Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Looking Back Part 2: Welcome to Ukraine

This is Part 2 of the Looking Back series, to read Part 1, go here.

This post isn't really "from my heart", as my heart wasn't broken by hanging around our apartment... but the next ones will be. :)

Two years ago today, was my first full day in Ukraine, and it was a Saturday. After getting off the train, and getting into our apartment, it was a day of unpacking, relaxing, and started preparations for the full week ahead of us.
After unloading all of us, and our 25 some pieces of luggage (all the extras were ministry stuff)
Train station

View as you walk in the door to our apartment. There are 4 rooms at the end of the hallway, 2 bedrooms, one bathroom with a toilet, and one bathroom with a washer, sink, and shower. (Very helpful that they are separated when everyone is taking showers at the end of the day!) The room the is open on the left is my bedroom, and the kitchen is to my left if I turned 90 degrees, cut off of the picture.

Our apart was extremely nice, largely due to the fact it the church owns it and rents it to American and Canadian missionaries. It much nicer than we expected, it was very large as far as Ukrainian apartments go, and it had air conditioning. :)

My bed for the next 2 weeks
Our teeny tiny table for 7 of us. I have to add in here that we did not make our own food or eat in our apartments. We had extremely hard working cooks who served our food at a shelter thing in the pastor's yard. Their food was amazing!!!
This thing is seriously amazing! lol It's a water heater, and it heats hot water in 1-2 minutes. It fostered my love for tea which began when I was in Ukraine.
Our kitchen shade fell down, when us dumb Americans tried to open the Ukrainian window the American way.... so Alice tried to fix it...
She fixed it up really good! ;) After this, she gave up, and we didn't have a window shade the rest of our trip!
The little store by our apartment
 Note to Rachel and Ashley: the white display case, 3rd one down is Milka chocolate. :)
Brooke and her ice cream :)

What the side of a typical building looks like
Stray Cats - Stray cats and dogs are EVERYWHERE in Ukraine!
This picture always cracks me up! Recycled raised bed! :)
See that fence with the yellow diamond on it?? Inside that fence is the baby orphanage. "Orphanage 14" for you RR people. This is the orphanage I went to later of and met Logan, and several other kids at.

Sunday (two years ago tomorrow) was filled with two services several hours long, getting over jetlag, and more preparing for the coming week. The services were AMAZING. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

We got to the church early and went in a back way and went upstairs to Pastor Gregory's office to pray with him, and Max, and several others. We had left on our mission trip shortly after we had started the adoption process for Elijah. We had told Max on the train ride down, and he told Pastor Gregory Sunday morning. Pastor Gregory did not understand at all why we would want to adopt a child with special needs. Through Max translating Dad was able to tell him a little about why. Pastor Gregory asked Dad to pray for him, that he would be able to understand why someone would want a "disabled child". I felt this important to add so you can understand a little more of the culture there. Because the older adults were raised in the Soviet era, it is much harder for them to accept than it is for the younger generations. It's everyone, from the average babushka, to a pastor of a mega church. And because of this thinking is why it is soo hard to make changes to help children with special needs in their own countries, and why these children can live a better life here.

I shall tell you about our introduction to the church. Well, when it was time for the service to start, we went down the stairs, and through a passage way to a door. I just figured it must be a side door going in. The door opened, we all went out, and we had come through the door up on the stage, up in front. Everybody was already there, and the whole church, all 1200+ people, stood and clapped for us. Then we were led down to sit in the front row. It was a little weird, and shocking! :) How many churches have introduced you like that?
Pastor Gregory holding Olivia. Olivia was the team leaders adopted daughter. He was saying how she had a her own seat on his belly. :)
Then... came an even bigger shock. When Pastor Gregory was doing the opening or whatever, he asked Dad and I to come up and talk about our adoption. Totally unexpected! Dad handled it much better than I did, and I didn't have to say anything, besides when Pastor Gregory asked me (through Max) after Dad was done talking if I was excited to have a new little brother. I said "Yes, I am!" :) And then we got to sit back down. It's a little nerve-racking being put on the spot in front of 1200+ people! Luckily, only about 20 would know if I messed up my words in English. ;)

There is absolutely no way to describe the worship and the service, well, mainly the worship. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before, and it took my breath away. Even though the worship was in Russian, we recognized quite a few songs. The problem was trying to remember the words and sing them at the same time. It's MUCH harder than you would think. :) After awhile, I just gave up, and took in the atmosphere. The Holy Spirit was there, and it soo evident, you could just feel it with everything you had. Like I said amazing. You would have to be there to understand. It's indescribable. Because someone from our team preached (I don't remember who...), we got to listen in English, and then it was translated into Russian.

I think I might have some video, but they may have been lost. I'll look tomorrow, and if I find them, you'll get a surprise post tomorrow, which I'm not planning on doing. :) I don't have any pictures from Sunday, at all. Humph. Oh well, you'll just have to take my word for it.

Stay tuned for part 3! Thanks for reading! And Happy 4th of July! :)

1 comment:

  1. Ugh, now I want to go back! Thanks a lot Sarah! ;)


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