Posted on February 2, 2024
It's official! The Day Family is returning to Ukraine! We are planning to fly from Houston to Krakow, Poland on February 28, and then continue our journey to Lviv, Ukraine by car. (We can't fly directly into Lviv because Ukrainian airspace is still closed.) Thanks to that final leg by car, this trip is going to be even more of a marathon than the trip usually is!
Marathons notwithstanding, the different components of our return are falling into place. We recently found a buyer for our van, found an apartment to rent in Lviv, and were issued Ukrainian visas. (Because we weren't able to renew our old residency permits, due to not being in the country, we are having to start over from scratch.) Our last few weeks in the States will be full of selling/giving away/packing up our stuff, wrapping up our affairs, and saying our goodbyes.
Please do keep our family in prayer as we return to Ukraine. While most of the big puzzle pieces have fallen into place, there is still a mountain of little things that have to be taken care of. I know everything will come together, but the road is going to feel a bit bumpy at times.
One of the main concerns regarding our return to Ukraine, both for us and others, is for our safety. After all, there's a war going on in Ukraine. And while that is true, the war has not affected all areas of Ukraine equally. There are some parts of Ukraine that are very dangerous. But there are other parts where life continues on almost unchanged as it did before the war, with the exception of the occasional missile strike. But to put things in perspective, in the part of Ukraine that we will be living in, you are about 10 times more likely to die in a car accident than in a missile strike. So while we will be exposing ourselves to a level of risk, we don't feel like it is an unreasonable level of risk.
Since it as been a long time since our last update (again!), there is a lot to catch up on.
Carpathian Mountain Outreach
Carpathian Mountain Outreach (CMO) took place in August. Some parts of the project were different, in part because of a smaller team, and in part because the war had affected some of the ministry we usually do. Overall however, things went well and it was good for me to get a boots-on-the-ground view of life in Ukraine. If you'd like more details, you can read the updates from CMO on the ETO blog. (Currently they are the most recent three posts.)
The 2023 CMO Team. From the left: Hosanna Steele, Bill Thompson, Nathan Day, Joshua Steele, and Abigail Steele.
By far the biggest event of October was when Kiera Joy joined our family! Her birth went off without a hitch and Kiera has been a (mostly) happy, healthy, and easygoing baby. She has recently started to "talk" to us, and everyone loves her!
Christmas in Colorado
In December, our family traveled to Colorado to spend some time with my side of the family. It was also my first time in five years to be "home for Christmas". After getting in lots of quality time with family, we headed back to Texas for the final push.
I recently had some testing done which showed that I've made significant progress in reducing the levels of toxins in my body. There's still some work to be done, but I've talked with my functional medicine provider, and I'll be able to keep working on things while I'm in Ukraine. The best part is that I'm starting to have more days where I feel good! There is light at the end of the tunnel!
People often wonder what the kids' thoughts are regarding returning to Ukraine. While there are people and things they will be sad to leave behind, everyone agrees that they want to go back to Ukraine. In the mean time, however, life continues on. The kids are still working on school, and soaking up the beautiful weather in our backyard.
Be sure to pop over to the About Us page to snag a copy of our newest prayer card!
Posted on July 23, 2023
As of late, I seem to start each update by commenting on how long it's been since the last update, and this is no exception. I'm not sure if it's the pace of life in America, having five children, or all the things I have on my plate, but I just don't seem to be able to get updates out as regularly as I used to.
Lord-willing, Carpathian Mountain Outreach is finally returning after several years of being sidelined due to Covid and the war in Ukraine! There are multiple factors that will make this year's project more challenging than usual, one of which is that I will be flying in for CMO, instead of already being located in Ukraine and prepared ahead of time. I will be leaving for Ukraine here in a couple weeks, and will be there until the end of August.
Several things to pray for:
- Preparations for CMO
- CMO to run well
- Open doors to share the Gospel
- My family, as this will be our first time to be on opposite sides of the globe
Most of the team from the last time we did CMO, in 2019.
The Steele Family
Our ministry parters, The Steeles, have recently returned to Ukraine, and the only reason we are able to do CMO this year is because they are there on the ground making the necessary preparations. You can read more about their family's return to Ukraine here.
Bible First Online - French
You may remember from our last update that we were hoping to have the French translation of Bible First ready for use by March. Well, that goal turned out to be extremely over-optimistic. I am currently coming down the home stretch on the last few critical pieces that will allow Bible First to be used in French. There will be some final polishing to do, but that can wait until after CMO.
First off, the most exciting news: we are expecting another baby girl! The beginning of the pregnancy was a bit bumpy, but things have been going well for a while now. Katelin recently entered the third trimester, and we are looking forward to the baby's arrival in October.
The kids made Katelin a nice breakfast-in-bed for her birthday!
We are in the thick of a Houston summer, which means lots of time in the neighborhood pool! We recently wrapped up our school year, but there won't be much rest for the weary. We are planning to start next year's school year early so we can take some time off when the baby is born.
Since our last update, I've been working with a functional medicine provider, which has uncovered several latent health issues. Progress has been slow, but it's nice to feel like I'm finally moving in the right direction.
Right now, this is our tentative plan:
- Nathan goes to Ukraine for CMO (and scouts things out for a potential return to Ukraine)
- Baby arrives in October
- Spend the holidays with family
- Return to Ukraine after the New Year?
We definitely don't want to do anything rash, but we also want to be wherever God wants us to be, so we would appreciate your prayers for God's direction!
Posted on January 24, 2023
Once again, it's been a while since our last update. There's lots of ground to cover, so let's get started!
Connecting with Supporters
One of the highlights of the last several months was a trip we made to speak at a couple of churches. We started off by traveling to Bonham, TX, where our family enjoyed getting to know the Littrell family (Katelin and Mary are old friends) and the rest of the folks at their church. I also presented the ministry on Sunday.
We then headed to Northwest Arkansas, were we spent a few days with Katelin's sister, Katrina, and her family. It had been four years since we had seen each other, so there was a lot of catching up to do!
We then headed back to Texas, this time to Fairpark Baptist Church in Fort Worth for their mini family camp/missions conference. Once again, it had been four years since we were there last, so it was good to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. While there, I had the opportunity to preach a message and give an update on our ministry.
Our family enjoyed getting to know the Waller family! David is the new pastor at Fairpark, and Priscilla is another old friend of Katelin's.
Katelin was invited to appear on a friend's podcast, and the interview got broken into two episodes. In the first, Katelin shares about the things that prepared her for missionary life, and in the second, she reflects on her years on the mission field.
Bible First Online - Spanish
There is just a little translation that needs to be done before we can make Bible First in Spanish available online, and we are finally making some progress there! There is a lady at the church we are attending in Houston that is helping us, for which we are very thankful.
Bible First Online - French
We have a contact, J.D. Grimes, who arranged for Bible First to be translated into French. The translation was finished about two weeks ago, and now J.D. has a missionary that would like to use the French translation for a evangelism campaign in March. So as soon as I finish this update, it will be time to put my nose to the grindstone and convert the text into the necessary format.
Good and Evil
Last I heard, about 3,000 copies of Good and Evil have been distributed in Ukraine. 15,000 copies were printed this past summer, so we have about 12,000 copies left. If you'd like to read more, and see some pictures, just click here.
One of the other highlights of the past few months was the vacation that we took to a family camp in northern Texas. I can't say it was very relaxing, because we were so busy, but it was a lot of fun nonetheless!
Hanging out with our little cowhands at the stick-horse rodeo at Family Camp.
For the past several years, I (Nathan) have been dealing with some unexplained fatigue, and while I am still functional, it does take its toll. I've tried various things over the years, and had different tests run, but I've never been able to get to the bottom of things. While we are in the States, we've decided to work with a specialist to try to figure out what is going on.
As to our future plans, we would like to return to Ukraine, but with the war and all, it's still too early to know if and when that return could happen. We would appreciate your continued prayers for God's direction!
Posted on October 5, 2022
It's hard to believe it's been nine months since our last update! A lot has happened since then, so I'll do my best to bring you up to speed, without getting too long-winded!
We were already planning to come back to the States for a furlough in March, and when the rumblings of war with Russia began to get louder in late January, we decided that the better part of wisdom might be to leave a bit earlier, just in case. So we wrapped up all our affairs, put our belongings in storage, said our goodbyes, and left Ukraine on February 15. Nine days later, we watched in disbelief as Russia invaded the land we had called home for over a decade.
Sojourning in America
We spent our first month in America in Houston. One of our priorities was to spend time with Katelin's grandfather, who subsequently passed away while we were in Colorado. God also provided a place for us to live in the Houston area that would come available in July.
We then flew to Colorado, where we reconnected with family and friends there. Among other things, we purchased a van, which has served us well. One of the highlights of our time in Colorado was attending the wedding of my youngest brother, Joseph. Right after the wedding, we were able to take part in Rocky Mountain Outreach, a spin-off of Carpathian Mountain Outreach (CMO), that is organized by a group of CMO alumni.
Handing out wedding programs with the cousins!
It was then time to pack ourselves up once again. Katelin and the kids flew to Houston, while I drove there with our stuff. It took a couple months to get completely settled in to our new house, but it has been nice to have a place to call home.
When the war broke out, the Steele family evacuated to Slovakia. They would like to return to Ukraine in the spring, and they hope to have acquired Slovak residency by then, which would allow them to return to Slovakia if things take a turn for the worse in Ukraine.
Serhii Chepara was not allowed to evacuate because of a law preventing draft-eligible men from leaving the country, so his wife, Natallia, and their children left Ukraine on their own and eventually wound up in Germany. For a while, Serhii kept our on-the-ground ministry operations going, but was then drafted and is currently serving in Odesa.
Tanya Gerasimova is a good friend of ours and the newest member of the team. She has filled in most of the gap that Serhii left when he was drafted.
Remember Denise Hutchison? (Except that she is Denise Ireland now!) When she got married and left town, she had to stop running the correspondence course. But now, people can take the course online, and most of our students do just that. So when Serhii got drafted, Denise jumped back into the fray and is helping Tanya with the grading of the online students.
Bible First: Thanks to Serhii, and now Tanya and Denise, Ukrainians are still able to study the Bible via our correspondence course, Bible First.
Good and Evil: Back in 2018, we printed five thousand copies of Good and Evil. At the beginning of the year, there were still two or three thousand left, but they were quickly distributed once the war began. We were approached by another ministry, which offered to finance the printing of fifteen thousand copies of Good and Evil, if we would handle the printing and distribution. About two weeks ago, the books were delivered to a storage location just outside of Lviv. Pray that God would bless the distribution of these books, which will likely primarily take place via different organizations and churches that are providing humanitarian aid to those impacted by the war.
The books are stacked at the storage location.
Web Development: Bible First is currently available online in Ukrainian and English. However, there are three other languages that are in the final stages of completion: Spanish, Russian, and French. We decided to start with Spanish, as it is the one that is the closest to being ready to go. Josh Steele and I have been working on that recently, and have made good progress.
Leaving Ukraine for an extended period of time was hard, especially for the kids. For them, Ukraine is home, and it is where their friends are (or were). The good news is that America has become more "homey" over time.
Regarding our family's future, the big question is if and when we will return to Ukraine. The short answer is that it's too early to say. The long answer is that while our furlough would be over next summer, the war in Ukraine has complicated things. There are a couple things I will be keeping my eye on: the Steele's potential return to Ukraine in the spring, and CMO. If the Steele's return to Ukraine goes well, it will likely be followed by a CMO. If there is a CMO, I plan to be there for it, and it would double as a scouting trip for our family's potential return.
I think that's about it! That was a long update, but we had a lot of ground to cover. Thanks for continuing to pray for our family and ministry, and hopefully the next update won't be so long in coming!
Be sure to pop over to the About Us page to snag a copy of our newest prayer card!
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