Sunday, March 7, 2010

Culture Shock within Culture Shock: Hillsong, Ashan, and life

Tonight Dougie and I went to Hillsong to check it out. The last time we went, there wasn't actually a service, so we just walked around the "Comfy" shopping center (it's really called that--see here) and went back to First Church.

This time, we arrived at Petrivka metro station 4 minutes before the Hillsong service was to begin, and we still had to walk in the snow flurries to get to Hillsong. We knew where it was, but since we didn't know which bus would get us there faster, we simply walked 20 minutes.

We arrived to a building much like PSI's gym, something that makes me think of a greenhouse. In the foyer area, there were coffee tables and a few people standing around. One woman greeted us, asked if we wanted translation, and then ushered us to seats.

The worship team was leading one or two more songs, and with the light show, it seemed more like a concert than a church service. They had the words to the songs on the screen in both Russian AND English!! I thought that would be neat to have at First Church, but then I realized that it would distract me from practicing Russian (reading and speaking).

After the songs, there were some announcements, presented in the form of "commercial"-type things on the screens at the front, then all the women were presented with a card and flower for Int'l Women's Day (my daisy fell apart on the way home). One time, I tried to take a photo of the stage, and a woman tapped me on the shoulder then wagged her finger at me. So much for that.

Then followed the sermon, and Dougie and I were trying to piece together the content based on our knowledge of Russian (or lack thereof). I would hear words that I recognized, but each time that happened, I would translate it in my mind and miss the next few words.

I'm not too sure about the names of the books of the Bible in Russian--some I can recognize right away, but others take a bit more effort. The sermon text last night was from the book of Иисус Навин, chapter 14. Иисус is the word for Jesus, and I had never heard of any book of the Bible that began with "Jesus." Plus, I had no framework for understanding the context of the story in the text to even begin to guess the book of the Bible. Dougie and I thought maybe we'd just look at chapter 14 in every single book of the Bible till we figured it out, which was going to have to wait till later, since I didn't bring my English Bible with me.

At the beginning of the text was the name Кадес-Варни (Kades-Varni), and I remembered that there was someplace in the Old Testament called Kadesh. I also recognized the phrases for "forty-five years" and "eighty-five years", and then the word Хеврон (Hevron), for Hebron. Once the name Халев (Xalev, or Caleb) was mentioned, I realized it probably was the book of Joshua.

Here are the 6 main points of the sermon, as copied into my notebook from the screen:
1. Просчитай стоимость (read something)
(with mention of Joyce Meyer and Luke 14:28-30)
2. Плати цену (cry?)
3. Не соглашайся на "status quo" (That's really how it was on the screen, though the pastor did explain the meaning of the phrase "status quo")
4. Не сдавайся и не бойся (something, and don't be afraid)
5. Зажги огонь (both words I've heard before, but can't place)
6. Живи мечтой (life something)

Zee is probably going to comment on this post, translating the sermon points for I right?

After the sermon and some prayer, there was an offering taken, using many plastic buckets across the auditorium. Then they sang 2 more songs in closing, and the last one was definitely one that we would not hear at First Church -- very...rock-like, but a good song nonetheless. For some reason, it was harder for me to follow along to the words of the songs at Hillsong than at Kiev. Maybe it's because I didn't know any of the songs in English OR Russian, or because the music was louder (now I sound like an old person).

This evening at Hillsong was like culture shock within the culture shock of simply attending church in another language in another country. I've heard it said that each church is like its own culture, with traditions and lingo and relationship dynamics. I definitely experienced that last night, as I found myself seeking the familiarity of the Kiev First Church service. I'm used to a routine at First Church, and at Hillsong, I didn't know the routine. Besides Dougie, I didn't know anyone at the church.

I was reminded of the church visits I was required to do in my Christian Tradition class, where I visited a Catholic mass, a Vineyard church, and a Congregational church. This was in spring 2007, just before going to Mexico. Even in my own language, I still did not know the routine of the church service and didn't have (too much of) a framework for understanding the significance of each segment of the service and how it was done.

Grocery Shopping at Ашан:
I needed to pick up some more groceries, so Dougie and I decided to check out the inside of Ashan, a HUGE grocery store. This place was the size of a Super Wal-Mart and had groceries, some clothes, kitchen appliances, electronics, dishes, etc. We wandered around some of the aisles and picked up things we needed (or wanted), then decided to explore some more. It also made me think of Sam's Club, or Lowe's (based on the sheer size of the place).

After going back to the produce section, we discovered that at this Ashan, you weigh your own veggies (at Silpo, you bag your produce, then take it to the lady who weighs it and sticks the price barcode on your bag). I bagged my own bananas and oranges, and decided if I need a job to support myself, I can work at the grocery store bagging fruits and veggies. It would be great. Except for the speaking Russian/Ukrainian part.

We found the bakery section, and each picked up a loaf of still-soft French bread, approximately 2 feet long, for only 99 kopecks. At today's exchange rate, that is only 12 cents! Gotta love living in the breadbasket of Eastern Europe!

On our way back to the metro, we chomped away on our loaves of bread. I finished about half of mine on the way home. (Note: I think eating while walking is not something that's done in Ukraine, yet I did it anyway. I wonder how much of a faux pas that was.)

Anyway, those were some of my adventures from yesterday. Others include:
*waiting for bus 417 but instead catching a ride from Bob, who happened to be driving by
*hearing Colleen preach in English
*lunch at McD's with Tonya, Alla, and Masha
*learning that the word for jug/pitcher is кувшин
*video chatting with 2 of my 6th grade girls, Nienke and Kerah, and letting them see my facial expression while I did the Steady Hand game
*talking to Jen via skype while she drove back to MA from Vermont

1 comment:

  1. well, just like Jess predicted, here I am.

    sooo, russian.

    1. Просчитай стоимость - count the cost
    (with mention of Joyce Meyer and Luke 14:28-30)
    2. Плати цену - pay the price
    3. Не соглашайся на "status quo" (That's really how it was on the screen, though the pastor did explain the meaning of the phrase "status quo") - do not agree for a status quo (probably meaning not to compromise values or something)
    4. Не сдавайся и не бойся - don't give up and don't be afraid
    5. Зажги огонь - light the fire
    6. Живи мечтой - live up your dream