Ukraine 2012 June 18-20Our last day in Ukraine consisted of having breakfast, Ray cleaning the men's house (voluntarily), and saying good bye to our hostesses. We left about 11. A van and a truck transported us to the airport where we said our goodbyes to Sasha and three of the kids from Krasnoarmeysk. We dropped off Igor on the way, Nick shortly after arrival. After a fashion we convinced Dasha and Nastyia to go on their way. Our flight left 10 minutes early according to our itinerary but right on time according to the schedule posted. There is a beautiful new terminal in Donetsk due to the Eurocup 2012. Our flight was smooth and relaxing with no problems with luggage or getting thru customs in Warsaw. Our driver met us on time but seemed a little overwhelmed with the amount of luggage we were dragging around. But there was plenty of room in the very comfortable Mercedes Benz Sprinter van and he whisked us to our hotel in downtown Warsaw using traffice lanes reserved for buses. Nice! Our hotel was one of two remaining in Warsaw after World War II. Over 75 per cent of the city was destroyed. On our tour on Tuesday we visited a synagogue that was untouched by the WWII destruction. Most of the destruction was down by the Germans in retaliation for an uprising of the Poles. The reason the synagogue was not destroyed as the Germans used it to house their horses, just another way to insult the Jewish people. We met a young Christian couple from Warsaw for dinner. They attend a very small congregation and David had made a connection thru Memorial Road in Oklahome City. She is an American and he is a Pole. Really nice young couple. How would you like to be 2 of five Christians in a city of 1.7 million? On Tuesday we toured Warsaw on the Sprinter van and walking. It is an exciting, vibrant city full of activity. Being one of several host cities for Eurocup 2012 added to the excitement downtown. It is also a beautiful city that has been rebuilt after the war. We were told that they received no money from the US,mwho paid to rebuild Grermany the aggressor. The Soviet Union gave Poland a monstrous House of Culture. It towers over downtown and provided a great landmark for us to find our way back the the hotel. We had another beautiful day. We capped it off with dinner with the same young couple and a member of their congregation. His name is Adam and he is from Gambia in West Africa and a student at the University. Wednesday morning we took a walk to see the changing of the guard at their tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Very somber experience similar to ours in DC. Back to the hotel to check out have lunch and catch a van to the airport. Buddy
Ukraine 2012 June 15 delayed postOn Friday, June 15, we conducted our last lessons at the park for the kids in Krasnoarmeysk. After an extremely hot Thursday and rain threatening on friday we had a smaller group of kids. That was a little disappointing, but we still had a decent size to teach. After another great lunch at Lydia's we spilt up to go to Dimitrov and the shelter for our last lessons. Afternoon rains didnt damper the crowd at Dimitrov where we had a large class with even a new child on the last day. At the shelter we also had fewer kids but still had a good lesson. It was really great to see some of the same kids from year to year and see how they have grown. Before supper we went to visit Tamara, our hostess for our men in previous years. She had had surgery on her shoulder and we heard she was up able to care for us this year. She served us cake and a fruit salad her grand daughter had made. Both were very good. It was also good to see Tamara, Vasily, their son, and her granddaughter. She has really grown up in the five years since we saw her. This year we had all lunches and dinners at Lydia's house. It was very nice having time together as an entire team. We were able to plane things and get closer. We will likely look for a way to have at least one meal together in the future. Saturday's tour of Donetsk, Sunday's worship with Krasnoarmeysk, a visit by Roman's family, and dinner with our translators and hostesses finished out our work in Ukraine. Buddy
Ukraine 2012 June 18Quick post to let you know we arrived in Warsaw on time without problems. More later. Buddy
Ukraine 2012 June 16-17This is a combined post for our last Saturday and Sunday in Ukraine. On Saturday we went to Donetsk to have brunch with Lynn and Victor, renewing our tradition of eating at the Three Fat Men. After a tasty filling breakfast we walked from one end to the other of Pushkin Park. The weather was delightful after several days of mid 90's and rain on Friday. We also crossed the river and visited a park with many types of flowers. After that we toured the ironworks park and walked by the Donetsk Stadium, one of 4 host stadiums for the Eurocup 2012. We returned to our houses for another fabulous meal prepared by out host Lydia. Sunday was full of activities: children's class in the park, worship with 38 in attendance at Krasnoarmeysk, followed by good byes and gifts all around. Lunch and team fellowship (your writer slept) followed. Roman, Ira, Vasily, and Alona came to visit for a while. Tonight we had our banquet at the local pizza place. Great trip! We pray all was done to the glory of the Lord. Tomorrow we say goodbye to our translators and fly to Warsaw. We will tour on Tuesday and fly home ALL day wednesday. Buddy
Ukraine 2012 June 14Greetings from Ukraine . Temps are expected to remain in the 90's today. This is the first year we have enjoyed "shared" meals, the guys (who stay at a different house) eating with the ladies for lunch and dinner. Talk of the day's activities and plans for next day are topics that dominate conversation. In years past we didn't have the chance to plan as well. Speaking of food, we are dining like kings and queens. Borscht for lunch every day, either regular or green; chicken and pork and potatoes served many ways. Lydia is the best cook in the world!! We eat fresh vegetables from her garden and drink compot. Compot is a cold refreshing drink made from fresh cherries hand picked from her cherry tree. Everything is fresh and organic. The children we work with here are beautiful. I wish we could bring them all home. Please pray that we influence them for Christ. Pressure from parents and others is strong. Apathy is a problem all over the world. I was reminded of P.D.'s favorite passage in the Bible today, 2 Kings 6:17. We know the heavenly hosts are watching over our efforts and these precious little ones. We are all children of God, only the language barrier separates us while we are on earth . In heaven we will all speak one language...that is something to look forward to. Ukraine won their first round match in the Euro Cup. National pride is on display. Think Alabama vs Tn football times 100. David
Ukraine 2012 June 13Update on Krasnoarmeysk meeting place. On Friday the team traveled to Gorlovka to visit the Bear Valley Ukraine and to meet with an attorney to discuss the procedures for purchasing property. We had a good meeting and understand more about what we need to do. The lawyer assisted in the transfer of the building used for the church and the school there. No money was involved so that transaction was simpler. Our current thinking is that we will engage that lawyer to structure the paperwork so that the church can acquire property. This will take several months. The school has a great place to train preachers. In fact they are interested in Ray becoming their first English speaking student so we cancelled his return trip and he will spend the summer learning Russian and will complete his second year here. We just have to find chains and handcuffs strong enough to hold him. :) On Monday evening Tony, David, and Buddy met with the congregation without Sasha, Julia, and Lera to see if they had any concerns they would like to bring to the elders. The only issue they raised is sharing the two room apartment with Sasha and his family and the church. Neither has the space to do what they want. We encouraged them to look for a first floor location for the church to rent as a short term measure until a long term solution of a separate building could be resolved. They all expressed love for Sasha and Julia and are pleased with their work. They have some tension over use of the apartment for the ladies to meet, the youth to meet, and Sasha's home. The first set of tension (ladies and youth use) is all growth related and the second is the unfortunate result of Sasha being priced out of his apartment. A separate place for the church to meet with additional space and a little scheduling will solve both issues. This is a wonderful group of Christians, who are doing the best they can with the limited resources that they have. They are doing a great work with 5 baptisms this past year of both young and not so young. Please continue to pray for this work and these wonderful people. Buddy
Ukraine 2012 June 11Monday morning in the park with 15 young people from the area began our week of Bible studies. We had good classes and even more fun with the "volleyball" game played with water balloons. Somehow Ray and John got wet! After lunch we split into two groups, one to the nearby town of Dimitrov and most of us to the shelter (a type of foster/orphan's home) nearby. They thoroughly enjoyed the lessons, crafts, and the 14 foot jump rope, with special jumping demos by John and Janice! Dimitrov had 6 kids and the shelter had about 12. The numbers may seem small, but leaders assure us there will be more at each place tomorrow! The last event of the day -- before supper -- was a great Bible study led by David and John in the church/apartment building. The singing of that 30 member group was so energetic and heartfelt that it makes us all so glad we came! The biggest blessing so far is the weather. It's been raining here for the past two weeks, and all indications were that it would be this week. However, it's been blue skies and sunshine. Praise the Lord! Thank you all for your prayers. We are conscious every hour of the blessings of our Christian family. Melissa
Ukraine 2012 Sunday June 10What a wonderful day!! Our team met the congregation early this morning to transport everything for the day to a remote part of the park, including the people. It took two trips in the van Which holds about 18 people, but we loaded it with chairs, tables and bags and bags of foodstuff. We had service on the ground and then a children's class while David studied with two young women, Kate and Vickie. While this was going on Sasha grilled pork shish kabobs and the ladies prepared the balance of the feast with potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and other dressings. It was a wonderful meal and time of fellowship. You could not have asked for better weather-clear skies, cool temps and slight breeze. We had approximately 40 people in attendance. Kate and Vickie are interested in baptism, but still have questions and secular pressures. Please pray for these two young ladies. We love you all! Buddy
Ukraine 2012 Saturday June 9What we learned today: Whistling inside a house in Ukraine is a bad thing. It is a superstition that the master of the house will lose his money and be poor. Also we learned that the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. Oh, did someone say that before me? Anyway you need to be fluid here. Due to communication issues we were not able to teach in e park as planned. To make the best use of our time we met with Sasha and some of the ladies to discuss the work of the church here. Tomorrow we plan to have a very full day of worship, children's and teen classes, picnic in the park with the congregation. Also David, Tony and I visited with Tamarra this afternoon. She is in good health now. She misses us being with her this campaign and we miss being with her and her family. Vasily, her husband, looks strong and healthy at age 76. It was good to spend a little time with them and their daughter and granddaughter. The weather is nice but getting warmer. They have had quite a bit of rain and it is warmer spring like we have had at home. Everything is much lusher than we have seen in previous years. I have been unsuccessful getting our young men to author a blog as yet. But we will soon. That is all for now. Buddy
Ann CraddockWe are trying to keep our distance from Buddy as he is being stopped at every checkpoint. We were apprehensive about clearing customs in Kiev with all the extra luggage. We landed, picked up our luggage, kept walking and didn't get stop or checked. So much for worrying!! I am thinking about sweet Ann Craddock. She was one of the first ladies from Mt Juliet to make this trip 20 years ago. Give her a hug from the 2012 Ukraine Mission team..she and others paved the way for us. Thank you for all your prayers, God is so good to his children. We are in good hands! David
Missed our connection in Warsaw. Now delayed with stop in Kiev. Due to get to Donetsk at 1050pm. Buddy
Security is tight!Off to a good start. First in Nashville, my powdered cream was checked for explosive material. They rescanned my creams, the pump for our balls, and the soccer balls in my bag. Then when we came thru security in Newark, they tested my hands for traces of explosive material. Then when we were boarding I got pulled aside by US Border Security for a currency check. Susan was with me and they detained her as well. Sissy came back to check on me and then there were three of us. He asked if we were family, "yes" "no, she is a friend" referring to Susan. Ok, which is it? Susan got to go on while he questioned Sissy and I further. Walter satisfactory answers we will allowed to board. No one on the team will have anything to do with me. Kenny Page, please come join me in isolation! :) Your scribe, Buddy
Team Ukraine 2012 is on its way. We were introduced to a new airport for us---Newark. Landed in NY LaGuardia on time and took a small bus like ours from there to Newark. Waiting for a 630pm departure. Thanks go out to Tim Martin for getting us to the Nashville airport and Celeste Birchett for getting the luggage there as well. Everyone is in good spirits. Buddy
Ukraine 2012 begins June 6, 2012.
Our team this year : David Burka
Ray Birchett III
We will again help teach the children through bible lessons with crafts.
Ray Birchett and John Beckham will work with the teens.
We also plan to visit the shelter for troubled youth and have bible classes as we did last year.
Please pray for the church at Krasnoarmeysk, Ukraine and for the team to have a safe and successful mission trip.
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