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Wrapping up 2010 - Anticipation for 2011!

Holly Friesen on February 10, 2011

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 goals from the past year. I was so blessed as I reflected on all that God accomplished in my life and ministry in 2010! Now that my official report is finished & turned in I thought I would share some of it with you!

Looking Back: Goals for 2010

1. Complete the requirements for the first year of concentrated Russian study in Odessa.

While language study has certainly had its ups & downs and the evaluation of progress is somewhat subjective, overall I am encouraged by the progress I have been able to make. I can generally figure out a way to get my point across and understand the majority of what is going on around me. I am still using a translator when I help with clinics but don’t need her for everything now! This Sunday I will be sharing my testimony in church. I wrote it all out & let my teacher check it for me. Now I am working on getting familiar enough with it so I only have too occasionally look down at my paper!

2.  Get established in an apartment in Odessa.

God provided me with a wonderful apartment that was newly remodeled and owned by Christians. My 10th floor windows give me an awesome view of the Black Sea! I have room for guests if you are ever inclined to come and check out the view!

3. Research the possibility of starting a pro-life or counseling ministry in Odessa.

Wow! Did God ever work above & beyond my expectations on this one! I had only been here a few months when I ran in to some other missionaries with a burden for this ministry who had contacts with Ukrainians that were also interested. We have been able to form a steering committee that includes 2 Ukrainian pastors, a gynecologist (MK married to a Ukrainian), a former women’s ministries leader for an association of churches in our area, a lawyer, a magazine editor, a seminary professors wife (who also speaks excellent English), and 4 missionaries. We have developed a working timeline that would have us opening a center in 2012. We completed a survey of our community and have applied for partnership with Baptists for Life for assistance with training and resources.

4. Find ways to minister in a local church that do not require proficiency in Russian.

Although my Russian skills made this difficult I did find small ways to help like assisting with church cleanup day, hosting a small group in my home, and helping a few times with English club. God blessed me with some special friends – first ones that spoke English & later ones that didn’t. I have enjoyed the chances to fellowship & pray together with them and hope that I can be as much of a blessing to them as they have been to me.

Looking Ahead: Goals for 2012

1. Language- Continue to spend at least 50% of my time in formal language study and complete the level 2 language checklist.

You can pray that I will be diligent & manage my time well in order to optimize my time in language study this year. Pray also that my brain will be able to absorb all the things & am trying to cram into it and that the Russian will come out of my mouth in an understandable manner! J

2. Medical Ministry- Participate in 1-2 medical clinics a month and assist with hosting short term medical teams.

Miriam will be taking a furlough June-October. We are praying for the Lord to send health care providers that can cover her clinics for those months so that I can continue to concentrate on language study. We still need providers for Aug, Sept, & Oct. I am confident that God knows what will be the best for my continued language growth and trust Him to provide according to His will. I do look forward to increasing my involvement in this ministry and improving in my ability to communicate with my patients without my translator!

3. Pro-Life Ministry – Meet with the steering committee on a monthly basis to work through the details of getting the ministry started and for prayer. Have a Board of Directors formed by the end of the year. Host a Post Abortion recovery workshop.                            

We have our first monthly meeting this Saturday, Feb 12. Pray for us as we discuss a name for our organization and continue to work out the best timing for training, registration, etc.

4. Church – Work on getting to know the people in my church better – learn the names of at least those who faithfully attend. Assist Misha in developing the young people’s group (at this point I see this as being a support & encouragement role). Take part in summer camp and assist with the children’s home ministry at least once a month.

With the start of a New Year I made the decision to start attending a new church. It is a smaller downtown church that has more needs in the areas where I feel I am most suited to be of help. I am excited about getting to know the people there and getting more involved in ministry.

I have also set goals for myself in regards to keeping my prayer & financial supporters informed about my ministry. Please let me know if you have questions or suggestions about ways that I could keep you better informed. Thank you for taking the time to read to the end. I am rejoicing as I think about all that God did in 2010 and look forward with prayerful expectation to all that He will do in 2011!