Monday, August 17, 2009

Day 1 in Ukraine (the first full day, that is)

Right now it is about 11:30am on Monday, and I'm just hanging out at Josh and Robyn's apartment. They are some of the Nazarene missionaries here.

Yesterday, along with Kolya, they picked me up at the airport. I actually enjoyed the Amsterdam airport, as I'd never really seen the Dutch language before--it's really funny to try and read. While I was on a moving walkway, I passed some bathrooms, and the sign said, "Toilets; next toilets 30 meters," as though it was the interstate and you needed to plan your stops! Every few minutes I also heard announcements of this type: "Passenger John Smith traveling to Paris. You are delaying the flight. Immediate boarding at gate C7 please or we will proceed to offload your baggage." In the US, I don't think they threaten to get rid of your baggage!

Once in Kiev, we drove back to my apartment, dropped off most of my stuff, and checked the hot water heater (it was fine). We also drove past a football (soccer) stadium where the Germans challenged the Ukrainians to a game during WWII--and told them, "You WILL lose." Well, the Ukrainians won, having not let the Germans win, and the Germans consequently killed them all. There is now a memorial to those players at today's Kyiv Dynamo football stadium.

We returned to Josh and Robyn's apartment, where they proceeded to "torture" me until around 9pm. This "torture" took the form of keeping me awake and moving, not allowing me to succumb to my exhaustion until a "reasonable" hour.

Around 5:30pm, they connected with a church on their home district via their webcam. We were able to see their congregation and part of their church service. Josh and Robyn gave a video tour of their apartment, and the view outside the window (there's a lovely flower garden), as well as a recent ministry update. After that, the church prayed for them/us, and that was really neat. Even though we were separated by 7 hours and who knows how many miles, we were still together in spirit. Even though I am in Ukraine, and you are wherever you are (East Coast, the Midwest, or a western state), you are still part of the ministry here as you pray and give. :)

In the evening, we walked down to the river (Dnipro) and then bought ice cream at McDonalds before riding the metro back to Josh and Robyn's. I know, rough transition to another country! :) Finally, I was able to get some much-needed rest, and it felt wonderful to be 100% off my feet and laying in a bed!

Today we are meeting up with one of the girls from the Kiev church for a little while, and then I will probably sleep at my own apartment. :)

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