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in the pursuit of a visa.....

Holly Friesen on February 9, 2012

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 spent in Virginia with my sister Rachel and her husband Bobby. It was so good to be able to spend some time with them and to just do some relaxing. Bobby is currently undergoing his last round of chemotherapy for esophageal cancer as well as finishing up a course of radiation. This past month has been rough with fatigue and other side effects from the treatment, but overall the doctors are pleased with how he is doing. Please continue to pray for Bobby & Rachel. They have had several opportunities to share their faith with friends and coworkers in the past months. Pray that God would continue to use them to be a testimony through this trial and that their own hearts would be encouraged during the difficult moments.

I spent the second two weeks of my time in the states in southern California receiving training from the Biblical Counseling Foundation. If you would like to know more about them you can check out their website: http://www.bcfministries.org or watch this short video clip:intro to BCF

Their focus is on the sufficiency of God’s Word to help us deal with life’s problems. The first week, we learned how to examine ourselves in light of God’s Word, and then how to apply those principles in helping others. The second week I attended the teacher training where I learned how to teach others the material we covered the first week. We are currently working on translating the manual into Russian to use in training counselors for our future pregnancy care center here in Ukraine. I hope to begin teaching the material late spring. Please keep this translation project in your prayers & pray for me as I prepare to teach.

The concentrated time studying God’s Word was a wonderful encouragement and challenge to me and I am so thankful that the Lord saw fit to allow me to start off this year with such a “boost”. In addition to the blessing of the training, I was blessed to have my Dad join me for the first week. I can’t even express how special it was to have that time with my Dad and to be able to talk through the things we were learning as well as things we are both facing in our respective ministries. The only thing that would have made it better would have been to have my Mom there too! Next time I am home maybe I will have to do a mother/daughter trip! J

Other special blessings:

~ Classmates from around the world – not just from the U.S. but also from India, Poland, and Mexico. Hearing their testimonies and seeing how God was working in their lives and ministries was amazing!

~ Sunshine!!!! While Ukraine was experiencing its first hard freeze of the year, I was enjoying every chance I had to soak up some of the California sunshine and even enjoyed walking barefoot in the grass!

~ On the weekend between classes we took a short hike out in the desert to an oasis. God’s creation is so amazing! Such a contrast! Also enjoyed a date shake – in fact I enjoyed several dates every day while I was in California! J

Now it is back to the literally COLD reality of life in Ukraine! (It got so cold the Black Sea is even frozen along the shore!) Actually it is good to be back. I am looking forward to seeing my church family on Sunday, and am looking forward to seeing patients in the Valentinovka clinic tomorrow (10th). I will be sending out an update soon with more info on our visa situation and prayer requests for the upcoming weeks. Thanks for continuing to pray!