Our American team has spent the last couple of years spending the majority of our time in the US and making trips back and forth to Ukraine. But starting end of this month, Melissa and Anika will be back in Ukraine full time. We hadn’t fully planned on this move but God has clearly been adjusting our circumstances to get us to where we’re at. We’re going back without visas just yet and will have to take a trip outside of Ukraine to get that ball rolling sometime in March. If we’re honest, we’re not looking forward to giving up some of our American comforts (toilet and shower, we will miss you both), but we are excited for some of the ideas and goals we’ve got for the next year!

We would like to say we have some solid plans, but since it’s been almost 10 years since we moved to Ukraine the first time, so we know that solid plans aren’t really a reality in Ukraine. So we have goals.

One of the broader goals we’re working on is teaching English in a few different ways. We’ve been in communication with the orphanage director at Pravdinska and she is excited for us to hopefully help teach English to the kids there. We have also been brainstorming starting ESL academies in the village and beyond. We’d love to start tutoring at the cafe for the kids in the village learning English in school. Again, all goals but we are working on it! If anyone has experience/curriculum/tools for ESL teaching that you think might be useful, please feel free to shoot us an email!

Our Ivanivka Cafe hasn’t honestly been financially successful. We were never expecting to make tons of money, or even necessarily break even very quickly, but we’re definitely still a long way from either. We’re changing our mindset on it to know that it will probably need constant changes and revisions to continue. And knowing all the things we can use it for as not just as cafe, but a community outreach center, gets us excited.

Another goal we’d like to make happen involves education help for orphans and at-risk kids. Very few of the kids who grow up in orphanages and small villages seem to complete any high education. They often don’t have the help financially, emotionally, or even practically to even get in to a college or university. We’d like to start little seminars with kids who are currently in or have graduated from college to help encourage, teach and improve success rates of younger kids as they prepare to graduate from 9th or 11th grades.

One more goal we’re working on is having a team come out to Ivanivka in the spring/summer. If you’re interested in being a part of it, please let us know. Any details would be announced later, but you could expect village outreach, time in the community cafe, and plenty of village dirt.

As for our team… Dusya is loving running the cafe and having the steady income to support her adorable family. Melissa and Sasha are still awaiting answers from US immigration for Sasha to be able to come to the states as a married couple. Anika is planning on being in Ukraine for at least the next year or so, and we’ll see what happens from there. Sasha has been working hard to get an additional building constructed from the ground up for our house… The whole 375 square feet of heated house that we currently have kind of limits us with what we can do (not to mention personal space for 3 adults).

With our on-the-ground team growing again and outreach kicking back into gear, obviously our budget will need to be expanding. If you’d like to make a year-end tax deductible gift we would greatly appreciate it! And if you’d like to become one of our regular monthly donors we would be so grateful. Click here to go to our donation page. Thanks for sticking with us as we enter into this next year of adventure!

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