Our family of five (and our dog!) made it safely to Odessa, Ukraine late in the evening on August 9th. Our flight connections went smoothly and all of our luggage made it through to our final destination. Thank you for praying! Another prayer answered, above and beyond our expectations, was finding a different flat. We had very few apartments to look at, since it’s still the height of tourist season, but found one that is structurally sound, clean, and spacious enough for our family and ministry needs. In addition, our gracious God provided an aesthetically beautiful place which coordinates with our belongings and is located on a quiet street nearer to church, school and our community in downtown Odessa.
We’ve hit the ground running! Almost immediately after moving in, Bob met with the north Odessa church-plant pastor, George (who also serves as head of our denomination’s church-planting committee) in order to hear what needs should be addressed to get the church to the next step of particularization and healthy sustainability. It was exciting to hear how George is hoping to redefine the cultural norm that church congregation members only attend church without taking an active part in being the Body of Christ. These past two Sundays, we (admittedly somewhat sleepily due to jet lag) worshiped with both of Odessa’s Reformed Presbyterian churches and have also been reunited with all the members of our Odessa team which were scattered in the States for portions of this past year! Fellowship and planning with all our brothers and sisters in Christ, Ukrainian and American, has been sweet and it brings to our minds the miracle of unity that Jesus, Himself, prayed for; “…that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.” (John 17:20-23)
We thought of all of you today as we walked through Ukraine’s Independence Day festivities. We miss our United States of America home, but are enjoying celebrating with our adopted culture and seeing their unique traditions and dress. Haven’t heard any fireworks, yet, though!
The girls start school one week from today (Aug 31st) so we have additional preparations to make in the coming days. Please pray for our MK school teachers, David and Jill Martin, who are planning the school semester while trying to negotiate the details with their landlord for faster renovations needed on their outdated and inefficient kitchen.
More to come as we continue to settle in and find our bearings. We miss all of you and were privileged to get to know most of you better during our HMA. Look for our official newsletter to arrive soon!
Grateful to God for your sacrifice and prayers on our behalf,
Andrea for the Burnhams