Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Great Ukrainian Adventure

Oi my hoodness.

I got back from the "Great Ukrainian Adventure" last night. Three weeks is entirely too long. However, it was a busy three weeks but not in a bad way. It was really great to have an opportunity to relax a bit and not have to think or worry about things. Once I got my visa application in that is. I'm going to be doing a separate post on the visa process when I get a chance

I felt very much New Testamenty because during my time in both Kharkov and Kiev I stayed with families in the church. Before my trip, I wasn't sure how I felt about doing that, but honestly it was a really good experience. I recommend doing it. It gets you connected to the church, you have people to hang out with and the common experiences of being a Christian and (in this case) being missionaries makes for good times.

I stayed with the Noyes family in Kiev. Since it was over Orthodox Christmas, we had an awesome dinner on the 6th. During this dinner, I met a couple of girls from the congregation and we hit it off. Since I had to wait for the consulate to open and the girls had time off work due to holidays I got to spend some awesome times hanging out with them. It was great to just kick back and have a great time.

On January 10th the consulate opened so I went in the morning to drop off my visa paperwork. As I mentioned, a more detailed blog post will be forthcoming. Despite my fears to the contrary, everything went smoothly and I was told to come back on the 24th to pick my visa up.

The evening of the 10th, I took a train to Kharkov to meet with a group of American missionaries there and spend some time with them. The first two days in the city, I did nothing but rest since I was trying to get over a cold. It was actually a really good couple of days. I read, and slept, and ate. I'm really grateful to the Price family for letting me crash at their place and for feeding me tastiness. Once I felt better, I got involved with some of the activities that the church is doing there.

It was great because there was no pressure. I could participate or not as I chose (As it turned out, I very much enjoyed participating in everything I was invited to) but there was no pressure to have to participate in anything. It was a great vacation. For real.

The trip also gave me some different life experiences. I became more confident with my Russian, I got experience riding on trains, and most valuable of all, I got to see how some other churches on this side of the world function and the things they're trying to do in order to reach out.

After spending about ten days in Kharkov, I headed back to Kiev. They were having a seminar for unmarried women about how to avoid problems on the path to marriage. In other words, how to make good life choices when it comes to guys. Even though I'd heard a lot of the information before thanks to my mom and the church people back home, hearing it in Russian put a new perspective on things. Plus I feel like now I'm at a stage in my life where the information is more useful to me and I'm more willing to apply it.

Through this seminar, I got to know some other girls from the congregations in Kiev and again, it was fun although by this time, I was getting pretty tired. Thankfully, Monday I had a chance to relax and recover. Tuesday, I gathered my things and in the afternoon picked up my visa from the consulate (again without problems). Then I took an evening train from Kiev to Moscow.

Let me tell you the one advantage trains have to planes is at least you feel like you're going somewhere. With a plane, not so much. But the train ride back was super super long. Too long. I left Kiev at 6pm. I arrived in Moscow at 9:30 the next morning. Then, at 1pm I took another train to arrive in St. Petersburg about 10pm. I was so ready to get off the train and just be done when I got in.

I was also really excited to get back to Piter. I'd really missed the city and more importantly, I'd really missed my church family here. It was a good trip, like I said, and I really needed the break but at the same time three weeks was too long. 

1 comment:

Kyle and Svet Keeton said...

Hello Abigail,

we are so glad you are safe sound and home!

Our congratulations with you visa process!

Sveta and Kyle