Our family recently returned to Ukraine after a three-month visit to America. While in the US, we got to reconnect with precious friends and family, we reported on our ministry, we took a huge road trip, and we even got to visit the Ark Encounter!

A Chapter of Blessing

Joshua Steele · January 25, 2019

On December 14, 2018, amidst heavy snowfall, our plane finally touched down at the airport in L’viv. We were all exhausted and several of us were suffering from colds, but we were glad to be back home in Ukraine. God blessed our visit to America in many wonderful ways, and in this admittedly overdue report, we’d like to share with you a few of the highlights.

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Our God Knows Logistics

Once upon a time we were a missionary couple with a baby. We could be neatly tucked away in the guest bedroom or share a ride to church. Today we are a clan. We can’t ride with you in your minivan. We need the whole minivan!

As Kelsie and I began planning our trip, I remember wondering how we would overcome these logistical hurdles during our stay in the US. But God never wonders. He knows every detail, and He is able to provide real, practical solutions that meet our needs. By the time our family arrived in the States, God had provided a beautiful 2015 Toyota minivan which we leased from the good folks at Missionary TECH Team in Longview, TX.

One last photo before we turned in the minivan. This vehicle was a big blessing to our family during our stay. Its fleet number, 34, was a reminder of one of our favorite passages: “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” (Psalms 34:8)

But what to do about housing? While in Houston, we were able to stay with Kelsie’s parents, since they have several spare bedrooms available. And in Fort Worth, where space was more limited, we were able to stay on my parents’ property thanks to our friends, the Critz’s, who loaned us their travel trailer. This beautiful trailer is 37 feet long, has fully-functional kitchen and bathroom facilities, sleeps up to ten people, and even has a master bedroom with a queen-size bed!

Big thank-you to John and Courtney Critz for loaning us their travel trailer!

With the Powells in Houston

We spent the first month of our trip in Houston with Kelsie’s family. Baba and Granddad certainly had a house-full, but there were many moments of joy and sweet fellowship. The kids spent their days feeding the chickens, riding bikes, reading stories, and splashing in the puddles caused by the seemingly endless rains.

Time for a bed-time story with Granddad. 🥰
Kelsie in Houston with her parents, Cindy and Danny

See more Houston photos in our Facebook album!

With the Powells in Houston

The Road Trip

One of the highlights of our stay in the US was our Big East Road Trip. During the first two weeks of October, we logged over 3,000 miles on the minivan as we traveled through Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and North Carolina. Along the way we visited many old friends and also met some new ones. If you’d like to read more about the trip and see our favorite photos, be sure to keep scrolling!

Kathryn enjoys a her first-ever camel ride at the Ark Encounter!
Day 2 at Answers in Genesis, and its time for the Creation Museum!
Quick selfie with David by the Ohio River
Talk about a 3D puzzle… We packed this thing to the gills!

See more Road Trip photos in our Facebook album!

The Big East Road Trip

With the Steeles in Fort Worth

After returning from our road trip, we transitioned from Houston up to Fort Worth to spend time with the Steele side of the family. Even though we slept out in the trailer, we spent a lot of time with Nana and Granddad in the main house. Every Saturday was Family Day, and my siblings and their families would often join us for meals and activities. Mom and Dad’s SteeleCreek Farm has lots of outdoor space — the perfect place for all the cousins to get reacquainted!

The Steele Family — Fall, 2018
Mom and Dad have a beautiful patio off the back of their house. The girls love spending time out there — especially if it means art with Granddad!
Getting some snuggle time with Nana

See more Fort Worth photos in our Facebook album!

With the Steeles in Fort Worth

A Big Thank-You!

Traveling internationally is always an exhausting venture, especially for a large family. And yet, as we close this chapter of our lives, we cannot help but marvel at the blessings that were showered upon us. To all of you who housed us, fed us, and gave of yourselves to bless us in many other ways, we would like to extend our sincerest thanks. You were the reason we came, and because of your kindness, we feel refreshed and encouraged as we open a new chapter here on the mission field.

After returning to Ukraine, it was wonderful to be reunited with our church family in L’viv!

See more Ukraine photos in our Facebook album!

Back in Ukraine

How You Can Pray

  • Praise the Lord for His provision and blessing during our trip to the US!
  • Pray for a strong team for CMO 2019.
  • Pray for health and strength for our family.
  • Pray for peace and liberty in Ukraine.
Ben and Karen Sargent have recently joined our ETO staff team. We had a fun time visiting their home in North Carolina!
Ben and David explore the creek
Feeding the cows with Uncle Ben. What could be more fun?
Karen and the girls hiking in a park during our stay with the Sargents
During our stop at Cane Creek, the kids had fun playing in creek with Debi!
There are few blessings in life to match the gift of Godly parents. I love you, Mom and Dad!
Wow — Nana and Granddad Steele are up to 12 grandkids now!
We always love visiting Kelsie’s grandparents, “Gramps” and “Ma”. Here, David gets to meet Gramps for the first time!
Group hug with Ma!
When at Nana’s house, no need to get dressed for the day. Just head out the back door and enjoy the scenery!
The Durands have prayed for and supported our family for many years, and during our road trip we finally got to meet them!
It was such a blessing to be at our home church in Texas, Fairpark Baptist.
We are always so blessed when we are able to spend time with our pastor in the US, Bro. Kevin Hymer and his wife Althea. They are dear friends and allies in ministry!
While in TN, we stayed with long-time friends Steve and Sara Bailey. Hosanna particularly enjoyed milking the cows each morning with Sara.
The last time I saw Ben Torkelson, we were both around 20, unmarried, working in Indianapolis at the ITC. Now, almost 20 years later, I’m married with 5 kids, and he’s married with 10! Thanks for a great time of fellowship, Ben. It was wonderful catching up and spending time with you guys!
Playing tetherball at Family Camp with my nephew Caleb
John Critz and I grew up together in Fort Worth. It was great to catch up with him and his family!
Kelsie and Katrina had fun catching up during our stopover in Ohio!
Ify and his wife Simone go to church with Kelsie’s parents. He is from Nigeria and she is from the UK. We were so encouraged to hear the story of how God brought them together and how He is using them in ministry today!
The Steele brothers together again: Joshua, Jonathan, Jeremy, and Josiah. Love these guys!
While were in Houston, Ralph and his family drove down to visit us from Quebec. It was fun to finally meet the whole Villenueve family!
Catching up with Mindy and Ryan Atkinson. Thanks for hosting us guys!
My sister Jessica planned a fun Thanksgiving play for all the cousins. Even a couple of the uncles got involved!
Kelsie and her mom, Cindy
Getting some snuggle time with Baba
A fun trip to Magnolia, TX, with all the Steele ladies!
To God be the Glory

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