I have been ‘blogging’ some thoughts so that I would have them when I found an internet connection. Now that I have, there is a book to read! Read as you can… it may take a couple of sittings!
We have safely arrived in Washington D.C. We are waiting out our 5 hour layover in the Dulles airport.
Thankfully we were able to get a good night’s rest after they told us to go home because our flight was delayed, therefore we would not be able to get to Dulles in time, therefore we would miss our international flight. So we arrived this morning renewed and determined and ready to go. Yesterday we were bummed. One good thing that has come out of this though is that we will be flying business class on the long flight over as compensation for our missed flight. We are quite excited about that! It will almost make the wait worth it, almost.
Health – as some of us are sneezing!
Spiritual warfare – that God would have the victory and that we would not take our eyes off the prize!
Families at home – for safety and security (specifically the Q. kids)
Continued safety as we will be flying into snow.
Again, thank you all for your prayers and support. You have no idea just how encouraging it is!
-M. M. & Y.-
He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness , and for His wonders to the sons of men! Psalm 107: 20-21
Right now we are on the flight to Kiev. Once we arrive we will have been in the process of traveling 4 days total.
Surprisingly I am not utterly exhausted like I expected to be. Maybe it’s the 5 hour energy drinks!
It’s really amazing traveling to a foreign country. I love it. I hate the travel part. But once I arrive, I find it fascinating. Seeing and listening to all of the different people and languages is intriguing to me. I love the different smell. When we arrived at the airport in Germany, I could have been blindfolded and would have known where we were. I knew as soon as I took my first sniff. I also love how they hand you a scolding plate of something and leave it up to you to figure out. And how they mop the floor without leaving a sign. Hmm.. I wonder what that says about me.. I love how everything tastes different. Not everything tastes good to me of course, but I like that it’s different. I’m thinking now of the omelet concoction they give you on this flight from Frankfurt to Kiev. Thanks to the misfortune of my brother I will never be able to eat it. In fact, I couldn’t even open it just now knowing what was inside. Hunter’s first trip to Ukraine he made the mistake of ingesting this suspicious smelling ‘Omelette’ and then spewed it all over the floor of the Kiev airport. Welcome to Ukraine!
I am ready to be in Vinnytsia. I am ready to see old friends, to meet new ones. To meet the Lord in new ways too. I am waiting in anticipation for what I will see and learn for myself and for what I will see others learn and experience as well.
I am overwhelmed by emotion. I am so thankful God has brought me to this place. I don’t fully understand every aspect of it yet. But I am thankful that I heard His voice. I am thankful that others did as well. I am thankful that He chooses to use fallen, selfish, sinful human beings to bring Him glory. I am even thankful for the many moments of fear and anxiety I have experienced, lest I become boastful in my own ‘ability’. I feel stripped of everything, empty. I am stepping into unknown territory with my hands open wide that He may fill them.
But God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong. 1Corinthians 1:27
So then my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Phil. 2:12-13
I know that I can’t post this right now, but I wanted to record my thoughts while they are still semi fresh. Nothing is really fresh right now, everything is a bit hazy…
We have finally arrived after being en route 4 days. When we landed in Kiev I was so relieved. No more planes, no more scary landings. Little did I know that was the easy part. We had to drive home! The roads were covered in snow and ice. What should only be a 3 hour car ride turned into a 9 hour car ride. And a very scary one at that. Ukraine doesn’t regulate things like signs and reflectors, even lines or speed limits. Sometimes not even lanes for that matter! My eyes were closed most of the trip. Sleeping some yes, but mostly because I would have started screaming otherwise. I was very glad it was not me having to drive in that. Thankfully we arrived in one piece.
I am staying with dear friends Zhanna and Victor and their lovely children. When I say lovely, I mean lovely! I think Ukrainian people are just genetically inclined to be beautiful. But what is even more beautiful is their gracious hospitality and genuine love they extend to me and anyone who stays in their home for that matter. I arrived at their home around 10pm. After many hours of traveling and not bathing and such I really just wanted to crash. But no, they had waited dinner for me, so we ate and we prayed and prayed again. Thankfully enjoying Ukrainian cuisine is not hard for me. It’s my favorite!
Now it’s time to sleep.
Today was wonderful. I can’t say it enough – I love being here! What I don’t love is not having my family with me. I feel out of sorts, not quite all here. I am carrying around a 25lb. backpack just so I can feel semi-normal.
I was able to spend some good time with my host family this morning. Thankfully their oldest son still living at home speaks pretty good English. Enough to where we can communicate fairly well. It was fun. We looked at pictures, played the piano, asked and answered questions the best we could and had a wonderful Ukrainian breakfast. Have I mentioned how much I love the food? Oh, I have? Well, I will probably do it again eventually! I was so frustrated at one point, because I wasn’t understanding a single word of their Russian. I can’t speak it worth you know what, but a lot of the time I can pick up a word here and there and kinda know what the conversation is about. But nothing was clicking. Later in the day I was trying out a little of what I could say and they asked if I could understand. I explained to them but said I couldn’t understand any of what they were saying. Arthur, their son, laughed and said, “That is because we are speaking Ukrainian, ah hahahaha!” Ok, funny joke. I was glad that it wasn’t ALL me!! Ukrainian and Russian are very close, yet very different. Similar to Spanish and Italian, for those of you who care to know.
After our nice morning I was picked up by Yura and Michelle. Picked up as in they showed me the way as we walked. Before I left, my mom asked me if we would be walking a lot. Surely not! I told her. There would be snow on the ground! It would be like 10 degrees! That’s why people have cars. I’m such a stupid American. About the only thing I said on the ride home last night from Kiev was, “why are people out in this cold walking? What is wrong with them?” Yura politely laughed at me and said, “Because they don’t have cars, Mika’l!” Well, we didn’t either, so we walked. Yes in the snow and yes in 10 degree weather. But I loved it, survived it and have done it several times today. Thank goodness I had enough sense to get me some good boots. Which by-the-way are the only ‘rubber’ boots being worn in Ukraine! I was informed of this fact today by a young Ukrainian woman.
Which leads me to the most exciting part of the day.
We met with a young woman who registered for the Bible Study. I had no idea what to expect going into this. I wish I could share with you all that we saw and experienced in that meeting. But safety and confidentiality is what this Bible Study is based on besides of course God’s word. I will say, that whatever we were expecting, Michelle, this young lady and I, was not at all what happened. Because God was the one directing our conversation. It was amazing and quite beautiful. My heart has expanded yet once again. It is connected to yet another person. My feelings of anxiety about next week were quickly replaced with anticipation and excitement. Even if it’s just her, it’s going to be wonderful.
Yes, the other woman we had registered backed out and would not come meet with us. Satan is moving, remember. I picture him fightin’ mad! Please pray that as we try and call her again tomorrow that she will at least agree to meet with us. So that we can answer any questions and still any fears she might have. Also pray for the woman who is committed to coming. There is still some opposition she is facing and of course spiritual warfare that is a huge reality.
Also pray for Natasha, our translator. She is also a very good friend of mine and is having severe back problems. She hasn’t had these problems for a few years now and all of a sudden, this week, she can’t move. I feel responsible in a way. Again, I believe this is one of satan’s tactics to discourage this ministry from taking root. But we are just as determined!
We had a wonderful dinner with Yura’s family. I was very sweetly welcomed. Especially by his mother. She gave me several firm kisses and was told by her daughter to let me go so I could sit down at the table to eat! Yet another wonderful meal!! I gotta say it every chance I get! She also grabbed my stomach and told me I was too skinny for having 3 children! I love that woman!!
I was also able to see another good friend, Misha, Natasha’s husband. It has been over four years, it was so good to see him and to talk face to face. I can’t wait to go to their house tomorrow and to see Natasha and their 5 children.
I skyped with the kids today as well, which was very needed. I think they are doing well and having a good time, although I know they miss me as I miss them. After about 30 seconds Deacon said, I don’t want to talk anymore, I want to play! Better that than tears. He eventually came back and told me he loved me. =)
All that to say, today has been wonderful. I look forward to tomorrow. It is New Year’s Eve which is their big holiday, like our Christmas. I can’t wait to try the food!!