Monday, 5 September 2011

This is quite a long entry.

Greetings from quite near Russia...

So we’re in Vinnitysa, Ukraine. Not sure where to start so I’ll start at the beginning, which is unusually logical and I’m sure will quickly descend into confused nonsense. 

We went on DTS for 5 months in an effort to hear from God about what he wanted us to do with our lives, and we thought it would be nice if this plan could somehow include Eastern Europe, orphans, stopping people traffiking and ‘evangelism’ (whatever that word means).
So we made friends with a guy called Vova, and his parents who are pioneering a new YWAM (for explanation of all these acronyms, see earlier entries) base in Ukraine. With the following aims: to work with orphans, to show people God’s love and to build a community here in the city of Vinnitsya. It also happens that Ukraine is a massive center of sex traffikking, and is next to Moldova where the problems are even worse.

So this two month trip is to hang out with the missionaries out here and to see if we fit. If we can actually be helpful and of real use to the city, the intention is to move to Vinnitsya long term. Vova’s parents are called Andrew and Oksana – Australian and Ukrainian – and when I asked Andrew what the purpose/goal/ why we’re doing this is, he just looked at me and said ‘orphans, orphans, orphans’. 

Works for us.

We arrived here on Thursday and were greeted by Vova and Andrew holding up a sign for ‘Fernando’, or something, and giggling. We climbed into a van and they drove for about 4/5 hours on roads that were sometimes great and sometimes a little death-trappy. As the sun went down and we travelled closer to Vinnitsya, we had good times chatting and getting to know each other a bit better. Oksana met us at about midnight to let us in to our very own flat (we are a bit confused by all the personal space and keep avoiding the lounge because it scares us because it’s big and grown up), and she is really rather lovely. And I like her dress sense. And she is a qualified sewer lady. And she brought us banana and cranberry muffins the next morning, and they were still warm, and she also wants a turquoise blue VW bug same as wot I do. I like her. 

So we’ve had a brilliant first few days gradually getting our bearings. This is difficult because everything is so different, we’ve never before felt such culture shock, or felt so vulnerable. Which is weird but I think it’s to do with the following:

Language – oh my goodness, this is hard. You think you’ve grasped a word and then it turns out you are stupid and should stop trying. Having to learn new sounds like ‘dy’ and ‘svf’ makes everything so much harder, and we are realising that this is going to take some time. Also, everything is written in mystical symbols that tell me nothing – shopping for food is an exciting adventure and we haven’t yet braved public transport on our own. Did manage to get medicine from a pharmacy by ourselves! Such triumph! 

Culture stuff: There's a lot to be said about how different it is here, like how people don't stand in line (RAGE) because in Soviet times you couldn't afford to be polite. There's just a whole worldview going on here that i've never experienced before - the history of this place coupled with everything going on now makes it really interesting. Ex Soviet meets fast food and Mothercare.

But yes, we're getting the hang of everything taking longer because we don't know what we're doing. Small every day things are such a challenge! The team here have been so, so wonderful and supportive that we don't feel lonely or scared. We feel like this is a family we are already part of, and I keep finding myself looking for apartments for sale... we like it here.

Right, practical stuff. We are going to be involved in the following ministries:
- Working with homeless people, starting at 7.30am so we can talk to them while they're sober.
- Two orphanages, doing games and teaching ethics ('drugs are bad') and all that stuff.
- Helping out poorer families in the area, through contacts with Social Services.
- Rehab projects which are run out of the local church we go to. (Delirious in Russian is a fun experience and would make Chris Steynor giggle a lot.)
- We're starting English learning clubs at the local uni, which should be fun! I shall teach them the naughty words...

Other interesting things that have popped into my mind:
- Andrew has a tshirt press so we can make our own cool clothes! (John is happy)
- A couple from Kiev are moving here in two days and that's really exciting because they sound like legends.
- There are burritos here that will rock your world, but the yoghurt is weird.
- According to our friends here, there are four types of people who travel to Ukraine. These are businessmen, missionaries, men looking for Ukrainian brides and sex tourists.
- That is all. For now.



  1. Love it! Splendid that you are blogging again and we can't wait to read about all of your new adventures!!!

  2. Great to hear about it, wow hadn't thought it would be so so different.... what an adventure and proud of you both for going for it! look forwards to hearing more. HUGS x

  3. thank you lovely, undeserved friends! xxxxxxx