The last 10: A celebration of 50 years!

41)  Moving to Kstan in 2007; becoming friends with Don and Diane Combs, and two Korean couples.
42)  My mom passing away in Aug 2007.  Don and Diane helped me tremendously with the decision to go home.  I had 17 visitors in Kstan at the time I got the news about my mom’s cancer.  I got them all on trains or planes, cleaned 2 apartments and moved my stuff into a garage in 3 days.  I arrived back in TX on Thursday afternoon and my mom passed away on Saturday afternoon.  The body of Christ truly ministered to me and my family.
43)  Moving to Tbilisi, Georgia in January 2009 after the war with Russia.  It was a bit surreal to be there so after Russia invaded Gori, Georgia.  Georgia is an incredibly beautiful country with hospitable people.
44)  Moving back to Ukraine and to Donetsk in May 2010.  It was a difficult decision to move back to UA, however, I know it was God’s will for me to be here in the great city.
45)  Vacations in Europe: I have been to many historical and beautiful places.  God has blessed me with these opportunities.  A few of my favorites: Munich, Budapest, Krakow and now Ouranoupolis, GR.
46)  Special friendships with colleagues (former and current): Charles and Bonnie Hailey, Joel and Mary Ellen Ragains, Shannon and Katie Ford, Mike and Linda Ray.  I am part of an incredible organization!
47)  Christian music: I remember the first time I listened to KLTY in the 80’s.  I could barely receive their signal in WF.  Christian music helped me get through difficult times.
48)  Seeing Ukrainians accept the call to take missions to the world.  Roman, Vika and Timofey moved to Pavlodar for several years and planted a church (they are my heros!), Edik and Zaporozhie Bible College, Kiev Christian University answered the call to send people to Kazakhstan.
49)  Family that is supportive… while living, my mother never asked me to move back to the US; my sisters: Jan, JoLynne and Nola (passed away in 2008) have been supportive as well, along with their children.  Aunts, uncles and cousins that pray for me… God has blessed me with a great family.
50)  Most of all I am thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who gave His Son, Jesus Christ so that I may have life abundantly.  The Spirit comforts me when times are hard or painful.  Most of all, I am grateful that throughout the Word, He has promised to always be with me.

As I said from the start, this is not an exhaustive list, and if you were to count up, there are more than 50 people who have influenced me. Thank you for humoring me through this exercise.  There is so much more that I could say, but let me close with these words from Colossian 3:14-17

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

May whatever I do, may it be in the name of the Lord Jesus!  To Him be all glory and honor…

5 thoughts on “The last 10: A celebration of 50 years!

  1. Dear Joe,
    My eyes were not dry as I finished this last installment. Since I am old enough to be your Mother, I will give you some advice. Make a hard copy of these 50 Important Things in Your Life – just in case you lose them if your computer should ever crash. Then at the next milestones in your life, reread them. What memories they will help you recall!
    Happy 50th Birthday!
    Lots of Love,

  2. Aunt Esther,
    Reading your words now brought tears to my eyes. I am so blessed by people, such as yourself, who I know prays for me often. Thank you for holding the ropes!

  3. Happy birthday! May our Lord richly bless you and your ministry. Thank you for your faithful service to our Lord.

  4. Jim Buck, thank you for stopping by…

    Shannon, thanks for reading these posts. It has been good to reflect on the past in light of what Christ has done for all of us. Thank you for sending me to Donetsk.

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