Okay so I left y’all with just getting to Kiev. Here we go….
We arrived in Kiev around Sunday afternoon I think (the time thing still messes with me). After exchanging our money we opted for a chic, Ukrainian restaurant….
We were all pretty tired; I was to the point of ready to be sick I was so tired. By this time I think we had been up about 24 hours. We decided to push on through and make it down to supper. That was an experience trying to order and pay and all that. Slightly tired?
The food was amazing and the ice cream was even better! Bro. Jerry shared some of his heart and and some “instructions” before we went to bed. One thing that hit me really hard was about the orphans. I don’t remember what he said, but it shook me almost like I had fallen asleep. Children are precious and those especially that have no home, no family need someone to stand for them. In Ukraine they have no voice, but I am getting ahead of myself. I went to bed that night exhausted, excited and ready to see what God had in store.
Monday, March 26, 2012. I woke up just like any other normal day, but today it was different, I was halfway around the world getting ready to…well I don’t know but there I was! I had enough time to shower and get ready and then it was down to breakfast. Not too different- crepes, jam, bread, cheese and…cucumber and tomato? Yes, and it was- oh, so good. This is actually how every morning went but the food was different so I will spare the food details except to share my favourite breakfast and the best part of every breakfast… The best part of waking up was certainly not Folgers in your cup, it was the tea. I am pretty sure Jerry and I scored in the hot beverage department!Yes, this was my favourite meal for breakfast, and we had it twice. This was probably the meal I was most worried about- Kraut and wieners. Turns out the kraut is not actually sour and the wieners are nothing like our hotdogs.
Anyway moving on. We were finally headed out to Smile House!
There we met Janna and Daniel Ross and got to know Doug Stoddard a little better and meet his family including Petro!
After introductions and a tour of Smile House we received our job orders.
Monday through Thursday we worked at Smile House most of each day. We did such things as painting, cleaning, scraping windows, cleaning the refrigerator, electric, pouring concrete floor, putting up vahonka, etc.
Tuesday was a contemplative day for me with a lot of moments just trying to listen for God. He had some stuff to share with me that was very thought and prayer provoking.
Wednesday we quit a little early so we could go out and see Kiev all lit up. It was quite an experience for this small town girl. I saw things that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. We were approached by a beggar; something I had never really seen (different from those on street corners with signs- yet not- both need Christ’s love). A little later we had a man try to offer the men in our group business cards to a strip club (emphasis on a). Very different from home yet, again, not. It was also this afternoon we found out we would not be able to visit the orphanage at Komrivka because of a quarantine.
Thursday we finished up our work, cleaned up our stations and said good-bye to Smile House. That night we went out for supper with the Stoddards and Rosses. Since we were not able to go to Komrivka Janna and Daniel prepared a slide show to “take” us there and shred some of the kids’ stories. It is so sad hearing what so many have been through and what they have to look forward to. Janna had also prepared a short but moving analogy, but that too will have to be saved for another time.
Friday was our fun day. We went sight seeing. I experienced Ukrainian cappuccino for the first time (or any kind for that matter). Let’s just say that I don’t remember much about the Chernobyl museum. But I do remember the Ukrainian style buffet and “The Memorial to Famines Victims” (yet another later story). The rest of my day was spent a the hospital for about an hour and then later rejoining the team at the other Bridge to Life home, Safe Haven. There we were able to meet some that had graduated from the orphanage. They are amazing men and women “rebelling” against the system, learning the love of Jesus. We experienced more joy there than we had seen in all of Kiev! God’s joy! All too soon it was time for good-byes.
Saturday morning (I think it was around three) came all too soon and too early. We were headed back to the States all a little changed by the experience and all wondering what that next step the is leading us in is.
Shew, this by no means is an exhaustive account of the trip. there are some things I left out that I wish I could share but time and space and just the fact of still cherishing those moments make them hard to share. I know I hinted at a few things and those I will be sure to share when time permits. For now I am looking for ward to October 22nd when I get to once again reach Kiev, Ukraine with Jesus’ love!