Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The adventure of being lost

So sorry for the language, but its how I feel. If you are confused look back at my last blog, that might help.
I know there have been lots of questions. I will try help a little here. David is doing better for and update on him check out their blog http://thegorans.wordpress.com/. We have continued with church every Sunday and Pilgrims on Thursday and we have been meeting at the Gorans apartment. We have been working on finding a space to rent while the legal things are happening with our old space and we continue to look towards opening our new space.

So the topic of this post. I love a great adventure. I love being lost. I try to get lost as often as possible. When I first arrived here I took a map with me strolled thru the streets till I felt like I couldn't find my way back, found a few cool interesting places then looked at the map to find my way back. When I hike I usually try to stay on the trail and keep to the map, but usually it is still new territory and even though I am not completely lost I still don't really know where I am. And more than anything I love going on a road trip and knowing my final destination but not how I am getting there. I usually try and use my GPS but as many know sometimes they can get you more lost than driving blindfolded.

So now that you know how I feel about being lost let me tell you about my feelings in the after math of everything that has happened here. We have been doing group meetings as a church leadership to talk about how we are feeling, how we are handling things, and what we think. These meetings are open to every one who wants to come and just talk. I was asked last Friday how I was feeling. My only answer is lost. I have felt lost since the accident. Normal for me here has been with my roommate. He was one of the first people I met, he has brought food from home, paid the bills, helped me find things around the city and get things done, he has talked with me when I am angry, frustrated, tired, upset, happy. He has been a great friend. Without him I have been lost. Without him there has not been anything NORMAL for me here. And when I talk about lost right now its has not been that adventure that I have longed and described last paragraph. Confused, Sad, Angry, Empty, Guilty. That is the lost I have felt.

But I have some wonderful people in my life. I have a great community here and wonderful friends. I have a great girlfriend always ready to listen and a wonderful family full of advice and always praying at home. I have great supporters who I know are always thinking about me.
But it has been today, through my parents and my girlfriend, that I have realized I am LOST. The 3 greatest words. I mourn greatly the lose of my friend. But I know he is in heaven.
The picture that started this post is something Rachel posted to me. I think she posted it just knowing our common sense of adventure. But when I put that with something my parents reminded me of, a post of my own "Its all in perspective" posted back in February.
There are lots of things that happen to us in life and it is up to us if we are going to let those things have a positive impact on us or a negative one. All we have to do is change the perspective that we have. Even if we are in a bad situation we cannot change right away we still have the power to look at it in a new light!
I miss my friend. I am lost. Spiritually I am lost, Emotionally I am lost. Until today I have not understood it. Today I still don't understand it but I see it in a new light, a light that this is one of life's many adventures. No matter how much you enjoy being lost there is always that first sense of dread when you realize it. After that you are able to start trying to figure things out. It is a chance for me to learn something new about myself, about my community, about God. Though I do not know where I am or even my final destination I know that I am Lost and that God is going to be my map and  I will learn, I will grow.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Even the skies Cry

As most of you are now aware, last week our community endured a very tragic event. During remodeling of our old space a roof collapsed killing a VIM (volunteer in mission) David Nevotti and one of our students Illya Onoprienko. Also David Goran, my supervisor was injured. For the story please visit UMC press release.
It is a very sad time here and the healing process has just barely started. While the lose of anyone is tragic, and all my prayers go to our team that was here, and the family and friends of David, the death of Illya has really struck a blow to me, he was just more than one of our students. Illya was on our leadership team this year as our worship coordinator. He was at every event that he could be. But even more than that he was one of my best friends and roommates. He was someone who was truly alive and never wasted a second of his life, he loved and he cared.
For general conference this year we were asked to make a short video about the student center and our involvement here as mission interns. We decided to do that we wanted to focus on a student and chose Illya and through the video he really shows who he is. Please take a moment to watch it.
Illya, God of this city song
What more can I say? There is a saying here that if you can't talk good about the dead then do not talk at all. I can talk all day long about this brother of mine.

I know many of you are concerned for me. I am doing okay. I am grateful for everyday I am alive. I am thankful for peace and the knowledge that my brother did no suffer, I am thankful for a wonderful support system around the world.

The title of this blog comes from Thursday. It was on Thursday that the funeral was held. We were not sure if we would be accepted there, but we were. Our community was asked to share a song and then I was asked to carry the casket to his mothers house before it would be taken to the cemetery. I didn't get to though because I was too short. but it was okay. The weather here is always switching but for the last 2 weeks we had had hot sunny weather. On Thursday it rained. Not a steady rain but a rain that fell like tears. At times it would rain hard and for a longer amount of time, then it would stop and it would be a light drizzle. It felt like everything I was feeling was being expressed by the sky.

Sunday we had church still and we will continue with pilgrims as well.
Please keep David and his family in your prayers as he is recovering. Also please pray for our community as we begin to heal and grow.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tipping the Scales

So its been a while, sorry.

Lots has been happening here and God's hand is in all of it. One quick point worth mentioning is that I am a little over halfway through my time here in Lviv. This just means I finally feel at home and have lots I want to do and plans to put in progress!

Our semester has winded down, students have finished exams, and many of them have went home to the village for the summer, are studying abroad or are on vacation. But that just means we have shifted into high gear! We had our first team, a group of students from the Wesley foundation at the University of Texas. While they were her they helped us with some tearing down in our new space so that we can build back up. Also this year was the Euro cup and it was held in Ukraine and Poland so the team hosted our community for a few of the games with some good Texas food!
Our next team arrives Saturday and from there we are busy mostly through July with only 1 full day of rest without a team before the next one arrives and we have English Camp and VBS.

The Fan Zone where everyone Goes to watch the games!

Some of the team and one of the members of our community  getting ready to watch Soccer
Can't you tell the games exciting

Other Ministry News!
Our community in a whole has started to look a little different. We have been having several local homeless people coming to services and community activities. This is great news but it is also something we need prayers about as we are learning as we go in how this part of our ministry will develop and what it will look like.
Mykola and Andryi sword fighting!
English club:
English club has been great, of course with a lot of our students gone it is a little smaller so we have spent the time playing games and getting to know those that are coming a little bit better. When the teams are here we are letting them have the opportunity to lead English club, which is always lots of fun!
Feeding ministry:
As the student center, since many of our students are no longer around, we have taking a break from working with the feeding ministry. Do not be afraid though we were paired with another ministry that has continued the program in our absents. We will however be looking at this ministry and seeing if we can make it better and more fruitful when we start up again next semester.
We have been in the works of developing a Preschool over the last year and a half and starting in September Erika (one of our Ukrainian staff members) will be starting it up. Of course we are starting small with only around 5 children 2 or 3 times a week. But here is where you can really help: We are looking for kids books and puzzles that are very lightly used or new! If you can help please contact me (nlhaigler@gmail.com) and I can give you more information!

Last little update me-
I have been great and really trying to discerning Gods call on my life. As some of you may know I have 2 great passions, Children and Homelessness. I have been really thinking about seminaries after I finish this program but am struggling with which school and even what to study there. I have been talking some with my girlfriend and we have been thinking about visiting a few when I return to the states. 
Also I will be moving to another, smaller apartment soon. It will be a little farther from the center but a bit cheaper and I think I will enjoy it. 

That is all the updates I have for now but feel free to contact me!

Exodus 15:2 The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

You never know what you have until you share it.

I want to start off this post with an apology. I wasn't able to do a weekly lent post like I was going to try to do, I just couldn't think of what to write. Also I am sorry I have not been more informative lately, I have tried to write a few different Blogs and they just have not come out the way I would like them too.

Just a quick update:
Easter was great we celebrate it a week later here because we are on the orthodox calendar.
It has stopped being cold finally.
I have been able to get outside (See Pictures below)
Feeding ministry has been going great, we received a very nice donation from someone very loosely connected that has taken care of the bags that we make. Also the student center will stop doing the feeding ministry after this month as many of our students are gone.

As many of you know I love the outdoors, mostly rock climbing and Backpacking. One of my biggest concerns was that being in a foreign country I wouldn't be able to enjoy those things here. But luckily I was wrong. I have been climbing several times already and even had my gear sent to me so that I can take others to get to know them.  I also spent 2 nights and 3 days hiking in the beautiful Carpathian mountains! I hiked through all terrains, snow, hills, steep mountains, rocks, forest, and rivers, it was amazing!

Okay now on to the title of this post. Everyone has heard "You never know what you have until its gone" but  I seriously think there is a better way to know what you have and that is to share it with others. This thought came to me today as we were having a picnic at church (it was suppose to be in the park but the weather wasn't being nice). Everyone was asked to bring enough food for themselves and we could all share. Being a single guy my fridge isn't always stocked the best for this kinda thing and I was planning on just going and getting food on the way to the park. Well I still went and got some food. I grabbed a bit extra for some people who didn't know we were having a picnic and a few homeless guys that attend church. A couple other people had the similar idea of grabbing food on the way so we went and got some food. It didn't see like a lot just a few loafs of bread some cheese meat and vegetables. But when we got back to the church and started setting everything out that we had bought and that others had brought we had a feast! And yes the food is all gone now but we didn't know what we had in then amount of food until we had set it our to share.
So next time you think about no knowing what you have until its gone try sharing what you still have left and see home much you really have to give to the glory of God :).

As always thank you for your support :) I love all of you and Happy Mothers Day to all the moms, Especially Mine :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Its all in perspective.

Hello My Readers. Have you missed me? I am sorry it has been so long. I was going to try and do a full newsletter but I couldn't figure it out. I will work on it for next quarter!

So I want to take this time at the start and just say that I want to become more specific what I post here and I have started a new site on google+ with pictures and I plan on putting weekly updates up there (maybe more often we shall see) https://plus.google.com/101792043542777216030 Just copy and past this link. I have been busy with uploading pictures today so enjoy :)

Okay so my thoughts recently have been on perspective.
On Friday my landlord was suppose to come by to pick up rent but something came up so he was not able to and I did not go get the money for it. This has happened before and is no big deal usually he comes Wednesday the next week or gives us a day notice. Monday as I woke up later in the day since it was my day off I forgot about my Ukrainian lesson, then got a call from my roommate that the landlord wanted to come get rent. That mean my day off in which I was going to stay warm and inside was now going to have an adventure across town in the cold to an ATM. Like most people I have my favorite ATM and when I got there freezing cold it was broke :( I tried several more until I found one that worked. I was so cold after hunting down this ATM that all I wanted to do was get home and have some coffee. As I shivered my way home I fell right in the middle of the road, hard. It hurt and it made me mad. I rushed home just wanting some coffee. I got in and we were all out of coffee. It was not a good start to the day. The rest of the day was fine though so it wasn't horrible all day long. I called my roommate and he brought me some coffee I just had to be patient. 

On Tuesday I had a change of perspective on the whole situation. 
I spend lots of time walking. It is a 15min walk to the student center from my house. I spend this time often praying and reflecting. On Tuesday I was thinking of something I had read that many of you might have read about someone questioning God about their bad day. I began to think back on my day. 1) I had a nice warm bed to sleep in and even got a chance to sleep in, hundreds of people have died this month because they had to sleep in the cold. 2) When I feel there was an old lady about to cross the opposite way, she saw me fall and knew it was slick, I am young and the pain passed faster than the embarrassment, she could have ended up in the hospital if it was her. 3) I have 2 student roommates, and its no different here sometimes students procrastinate and have to stay up all night, and both of my roommates have early classes, so I am glad we have coffee so they can stay awake when they need to and wake up for classes in the morning.

There are lots of things that happen to us in life and it is up to us if we are going to let those things have a positive impact on us or a negative one. All we have to do is change the perspective that we have. Even if we are in a bad situation we cannot change right away we still have the power to look at it in a new light! (its cold here but it makes me appreciate the summer so much more)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Month really? Oops!

WOW! I want to start this blog off with saying that I am sorry for the length of time it has been since my last post. I will try to inform you what is going on what I have been doing and how life is, and I will try to make it not super long...So here Goes!!!!

First I want to start with a financial report! GOD PROVIDES!!! We are asked to raise $2500 a year to help cover some of the over head cost and salaries of ourselves and other missionaries. I have had trouble raising that money for some different reasons, (Before I left I was so busy leaving I couldn't raise money, I have been raising money for rent, ect. ect.) well the other day I checked my advance account and had a donation from a church that I have never heard of and it more than covered the amount I was to raise.
As for my rent we have raised enough money so far to cover the missing $25 that we will need each month and the first little bit of fees and unexpected monies. And money is still coming in! Thank you for all the support!

So we made it to Poland and back safe and sound with very little problems. We are very thankful for all the prayers. We left at midnight on Monday night and arrived early Tuesday morning. We experienced a little change in the time problem. They opened at 9 and we thought it was 9 but didn't know there was a time change of 1 hour so we had an extra hour to wait. Next we went to the bank and had just a small hiccup that we were able to resolve with little frustration. Later that day we received our visas and had planned to leave the next night and do some site seeing but it turned out that we only could get a train the next day at noon. So no site seeing for us :(.
Unfortunately that is not the worst part of the process. The visas we received are only 45 day visas and we now have to register here in L'viv. That means we have lots more paper work and more fees to pay. However the 45days is kind of a joke. The holiday season starts for New Years and everything is closed for nearly 2 weeks and we have to be registered by January 14th. SO PRAY FOR US PLEASE!!!!!

So yesterday was St. Nicholas day! Holidays are a bit different here because they use the orthodox calendar. So my parents sent a box that contained a gift for me and then a gift for each of my roommates, and we decided to wait until yesterday to open them. So I was awaken with my roommates sneaking into my room to deliver a St. Nick gift and then we opened the gift from my parents. It was NERF GUNS which is a tradition in my family and at 7am me and my roommates enjoyed a NERF war!
Other holiday plans! So for western Christmas we are have been invited to celebrate with and American Family on Sunday night and Monday and it is very exciting!
And the last big plan for Holidays. On December 29th we will be joined by Michael another missionary!

Okay I know I said I would try and write blog to reflect on Advent. However I noticed a few things as I started to think about what I would write. First, I realized that I really don't know much about what is going on because church is in Ukrainian and I don't know Ukrainian. Second, even if I did understand Ukrainian I am not sure I have ever truly appreciated Advent enough to write about differences between advent here and advent in the states.

Last piece of big news. I have always loved having a pet, usually in my life it has been a dog. Living in the City though I would prefer not to have a pet that big (and I don't think my landlord would let me). I was really thinking of getting a pet rat, but my roommate was really not accepting of that so we came to a compromise and got a rabbit. In my creative mind and as a missionary sticking to the religion theme I named him RABBI!!!

Thank you all so much for your support and prayer and I would love to hear some of your thoughts and updates from all of you!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Great Day of Thanks and more

So I celebrated my first real Holiday in Ukraine on Thursday and it was great. We were invited to Thanksgiving dinner with 23 other Americans at the house of Blessings (that's one of the missionary families last names :P). It was wonderful. The day before I cooked my dads potato salad and then made cucumber salad. As I walked to Katie's on Thursday so that we could journey to the meeting spot together I reflected on what I was thankful for. Many things ran through my head, friends, family, and opportunities were among the first but I also felt they were very cliche things even though I am thankful for them. As I pondered about how cliche they seem I passed a dog that was dancing after using the bathroom and I started to laugh as I looked up still laughing I saw a complete stranger laughing too and we locked eyes and it was then that I knew what I was most thankful for...Sharing laughs with strangers. While this person is still a stranger to me and I may never see them again (and if I do I sure won't recognize them) I realized how it is through laughter that we turn strangers into friends. Everyone we know yes even our parent were at some point a stranger to us but through laughs we have become friends, acquaintances, and family with these people whom we love.


Another thought that has consumed much of my thoughts over the past days: The Body of Christ!
As some of you know and some of you are about to learn, I have a slightly negative attitude toward churches at times. I have seen much arguing over stupid things, lots of division among congregations, and I despise the idea of the separation of the church through denominations. I see these things often as the body of Christ being divided, and as we know a house divided cannot stand so what makes us think a body divided can function. It has been this idea that has had me nervous about ever working in a church. But as I walk around the city (I do it every day to get to work) I think. Today as I walked to the feeding ministry (every 2 weeks we gather with some of the other missionaries and some Ukrainians to deliver a small bag of groceries to some of the poor among the city) I noticed the body of Christ not divided. I am here as a missionary sent by the United Methodist Church, some of the other missionaries are Baptist, and some are Non-Denominational. We are different denominations, we have different theologies, but we work together as the body of Christ, we each have other parts of ministry out side of the feeding ministry that we do as well and I pondered on how wonderful that was. Even more so I begin to think about the Ukrainians that are there with us and the ones that come to our student center...Many of them are Catholic or Orthodox and I realized how the body of Christ is working not only over denominational boundaries but through confessional boundaries as well. I was shocked that I had never realized this before and I thought about just how wonderful God truly is and that no matter what his will be done!

God Bless and Happy Thanksgiving,

PS. Hopefully I will have another blog filled with stuff about my trip to Poland and our visa getting experience.