This is the fourth entry in the series I am writing about my trip to Ukraine – I didnt 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)
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:
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.
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.
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).
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 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!”