Our time with friends in Kiev

02/03/2012 03:16

Pam and AndriyAndriy and Bill by famous actor statue

God truly blessed our time in Kiev by surrounding us with family in a city we’ve never been to before. We were never alone from the time we stepped off the airplane to the last night we were in Kiev. 

After spending the first evening and next day with our friend, Artem, and now, new friend, Anya, we spent the next day with our friend, Andriy. I mentioned before how we first met Andriy in San Antonio. Craig Moyer, the head of Missions at CBC, called me to let me know two missionaries were in town.  Andriy wanted to meet people from SACS who minister in Ukraine and Craig knew I would love meet someone who is a Ukrainian missionary. It was so awesome meeting him in my home and then in Ukraine. Andriy is involved with an International Sports Mission organization. We met for lunch (pictures on Facebook and MAY get on here someday) and then walked around Kiev for 4 hours. We also rode the subway to get to different parts of the city. We saw the President’s house, the Parliament, statues of famous people, other important buildings, and lots and lots of snow! It was probably zero degrees. And who needs a treadmill or stair master when you’re in Kiev? Answer? NO ONE! We had great fellowship. 

Andriy kept trying to call our friend, Maxim to see if he could join us. We had plans to meet him at 6:00 but we were hoping to meet him while we were with Andriy so that we could have a translator. 

We never got a hold of him, so we got back to our apartment to meet as planned. Maxim is a 20 year old young man who I met on my first mission trip to Odessa at the orphan camp, Camp VIktoria. My son, Mike and his wife, Meredith, are very close to Maxim and his sister, Anya. They are like family. Anya was adopted several years ago and we all still keep in touch with each other with good ol’ Facebook (see it’s not all evil). Anya sent me a message to tell me that Maxim was in Kiev and wanted to know if I would contact him. OF COURSE I WOULD! So, we made plans to meet. Maxim came over and we looked at pictures on the computer of Mike and Mer’s wedding, of Maxim with Mike and Mer when they were all younger (6 and 7 years ago), family pictures, and pictures of some of his friends who now live in America. We had fun figuring out what the other was trying to say in our very limited Russian and his little English. His English wasn’t too bad and he could understand a lot of what he read if I typed it on google translate. Sometimes he knew what it said before I clicked “translate”. We found a virtual Russian keyboard for him to type on so that his words could also be translated. 

We decided to head out for some long awaited pizza. As we were walking there (in the freezing cold...don’t forget - I just want everyone to know it’s FREEZING! hahaha) my cellphone rang. It was my Ukrainian “son” who I’ve mentioned before. Not really my son but he’s like a son to me. So, he calls and says, “MOM! God must love you so much! You won’t believe this! ‘Luke’ is in Kiev!” Oh my goodness. He had to repeat himself about 3 times because it just wouldn’t sink in. He was at a conference or something for school. He got on the phone with Maxim so he could tell him to call “Luke” (remember, “Luke” is a fake name for those of you who may not know) to find out where he is. Kiev has 5 million people in it so it’s HUGE. It was such a God thing that Maxim couldn’t meet us earlier in the day because he might not have still been with us to speak in Russian to Luke. We just happened to have someone with us who spoke Russian. So, we went inside the Pizza place and set up the computer for Maxim to look at the map of Kiev. We just happened to have brought the computer, which we had not done any other time we were out. And we just happened to have someone with us who knew the city and could get us all the way across town (an hour away) on two subways to get to where Luke was staying. Off we went! When we arrived at the hotel, the doors were locked for the night. Maxim and Luke were on the phone as we all paced back and forth trying to figure out what to do. Walking around the building seemed impossible just because we were freezing. There was a store connected to the side of the hotel so we went inside. The doors from inside the store that went to the hotel were also locked. Strike two. Frustrated and cold, we kept pace and they kept talking. I kept looking up at the windows to see if he was looking down. All the sudden, I noticed him---walking out the store doors! OH MY GOSH!!! I was so excited to see him!!!! I gave him a hug and then everyone hugged. We walked as fast as we could to McDonalds and the boys ordered food for all of us and Bill paid for it. I even got a Big Mac, which I haven’t eaten in about 20 years. We were all starving. We smiled a lot and talked back and forth even though Luke seemed nervous and not quite sure how to act. This was different than being there in the summer. It was a completely different setting and a different reason. I was worried that maybe he wasn’t that excited after all. But he seemed happy so I tried to push my worry aside.

Maxim and Viktor typed on the Russian keyboard to explain what kind of conference he was at. He was at a Child Protective rights or something seminar. He wants to be a lawyer and this was a seminar from his class. He was loving it. He gave me a magnet that they passed out there. We had to rush back because Maxim had to be back by 10:00PM. 

Even though he probably got back late, Maxim took his chances and made sure Bill and I made it home safety. When we got off the second subway we told him we could make it back by ourselves and sent him home. Bill gave him his gloves since Maxim wasn’t wearing any and also gave him money because he would have to pay for transportation home and we know he had to pay for it to come and see us. He doesn’t have a job right now. He lost his passport and without that, he cannot get a job. It takes 3 months to get a new one. :(

We had lunch with Maxim the next day and had a great time hanging out with him. He has such a sweet, helpful spirit and I think he would do anything for anyone.

I’ll write about Odessa later. Right now we’re heading off to meet Alyona to sign papers. It’s Friday. 20-30 mph winds and 50% chance of snow. 12 degrees. Yes, please feel sorry for us. Just kidding. No I’m not. Yeah...I’m kidding. :)  It's 2-3-2012( I'm telling myself this because it's hard to keep track of what day and date it is). Thank you for your prayers!

Bill, Maxim, and Pam. Our attempt at a self portrait Jan 30th. Our attempt at a self portrait with Maxim.looking at pictures and using Russian keyboard and google transllationUsing Google translation and Russian keyboardBill and Maxim at the Italian restaurant Jan. 31thThis is the road we walked down every day to our apartment.