A New Normal

August 2015 – living in a war zone is not easy, what it is, is unpredictable, scary, and a real test of faith. It is a total faith walk. God has shown up over and over. Comforted me when I ask, performed literal miracles when needed, provided when there was no obvious way for provision…His faithfulness surely out gives everyone…and for this, we are forever grateful. God protects: 

Today we decided to give Random Acts of Kindness.  We have so much rice, and we have access to bread, so this is what we will do; drive around and give away rice and bread to anyone that wants.  First stop is the headquarters to pick up bread.  We stand at the front of the entrance, and talk to some commander.  I notice there is a very sweet dog wandering at the ‘stop’  He is larger than Happy, and Rich and I have talked about getting a replacement for Happy, if I take her to the states.  This looks like a very sweet dog…so I ask if it belongs to anyone… and no one says.  One soldier  says that he doesn’t belong to anyone, and we ask if we can ‘have’ him.  He offers another dog, not so nice looking, and I say that I don’t want ‘that’ dog.  Sema and II try to get the dog in the van, but it won’t come to us, but he seems like he wants to come to us…The soldier then just picks him up and puts him in the van…so NOW we have a new dog!  He looks at us, so sweetly, and he will be perfect as long as Sema stays at the center, or someone is there to feed him.  So now he is in the van, and we still have all this food to deliver.    The dog settles in, and we decide to try to get rid of the food quickly, thinking of a neighborhood that is easily accessible, and lots of people. 

We venture out to the gypsy area of town…there are usually people in their yards, so we don’t have to look too far for ‘customers’ to bless.  We head that way, and it was a great experience…people never expect what you are going to do, and they are always so surprised.   Few people turn away free food, but some do…but over all,  it was successful.   The gypsies asked for diapers, which we had forgot, so I promised to return today.  We finish giving out all the rice and bread, and head back to the center.  

After Bible study, we know that we must go back to the gypsy area of town to deliver diapers.  We hear gun fire, which seems very close…over and over, it seems very loud and close..  I go in to get the diapers, returning and getting the van through the gate, when I hear an extremely loud boom and ‘crack’.  Sema jumps in the van and yells, ‘GO’…as I step on the gas, I hear more booms, sounding VERY close.  I’step on it.’ And we head away from the center; where we left windows open, as we had no idea this was going to happen.    We head towards the gypsy area, and we can hear the bombs and see smoke in Zabalka.  We must stop and get petrol, and we can actually see bombs hitting the slag mountains.  Next we see fire, and 2 slag mtns. are in flames.   All we can think is ‘how did this happen…where are our men…how did they reach those mountains?’  We can’t go home, the shelling is so loud, and so close to us, it isn’t safe…so we go to the gypsies and give diapers, and then the shelling starts there.  We go to the Pastors house to drop off a load of cardboard, Marina invites us in, but I tell her that we need to get back to the center, as soon as possible.  We drive to ‘Christina’ (small grocery store), and watch this unfold.  Repeated shelling of Zabalka, there is so much smoke, we can’t see houses, or even the slag mountains, only the fire on top.  The smoke is all over the area, we have no way of knowing if our property is safe, gone…no information at all.  Thank you God for your continued protection that Sima and I left the center, just as this was starting, only You, God, know what could have happened, you are the holy, you are lovely, you are mighty, you are the only one worthy of praise, and we praise you for putting in my mind to deliver these diapers, otherwise, we would have been there, during this terrible shelling.    This shelling was louder and closer then any other, it was like they were in our back yard!

Forty-fine minutes we are able to return home and see that all was fine.  We hurried to get the van put away, and get the van cleaned out.  We hurry inside, and clean up and prepared to go to the house, when we can hear bombs.  They are further away, but that gives no guarantee that they won’t be closer very soon.  I hurry Sema, and I run home.  Even though I know a bomb would ruin my house, somehow I feel safer there than at the center.  Maybe it is due to the sheer size of the center, that it seems like a very large target; I don’t know, I just know that I feel safer at the house.    I get home, and Sema arrives later…we don’t eat, we don’t do anything, but communicate with our loved ones, that we are ‘o.k.’ since Dzerzhinsk has made the news since end of July.   We get showered, and though it is quiet, that can change at any minute, that is the fear…that is what they ‘bank’ on, that is the strategy…terror, boredom, terror, boredom… it is  constant. One needs to be really prayed up, because your life can be gone with just one ‘coordinate’ off; like the time they hit School #2, just 4 blks. away…we were told they got the coordinates wrong.  I lay and pray every night thinking about my prayer perspective and focus on Gods glory, His protection, His continued love…and then I drift off to sleep. 

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