Thursday, February 20, 2014

Kyiv...history and pray!

Weekend in Budapest was great...Josh's team won it all - go Bulldogs!  The tournament I've been hearing about since Robby was in high school fulfilled all expectations.  I hung out with the Bulldog mascot all weekend (Skinner dog...Dude) and we bonded.  He was a good dog - a big chicken really but good.  It was a good time had by all.
Monday I headed to Kyiv.  I stayed with some Ukrainian friends and got to see some friends from John Day, OR (where I grew up).  What a great, small world right?  Anyway...Viollleta and Andrey (family I stayed with) took me to the Maidan.  WOW.  Oh my gosh...there were a couple times that I was in tears.  As Viollleta says; 'Kyiv (Ukraine) is in a revolution'.  There were several areas set up with flowers and candles for those that have lost their lives.  Viollleta got candles for us to put on one of the places.  I just cried.  Amazing to see how people have set up places to sleep and stay, places for people to come for drinks, food and their own medical stations/workers.   Andrey was telling me how he was down at Maidan a while ago and wanted to donate to the food/drink etc and there was a line to donate!  Meaning - people were standing in line to give funds so people would be supplied with what they needed!  Isn't that amazing?  Anyway; a very moving and historical moment for me.  We were there just as it was getting dark so people were splitting their wood to start fires in the makeshift sleeping areas etc.  It was like a refugee camp; oh how I pray for Ukraine!  Such a tough road ahead.  The people do not want to go backwards; they definitely want to have forward movement.  That much is clear.
On Tuesday I went to lunch with my friends from Oregon...great to see them and 'use' them for transport of items to and from the States.  Thank you Armstrongs!  That was the day that the latest violence broke out in Kyiv - and is still going on.  I took the metro to meet Andrey so we could head back to the apartment.  They closed the metro about 30 minutes after I made it to my destination.  I was in the square and a LOT of people were pouring out of the metro...that was the last stop that was open so everybody had to get off.  Later they closed the metro for all trains coming into the city and later that night they closed the metro down completely.  As of today (Thursday) the metro is still closed.  According to my friends; the violence is still pretty much in the center of the city but more deaths and risk is rising.  Again...WOW.
I landed back in Poland and I kid you not; it did feel good to come 'home'.  I sat in line for passport control with a very odd feeling...coming home at this point really is Poland and it was a relief to be there.
Now I'm back in Poznan and working today doing office stuff.  Good times, these employees are just the best.  Oh so kind and helpful...and patient!
Tonight (10:00 a.m. PST time) I will be Facetiming with some folks at Fremont Church - in the sanctuary :).  That cracks me up - but it is during the mission week at the church and so there is a panel of mission folks being interviewed and I get to join in!  I'm kinda of excited...hope the connection is good and not distracting.  Once again - life is good and God is waayyy better.  Lots of prayers for Ukraine so they can see how great God is!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Trains, planes and high school basketball!

Clickety clack, clickety clack...with some ka-thunk, ka-thunks added in...that is what I've been listening to for the last several hours.  Music to my ears really - I'm on a train!  On my way to Budapest via Krakow so I'll be on a train for quite a while and I love it.  Time to work on this blog for one thing!  I haven't talked to too many people during this ride...my Polish stinks :).  I can't seem to form a sentence....I just know words...but not how to put things together.  Frustrating and I'm not quite sure how to work on that.  I think when I get back to Poznan I will ask somebody to give me lessons.  There is a gal in the church that has been in the states and she is starting a 'Polish for foreigners' every Monday night at the coffee shop.  I will be going to that but think I need more one on one training too!  And guess what?...her name is NOT Joanna:).
So Poznan is going well...the shop is set up differently - with 3 rooms instead of 1 big room so it gives a whole different feel.  I like both of them - really they are set up quite nicely with great decor.  Very welcoming etc.  The workers at the shop are great (of course) and I"m enjoying the other volunteers as well.  Good times all around.  The city is quite nice - the colors (see side picture) in the Old Town Square are just amazing - I love going there to see that.  I'm learning the public transport system a bit; not too tough but it is a new city to learn so there you have it.  I have worked training on the bar and kitchen but then I got a cold and so I got kicked out:).  I have been doing paperwork stuff - month end and gathering some info for some projects going on so it's been good.  OH - I did stand out on the street one morning this week to give away chocolate chip cookies with a coupon of 3 zloty ($1) off a coffee....it went okay.  Not great but okay...some folks were very nice.  But I smiled, said good morning and offered the cookie...so I enjoyed it - watching the sunrise and being out in the cold...good way to wake up!  I need to do it again and then we are planning on taking little greeting packets to the businesses around the shop too.  All good stuff!  Poznan is very active...Monday night is free (until this Polish for foreigners starts soon), Tuesday night is a Bible Study, Wednesday night is English Conversation, Thursday is Game Night, Friday is generally music and Saturday is our Bible Study/Church.  Shop is closed on Sunday.  This Friday is Valentine's Day so the music night is going to be good...should be busy at the shop - fun!  But I won't be there :).
Speaking of which; I'm heading to Budapest because Josh is playing in a basketball tournament.  I have heard of this tournament for years becuase the high school from Kiev comes to it each year and of course Robby and Michael played in Kiev so they made this trip during high school.  It became a rivalry kind of deal so now Josh is playing for the rival team!  Crazy...but I'm here to experience it for myself this year...so I'm excited.  Bob is an assistant coach as well so we are all definitely rooting for the Budapest Bulldogs to win it all!  On Monday - I will be going to Kiev to see and stay with friends.  Actually - some friends from John Day, Oregon (where I grew up) will be there!  A family friend - his daughter and son-in-law serve in Kiev...and they happen to have an adorable daughter so I think that is the real motivation for the visit:).  Since I don't have any kind of visa to stay in Poland, I have to leave the European Union every 90 days...so going to Kiev will keep me legal to stay here.  Should be good.
Mom is done with radiation!  She is home and resting, she actually got a cold as well so she has been resting quite a bit.  That is good but too bad she has the cold...yuck.  Very thankful for her treatment; seems to have gone well.  Mom told me that Dad is going to have knee replacement surgery but waiting until April so Mom will be stronger to be able to help him out in recovery.  So it goes in the lives of my parents :).  My sisters and families are doing well - we are learning how to 'keep up' without just picking up the phone:)...a little difficult but doing okay with it all.  With all the communication tools we have you would think it would be easy peasy.  It is more difficult than I imagined anyway...in Ethiopia it was due to lack of technology I thought.  But here...technology is not a problem but timing is huge...9 hours ahead makes a difference!  Anyway; it works out - Messaging on FaceBook is great as well as FaceTime....good inventions!
I think that is it for now...have a great Valentine's day.  To have so many people in my life to love...for that I am very grateful.  Life is good, God and His love is waaaay better:)