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Monday, July 23, 2007

Ukraine pt 1

My time in Ukraine went by very slowly at first. I was there to teach English, and very few readers were coming. My first day I had one. She never came back. My second day I had one- who returned over and over and I feel was my reason for being in Mariupol those 2 weeks.

Her name is Maria and she is Russian Orthodox. As we read through the book of Luke and discussed in broken English what we found in the text, Maria and I became friends. She was familiar with the stories in the Bible, but did not understand them fully and was full of questions. I found myself being able to share my faith for the first time in a long time with stranger.

On my last day there, Maria wanted to take me somewhere- her church. I thought this was a fantastic idea, as it gave us lots of one on one time to talk AND I would get to hear more about her religion in the process.

We spent the entire morning walking through town to this massive church, unlike anything I'd seen in Mariupol. It was in a giant courtyard overlooking the city. Look at the diffenence from the Church of Christ we worked at.

Maria and I ended our time together by finishing the book of Luke and exchanging gifts. She gave me a pitcher and two small cups made of clay that are used to serve coffee or tea. They are each hand made and a Ukrainian villiage is carved into the sides. I gave her a Bible and a Dave Crowder Band CD.

In all, I ended up with 4 readers. Svitlana only came the one time on the first day. Jayne came once (she was my friend Emily's student who I took for just one lesson.) Juleo, a recent high school graduate, came twice. She was very interested in being in tourism, but knew there was no market for it in Mariupol, so is going to university to be a customs/passport officer at the border. And Maria, of course, was my one constant reader. Our days were spent sitting in the foyer reading, talking with church members, or walking to the market to get drinks. Not what I had expected, but still an enjoyable trip.

More tomorrow on the people of the church in Mariupol, Ukraine.

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