This may be short because we are laving for a camping trip soon and my computer batery is low. My converter broke and I can't charge my computer at my host home, only Max's... So here are some bits and pieces of my incredile experience so far.
Ok I have no idea what to even tell you! It's been about a week and a half here but I feel like so much has happened because everday brings something new.
Before heading to Ukraine Max and I did not get the visas that we wanted. So i made sure to have all the details I needed to be prepared for passport control. Well let's just say I was way more prepared than I needed and all the Praise goes to God. It was so simple it was ridiculous. We didn't even have to fill out immigration forms, just simply show our passports and tell them the city we were going to. They even laughed because we were the only Americans on the plane and we knew no Russian at all. Once they stamped out passports we walked to a trailer and grabbed our luggage off. No security or checks of any kind. We walked out and finally met Alexander face to face for the first time. Alexander is the Pastor we will be working with throughout our stay here. The aiport was a breeze and outside was relaxed with hardly any traffic. It was a great way to enter the country.
I got dropped off at my home and was greeted very kindly. Mama Tanya and two daughters Lidia and Nadia. Their friend Ina was also there to welcome me. Hugs and kisses brought me into the family. W shared a meal together as we attempted to communicate. Our new best friend is a Russian-English dictionary I purchased the day before departure.
Max lives with Alexander and his family who are absolutely wonderful as well. Max has a house filled with much more English than me so he gets a little deeper conversation each day, but I think I will pick up Russian much faster. We'll see.
Things we've done:
-went to a blind society meeting and shared pieces of our testimonies
-visited numerous families in need
-tea, tea, and more tea
-attended a Ukrainian wedding and reception
-played UNO so many times with Alexandr's family
-shared our testimonies in Aexander's church and sang a song for them
Things I've done without Max:
-attempted to learn new Russian words each day
-taken the local trolley to the super market
-walked through town to the small shops
-made a "Ukrainian pie" which is more like a sweet bread than actual pie
-let Nadia do several hair do's on me to help time go by
-and so many other things
I think what has been so incredible is the time of rest. While I may be in a new culure learning new things everyday I still get to rest. This lifestyle is more relaxed and easygoing. I have been able to spend so much time reading, jouranling, diving into the Word, and worshipping. Because I cannot speak Russian so well and I don't have anything of my own to rely on I am forced to lean into the Lord in new ways. In a way it's almost like I have left my home in order to find my true home in the Lord. I am more aware of each moment. My ears are cleared and waiting for the Lord's words. When we gather and pray I can't passively listen because the words are foreign to me, so I pray each time as well. I have been asked to share pieces of my story so many times here that I have to rely on Jesus to speak so that it is tuned tothe ears of those who will hear. I am learning a new way of seeking the Lord. It's refreshing and reviving. It hasn't even been two weeks yet. I can only imagine what the Lord has in store after a matter of months. Thank you Jesus for this opportunity!!
This experience isn't about me, it's about seeing God praised always. I love His creativity. Different cultures show it in beautiful ways. My prayer is that the Lord's evidenc in my life would become evident to those around me both in word and deed.
Thank you everyone who helped get me here through prayer, finances, and encrouagement. I ask for your prayers still.
-for open doors in the church
-creativity as we prepare to take on the task of reviving the youth
-of course, language help
-blessings for our host families
-and above all else that God would receive all the glory there is to be had.
I will share photos soon and keep you all updaed now that I have internet on my computer. Love goes out to all my friends and family.