Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"Back...in the UKR"

Ok, bad attempted pun on the Beatles "Back in the USSR", but I was at a loss for what to title this post since it is so terribly overdue!

I am indeed back in Ukraine and it is strange to me how familiar it all seems, even though MANY things have changed here in Kyiv in the less than 10 months that I have been gone.

My first day back I was at the little market on my street near my home and bought a roast chicken and some drinking water (the water in our flat is quite yellow at times). Then I bought some home-canned "Adzhika" (like salsa) and marinated mushrooms from a babushka on the street.

I chatted with the babushka a bit and then climbed the five flights of stairs (no elevator) to my new place here in Kyiv. I remember thinking that I felt like I had come home. This wasn't some excited thrilled feeling...just as a matter of a fact. It was comforting, though.

Within a few days I got a phone call from a friend from church asking if I would travel to the town of Cherkassy to teach a girl's bible study soon. A girl who had come to Prague with the Kyiv drama team (but who actually lives in Cherkassy) invited me. I am really excited to go although at this point I have no idea what I have to share with these girls. I know that by the time I need to, I will know...or as often happens...as the words come out of my mouth! ha!

Pastor Alosha said that there is a great need to meet with the college age gals in our church, too, to encourage them and help counsel, etc. It was such a surprise to me to see girls that I remember as being "so young" are actually now in that age group! The others that I remember as "students" are many of them now married and with children! How time flies! I haven't been gone that long, but I guess they have just been growing up without me noticing.

It was crazy, too, to look at the new church photo album and see all the faces that I have seen go through so many things and grow in so many ways! And now to see them with their spouses, kids, with new jobs, homes...life certainly marches on...

I really don't know what else to say right now...I am filled with a lot of emotion (what a surprise for me! ha!). :) One thing I have learned over the last couple years is that no matter what the specific circumstances of your life are - married, single, children, vocational ministry or 9 to 5 job - life seems to be all about letting go...adjusting...moving on...re-evaluating...returning to the basics over and over again....strengthening the foundations...forgiving, being forgiven,...dreaming new dreams after mourning old ones....etc. In the last couple of years I have seen people lose dear spouses, fathers and friends (on both continents that I call home), ministries subtracted from and added to, re-grouped and re-arranged or completely put on hold, etc. I have seen people called to stay when they wanted to go and go when they wanted to stay, family relationships changed irreversibly - both happily and sadly....and I have to agree that the only thing constant is change...and God. Aaaahhhhhh... :) He is a mystery, but He is so constant and His love never changes. I wish I could say I was better at the letting go to things of this earth than I am, but my only consolation is that I am better at letting God hold on to me than I have been. :} Make sense? :)

So...sermon over :) I have a TON of emails to catch up on (my advance apologies if you are one of them......before I left Prague I was completely swamped, packing, getting rid of things, etc. all over AGAIN! And then when I got to Kyiv it was a bit before I got the internet up and running, then setting up the apartment, and helping a friend with her daughter's wedding...so, bear with me and I hope to be caught up on correspondences soon.)

Love you all...