So this week we travelled to Lutsk to attend the YWAM Ukraine conference. This was a week of networking, worship and hearing about what the other bases are doing. We got to meet some wonderful people and followed said wonderful people around like needy puppies, because it's nice to make new friends. We're the only Brits and as such get sucked into much banter re Aussies, scones, the royal wedding and the fact that WE INVENTED THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.
So the conference was good. Trilingual worship sessions. Some...interesting food.
We had an extra day in Lutsk before we had to catch our night train home, so we hung out with a missionary couple and their two adopted kids. John had possibly the best man day of his life thus far - sauna, go karts, beer marinated shashlik (BBQ) and a plunge pool in the garden. He was pink with glee the entire time. It was lovely.
We left to catch our all night train and by this point I was feeling pretty rough, but didn't think much of it as was pregnant and tired. We got on the train and it was pretty cool - we had our own cabin thing with bunk beds. Like ex soviet harry potter. We sat around and chatted and played card games until we were randomly joined by this guy from south africa who we'd briefly met earlier that day. He just happened to be on the same train as us. I don't know his real name because everyone just refers to him as 'the prophet'. Meaning that he's got a gift of knowing what God wants to say directly to people, and he has the guts and obedience to share it with them.
So I must confess I was pretty moody about having to make polite conversation with this guy. I was feeling hot, sicky, squashed and my back was hurting something rotten and I just wanted to go to bed. I sulked a bit and then decided to go for a lie down, but as I got up this guy grabbed my hand, looked me in the eye and asked when my baby was due.
Well, as soon as he touched my hand I knew I wanted to stay and hear what he wanted to say.
It was fairly epic, and was completely bang on for me. Stuff this guy could not possibly have known about my heart, my fears and my dreams all came out of his mouth and it was saturated in love, love, love. God really loves us. Enough to grab us on a train in Ukraine and prove it. (He also told us a few things about our daughter. Which is nice.)
Then the prophet guy did this to a few other people in the group - tissues got passed around - and by the time he left we all had peace and giggles coming out of our ears.
So that was pretty epic. I love how God just springs fun stuff on us, stuff we could never have achieved for ourselves.
We all kind of peeled off to bed, but then Daniel ran to bathroom and threw up. And then I ran to the bathroom and threw up. Then Daniel did again. Then I did again. Then Tanya followed suit. The night pretty much continued like that, with explosions from both ends.
It's horrible having food poisoning but I would like you to picture this: You're lying in your bed which is moving about a lot because the train appears to have been built by angry monkeys. You are fighting down the yuk because you are so exhausted from running to the bathroom, but it's no good and have to make a dash for it. You make it just in time and when it's passed you realise you are in a metal, unventilated, filthy box and you're in bare feet. Which for some reason are now wet. And you have to find a flush which for some reason is on the floor (?!) and then try to turn taps on without touching anything with your hands. And you left your toothbrush somewhere in the dark. And when you get back from your cabin you are joined by a new passenger who apparently loves beer and ciggies, but not soap. So you have to run to the bathroom again.
Yeah. Not funsies. But mercifully, John escaped the bug of horrid and was able to get me home, feed me tiny sips of water and stroke my head as I whimpered pitifully. (This is also nice for him just because i'm glad he didn't get ill. Am not completely selfish human. Sometimes.)
Then commenced 24 hours of sleeeeeeep and toilet, but this morning woke up feeling much better. Can handle toast. Nice toast, nice comforting toast with your crusty goodness. Toasty friend.
So it was the best of times and the worst of times. And you have not truly experienced Dickens until you have heard Vova reading this passage out loud. Complete genius.
- Have got some contacts now of people looking after girls trapped in the sex industry, we might be going to Kiev on the way home to do some research into that. It's not an easy thing to get into here because the church are apparently in some denial (translator at the conference wouldn't even translate the word 'prostitute') because of the shame culture here. I like being YWAM. We have no shame/ social boundaries. Bit like Jesus. Hopefully.
- First English club went well, I was at home poorly sick but John said it was great. We didn't have permission (i.e. annoying paper work) to do it so the boys snuck into the uni and did it anyway. The students themselves had requested the club so...
- Orphanages stuff is developing well, and we've got loads of ideas to bring home to church. The problems are overwhelming but with God 'impossible is nothing'. I think I just crowbarred a Nike advert into the Bible.
- Andrew, having got to know us, for some reason still thinks we'd be good as house parents for the home for graduated orphans so we need to do some serious praying about this.
K John is home and I must go because he's rather interesting as a human.
p.s. Oksana just told me that one of the girls at the orphanage is pregnant. She's about 14.