Day Eight (Jan 4) – Sunday Morning Live! [Ukraine Missions Trip]

This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series Ukraine Missions Trip 2009

This is the eighth entry in the series I am writing about my trip to Ukraine?–?I didn’t have daily internet access while there so I recorded each day for later publishing.  And later [much later actually] is now.

Today was our last day in Krivoy Rog.  Here’s a quick rundown of the events of the day:

  • woke up and ate Breakfast @ 10am
  • Preaching at Krivoy Rog Church
    Preaching at Krivoy Rog Church

    Church Service @ 11am – I preached – service was awesome! What was really moving for me was the response of the congregation as I preached and the freedom I felt in speaking. Having to go slower for the translator gives me time to think what I’m going to say and I often veered from my notes. Of course, that was due to the leading of the Holy Spirit as well. During the service Pastor Gregory gave me a note asking me to give the altar call for repentance – that I was nervous for BUT I followed through because I believe we give the invitation and it’s God’s job to draw people.  Well 7 people came forward and I led them through a salvation prayer with the translator using 1 john 1:9 (If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness). It was awesome! The entire church cheered for those who had given their hearts to the Lord and after praying I hugged each one of them. Pastor Gregory also had me  pray for some needs people had written down and handed in. That was cool too!  I was just blown away by this Sunday morning service and SO EXCITED about the new people joining the family of God!!

    Praying for people at Krivoy Rog church
    Praying for people at Krivoy Rog church

    Following the message Pastor Gregory had the team members and I pray for people who came to the front for prayer.

  • Following the service we packed up our bags and loaded them in Ed’s van then had lunch.
  • One of the boys I befriended at the Boys Rehab center (at farthest right is Yarris one of our translators).
    One of the boys I befriended at the Boys Rehab center (at farthest right is Yarris one of our translators).

    Then we went to the boys rehab center and they presented a program they had prepared for us. They also presented a framed picture taken of all the boys there.

    • They taught us some Ukrainian Christmas songs
    • They took us on a tour of their rooms
    • It was evident they were VERY grateful for everything we had done (hallway, showerstalls, hand washing sinks)
  • Restaurant on the road to Kyiv
    Restaurant on the road to Kyiv

    Following our time at the rehab center we then got on a rented Mushuka (bus) and started on our way to Kyiv (a 6-7hour trip). I don’t know what was worse, riding the Mushuka or taking the train! About 1 ½ hour into the trip the bus driver noted that one of his axles was hot and so we decided to have dinner at a restaurant down the road while a new bus was called in from Krivoy Rog. So we had dinner at this Ukrainian Restaurant with paintings of naked women on the wall by each table. Yeah, you read that right – it was “art”, everybody was kind of giggling like schoolkids.  And no, this wasn’t a sleazy joint – it was a genuine Ukrainian restaurant…  The food was really good however! (and no, I didn’t take any pictures of the art *rolls eyes*).

  • When the new bus finally came we got on and started off again to Kyiv. However, we think the bus driver got lost a bit because we ended up not arriving until about 3am (were expecting to get there at 1am @ the latest (even with the bus troubles). I was almost delirious by the time I arrived there from lack of sleep. Boy was the bed ever good.
  • We’re spending the day in Kyiv and sleeping overnight at the Bible College here in the dormitory rooms.  Looking forward to exploring the city tomorrow!!
The finished renovated hallway at the boys rehab center
The finished renovated hallway at the boys rehab center

Day Six (Jan 2) – Driving Around [Ukraine Missions Trip]

This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series Ukraine Missions Trip 2009

This is the sixth entry in the series I am writing about my trip to Ukraine – I didn’t have daily internet access while there so I recorded each day for later publishing.  And later [much later actually] is now.

I didn’t really do a whole lot today other than driving around with Ed and Walt to various places in Krivoy Rog (I got to see a lot of Krivoy Rog through the day):

  • One of the girls from our team holding a baby from the children's hospital.
    One of the girls from our team holding a baby from the children's hospital.

    To children’s hospital to drop off girls who were going to visit with babies there.

  • To McDonald’s to drop off one of the team members for McJoyful.
  • Went to hospital to talk with the director of the hospital and pick up the girls who we dropped off earlier.  We then dropped the girls off to shop at bazaar (they were getting makeup and nail polish and beauty supplies for using at the Sonshine orphanage in the afternoon).
  • Took lunch for guys at rehab center who were continuing on the renovations there.
  • After lunch we drove the girls to SonShine Orphanage so they could do the “beauty day” with the older girls at the orphanage.
  • Went and picked up Brendan at McJoyfuls (went around to a few shops with Walt and his future daughter-in-law).
  • Ed, Walt, Brendan and I went to another orphanage on the other side of town. They were in the midst of doing a presentation to a team from Georgia USA…we didn’t meet that team. Director of the orphanage was dressed to the nines in about $1,000 worth of clothing. Apparently her husband is very wealthy. The orphanage is really top notch and it is evident the kids are well looked after.
  • Director told us about a boy who had excelled at school and athletics and had been invited by a family from a church in Georgia to come to university there and they would pay all his tuition, lodging and food while there. Problem is, the boy did that and finished his grade twelve that he needed to finish (in America – Ukraine only goes up to grade 11) and then the people told the director they can’t pay for his university education there. This leaves the kid in a terrible bind because IF he hadn’t gone to America he would have been able to get a FREE education at Kyiv’s top university – but since he’s been out of the country he can no longer avail himself of that education!! Not nice. The director is hoping that the church in Georgia will help him. 
  • Two guys on the left are from our team.  Guy on the right was one of the translators (he translated for me when I spoke on the Sunday)
    Two guys on the left are from our team. Guy on the right was one of the translators (he translated for me when I spoke on the Sunday)

    Went from there to see how the guys were doing back at the rehab center. Things are coming along with the construction but still moving slowly.

  • Took the guys with us to the Okeh supermarket (what an interesting name for a store…) to pick up comforters for the shelter place. We managed to get 17 (at roughly $10USD apiece) that we delivered to the shelter. Pretty funny stuffing it into the minivan with 7 of us guys! We are giving Ed money to purchase 18 more for all the kids at the shelter.
  • Headed back for supper with everyone else and we shared stories of our day.

Day Four (Dec 31) – Fireworks at Sunshine [Ukraine Missions Trip]

This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series Ukraine Missions Trip 2009

This is the fourth entry in the series I am writing about my trip to Ukraine – I didn’t have daily internet access while there so I recorded each day for later publishing.  And later [much later actually] is now.

  • after breakfast I spent time in prayer and message preparation. Still don’t know what I’m going to preach tomorrow and Sunday!
  • Joined some of the team to go to the bazaar to get a picture frame (for the picture of the ladies giving the teddy bears) and then fireworks for the New Years Eve celebration.
  • Went to McDonald’s to hopefully meet up with a team there for the McJoyful but they were already done.
  • Went to a mall near the McDonald’s – Walt wanted to look at some boots for his wife. There’s some nice footwear – price is fairly comparable to Canada BUT what is different is the quality for the price.  FASHION is a big thing in Ukraine (and light years ahead of back home).
  • Had an awesome lunch – I was feeling a bit queasy though so I didn’t eat that much (“that much” is a relative term in comparison with the other meals I’ve eaten so far…the food is so amazing here)
  • This is our team leader Walt, with one of the guys from the shelter that we visited.
    This is our team leader Walt, with one of the guys from the shelter that we visited.

    After lunch we went to the Sonshine Orphanage, to meet the director and talk about what we had planned for the evening. She was absolutely thrilled with what we had planned for the kids.

  • We then went to the kids shelter that we had visited on Day 2 and passed out kids bags that were stuffed with the bears from the ladies at WPA:
    • Some of the Teddy Bears from WPA Ladies
      Some of the Teddy Bears from WPA Ladies
      This is Brendan with one of the bags made by the kids at his school back home.  We filled these bags with toys and stuff for the Sonshine Orphanage kids.
      This is Brendan with one of the bags made by the kids at his school back home. We filled these bags with toys and stuff for the Sonshine Orphanage kids.

      The bags were paper bags decorated by kids from Brendan’s school (he’s a custodian there). We had stuffed them with items we brought with us and stuff some of the team had bought at the bazaar earlier in the day.

    • They were also stuffed with teddy bears one of the elder ladies at WPA had collected over the years.  Some ladies from WPA had prayed over these bears.
    • Get this –  we brought around 40 bears with us not knowing what orphanages we would visit and how many kids would be at the orphanages. It turns out that we had the right number of bears for the kids at the shelter and they JUST LOVED THEM! 
    • A highlight for me was seeing the workers impacted by the love showered on the kids.
    • I had SO MUCH FUN juggling for the kids at the shelter.  But I should have taken my down-filled coat off...I was drenched in sweat after!
      I had SO MUCH FUN juggling for the kids at the shelter. But I should have taken my down-filled coat off...I was drenched in sweat after!

      Another highlight was juggling for the kids. I just had a blast just doing simple things with them – even though there was a language barrier we were still able to communicate!

  • We then went and had a quick supper. I was supposed to have dinner with Pastor Gregory and Ed but because of the shortened schedule for the evening (we had to make a change with the original plans for the Sonshine Orphanage) the supper with Pastor Gregory was cancelled and I ended up getting to have dinner with the team. Although I was a bit disappointed at not being able to have supper with the pastor and get to know him a bit I was very happy to be spending the time with the team.
  • The humour on this trip has been hilarious.  I can’t remember ever laughing so hard with such a wide variety of people.  Numerous times I have almost fallen off the bench at dinnertime!
  • Today I spent a great deal of time taking the Ukrainian Bus (Mushuka?) in traveling with the team and walking where we needed to go.
  • Fireworks at Sonshine Orphanage
    Fireworks at Sonshine Orphanage

    After Supper we went to the Sonshine Orphanage around 7-7:15pm and lit off fireworks for them. For $200 USD we got the equivalent of about $1,500 worth back home. The fireworks were awesome and it was really cool seeing the kids enjoy them.

    • Sonshine has kids ranging in age from about 5-6 all the way up to 16-17. They were in different age groupings after the fireworks in their sections of the orphanage and we visited 10 different rooms (about 200 kids in all).
    • Orphans from Sonshine Orphanage about to receive the gift bags
      Orphans from Sonshine Orphanage about to receive the gift bags

      We passed out the gift bags and spent a few minutes with each age grouping.

    • Again, I enjoyed seeing the kids reactions but I think I enjoyed seeing the workers reactions more!
  • Following Sonshine some of us (who didn’t fit in the van) walked to the local Church (that Pastor Gregory pastors) and joined in with their New Years Eve celebration.
    • New Years Eve and Day in Ukraine is celebrated like our Christmas back home. They don’t give out gifts on Christmas (which is January 7th here) but give gifts out on New Years Day. 
    • Everyone usually stays up to 6 or 7 in the morning.
    • Fireworks are lit off EVERYWHERE.  Pretty neat seeing people set off fireworks from the balconies of their apartments (remember, apartment buildings are the normal housing in Krivoy Rog…)
    • New Year's Eve at Krivoy Rog Church
      New Year's Eve at Krivoy Rog Church

      New Years in North America is nothing like what they do here in Ukraine. People are letting off fireworks from their balconies, from their backyards…everywhere. Incredible.

    • The church prayed in the New Year and then everyone went outside to enjoy the fireworks. The youth dressed up and had a costume party.
    • Prior to midnight the team gathered in the Church Board Room and we had our sharing time. It was really interesting hearing how the trip is impacting much of the team. I really enjoyed hearing about Dan and God using his gift of photography, Johnny and others being invited by this couple on the bus they were traveling on into the couple’s home and taking them up on their invitation (and hearing about the couple’s sons early death and how Johnny reminded them of him – he was able to just comfort them), really cool stuff – talk about “divine appointements!”