Over the next few weeks I’d like to introduce you to the UTSIM staff. I’ve asked them to write a small snippet about themselves and what they do at UTSIM. Today let’s meet Neil and Simbo.

Neil Rhodes

“As acting director for UTSIM I would like to thank Jono Miller for the amazing foundation he has established which has enabled us to effectively teach English to Ukrainians. Here is a great testimony to the importance the school has in our small town. We were invited to one of the public schools to meet a group of five young people with the Peace Corps. They will be teaching English in this public school for the next two and half months. The Chief of Police and the Deputy Mayor also attended the meeting at which time the Deputy Mayor with pride introduced UTSIM as "their" town’s private English school. The Chief of Police also acknowledged that his son was being taught in our school.

Thank you for your support of this school, we appreciate it very much.”

Simeon Ewing

“Who am I in UTSIM? I am the only Queen’s-English-speaking member of the entire UTSIM staff, is who I am! I’m British is what I am, Scottish to be exact (whatever Jono may tell you to the contrary!).

I volunteer for 2 afternoons a week, teaching a total of 10 kids spread out over three lessons.

I have nothing contrary to say about Simbo (Simeon). He is a proud, passionate Scot – and I can’t believe he didn’t mention he was a Ross County supporter!



What do I miss about Ukraine? Well I’m just wondering where are all the big black cars with tinted windows speeding on the shoulders and wrong side of the road? Actually, it’s rather weird to see the kids I taught in grade 3 all getting their licences and driving everywhere. I tell them not to speed. I know they will. I really hope they don’t. I know I thought I was invincible when I was young. This week I was privileged to have dinner with Ian and Mariann Evans, parents of Steph who was tragically killed in a car accident two years ago. If I can encourage anyone to drive carefully – I will take the time to do that.

I am very grateful to have a wonderful car to drive thanks to Dave Gillies. A big thanks to you Dave for your generosity.

NZ loses about 380 lives a year on the roads, Australia about 1500, Ukraine about 10 000. I am thankful to be alive after a horrific crash earlier this year.


Nastya has been away all week at a course and so I have not had any contact with her. Mikhyey is spending time with his Grandma. Spare a thought for all my Ukrainian friends who are heading into winter yet again. It lasts a long time and the weather right now is about 5 degrees!


I’ve almost finished the first 100 pages of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. However the book is 964 pages long so I have a way to go. Tolstoy gives profound comments throughout the narrative. I associated with the comment he makes as Prince Andrew is about to leave his young and pregnant wife to go to war. “When starting on a journey or changing their mode of life, men capable of reflection are generally in a serious frame of mind. At such moments one reviews the past and plans for the future.”


To the Watkins family for such a wonderful haven of a place to live.

Love Jono

Keep Looking Up


I'd just like to mention that I actually typed this update on Monday - before I had heard about the horrific crash in Ukraine. So mentioning drivers in Ukraine had nothing to do with this week's crash. I you don't know about that look up http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101012/ap_on_re_eu/eu_ukraine_bus_train_col... and remember to pray for the families of the victims.

1 decade ago

Jono, you've done an amazing job with your website.

1 decade ago

thanks - actually I just write what you read, my brother Tim manages it, and Amanda makes my pages every week
so thanks team

1 decade ago