Dreams for Odessa

A list of some of the projects I would like to do while in Odessa

Dreams #1
English Church (all services and songs in English)
Primary Target: Foreign Workers and Students
Secondary Target: Educated Nationals with resources to do other ministry
Third target: Retention of summer camp campers.
Fourth target: In port sailors (All sailors speak English some)
Vision: As many congregations in Atlanta run special services for Hispanics and we would mimic this process here. We would have “Church” in English at a time other than Sunday Morning. Possibly Sunday night or Saturday Night. As we are not in “competition” with Russian speaking churches we would not translate from the pulpit or stage.
Advantage My family and children would develop relationships with other who speak English. The children who come to English club would have an opportunity to come to church and even bring their parents who speak English and our refusal to translate from the stage would have an appeal of smooth flowing messages and an attraction unlike others. It would become more like an exclusive club rather than a soup kitchen.

Dream #2
Hot and ready American Kitchen (most Ukrainian restaurants are either not served hot or not ready to go)
Primary Target: Orphan Graduates
Secondary Target: Business People of Odessa
Third Target: Sailors and General Population
Vision: To open and operate a Breakfast lunch business in a high traffic area. Also have curb service/ bellhop to mimic drive through. McDonalds drive through are successful here. Serve breakfast sandwiches as well as Sandwiches and crock pot style lunches. There is no Subway or other sandwich shop open here. Soups, chili, spaghetti and other items that can be warmed for long periods of time would be the focus. The primary employee will be orphan graduates who will learn successful business skills and have a place full of grace in which to transition from the Orphanage to live at large. The fact of taking our employees at the recommendation of Michelle and Laura would also bolster their ministry causing the orphan graduates to seek relationships with Laura and Michelle allowing them and opportunity to spread the gospel of hope to this forgotten class of underage citizens. Also with the success of the business we would look to began / revive Christian business association. As successful business are made better to American and western proven business models The Christian Business association would become a relevant group able to provide resources and clout for further ministry and reward honest government officials. Also the Business would be closed in the evening to providing a place of gathering and worship for ministry as well as Sunday services. We would also provide free advertising to all evangelical churches allowing them to post their location service times and contact info so the general Public could see all the opportunities to attend evangelical services. Also we could provide all the sailors with a coupon for a free meal and they could also be told about our evening services reaching out to them providing a family for them to be part of while in port.
Advantage: Any profits could be used as tent making profits or funds to be used on further ministry. Also if successful could be a model that could be launched into Russia helping Missionaries with visa’s even if not we could use Ukrainians to staff and rotate through to build it into self supporting.

Dream #3
Half-way home for Orphan graduates
Primary Target: Graduated orphans (13-17 year olds)
Secondary Target: Discipleship opportunities for Church
Vision: To operate a Second Apartment for the housing and training or Orphan Graduate Males. This program already exists for females. The guys would be under a set of rules and be required to perform certain task. They would be taught certain life skills like laundry, basic cooking, cleaning, and they would be placed into schools as well as learn the value of work through part time positions. They also would receive coaching on money management.
No perceived advantage at this time

Dream #4
Joshua Men groups
Primary Target: Men within the evangelical churches around Odessa.
Vision to lead a group of Men through J-men leadership/discipleship programs to create leaders who develop other leaders. To spend 12 months with one book per month, one project per month, One full group meeting per month, Pairing up for weekly meetings for prayer and accountability. Two retreats beginning and closing
End result, Christian leaders leading at home at church and in business building other leaders.

End of the Year report….

End of the year report……why is it early?

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we want to say how thankful we are for all the support and prayers we continue to receive from so many of you. Each month we pray over our donor list and give thanks to God through prayer and tithe on the support we receive. I feel towards you like Paul did towards the Philippians, proud to see God working in you and through you, completing the work he began in you.

From last year to now…

While we had learned a lot in Montana, God was not done breaking me yet. As many of you know we spent a year looking for and seeking funds so we could participate in the mission before us.  Last year feeling broke emotionally and financially, I went to work where I could participate in ministry and provide some funds for my family. I went to work at Chateau Élan, a golf and winery resort, as a part time conference services and banquet waiter.

It was funny as I looked at the verse “those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength” I was now officially a “waiter”, waiting on God, serving God, making the least amount of money in my adult life. However, I got to work with 11 interns in my department from all over the world. It was a joyous time in which I spent as much time in ministry away from work as I spent at work. I got to share with them the stories of the Bible and share the Gospel during meals and outings, sometimes just enjoying a 6 hour cup of coffee at their apartment. Then I was given the opportunity to go to work again with my old company for a period of 10 weeks as a driver. I was able to earn enough money that when combined with our monthly support would be able to go to Odessa for 6 months. I learned how to be the worker and not be the boss and learned even more how to submit to others. This time period was key in how I was to show up in Odessa. Mission priority #1 is to first submit to and support the local native Pastor.

The next to last day of my commitment there I found all the money I had earned; had been lost to cover an old debt we thought had been retired. Plane tickets had been bought for Jacob and I, but no tickets had been bought for the girls at this time. Our home church had planned a going away service for us as we were planning on leaving. I went before the congregation and told them I was grateful for their support and all that I had learned over the past two years. I shared with them that I would do it all over again if I had the chance and encouraged others to do as I had. There were tears of sadness yet relief as we stepped back into the crowd. That very day we received all the money we had lost. A week later we received a gift “covering” the kid’s school. We were now sure; we could survive a year in country.

Upon arriving in Odessa we have had our successes and struggles. Some of the struggles led us to the point where we were cave dwellers. We did not go out and interact with others. The children did not want to learn the language and suffered from withdrawal from America. We routinely turned down ministry opportunities because I was attempting to be budget conscious. We could survive for a year at this level but was that the only reason we came here? I let loose my grasp on the funds and let the children participate in activities and they began to venture outside engage the culture and. You would think we would be seen as the rich Americans but we saw we appeared in need.  Rather than us blessing the congregation they began to bless us.  Once school began, the children and ministry blossomed. Hopefully you read our last message about doing what mattered.  Our expenses for school tuition were misinterpreted by me and it the cost is double what we expected.  We also found Emily lacking in interaction with other children and felt we had to enroll her in local Kindergarten.

The final situation? We will not make it through June at our current level of support. We want to be able to call a place “home” as our family has moved four times in two years. We love the work we do here. While life here is not always easy and fun, it is good to see the fruit of your work and investment. It is wonderful for the children to see us live out our faith. Here are some of the things we have been involved in since our arrival.

*Supporting the local Pastor and encouraging him to lead the church without foreign involvement

*Demonstrating and leading Children’s Ministry

*Encouraging the native church to survive and thrive without a missionary presence.

*Women’s individual ministry , as there are many single women and few single men in the church working with the women to hold true and not compromising themselves in order to obtain a man.

*Young mothers encouragement as the local church has three mothers with newborns reaching out and encouraging them to continue to walk with God and wisely deciphering between culture and Godly behavior.

*Encouraging the local church to reach men. English Evangelism Camps where young women outnumber the men almost 3 to 1 we have maintained relationships with five young men and continue to pour into them and encourage them to become men of God.

*Strike Ball Ministry – entering Platoon and Squad sized infantry battles brandishing weapons similar to air soft rifles and using those times to disciple and teach Godly lessons about being a man of God.

*Gun Range ministry – going in to the local gun range and teaching how the word of God is like firing a weapon. It is only effective if used properly.

*Encouraged the church to give back through Orphan Programs making a physical and spiritual investment with some of Odessa’s 5,200 orphans.

* Mormon outreach – reaching out to the Mormon missionaries in Odessa showing a love they are not used too.

*Participate and demonstrate and Biblical restoration and church discipline.

What do we hope to do in the future?

We hope to continue these actions and ministries. We hope to learn the Russian language so we can reach out to the rough men of Odessa. We hope that our children enjoy being able to call a place home and not worry about whether or not all their belongings can fit into a 50lb duffle bag that can go on the plane. We hope to leave the church Свет мира (Light to the World) independent of US support and personnel. I hope to utilize my past and knowledge of “rough” places to reach the orphan graduates who are between the ages 13 and 18 hitting the stress with no education no job and no hope. Of these 10% commit suicide, 60% of the males are incarcerated and 40-50% of the females enter into prostitution. Maybe God might use me to build leaders out of the church and out from them that inspire hope to these lost and desperate souls.  There is great work to be done here in this city. Will we be the ones to do it?

We leave that in your hands.

We hope to stay and continue the work God has began at least until June 2015.

If you are willing to help us in this mission please let us know. Our plan is to make a decision to continue in our work or go to a secular job somewhere in the US based upon our finances January 2nd.

Current situation

Current levels $2800 per month in contributions

Cash on hand $4800

Monthly expenses $3900

Tuition needed By Feb 1 $3000

 

Needs = eleven (11)people to help

We need $1100 more per month (eleven contributors at $100 per month), to last six months we need minimum $4800

 

Please pray for Gods provision for us to stay. If we had to leave Odessa we would arrive jobless, homeless, and nothing but suitcases to restart a life in the States. Either way we need Gods hand to in this situation.

What Matters?

What matters?

Here we are 5 months into the great experiment of the Price-Williams in Odessa Ukraine and we began to evaluate where we are. I wonder if you ever take time to just grab a hot cup of coffee, sit down in the living room and wonder, how is my life going right now? Am I where I need to be? Am I doing things that matter? It was a question like that that got us here in the first place. It is still common practice for Teniece and I to grill each other on what really matters.

This past month I was expecting to come to the U.S. and be the primary witness in a civil suit. If you know anything about civil suits you know no one “wins”.  It’s just a question of how much. Realistically it was not about anything less than my integrity. It stressed me out and I poured hours into this process. I had nothing to lose in this case but my perceived integrity. I prayed for God to remove this “cup” from me so I would not have to drink it. He did. Right as I was getting on the plane I was messaged to stay in Odessa. So I did. I wondered if my time and effort in the project mattered? Had my integrity before mattered?  Had it all been wasted?

This event has caused me to see that what we think matters, doesn’t. And things we think are nothing; are actually huge things. I often feel like my time is wasted. I get upset that I am not progressing as fast as I would like in the language and the main reason is because I don’t like studying Russian. I miss having a job because what mattered was much easier to quantify.

But now I see things that matter. Being available to make friends with the Mormon missionary guys here in town, I believe matters. I choose to come here but it is a requirement for them. Being available to lead a prayer meetings  every week and finding a way to teach on prayer to 12 others, I think matters. Supporting the church through setting up the coffee bar and leading the Children’s Ministry each week, it matters. Being there to support the Odessa church in developing a burden for the orphans, that matters. Being able to participate each week in the leaders prayer meeting for a new start up church here in Odessa, that matters.  Spending three to four times a week with the Pastor or leader of that team, it matters. It also matters that we have engaged the men of Odessa by reaching them with events like watching futbol together and other sporting events building relationships. We have turned squad and platoon sized war games like air soft (called strike ball here) into ministry opportunities. We have used our witness at the firing ranges. We have developed relationships with people at Megan’s horse lessons. We have reached out to college guys here in the universities close to our apartment. We have developed a relationship with our landlord and her son as well. Teniece meets with numerous women, most single, helping guide them along a path of life that is centered in faith in Jesus. Most of all, our first responsibility is our children, and that matters. We have had the chance to be more involved in their lives than ever before and they have been able to observe firsthand what it means to believe in Jesus Christ. We have been able to give them the best gift of all.

I guess in the past I felt  “no pain, no gain”, but now it seems the things that matter are the things we enjoy. We enjoy spending our lives doing things that matter. Yes, it is tough getting used to a new culture. I don’t know if I will ever be able to say I enjoy life here more than at “home” in America, but for right now, I know I am where God wants me and that’s all that matters.

This month we celebrated Jacobs 12th birthday. He and Megan displayed good financial responsibility by saving for months and using birthday cash presents to split the cost of a Nexus 7 tablet. As a father I am very happy with their decisiveness, fiscal responsibility and determination to come together to achieve this as a team.

As I am about to send this off we have maxed out our Strike ball resources. I will be buying 4 additional guns from a shop in the city. We have the guys from our English Evangelism Camps coming out. And the team we play brings out graduated orphans. The ages are from 16 to 46. This is a great time of manly ministry. And guess what? The old guys usually win! If you would like to support this ministry please do so. Also if you would like to take part or lead a Military evangelistic camp please let me know. If you went looking for the mighty men of David where would you look? See you on the battlefield!

 

Prayer needs:

#1 Pray as we continue to practice and learn the Russian language.

#2 Please pray for our decisions involving finances. Our monthly donations are not enough to cover our monthly expenses.

#3 Please pray for us to properly utilize the time the Lord has provided for us.