We're Back!Well, we flew into Nashville last night around 9:00p.m. We left Ukraine on Friday morning, after a full day on Thursday. We finished up at the Novoshenalone orphanage, and we had a special lunch for our interpreters. Then, Ben did a wonderful job teaching our final class at Krasnoarmeysk.
Our first flight on Friday morning was over an hour late, and we landed in Kiev at the exact time our plane to Amsterdam was leaving. We caught a later flight, however, so we made it fine. We spent Saturday on a layover in Amsterdam. A few of us were able to visit Anne Frank's home, a cheese factory, a wooden shoe factory, and other museums. As we walked past several shops in the city, we were reminded of Satan's hold over so much of the world. We're concerned about what our young people are exposed to in our society (and we have reason to be), but our visit to that city reminded me that things could be worse. It reaffirmed the fact that the only way to overcome evil is to spread the gospel.
On Sunday morning, our team had a "de-briefing" meeting, then we had a worship service in our hotel room. We left Amsterdam at lunch time, and 12 hours later, we were in Nashville! We will give a complete report about our trip soon, and we have posted several pictures below to give you an idea of what it was like. Thank you for reading our blog - this will probably be our last post for a while...at least until next year. Your support really helped us through the entire trip. Let's all pray that God will bless the Ukrainian Christians over the next year!
The ladies at the congregation fed us any time they got the chance!
And of course, there was always time to have tea! Here, we are visiting a small orphanage in Krasnoarmeysk with the City Councilwoman.
Here's Sasha and his wife Julia. They are excited about the work at Krasnoarmeysk.
Here's Phil teaching the "Hippo Song" to the Novoshenalone orphanage. The song has international appeal.
Tony with a few from their class.
Here's Buddy and Sissy with one of their classes.
Here's Ura - what more can I say?
Here's Buddy leading a 3-legged race.
They were excited to see us!
A few of the kids at Macheevka.
All these children at the Macheevka orphanage were there for the camp last year.
Here we are preparing grafts for a day at the orphanage. We often met in the ladies apartment to get ready for the day's activities.
The ladies at worship service.
Some of the children at the Novoshenolone orphanage.
Susan teaching at the Macheevka orphanage.
Here, Ben is teaching at the VBS at Proletarski.
The Final CountdownUBI just got their wireless internet installed, so we were able to post some pictures. I hope to post more tomorrow morning. Today was wonderful, and it was easier since we have settled into a routine for the week. We picked up Sasha and took him with us to the orphanage at Novoshenalone. Although the director was in Donetsk today, we were able to introduce him to several teachers and children. He sat in on one of the classes to observe how our team conducted children's classes. We are leaving him with several children's Bible class materials, and it is our hope that he can continue to work with these children on some kind of regular basis. This would be a wonderful way for the church to reach out to youth who desperately need the love of God. After that, we proceeded directly to our favorite Krasnoarmeysk restaurant (ok, so technically, it is the only one we've found that serves food which doesn't need to be reheated, and it serves it in under an hour.) We've learned that a Ukrainian meal is rarely ever "fast food." One of our challenges has been finding a way to order food and eat without using too much daylight. But, we've been able to eat more local food this week (as opposed to packed lunches) and I think our team is starting to enjoy borscht, cutlets, and other Ukrainian dishes.
After lunch, we picked up the City Councilwoman. She took us to a local children's activity center. The "Pioneer Scouts" program, which was in place during the Communist rule, is much like our Boy Scouts program. These centers were designed to give children a positive outlet. The Councilwoman was beaming as she showed off the jewelry and crafts these children had made. The center is just down the road from the church building, and it was a wonderful afternoon. Before we left, the councilwoman promised to arrange an extensive tour of Krasnoarmeysk for a future visit. She wants us to visit schools, hospitals, nursing homes, orphanages, etc. In the past, teams used such a format to spread word about the campaign at Krasnoarmeysk. Maybe we can do that in the future. Before dropping off the councilwoman, we presented her (as well as the mayor and former mayor) with framed pictures of our visit on Monday. She was delighted.
After that, we spent the remainder of the afternoon canvasing the area with fliers advertising the Bible Class times. Sasha made sure to include the regular service times on all the literature. We handed out every piece we printed off, and then it was time for our evening class. Tony Huddleston led an excellent discussion of handling trials in life. We looked at passages from Job and 1 Peter for inspiration. The church members were vocal during the study, and they have definitely endured some trials! It is our prayer that things will continue to turn around for them. We were served "tea" after class (practically an entire meal), and we had some great fellowship.
David Burka mentioned Nancy Hackney in the comments section yesterday - the ladies at this congregation stil remember her as well as every other member of the teams that went over in the mid to late 1990's. One of the ladies, Vera, who still attends services (and speaks fairly good English) studied with Nancy before being baptized. She has been attending UBI Chapel as well during the week. She makes the long ride to Donetsk every day to study at Blagovest (an organization that prints Christian materials and teaches Bible classes). One of the other ladies who greets us every day with a smile was converted by Maxine Cato. They still have pictures taken with Anne Craddock, and they all remember Steve Hale's excellent leadership on those teams. In fact, it is the inroads made by these individuals that have allowed us to re-establish a positive relationship with the government here. The impact of these trips can be more powerful than we ever imagined.
As we prepare to leave home tomorrow, the posts may be short. We have a great deal to digest about this trip. The need in this mission field is apparent, and we will have an entire year to prayerfully decide what we can do in the future. The era of the mid-90's was a fruitful one for American missionaries, but the novelty of Americans seems to have given way to an apathy, much like the kind we see in the States. Gospel meetings and Bible lectures no longer regularly draw the crowds of people they once did, and yet there is still so much good that can be done for the Lord's work here. While we have had modest attendance at our evening Bible classes, the time spent encouraging this congregation and helping Sasha begin his ministry has been invaluable. As a congregation, we have made a tremendous investment in this work, and we will continue to learn the best ways to help these brothers and sisters in the upcoming months and years. I cannot begin to describe what a blessing this team has been. I have been referring to it as an "all-star" team, and if you know the members, you know that is true. Their flexibility and positive attitudes are what made this trip successful. The schedule changes so often over here, it can drive you crazy sometimes! Thank you for your prayers and support, and please continue to remember us as we travel. We love you!
Our Visit to the Mayor's Office
Krasnoarmeysk - Kras for shortToday was our second day at the Novoshenalone orphanage. We had a few more students, and there were several more that wanted to attend our classes, but their teachers made them stay in their regular classes. The truth is that there are more children in this orphanage than we can teach at one time. After our VBS lessons, we found a restaurant in Krasnoarmeysk to meet with Sasha. He produced fliers for the Bible classes we are offering, and we plan on spending the next two afternoons handing those out in various parks and other gathering places. We are told that door-knocking with interpreters can be more frightening to residents than helpful, but we will try to continue to get the word out. We had just enough time to visit one of the sisters who has struggled with cancer before our evening class.
We had 2 young ladies in class today who had not attended in the past, so the room was packed! David Fleming spoke about the importance of training children, reflecting on the words of Jesus when He said, "Let them come unto me." Phil followed up with the practical side of faith development in young people. There were many questions asked, and we were able to spend some time talking about the issue of baptism. The Russian Orthodox Church baptises infants, and some questions were posed about why we do not do that. Our men handled the discussion beautifully. The church here has begun a Saturday Bible school in which 7 children currently attend. They sincerely want to begin reaching out to children. We are driving Sasha to the orphanage tomorrow to meet the director. We have high hopes for this relationship, since the Director is so open to Bible teaching. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the church at Krasnoarmeysk could begin teaching regular Bible classes at this orphanage?
As I was reading the comment section, a statement by P.D. reminded me of something very important. When we visited the orphanage at Macheyevka last week, the children asked about every single team member from last year. The same is true at the Krasnoarmeysk congregation. It is encouraging to realize that last summer's team left a big impact. Also, P.D. mentioned that this blog makes him feel like part of the team. The truth is, all of us are part of this team. You wouldn't believe how encouraging it is to read your comments and know you are thinking about us and praying for the efforts here. Thank you!
What a Day!We had an exhausting but wonderful day. We met at UBI as usual and rode out to the orphanage at Novoshenolone. The director there was so excited to see us that he put his classes on hold for us to teach our VBS material. Can you imagine that? He let us have 11:00 - 1:00, prime teaching hours right before their lunch to teach Bible lessons to 43 children. Much of his kindness is due to the work of other brothers and sisters in the area. Various members of the church have helped him secure mattresses, shoes, and medicine for the children over the past few years. He has such a positive view of the Church of Christ that he is putting classes on hold for us. This group behaved wonderfully, and they were excited to see us. There is great potential with this orphanage, especially for future work with the church at Krasnoarmeysk.
After that, we made our way to Krasnoarmeysk. We ate a quick sack lunch and then rode to the Mayor's office. The City Councilwoman (our main contact) met us there, and we presented her with flowers. The Mayor was called out of town, but we met with the Deputy Mayor. We presented him with a nice pen, as well as a few Goo-Goo bars (a Middle Tennessee touch). The former mayor (the one who met with Steve Hale when Krasnoarmeysk was named Mt. Juliet's sister city) also came, which was a wonderful surprise. They presented us with a few crafts made by Krasnoarmeysk children and a book on the history of the city. Sasha, the new preacher, introduced himself to all of them, and we feel like good connections were made. This could prove helpful in the future.
The City Councilwoman took us to a small orphanage in Krasnoarmeysk. There are 17 children there, and they performed poetry and skits for us! After a tour of the facility, we enjoyed hot tea and cookies with the director. We presented Bibles to both orphanages that we visited, and we handed out puppets which were donated by 21st Century Christian to all the kids in the Krasnoarmeysk orphanage. Again, Sasha was able to introduce himself, which was important.
By that time we were almost ready for our evening Bible Class. Sasha made a list of questions he would like us to discuss in a Bible Class for the congregation. 8 members were present (which really represents the core of this group), and we discussed male spiritual leadership as it relates to the role of women, suggestions for women's classes/events/ministry ideas, and possible evangelism strategies for the congregation. While there is only a small group of us during these meetings, these are rich discussions, and they mean the world to the Christians here.
We made our way back to the city for some evening borscht (always a good way to top off the day), and we are getting ready to do it again tomorrow! The Councilwoman will not be taking us anywhere tomorrow, but she plans on taking us to another area for children on Wednesday. As Roma said, "It may seem small to you, but this is a big thing for the church here." We hope and pray that is true.
We love you and miss you. Thank you for all of your prayers and comments!
A Monday Full of PossibilitiesWe had another wonderful Sunday in Krasnoarmeysk, and that has left us excited about tomorrow. We worshipped with the congregation in Krasnoarmeysk and finalized our plans to teach adult Bible Classes during the week. The brothers and sisters have requested that we teach on worship, enduring trials (this congregation has showed tremendous endurance), and reaching out to children (they are trying to build a strong children's Bible class program). We will be discussing those topics and also using the "Newcomer's Guide to the Bible" book provided by EEM. We have copies in Russian, so it will be easy for them to share with friends.
Tomorrow will be a busy day. At 11:00, we will do a VBS at the Novosholone orphanage, which the Krasnoarmeysk congregation has done some work with in the past. Then, we will meet with the Mayor and other city officials at 2:00. In the past, Mt. Juliet has been officially named a "sister city" of Krasnoarmeysk, and we are seeking to re-establish that connection. After that meeting, the mayor will take us to a smaller orphange within the city limits. There, we will be able to teach and hand out Bibles. This is an important meeting for many reasons. First of all, it will allow Sasha (the new preacher) to meet the important governmental officials, which will help the congregation in Krasnoarmeysk immensely. As they search for a new place in which to meet and new ways to reach out to the community, having the help of the government will be invaluable. Secondly, it will give us openings into local orphanages and hospitals. Imagine this - the government is escorting us into an orphanage, and we will be leaving Bibles with the children! This will open the door for new outreach programs for Sasha, as he works to help the congregation. As you can understand, we are excited and hopeful. God is really opening a door for us!
We spent the evening with the congregation at Proletarski. 4 of the children who had never visited the congregation but attended VBS last week were back for both morning and evening services! That was encouraging to us. Also, several of the ladies from Budyonofski came to visit. This was the group our ladies spoke to last night.
As we have learned so often over the past week, plans can change quickly. Please be prayerful that these plans will come to fruition and we can make some real progress for the church here. Thank you for your thoughts, and we will let you know how everything goes.
We love you!
Week 1 Comes to an EndFriday was a wonderful day for both our Vacation Bible Schools! At the orphanage in Macheyevka, we met with the director and presented her with some flowers from the team. She gave us some commemorative chocolate honoring their soccer team. (We'll see if those make it home; we'll at least keep the box for you so you will know what it looked like!) We know that maintaining a good relationship with her will help God's word continue to be taught in that place. In our 5th Grade class, I asked all the children if they could remember the first time someone told them about Christ. They all responded by saying the name "Dima!" Dima is the UBI teacher who teaches a regular Bible class there and helped connect us with this orphanage. So, we can rest assured that they will continue to hear God's Word being taught. We also donated approximately 30 children's Bibles to be used in the orphanage library. It was very difficult to say goodbye to these kids, even after such a short time. We have plans to stay connected by letters and e-mails, which Dima will translate. We talked about Jesus in our classes on Friday, and who knows what God will do with the seeds planted in those 40-50 little hearts!
Our Proletarski VBS also ended with a bang. We had 17 kids, and they were all excited to be there. We found that Phil's version of the hippo song is a universal hit. At the end of VBS, Ray presented every child with a Bible. Inside that Bible was a special letter to the parents of each child. Ray hopes to make several new contacts with all the new children that walked in the door. After that, we ate at a nearby Russian restaurant. It was delicious, and a small way to show Ray and Lynn how thankful we are for their hard work.
Saturday morning, the team met at Jay Don and Mary Lee Rogers' flat for lunch. Jay Don directs the UBI. We were able to sleep in and eat a wonderful meal. Phil and I went over to Proletarski, where Phil did a great job speaking at a special youth devotional. The ladies went to Budyonofski to speak at a Ladies Day today, and I'm sure it will be terrific experience. Tomorrow, we will drive back to Krasnoarmeysk and finalize our plans for this week. Please continue to pray that this will go well. We are trying to meet with some city officials this week, so please also pray for that possibility. It will help the church if we can reconnect with the local government.
We love you and miss you!
Catching UpWell, our time at Macheyevka and Proletarski is quickly coming to a close. Here is a summary of the past two days:
Wednesday, after our usual UBI chapel time, we made preparations for our two VBS lessons. Since we are going straight from Macheyevka to Proletarski, we have to be ready for both before we leave. The lessons at Macheyevka were good, although we had to meet for singing in a different room than we did Tuesday. They still remembered the "Chicky-Chicky," and they were very excited to sing. Because of the nature of the orphanage, our time there is very busy. Once the classes have begun, the children are usually interested, but getting class started can be a challenge! We studied Joseph and talked about forgiveness. We then taught that same lesson at Proletarski. We had about 12-13 kids there, and many of them are new contacts for the church. When Phil asked what we should do if we were playing with someone and he/she hurt our feelings, the correct answer was obviously forgiveness. One little girl raised her hand and said, "I would forgive him, but I wouldn't play with him anymore!"
Thursday was a wonderful day for many reasons. We kept to our usual schedule, and our time at Macheyevka went much more smoothly. Rather than rotate the children from station to station (as we do in our VBS at Mount Juliet), we kept the kids in the classrooms and brought the different activities to them. That seemed to work well. We also got to talk to Maksim, an orphanage worker we studied with last year. It is evident that follow up by the local Christians has been very effective. He has been attending church camps and studying with the Christians here. One of the teachers in the orphanage was baptized this year, and the children have weekly Bible classes. The director has given the local congregation a room in the building to conduct these classes, and it has just been renovated. We donated about 30 children's Bibles to the room for those classes. The children also have the opportunity to attend worship every Wednesday. It is comforting to know about such active follow up after we leave.
We had 17 at Proletarski that night, which was our record attendance! One child went out and brought back 3 of his friends, because he was having so much fun. We hope and pray that the contacts made this week will help the church here in weeks to come. Lynn Allison, one of the American missionaries here, had us over to her house again for dinner. She cooked meatloaf, and it was wonderful. Her cooking has helped us through some late, post-VBS dinner times. She enjoys spending time with Americans, and we have grown to love and appreciate Lynn and Ray. To repay Ray and Lynn for their kindness, we are taking them to a Russian restaurant this evening. Because of our busy schedules, we usually make sandwiches for a quick lunch and eat a late dinner. We look forward to experiencing more of the culture tonight. We know that when we begin going out to Krasnoarmeysk (a smaller village), we will experience a whole new side of the culture.
Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, and comments. We print out our comment sheet and take it back to the apartment so that everyone can read them. Also, thanks for all the birthday wishes! I've already been served 2 cakes over here, which has been wonderful! I'm not sure how easy it will be to put up more pictures (if Masha, one of our interpreters, hadn't been with us yesterday, it never would have worked), but we will try to give you a taste of the orphanage near Krasnoarmeysk and the Adult Bible Classes each night.
We love you all - God bless you!
Images of our Trip - 1. Phil leading VBS at Proletarski, 2. Sunday at Krasnoarmeysk (Sasha, the preacher, is in the suit), 3. Macheevka Bible Class.
Tuesday's GoneThis is Phil "the thrill" reporting again for the Mt. Juliet Ukraine Team. Right now the rest of the crew is preparing for the Vacation Bible School at the Orphanage in Macheevka.
Yesterday was a good day. Andrew spoke at the UBI (Ukrainian Bible Institute) at 9:00 a.m. After this, we met at the ladies' apartment to prepare for VBS at Macheevka and to eat lunch. We really expanded our horizons by eating good ole Mickey D's.
The van was there to pick us up at 11:30. Our VBS was supposed to start at 1:00. p.m.
There were 45 children from 1st-5th grade assembled in the library at Macheevka. Many of them remembered David, Susan, and andrew from last year. They were all very excited to see us.
We divided into 4 classes and spent an hour teaching them about Creation. We did not get to do the activities we had planned because they had to go to lunch.
Andrew met with the director of the orphanage. There had been miscommunication. She thought we intended to do a one day VBS so she had canceled some classes for us.
After meeting with Andrew, she decided that she would adjust their class schedule so we can come each day this week and be with the children from 2:15-4:15 or so. Can you imagine a principal in the U.S. doing this? We are very excited about this opportunity and fortunate.
We leave at 1:00 today to start classes there at 2:15.
We left the orphanage yesterday from Macheevka around 3:15 and arrived at the church building in Proletarski at 4:00. There was a little boy there, Veecha, who was waiting on the front steps for us. We were told that his mom was sending him to a boarding school, but he was back. He left his house at 3:00 because he told his mom he did not want to miss the beginning of VBS. He is around 10 years old.
We started the VBS in Proletarski at 5:00. We nearly doubled our attendance from Monday, with 14 children in attendance. We opened with singing led by Andrew and Vana. After this, Susan McCulloch taught the children a lesson about Achan, with Masha interpreting. David Fleming also assisted in the lesson and Pat Huddleston and Sissy Pickler helped with a fun craft.
They broke for a snack, provided by Buddy, then Phil and Andrew led them in a game of the 'Love Web', where you pass the yarn to each other, saying what you like about that person.
We closed with singing and Andrew presented some of the donated toys to children who had either brought a guest or had been there two days in a row. This was a big hit.
One of the children brought their mom to VBS, and she was very interested in everything being taught. Both her and her mother sat with the boys during VBS.
We had a short meeting afterwards as a team to discuss the next day.
Then we walked about 10 or 15 minutes to Lynn Allison's house, where she had prepared some wonderful spaghetti. We enjoyed a great time of fellowship, laughing and talking together.
She presented Andrew with his 2nd Birthday cake. He's really racking up. We all sang to him in English, then the translators sang to him in Russian.
Around 10:00, we went our separate ways, taking taxi's back to our apartments.
It was another wonderful day. We are staying busy doing the Lord's work.
Thank you all for your continued prayers and thoughts.
We love you and miss you.
phil and the Mt. Juliet crew
Monday MadnessHey y'all...this is Phil Waggoner reporting for the MJ Ukraine Team...1st of all, a big shout out to our families and friends...we love you and miss you.
Monday morning we went to the UBI (Ukrainian Bible Institute) for chapel at 9:00 a.m. Andrew spoke and did a fantastic job. We met some neat people there and a few of us got the grand tour of the facility.
After this we had lunch together at the ladies' apartment. The ladies had splurged for a cake to celebrate Andrew's 25th Birthday. Good times were had by all.
The mini-bus picked us up at 1:00 and we went to the church building in Proletarski. We met up with the minister there from Memphis, Ray Graham. With our Vacation Bible School 1st night looming at 5:00, we divided into three's to go out and doorknock.
We were actually child-hunting, scavenging the neighborhoods for any 5-15 year old's. He had several flyers made up to hand out and each team of American's had a Ukrainian interpreter to help spread the message.
We had a little rest time at Lynn Allison's apartment for some refreshments. We got back to the building around 4:15 to set up and get prepared for the children.
We had 8 children join us for the first night of Vacation Bible school. While we were hoping for more children, of the ones who came, we made some solid contacts and a good impression.
Tony Huddleston taught the lesson about Creation, and Sissy Pickler, Pat Huddleston, and Susan McCulloch also assisted. These ladies had some great crafts and games which helped reinforce the lesson.
We started out with a period of Singing with Andrew and Vana, one of the interpreters. Buddy Pickler took care of snacks, which is as big a draw here for kids as it is in the States.
We concluded VBS at 7:00 with one of the children asking "How many friends can i bring tomorrow?" We encouraged them all to come back and bring friends.
Our VBS will be going on at Proletarski through Friday night. Please pray that it may grow and that we can make a powerful impact for Christ in the hearts of these children.
After VBS, we had a team meal at the 'Three Fat Men" Restaurant. Then we departed for our homes.
It is currently Tuesday at 10:45. Andrew spoke at chapel this morning at UBI and did a fantastic job as usual.
We have a big day ahead of us. We're leaving at11:30 for Macheevka. We are going to be teaching the children there, conducting a Vacation Bible School from 1:00-3:30.
Then we will leave in time to make it to Proletarski for Day 2 of the VBS from 5-6:30. It is about an hour drive from Donnetsk to Macheevka, and then an hour or so from Macheevka to Proletarski.
We have another full day ahead of us. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.
It means the world to all of us. Thanks also for the loving comments.
phil and the mj team
Our First Sunday in the UkraineWell, although we are posting this at around 2:15 a.m. Central Standard time, we have already begun our Monday morning activities. The internet cafe was closed by the time we arrived back at our apartments yesterday, so here is a summary of our weekend.
The remainder of Saturday was spent getting groceries and making plans for Sunday's transportation. Sunday morning, we met our translators for the first time. We have four young people - Vonya, Masha, Nikka, and Kostya - that will be helping us for the remainder of our trip. They are excellent translators, and we are blessed to have them working with us. We traveled out to Krasnoarmeysk and had a wonderful period of worship. There were about 25 of us in the small room they rent, and we were able to hear Sasha, their new preacher, for the first time. As you may recall, they spent most of the last year looking for a preacher, and Sasha is a young graduate of the Kromtorsk Institute, a preacher training school, and he began his work with the congregation in May. He and his wife Maria are full of energy. They have a niece that lives with them, and Maria has begun teaching children's Bible classes on Saturday. There were 4 children present on Sunday, which shows the fruit of that work.
After our worship service, we had a men's meeting in which Sasha discussed the needs of the congregation. We were glad to have Tony and David with us to represent the Elders - especially since both of them have worked to correspond with this congregation over the years. We have had some difficulty communicating with the Krasnoarmeysk church in the past, and we will now be able to use Roma, a former preacher for that congregation who now lives in another city and was with us on Sunday, to send communication. Sasha and Julia are not from Krasnoarmeysk, but they have moved to the city and have long-term plans to stay there. This is very good news! We also discussed our plans for next week, in which we will teach Bible classes at night to some of the individuals Sasha has been studying with, as well as current members. We will be telling you more about this congregation in the days ahead.
After eating an early supper, we worshipped with the church at Proletarski. This is the congregation where we are conducting the VBS this week. We planned with Ray our week's schedule. This morning, we attended chapel at the Ukraine Bible Institute. We will spend the remainder of the morning going over tonight's lessons with our translators. This afternoon, we will canvas the Proletarski area, handing out fliers for the VBS, which begins at 5:00. We will then begin teaching the children!
All in all, we had a busy but profitable day yesterday. The meeting with the Krasnoarmeysk congregation was a giant step forward, and we are excited to begin the VBS in Proletarski tonight. The Bible school at the Macheyevka orphanage begins tomorrow (today is the first day of school here). Thanks for your prayers!
We Have Arrived!After four flights, we have arrived in Donetsk, Ukraine! I guess we paid our dues last year, because we made it through this year with everyone's luggage! AS you can imagine, that makes everything go just a little bit smoother. Our flights were all relatively on time, and thanks to the help of Alex, we made it through customs easily. We came into the country at roughly 10:15 here, which would be 2:15 Central time. We were met by Ray Grayham and Lynn Allison (missionaries with the Proletarski congregation), Sasha and Natasha (who work with the Ukrainian Bible Institute as well as the church at Bjohnaski), and Jay Donn Rodgers, the president of Ukrainian Bible Institute. We are staying in three apartments in Donetsk, each within approximately 10 minutes of Lenin Square. They had food waiting in our refrigerators and two of our apartments have a washing machine. They are very nice, and we are grateful for all the help we have been given in making these arrangements.
Today, we ate lunch with Ray, Lynn, Dave, and Josh at the Three Fat Men restaurant and planned out the remainder of the weekend. This afternoon, we are going to the grocery store and then meeting to get set up for the upcoming Bible Classes/Vacation Bible School. Tomorrow, we will go to Krasnoarmeysk and meet with Sasha (the preacher there - different than the Sasha who met us at the airport). We will plan out week 2 in Krasnarmeysk and get to know the people and situation there better. In the evening, we will probably go to Proletarski to meet with Ray and plan out the Vacation Bible School we will be conducting there this week. We found a local internet cafe, so we should be able toupdate this site fairly frequently. We hope to have pictures of the kids we teach to display as well. We are incredibly grateful for all of your prayers and encouragement!
Mt. Juliet Church of Christ
1940 N. Mt. Juliet Road
Mt. Juliet, TN 37122
Mt.Juliet, TN 37121-0248
Sunday Early Worship: 8AM
Sunday Bible Study: 9:15AM
Sunday Late Worship: 10:15AM
Night Worship: 6PM
Wednesday Bible Study: 7PM