Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ukraine Day 4

Our ride back from Luntsk lasted until the wee hours of Sunday morning. We basically got a lengthy nap before getting up to lead praise and worship for Victor's church, Buccha Baptist Church.

We were up early and ready to head over for breakfast. The walk from our camp to the church was about a 5 minute walk. It went down a street filled with small houses combined with very large houses. One thing we noticed about the houses in Ukraine was that each house was surrounded by a wall you might see here in America around a compound. When we asked about it we were told that in Soviet Union times all possessions were considered to be owned by everyone so people would just walk over to another house to take the lawn mower or anything else they needed. So walls were needed and now they are normal. It was a nice walk each day and got our blood moving.

Sunday morning we led Victor's church in worship.
I say led, I don't actually mean led. I mean for the most part we sang and they watched us. There were some people in the crowd who sang every word with us but most of them just smiled as we sang. After each song their church does not applaud but instead they speak words of thanks and blessings to those who sing. That was very interesting. There were several other things that stood out. First was the fact that there were two speakers. Victor told us that in time of the Soviet Union, they were not allowed to have Sunday School or any type of function outside of their Sunday morning church service. So in order to fit in as much doctrine as possible they would have 2 or more speakers each service. We also enjoyed communion that morning. Sasha and his wife Natasha translated for us and they were quick to warn us that the wine was real wine so be prepared. Since my Yaya's church uses real wine in their communion I thought I was prepared. What I didn't realize was that this wine was homemade by a couple in the church. When we took it it burned all the way down and there was a good bit of sediment in the bottom of my cup. Yes, we all felt it! But all of us realized the symbolism of taking communion halfway around the world, in a country where we couldn't understand a thing, yet we were bonded together with fellow believers through communion. (even if it did burn on the way down!)

After church Victor took us all to eat at a restaurant that could only be labeled as the Ukrainian Cracker Barrel. It was filled with all sorts of interesting paraphernalia.

It was a great time together even if it did take about 2 hours to get done. One of the interesting things was trying Soul. This looks and somewhat tastes like garlic butter until someone tells you that it is actually lard. Yes, I tried it. It wasn't too bad but I couldn't bring myself to eat more than one cracker with it on there. The last one shows some of the guys with a little bowl of Soul. Their faces say it all.

That night we sang at a youth service where very few in attendance were considered youth. There were several babushkas who come everytime the doors were open. This service was the one service I think all of us looked back on as a favorite moment on the trip. The church put the words to our songs on slides and we sang in English as they all sang in Ukrainian. I had to stop to take a breath in the middle to keep from crying as I realized the awesomeness of our God. A God who doesn't speak English or Ukrainian. A God who hears our praises no matter what language we sing in and who sees our hearts no matter what our nationality. That was a moment I will never forget.

We were given headphones that night to listen as Natasha translated from a translator booth upstairs. I took this picture actually during the service from across the auditorium when it struck me how we all looked.

All in all today was a great day. All of us got a brief glimpse at how Heaven would be. Believers of every race and tongue praising our Heavenly Father with one heart. Just the beginning of a great week.

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