Journal Entries – Ukraine May 2018


Ukraine: May 2—22, 2018

Wednesday, May 2

I’ve been to Ukraine 40 plus times since 1997. And yet, this feels different. What are you trying to say to me Lord? Is this an end me or a new beginning?

Thursday, May 3

Arrive in Kiev & greeted by some of the Kurbanov’s-Marat, David & Jon Mark—with big smiles! We have time for lunch & Marat shares all God is doing before he drops me at the train station. I am now headed east for Kharkov. Nate Medlong will pick me up & we head home. In bed by midnight.

Friday, May 4

Up early & receiving my orders for the week! Nate & Diana are leaving to celebrate
their 10 year anniversary. I have been asked to share at the college & career group
tonight. Lord what can I share? And please keep me awake! I am a little nervous by the
age gap! But as You reminded me the Spirit never grows old. Thanks Lord! The room
was packed out with young people & the Lord began. As I shared with them about some
basic concerns & questions I had when I was their age, they began asking other
questions. Good questions. It truly was the Lord & His grace.

Saturday, May 5

Up & ready to go! Cleaning day! By dinner I was done! No cooking tonight – I am not
making a mess to clean up! Pizza and a Monk marathon. Maybe even a game of
Rummikub! We were all ready for bed.

Sunday, May 6

Church! God’s truly blessing Calvary Chapel Kharkov. I was able to visit with some of the younger kids from Friday night. They have such good questions. Please help them hear from you Lord. Old friends & new ones-I am so blessed. After worshiping the Lord we all went out for lunch. Wonderful catching up with Pastor Victor & Vicka. They dropped me off at Alosha & Learea’s home nearby. What a sweet visit as always. Late and ready to head home. Call an Uber!

Monday, May 7

A new week! Up early to take Carina to her biology lesson. Shop & head home for
dinner & prepare for women’s bible study tomorrow. I’m sharing about Hannah in 1 Samuel.

Tuesday, May 8

Get up. Go to town for groceries & items for tonight. Finish preparing for the study-
1 Samuel 1-2. Ladies arrive & some of the younger gals from Friday study. They are
hungry for direction & truth. Again, many questions. Help Lord!

Wednesday, May 9

Up early & take Carina to biology for final exam. Finish laundry & start packing. Nate
& Diana return. Get family packed & car ready for Kiev trip. Fun evening.

Thursday, May 10

Up at 4:30 am – load & head for Kiev national conference. Arrive at 2 pm. Register & get
settled in. So many people -friends. Worship was so sweet. It took me into a familiar
presence of the Lord – it’s been a long time since I have felt this free. I miss You Lord.
Teaching is from the book of Romans. I still feel different with this trip. I am pondering
on the last time I was in Ukraine. Lord you let me experience grace in such depth it gave
me complete freedom. For that, I am grateful. But, what are you teaching me this time?

Friday, May 11

Lord you have blessed me with so many friends & fellow soldiers for Jesus. I am amazed
at how long I have been coming here and how many old friends I have been blessed with. I am hearing their hearts & watching them love the people & their families. I have
watched most of them grow up. Who am I Lord to be so honored to be so blessed. I am
like a proud Mama.

Saturday, May 12

Last full day of conference. Time for fellowship & baptism. After meeting with a few of
the students from Kharkov, I started down the drive to the river. As I am walking, I
realize this seems so familiar. The little guys are running past me & waving, calling my
name. It dawned on me! With a smile & tears I realized You have given me this vision
months ago. Now it is coming alive. I now realize You have honored me so Lord. This is
my third generation of missionaries! How this humbles me. Who am I Lord to be so

How many times have I walked this dirt road Lord? How many have been
baptized in this river? How many did George baptize? How many have his sons baptized?And now their sons are the same age as they were when I first walked this road. How this is touching my heart. I see the people walking & laughing & enjoying the beautiful day.

Walking on pavement & up ahead the dirt road with a bend in it. The dirt is dry & dusty.
The sun is hot & is making us thirsty. Our feet are tired & hurting. We grow weak & are
slowing down. Some are even sitting by the side. Others are complaining & don’t want to
try any more. Some are trying to help them get up. We have no strength & the walk is
getting harder & harder. But, we do see a bend up ahead. It seems so far away. We have
to keep going, we have to keep encouraging others to get up & to make the bend. The day
seems to never end & the walk is a struggle, but we are compelled to keep going. Many
have fallen away, many are getting comfortable with the heat & the thirst. We can’t stop!
We have to keep going. The bend is getting closer but yet so far away. Many are telling us
they will join us in a while, after they have rested. Some are encouraging us to sit for a
while. Some are saying things to discourage us. We must keep our eyes on the bend.
Don’t stop! What are you telling me Lord? Help me with this urgency in my Spirit to
keep my focus on You! To seek you with all my heart & all my strength & make it to the

Sunday, May 13

Church was sweet and worship was tender. Pack up and say good-byes. After all I didn’t
think this time last year when I told Nadia good-bye that it truly was our last good-bye. I
miss her Lord but I know she is with you. Life is shorter and shorter. I am going to Sasha’s
for the night. What a time of laughter and memories. God you have done so much in her life. I am so blessed to have watched it unfold. You have placed so many wonderful people in my life & heart. Sasha is one of them. I have learned so much from her. She is a true wonder and example of a woman of God. You can read Sasha’s story here →

Monday, May 14

Up and ready to go serve at George and Sharon Markey’s. They are leaving tomorrow for
America. She needs help with packing up the kitchen for 3 months. Cara and
Anna came to help and we visited while packing. I have a train to catch for Lviv so I need
to be done by 3:00pm.

Done and on my way to the station – Lviv here I come!

Tuesday, May 15

Rest and visit with the Pratts and Baldonados. So good to catch up on ministry. I learned many things talking with them. Kids were excited to see me since we lived together for 4
months last summer in America.

Wednesday, May 16

Hang-out time with Nastia from church. It was a nice afternoon with no expectations.

Thursday, May 17

Grocery shopping and I have blood drawn for tests. So much cheaper here – $12! I will
have results translated and take back to America for my yearly physical. I am still
processing what God is speaking to me. I am looking for change in my heart, Lord.
Change comes from the power of God not the changing of our behavior. That happens
naturally with the heart change. Change me Lord!! Please.

Friday, May 18

Today I am meeting with Joshua Pratt. These kids grew up with me in their lives; this
brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. I do not ever want to take life for granted. It
is precious. They are dear to my heart.

Saturday, May 19

Preparing! Time is winding down and faces are already sad. This is like leaving family.
Packing up.

Sunday, May 20

Church and special lunch with everyone! Today Mike Pratt had a great message.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5:28. You, Lord, have totally wrapped this up in my heart. A
remarkable life that represents God. Change my heart! Thank you for bringing me half way around the world to get my attention. That living my life is not a destination but a life style.

Monday, May 21

Saying good-bye again! It never gets easy. Up early and fly to Kiev, then wait four hours to fly out. Amsterdam to Atlanta, then to Indy! I will be back in America tomorrow at midnight. Everyone comes and goes so quickly.

Cassie Vawter

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Photo Credit: UP9. Flag of Ukraine. Wikimedia Commons.