Monday, July 2, 2012

Looking Back Part 1: The Beginning

I am going to start a new series on my blog, and hopefully it will go better than ones I have started (but never finished) in the past. :) As most of you know, I went on a mission trip to Ukraine during the summer of 2010.  That trip changed my life in so many ways. Because I didn't blog about it here, as I had not started this blog yet, most of you only know about it from the little I've mentioned of that trip here. So I am going to start this series as a recap of that trip.

I hope this reading through these posts will give show you, at the very least, what will happen to kids I advocate for if they are not adopted, where they will go, and what life will be like for them. You'll find out more about the amazing Max, and his ministry, including where he ministers at. And you'll find out why I have such a passion for helping the least of these, and why I hope to become a full time missionary to help these precious people.

I hope you'll follow along as I share from my heart about where I left a piece of my heart! Thank you for reading!


Two years ago today was my first day in Ukraine. It was a Saturday. But let me back up to how I got to that day.

A friend of ours, Alice, is a missionary, and she had been over to Ukraine to work with a friend of hers named Max many, many times. When she came to our church to visit and preach, she shared about her work with him a little bit. That is when we first heard about him. When I came up with the idea for the Block Party we were trying to figure out where to send the blankets we were going to be making. Mom came up with the idea to send them to Max. So we contacted Renae, Max's US contact, to ask about sizes and things. When we were emailing back and forth with her, she asked out of the blue (ok not really) if we would want to go to Ukraine with them that summer! Mom said no because she had a nursing baby, but she thought Dad and I might want to go. Dad wasn't an enthusiastic "YES!" like I was right away, but on Easter, I received the best "Easter present" ever! The yes, we were going!! I was soo excited! 
Bake Sale at church
The following months were filled with fundraising, planning, and preparing. This was my second mission trip (we had gone to Louisiana to help with hurricane repair March 2009), but my first international mission trip, my first time leaving the country, and my first time flying. How's a 1 hour flight, a 8 hour flight, and then a 2 hour flight all in a row for a first time flyer? :) I suppose it's no different than adopted kids coming home!

After counting down the days, exactly 2 years ago yesterday, we were off! After several uneventful flights, us, and all our luggage made it to Kiev one year ago today. I blogged about it here. After a not so fun wait in customs line, we were on our way to the train station. We spent a couple hours there in an upper room there, most of which I slept through.  Then we got loaded up onto the overnight train, all 18 of us, a wheelchair, and all 25 (I think) of our suitcases (all the extras were ministry stuff).
Before my first flight - Waiting in Minneapolis
Flight from Germany to Kiev... I think.
Upper room place at train station - If you are going to Ukraine and have time to kill before your train, I highly recommend you go up there. It's only a few grivna (Ukrainian money, about 8 grivna for US $1) to get in, and there is lots of space, couches, TV, and wi-fi. Only con: no bathroom.
Our tiny train compartment - for 4 people, and all the luggage we had.

I think one thing that really helped me preparing for this trip, and being there, was that I had NO expectations besides I was going to spend 2 1/2 weeks loving on people in need of love. I didn't have any expectations, because I didn't know what to except. And because of that, I wasn't really surprised at anything I saw, and didn't have any what could be called culture shock.

Stay tuned for Part 2! :)


  1. Looking forward to reading the rest of this series, Sarah... I'm sure it will bring back many memories of my own :)

  2. SOOOO hard to believe it has been 2 years already...When Daddy heard the Lord's call to go on this trip, I don't think he EVER dreamed he would be going back to Ukraine THREE times in the next 12 months! LOL God is good!


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