Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ukraine: Saturday, July 12th

After such a long day (almost 2 days) of travel, I awoke at 5:30 am and couldn't fall back asleep. I finally got myself out of bed at 6:30, took a shower and got ready for the day.

Cheryl, Debbie and I ate breakfast with our host family. The husband's name is Vasya and the wife's name is Mariya. They have 2 boys: Misha, 23, and Vitalik, 13. Neither spoke English well, but we had some conversation with them. We were all able to tell them about our families and our work. For breakfast we were served granola cereal, yogurt (the best yogurt ever!), bananas, meat, cheese, bread and crackers. All of it was very good.

The first taxi ride was good. Mariya called for our taxi and instructed him where to go. He took us straight to Cornerstone. No major events to tell about. Once at Cornerstone, we went through our orientation. We learned about Ukrainian customs, language, and our schedule for the week. We also had time for some praise and worship and devotions.

After orientation, we went out for pizza. Now their pizza is totally different than ours. There really isn't any sauce on the pizza. Just cheese and toppings. No pepperoni or sausage. But they did have olives, tomatoes, ham, pineapple, and other things too. I opted for just olives. When they served the pizza, they offer a dipping sauce, which was essentially ketsup. Ukrainians dip a lot of things in ketsup, I guess. The pizza was good, just not like home.

When lunch was done, we walked over to the church to see what Children's Church was like. Our "home" church for the week is one room. The sanctuary and that's it. Sunday school really isn't an option for the kids, because they don't have anywhere to meet. The first thing we saw at Children's Church was their praise and worship team. They have 4 girls singing and 3 kids doing the motions to the songs. It was loud, lively music. All the kids were having a blast! It was awesome to see them in true, genuine worship. After worship, they played games and had a bible based lesson. It was really cool to see that not just one person ran the show. It was a combination of 5 or 6 ladies who divided up the duties to make it work. A true network of help.

After Children's Church, we walked through town and eventually ended up at Patrice and Alex's house. In town, we got to see the shops and markets. Nothing chain, all family owned businesses. A lot of street vendors selling produce and goods. We even walked through an open air market where you could buy almost any grocery. Extremly fresh!

At Alex and Patrice's they prepared hamburgers for us for dinner. While they were preparing dinner, most of us Americans took a nap in their living room. We were all exhausted, still trying to adjust to the 10 hour difference! We had yummy hamburgers for dinner. After dinner, the women from the church came over for a Women's Fellowship.

Some ladies from our group shared their testimonies. Some Ukrainian ladies shared theirs. Mariya (our host Mommy) shared her testimony. She is an incredible woman of God. She will get her own post later... One Ukrainian woman asked how many of us do NOT come from Christian homes, or don't have Christian husbands. Some of us raised our hands, and she asked how we did it. How did we come to know Christ? How do we live out a Christian life without a Christian husband? God truly used this time for Jan to speak out of her experience and testimony. She was able to really relate and touch this woman's life. I believe she got the encouragement she was seeking by hearing Jan's story. It was truly moving.

We ended the night in prayer. First the American ladies surrounded the Ukrainians in a circle. We prayed aloud for them. Then we switched. When the Ukrainian women prayed, It was amazing. They are very dramatic and dynamic in their prayers. Very emotional and heartfelt. I just wish I knew what they were saying! :)

Overall we had a very good day. We got to see and learn the basics of Ukrainian life.