My First Week in Ukraine

I got into Kiev yesterday afternoon and my friend Natalia who will serve as my translator was there waiting or me. We bought our train tickets for Ternopil then went sightseeing in Kiev. Wow! I was impressed. Downtown Kiev is the best. It's much like the largest western european cities I've been too. Very clean, lots of nice appearing people and lots of green. Much construction all over the city. We went to a mall (even had a food court!) Most of the same stores as back home, including a very nice Columbia Outdoor clothing store. We walked all around town for about seven hours. One major difference is lines! Lots of them most everywhere. Rode the subway around, it was very, very clean! Lots of people, every train was packed. Heard a little English spoken around town. Many of the building are amazing the detail and workmanship is awesome. I was also introduced to Ukrainian toilet paper. Let's just say they go straight form the tree to the roll, forget all that refining we do in the west... I think there was a limb in the piece I had!

Then to the train for our 10:30pm departure. The trains are like out of a movie. All Russian built, clean, (excluding the bathroom) but somehow surreal. I wI guess I’m just not used to trains! We had a Coupe to ourselves, four berths, and a table. Our $10.00 tickets included clean sheets, and towels. The train ride was about 8 hours long. I enjoyed it and though about the children loving it the whole time. Sleeping was great with the roll and rattle of the old train! Got here before six and took a cab to Andre’s apartment, where I’ll be staying while in Ternopil. [click here to see photos from Ternopil]

I am very pleased with what I've seen so far of Ukraine. It's look is a unique blend of beautiful ornate buildings mixed with Soviet gloom. Is it the USA? No. Is it third world… definitely NOT! It comes down to the relinquishing of our culture and some of the extras. I have seen some street kids both hear and in Kiev. Very real and very sad, that's all I want to say for now. I've had many conversations here already on there plight, and what's being done, what's working and what's not. One of the volunteers at the base, a young lady who lived on the streets from an early age met up with a YWAM DTS Outreach was presented with the Gosple and recieved Christ. Now she is serving on staff at YWAM Ternopil the very base that sent out the Outreach. What a blessing! Three of the staffers here have mentioned a huge need for ministry to parents. There is seems to be nothing here to help disciple Christian parenting.