We have been overseas now for 4 years (half of our married lives) - the other 4 years we spent in Tauranga and we were youth pastors there in a church called "Lifezone".
While living here in Ukraine Jon got involved in a band called Kroke. One of the backing vocalists became a good friend, and also ended up working at the school we taught at. She was interested in our country and culture, and ended up learning "E te Ariki" a beautiful worship song in Maori.
October 2008 she sang that sung un-accompanied at a conference talent quest. You could have heard a pin-drop, it sent shivers down my spine to hear her sing. Her voice was too good to do nothing, so we then started looking into ideas and places that would help further her singing and also set her up with some life skills.
I happened across Excel School of Performing Arts website not long after that, and to cut a long story short (after documents, visa etc etc.) she was winging her way to Auckland, New Zealand to study for 9 months there in 2009. You can listen to E te Ariki here as it became her audition song.
But that is only half the story...the actual course is 2 years long, with the second year being a performance tour of the whole of NZ, if you got picked to go. Although she did get chosen, there was only enough funds for the first year, so October last year she was on her way back to Ukraine.
2 weeks into January this year she gets the email of her life saying that they will offer her a scholarship for the next year and can she get there ASAP! 3 trips to Moscow later, and a visa & ticket finds her back in NZ.
Tomorrow night (4th June 2010) she will be in Tauranga performing at Lifezone for the Highlife youth service!!
It is amazing to think that the youth we were are part of will now be blessed by a person we sent to NZ from the country we are living in! God is good!