Hello! Daniel here. Sorry my wife has been hogging the computer lately. (she’s much better at this than me anyways…shhh!) These past 4 days have been really awesome and I have been thinking of some things we have seen and experienced that have impacted our lives in some big ways. One of the most amazing parts about our tour of Kiev was how kind the people are. There were several instances that we didn’t know where to go, or needed a phone, when someone would almost jump to help us out. Coincidence maybe, but we don’t believe in that. Prayer works. We pray everyday that God would bring people into our lives that we can be a blessing to and that we will meet people that are a blessing to us. Simply put, God answers our prayers. Today was our last day and we decided we would walk around a few different areas we hadn’t seen before getting on the train to L’viv. With 7 hours to spare we took the metro to the Centro. Once off the subway, we saw 3 Deaf people and quickly introduced ourselves. They used Russian Sign Language, which was expected, and eagerly invited us to join them for lunch. We enjoyed a Ukrainian style buffet and conversation followed by a tour of Centro. Our guided tour was more than we could have ever asked for! We finally were able to communicate in a native’s language without relying on them knowing ours. When we said our goodbye’s tears fell from one of lady’s faces and we knew that not only had we been blessed, but they had been also. God is so good.
We have seen several Ukrainian Orthodox churches that were absolutely astounding. For us, there was simply one thing missing: a disconnect with Christ. This view is based only on what we could see as outsiders. As protestant Christians, we are so blessed to know that everything we have in Christ starts with a direct relationship with Him- our Creator, the one who loves us. At one church, we walked through caves that different saints had been buried in. It was very enlightening to see how people paid tribute to them in different ways. Some honored through candles, others honored through prayers, kissing the coffins and laying their heads on pictures and monuments. It was more ritualistic than we are able to understand at this time, but the reverence shown was awe-inspiring. There is a lot of emphasis placed on the buildings and how they are honored and respected. We don’t have the same traditions or values, so there were points that we felt very out of place for not understanding the significance placed in honoring the dead. In all, it was worth the experience to see how other’s worship and gain a better understanding of our own beliefs.
Kiev is a beautiful city full of hospitable people right and left. Even though we were unable to communicate with everyone, God brought the right people at the right time, allowing us to minister to those He led us to.