancy Care Center here in Odessa. This was of course spoken in jest so you can ignore the theological implications of that statement – however, it does express the excitement that was present in the room today as we presented our desire to see this type of ministry started here.From the time I first began to consider full time ministry in Ukraine, I had a burden to see a pro-life ministry established in Odessa. I fully expected to spend my first couple...

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Musings, Blessings, Etc.

Holly Friesen on April 28, 2010 Comments (3)

Just thought I would share a few of the things God has been blessing my heart with lately ~ From Tozer: Glorious Contradictions ~ The Christian is dead & yet he lives forever. He died to himself & yet he lives in Christ. ~ The Christian saves his own life by losing it, and he is in danger of losing it by trying to save it. ~ It is strange but true that the Christian is strongest when he is weakest & weakest when he is strongest. When he gets down on his knees thinking he is weak, he is...

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Kharkov

Holly Friesen on April 21, 2010 Comments (1)

One of the greatest joys in serving the Lord cross culturally has to be the privilege coming alongside our national partners who serve the Lord so faithfully. Last week I was blessed to see what God is doing in the area around Kharkov in northern Ukraine and to provide some assistance and hopefully encouragement for some of the Ukrainian pastors and evangelists who are working there. These men are involved in ministry in villages all around the city. Some of them are out ministering every day of the week in several different villages each day. While they are not seeing...

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Easter in Ukraine

Holly Friesen on April 7, 2010 Comments (3)

Even though I still struggle to understand much of what is going on around me, the rejoicing over the resurrection of our Savior came through loud and clear this weekend. Instead of the normal greetings people greeted each other with the words “Christ Arose” and were greeted in response with “Truly He arose!” The greeting “Christ Arose” is used by all on Easter day – even those who are not truly believers. This was also repeated numerous times throughout the services that I attended. What a blessing to be able to share in the joy of the resurrection regardless of...

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Limaniy

Holly Friesen on March 23, 2010 Comments (3)

This past Friday I had the chance to again take a break from language study and help with a clinic in the village of Limaniy. The work in Limaniy is an outreach of the Philadelphia Church here in Odessa. Pastor Anatoliy and other members of the church go down every Friday to do visiting and hold a service. The Lord has provided a building for them where they hold services and Sunday school, and that is where we see patients. If you want to see a video clip of an interview with Pastor Anatoliy, check out this link to my...

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My New Friends

Holly Friesen on March 18, 2010 Comments (0)

Well- I am not sure friends is the right word, at this point they are more like acquaintances. They have proven themselves to be somewhat hard to get to know. Just when I think I am getting a better feel for their personality I am introduced to a new facet of their complexity. There are 6 of them, all belonging to a family of cases that you greek scholars may be somewhat familiar with. I am still having difficulty remembering their Russian names, but for those of you who are interested, their English names are nominative, locative, dative, genitive, accusative,...

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International Women's Day

Holly Friesen on March 10, 2010 Comments (2)

Did you know that March 8th is International Women’s Day? According to www.internationalwomen’sday.com, it “is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future”.  It is a national holiday here in Ukraine and school and many businesses were closed for the day. There were also flower venders on the street corners and along the sidewalks as many people give flowers to the special women in their lives. The churches also have special programs to honor women much like we would for mother’s day. Appropriately, on the evening on March 8th I had Dr....

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Valentinovka

Holly Friesen on March 1, 2010 Comments (2)

This post is somewhat belated do to the fact that my boxes arrived last week & I have been enjoying opening and organizing their contents. Another contributing factor was spending all day Saturday goofing off! – I had a great time exploring more of Odessa with some MK’s and the Curby’s visiting from Hungary. I got some great pictures that I hope to post later this week. I did not want to miss the chance, however, to fill you in on the clinic that I was able to help with last week. It was actually my first time to go...

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Kubanka

Holly Friesen on February 16, 2010 Comments (1)

Last week I had the chance to help Dr. Miriam with a clinic in Kubanka. I was very ready to set aside “formal” Russian study for a day, although the learning definitely never stops. I enjoyed having a few more words under my belt this time that I could use with my patients but am also very thankful for my translator Luba. I was able to see patients at the prayer house where Sunday School and a Sunday afternoon church service are held each week. The work in Kubanka is an outreach of the church in Krasnasylka where we also...

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Visiting the Orphanage

Holly Friesen on February 5, 2010 Comments (3)

God gave me the opportunity to have my heart blessed by a group of boys and by the Ukrainian church that has opened their hearts to minister to them! My co-workers Ted & Deb Welch have gotten involved with a ministry at an orphanage that is an outreach of their church. I was able to go with them on Thursday and thoroughly enjoyed the time I was able to spend with the kids. They have been told that most of these kids are juvenile delinquents and they rarely are allowed to leave the compound. In talking to them a couple of them...

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Slush - Snow - Sights - Studies

Holly Friesen on February 2, 2010 Comments (6)

Living in Kansas & South Dakota I have often heard it said that if you don't like the weather you should just stick around for a day (or maybe 5 minutes) and it will change. Well, evidently the same is true in Odessa. Last week we experienced temps below zero for most of the week. While this is not anything I have not experienced before, the inside temps were a new experience. The government controls the heating systems in the apartment buildings so they decide how much heat we need. I woke up several mornings with the INSIDE temperature at...

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Adventures in Serving!

Holly Friesen on January 25, 2010 Comments (2)

"So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom...And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us, Yes, establish the work of our hands." Psalm 90:12 & 17 I have been meditating on these verses recently and appreciate the reminder that nothing I do is going to be of any lasting value if it is not done in the power of God. I appreciate the many people who faithfully pray for me and send notes of encouragement. I am certainly blessed with a...

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Impressions

Holly Friesen on January 14, 2010 Comments (0)

For those of you who want to know what it is like & how it is different..... These crosswalk...er, run signs crack me up! The drivers don't watch out for pedestrians, so if you want to make it across the road alive you had better be alert & move fast! I will be using public transportation initially. There are buses, taxi's, and a tram. I am working on learning the system so that I can take the right bus or tram and remember where I want to get off. I think it will be awhile before I am ready to try...

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I made it to Odessa!

Holly Friesen on January 12, 2010 Comments (10)

 I was scheduled to arrive in Odessa on the 7th but God had other plans. I was unable to make it to the airport in Alliance, NE for my 7:30 am flight on the 6th due to snow, wind, and road closings. God allowed me to spend another fun day with my family and we were finally able to get through to Alliance and stayed in a hotel there for the night. We were very grateful for the hospitality of the Petersons in Chadron, NE when the road conditions did not allow us to go any further. I was able to rebook...

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