Our Odessa family

02/04/2012 04:34

Our son, Brian, prayed a beautiful prayer for us yesterday  and sent it to us on Facebook and it encouraged us so much. It’s a prayer that I think we will go back and re-read several times during this trip. I thought I’d start this blog off with the prayer for you to read as well. Hopefully it won’t keep him from writing his prayers out in the future. :)  Thanks Bub! We love you!



18 hours ago

Brian DeFrees


You're wisdom is shown through Your plan for mom and dad. You're mighty hand and sovereignty is so evident during this process. Job 42:2 the will of the Lord cannot be thwarted. I pray and claim that truth today. Give faith and belief where mom and dad doubt and fail to trust. Let them be assured that You are caring for them. Thank you for showing your faithfulness and showing your strong love for my parents this trip. Let them cherish this special time they have together and that they have with old friends in Ukraine. Ukraine is such a special place for them and I pray that in the midst of all of the stressful process that they remember You and Your unfailing faithfulness. I am so excited to see how else You will come through strongly. We expect you to continue to do awesome things, Lord. We know and truly believe you care enough to take care for us. I pray that you continue to break through the walls of this adoption process. That you will continue to soften the hearts of those who have turned cold toward mom and dad adopting. Let papers be signed, taxis to be delivered, and hearts to be changed by the light you shine through my parents. Thank you for them and the passion they have for you and for those you have created. You are overwhelmingly amazing. Give them joy today. I love you God and I thank you for the amazing story you have for each of our lives. Let this story be one that changed not only my parents life, Luke’s life, but also those who my parents come into contact with. Use them!



Meredith, our daughter in law, sent us a perfect verse yesterday, Romans 8:31. Dana and the boys have been encouraging us on Skype and e-mail. My mom sent an e-mail with lots of encouragement and Scripture as well. We have loved receiving e-mails from our friends and family. Keep them coming! We love hearing from home. Even a "like" on a status update makes us smile and reminds us that you are praying for us. Thank you so much!

!We are staying with a wonderful Christian family while we are here in Odessa. Some of you may have met my other Ukrainian “son”, Tolik, when he was in San Antonio a few years ago. He is an awesome young man, who loves the Lord and loves people and is also extremely funny. I met Tolik on my first trip to Ukraine and loved him right away. He was on our mission team and was one of our translators. His passion for God and the kids shines through him. His whole family shines with God’s light and they all have a wonderful sense of humor. It amazes me that they would invite strangers into their home who don’t speak the same language and who would have a very different schedule than them. Tolik’s mom and dad do not speak a lot of English but it doesn’t keep them from allowing Americans to stay with them and it doesn’t keep them from communicating with us. We all talk and laugh and fellowship together. It’s adorable and such a blessing to see what a strong example of love Tolik’s parents’ marriage is. They adore each other. Mamma Luda (Tolik’s mom) gives God the glory for everything-the fact that they have heat, and so many in Odessa do not, the fact that they have jobs, food, and a home, and a strong Christian family-all the glory goes to God. Slava Bogo-Praise God. Mamma Luda’s mom is also staying here. She lives in a village that is a few hours away and she has no heat. She does not speak English but she is so fun to talk with. She LOVES Bill! So does Mamma Luda. “He good man.” :)  Yes, he is. Bill tells them “good morning” in Russian and gives them lots of hugs. We really appreciate them so much.

My other “son” has been wonderful about picking us up when ever he can and taking us to go get Luke. We have done that two times so far. It has done wonders with bonding. Luke is warming up to Bill, who he really hasn’t spent any time with before. We ate at a cafe style restaurant above a store two nights ago and Luke loaded his tray down with lots of food. Mamma Luda and Papa sent some apples with us from their farm so we could give them to Luke. They are so delicious. Luke checked out the computer with every button available and we looked at pictures on it as well. We wanted WiFi so we could see more things so we decided to go to McDonalds for WiFi and coffee. Luke ate both apples on the way there. McD’s WiFi wouldn’t work so we ate ice cream and drank coffee and played with apps on the phone and talked a lot. It snowed a little while we were inside.

Last night we went to pick him up and he said he was at the police station. That scared us all a little but he said it was ok, he was making a police report about a stollen phone. When he came to us he explained it all and also said he made one before on a stollen wallet. I asked if it was the wallet we gave him. Awww, you should have seen his cute little face. He barely, barely shook his head yes. It was ok, of course. It’s not his fault. I asked him if the pictures were in there and he said no. “My son” who is driving us explained that Luke is learning all about children’s rights in school and he read all about what his rights were with stealing from a child and he made his case to the police and they wrote everything down, including his 13 grivna, which is $1.62. Luke said the police liked him. I have no doubt. :)

We all went to a Pizza restaurant that had WiFi but....of course....it wouldn’t work on our phones or computer. Frustrating but oh well. We had a great time. Luke took a million pictures with my phone and joked a lot with Bill by taking his picture. Later in the evening, we called Pastor Oleg to join us. We had another great visit. My “son” then had to go run an errand for a friend so we left to go take Luke back. He has to be back by 10:00 anyway and we got him there just in time.

Today we will go get Luke but I don’t know exactly what we’ll do. We will meet my good friend Alyona (a different Alyona. Our mission team calls her Tall Aloyna) later in the day and probably go to her house. Alyona also translates for us and is part of our mission team when our group from SA Christian School goes to Ukraine. She and I love each other like sisters. So we call each other “sister”. 

Tomorrow we will go to Tolik’s family’s church. We have been there a few times before and are looking forward to it. Next Sunday we will go to Pastor Oleg’s church and can’t wait for that. Luke will be there too. Oleg already told Bill to have a small speech prepared. We hope to go to a church that is by Orphanage #5 some time as well. We have gone there a few times in the summer. It is the church that our mission team has been allowed to take many of the orphans to. 

Please pray for Tolik as he has had a constant pain in his neck and head. He had been unable to find out what is causing the pain and he is miserable. Also, pray for us to get a certain judge when we go to. I won’t go into detail here, but God will know what you’re talking about. Also, continue to pray for bonding and for peace in Luke’s spirit about his decision. 


Bill and I feel so blessed to have so many friends here and also so very blessed to have so many friends and family taking care of our family at home. Our kids have been telling us how well they are being taken care of. They are overwhelmed by the care and love people are  showing them. Thank you so much! We love all of you so much and appreciate everything you are doing! And thank you so much for your prayers and your encouragement. 

Soccer family.....GO LIONS GO!!!! We can’t believe we’re missing playoffs but we know you’ll cheer on the Lions extra loud for us!

One of the views outside the apartment