I woke up to cowbells outside the window. Not long afterward, Gwen exploded, “Mom, you have to come see this!” With as much enthusiasm as 6am allowed, I joined her in the room with the best view of the local mountains: the upstairs bathroom. “There’s horses!” Sure enough, three horses (Gwen said it was five, but she’s seven, loves horses and dreams a little) grazed peacefully in the fenceless field across the street, the white one nearest us sporting a cowbell around her neck. After encountering on multiple occasions a flock of sheep that moved from field to field all over this area last fall, why am I not surprised?

I think God smiled at Gwen’s excitement that morning, just as I think He smiles when our hearts thrill with thanks to Him at the adventure and vistas as we hike along local trails in the Alps’ foothills, or when our hands find ways to help our church as it houses some Ukrainians temporarily relocated from their homes. We go each Monday and are now greeted by friendly smiles and greetings, though language remains a barrier. One gal is a hairstylist and gave each of our girls their first ever “real” haircut by someone besides Mom.

Our involvement with the Ukrainians is small, but God is doing big things among them. Would you join us in praying that someday they will look back and realize that God brought them out of their own country so they could find Him and return with Him inside them? One of them, Victor speaks excellent English and is a strong believer, acting as a pastor among them, even as their heartaches and hard news continue and grow.

Considering their situation, we feel frivolous as Zoe and I fly to Sicily next week to swim back to the boot of Italy across the Strait of Messina. I’m thankful she has chosen to do this as a fund raiser for Compassion International so that it has purpose beyond simple appreciation for God’s creation and its interplay with us adventurous humans.

We do ask that you’d continue to ask God for clarity as we seek to understand what place and purpose He desires for us and our little lives. And please let us know how we might accompany you in prayer as well.

Progression of teeth. Gwen went from three front teeth to only one. This was her one-day pause at two…

On a local hill top.