We made it! After two flights, a LONG wait at customs, a night in Kiev, a day with our new boss and an overnight train ride we arrived in L’viv at 8am on Wednesday, which would be midnight the night before for all you central timed folks. AND…I hate to break it to everyone who told me that it wouldn’t be too chilly when I arrived – I could already see my breath. However, they promised me it was only a cold snap, and one of the students last night even told me that they were expecting an Indian summer. I am continually amazed at the understanding some Ukrainians have of English.
That brings me to a more important matter than the time zone or the weather, the reason we are here, the students. Last night David and I attended Pilgrims. We will be referring to Pilgrims a lot, so let me introduce you. It is the corporate worship service of ‘Youth to Jesus.’ So, what’s “Youth to Jesus?’ It’s the name of the college ministry that David and I will be co-leading with Ukrainians. It has it’s own space in a building in downtown L’viv, and looks a lot like any other college ministry in the states. Last night when we arrived everyone was so excited to meet us. Most of the students speak impressive English. This is not going to make learning Ukrainian easy for us. However, after trying to grocery shop, buy sheets, travel, it is painfully obvious that we need to learn it immediately. Anyway… the service started at 6:30 with some praise and worship music, then announcements, another song, our introduction, a guest speaker, a prayer time and then tea and cookies. It doesn’t take long to notice that most things in Ukraine start and end with tea and cookies, not a bad custom if you ask me. I asked David this morning what he thought about Ukrainian cookies. He said, “Shannon, you know I don’t really like cookies.” I thought uh-oh this could be a long adventure for David, but if cookies are currently our biggest obstacle, I think we’ll take it.
All that to say we thoroughly enjoyed our first Pilgrims. There were 37 students and they are already a little tight in the student center. What a great feeling! We can’t wait to start fulltime ministry, but fulltime is currently on hold until we are able to learn some Ukrainian. We start classes on Monday. They are five days a week, 9:30am-2:30pm. It makes me want to scream a little bit, but I know it is necessary for our us to connect to the students through their culture in the way only knowing someone’s vernacular allows. Pray for us about that. It is going to take some real discipline.
OK, I did it everyone! My first blog entry ever and hopefully not my last.