On Saturday I had the privilege of speaking to a group of young women about 90 minutes outside of Kyiv.
Georgia and Jeanne (with Kolya who wanted to visit his brother there) took off from Kyiv early Saturday afternoon. Interesting marshrutka (small bus) trip. The bus was nowhere near full, so as soon as it pulled out from the bus depot, we all moved from our assigned seats to seats that were next to each other. We expected a pretty uneventful ride — dry roads — but we hadn’t factored in the other passengers. Directly behind Georgia and me sat a young couple — both drunk. It was pretty pitiful actually — my favorite moments were when they passed out. Other than those moments, the girl over and over and over again called out Andriy’s name. And poured more alcohol. When we arrived in Kagarlyk — the town where we would actually be spending the night — and exited the marshrutka, we turned around to watch these two step out as well. Andriy nearly missed the curb, but managed to keep his balance. The girl steadied herself by holding onto the side of the bus for a few moments before daring to take a few steps forward. We left them both sitting on a bench near the bus stop. Very sad.
We walked a short distance uphill to a church where friends of ours attend. Liese was joining us there and would be driving us to Rzhishchiv. Our rooms for the night were in the church building so we were able to leave our overnight bags there.
Liese drove us to Cheryl’s house where we relaxed with cups of hot tea, watched a video of her time in Kazakhstan (or was it Uzbekistan? uh…one of the ‘stan’s), and enjoyed lasagne made with spinach noodles. We took some of the bread that Cara had made for Thanksgiving with us, and it was a perfect complement to the lasagne and the bean salad that Liese had made. A quick massage from Cheryl to relieve any tightness from stress, and we headed to the ministry center for the women’s meeting.
God certainly showed His strength through my weakness. We will wait to see what God might do in the lives of those in attendance, but He increased MY faith greatly! And I trust that His Word will not return void.
Following the meeting and lots of laughter during the fellowship time, our group headed back to Kagarlyk. More laughter. Some seriousness. And then a great night’s sleep…comfortable beds with cozy comforters to fight back the chill in the air.
We awoke to a drizzly morning, but we didn’t even have to go outside to attend the church service. Following coffee and zucchini bread, we left our home-away-from-home and walked through the next door to church. Jeanne and Kolya had been attending this church when they lived nearby, so it was like old home week for them. And the folks were warm and inviting to Georgia and me as well. The musicians led us into worship of our risen King and we had no doubt but that God was in that place. Liese’s husband Dan brought us God’s Word — tackling much of Luke 20.
A quick tour of Dan and Liese’s home — in the process of remont — and then to the bus station.
The buses were few and far between — with a large contingency of people trying to get back to Kyiv for work the next day. When a marshrutka would pull into the lot, the crowd would move as one unit not stopping until the bus stopped…and then scramble into the bus. I haven’t become used to the pushing it requires to move to the front of the line, so it looked hopeless for us.
We opted instead to stand on the street and flag down a car that might be willing to take four of us into Kyiv. And the very first car that stopped actually agreed! We jammed three of us into the narrow back seat with our bags on our laps, and let Kolya sit in the front with a bit more legroom. The driver dropped us off exactly where the marshrutka would have left us and for the same price. The actual trip was nearly 20 minutes shorter, and we had no drunk passengers joining us! What a deal!
We were glad to get home and enjoy a nice hot cup of coffee. Thanks to Jamie or Dasha or Jim…I’m not sure who had it ready for us. A bit of news. Part of a movie. And then bed.
It’s nice to get away. But it’s always wonderful to come home.