How did you spend your Spring Break?
When Cyndee asked me to join the team going to Shpola Orphanage to teach at English Language Week, I have to admit I didn’t feel the same kind of excitement I usually have leading up to trips to Ukraine. Maybe it was the thought of being away from my life in the states during Spring Break, or maybe it was the idea of staying at the orphanage for a whole WEEK without the possibility of a shower and comfortable bed, or maybe it was a bit of dread for what I expected to be a tiresome week only to be met with a stressful week at work on my return to Atlanta. Whatever the reason, my heart was not in a very humble place as I boarded the plane to Kiev. Thankfully, God showed himself to be much bigger and wiser than any of my selfish thoughts and worries.
Easter Saturday - a journey through Smila
Ukraine has suffered a very harsh winter this year which has affected many of the roads to and from the various towns and villages that we frequent. It seems that a combination of poor engineering, heavy trucks and corrupt local mayors have combined into the perfect storm of pothole purgatory.
So, when Cyndee was invited to speak at a Saturday morning conference for budding young Christians who had signed up as leaders for upcoming summer camps, I wished her well. The event was to be held in Lebedyn, about 20 minutes past Shpola...
Sneakers needed! Send a pair to an Orphan in need!
I remember last May, when my mom and I had just completed the first week of camp for the summer: Shpola Orphanage Kids Camp. After a wonderful week of being with the children, hearing their stories, and building relationships, we realized that one physical item they were in dire need of was decent shoes. Already being in Ukraine, we quickly realized that our only option to solve this problem for upcoming camps was to buy shoes in Ukraine. Initially, we were happy about this fact -- Ukrainian shoes would be much cheaper than ones bought in the USA, and then we wouldn't have to lug them all the way across the world with our already limited luggage space.
Is this trip going to be a bust?
I admit, visiting Ukraine in winter can be a bit tricky. Certainly, it is not for anyone unaccustomed to dealing with ice and snow and as a native Minnesotan, I like to think I can handle harsh winter weather. Plus, last January’s trip was full of snowy fun and navigating the roads was not a problem. So far, it’s been a different story in 2018.