I would be unbelievably excited if I could report that Emily and I stayed busy last week, but, yet again, we did not. We do, however, seem to be making progress, as far as plans go, for the English Club, and English Bible study. From what we can understand, we will be starting one or the other this Sunday. We also went to the Maritime University here in Kherson, where the idea of our holding some discussions in their second year English class was well received. Details for that are still in the works as well, but at least another door has been opened! We are more than anxious to get things started! In the mean time, we have been learning the bus system (bus 6 will always take us home!), reading children’s books in Russian (much the the amusement of Stas, Era, and Lena), trying ice cream (much the same as it is in the States) and doing laundry!
On Tuesday, after another day spent in the apartment (with the exception of our seemingly daily trips to the supermarket…), Emily and I decided to call Dima to get the english sabbath school lesson. He lives right across the field from us, about a ten minute walk, and we were looking forward to getting outside. Much to our dismay, however, Dima told us he would come over with the lesson. So we sat. Again. And waited for something to do. When Dima finally got to our apartment, he set the lesson and the table, told us to get our shoes on, and hurried us out the door. We had no idea where we were going or what we were doing, but we were thankful for any opportunity at all to get out the house!! We eventually pulled up to the river that runs along the outskirts of our town where there was a sailboat waiting to take us for a ride! The Dnepr has many small canals that break off from the main river, and we spent a good three hours taking it all in. It was just the pick-me-up that Emily and I needed.
We had an encouraging experience last week with a man named Michael, his wife Marina, and their son Daniel. They attend one of the Adventist churches in Kherson, heard we were in town and were anxious to meet us. All three speak English very well, and Emily and I had a good time talking with them, getting to know them better and telling them about our plans. Three weeks with almost no progress in the way of our jobs here was enough time to make us extremely discouraged; but when Michael shared with us that they have been praying for someone from the US to come here, so that they could practice their English and study the Bible, we were more than encouraged. We look at it as God’s way of showing us that our being here is not an accident. They have also been extremely helpful in getting plans off the ground. They are helping us find a place to hold our meetings, and are helping to make sure that we have everything else we need to get started. We are extremely grateful for their friendship and assistance.
On Thursday, Emily and I decided to cook “American Food” for our Ukrainian family. If you ask anyone what they considered to be American Food, they will undoubtedly say fast food, and our family often asks us if we eat at McDonalds in America. So, Emily and I decided to show them otherwise. We did, however have a hard time deciphering for ourselves what “American food” actually is; and even after we made a list of things to make, our menu changed once we went to the market and realized that a lot of the ingredients weren’t available. We finally settled on pancakes for breakfast, burritos for lunch (which I guess are not actually an American dish, but were well received all the same), and apple pie in the evening (we never eat a full meal for supper; usually only tea with some bread or something). Ruslan, Tatyana and the kids loved it all. Ruslan said to us, “Maybe we should do this every Thursday!” to which we quickly agreed! He also told us that it was the first day in the 9 years that he and Tatyana have been married that she hasn’t had to cook. Emily and I felt good about being able to give her a break. She spends so much time cooking that she has almost no time to get anything else done.!
On Sabbath, Emily and I taught the English Sabbath School lesson, and it went better than we had hoped. It was the first time we were teaching the lesson by ourselves and we were a little nervous. We had about nine people in our group, two of whom are not part of the Adventist church. After we finished, both people expressed to us that they enjoyed the discussion and are wanting to return! We are praying, and looking forward to see if they come back this week.
Sabbath also provided Emily and I with a good laugh, and although it is at my expense, I will share it with you. Every Saturday evening, we attend another service at the one of the other churches in Kherson. This Sabbath, however, we attended a baptism Sabbath afternoon and were quite late to the service. Emily decided to go to the restroom, and I, realizing that the water would be off at the apartment when we returned, followed. In most places outside of homes, squat pots are used, and the church is no exception. This particular one had several stalls that were more like little rooms, and each one was completely sealed off from the main part of the restroom. I chose the first available stall, and promptly swung the door shut. Not until after it was closed did I realize that the door did not have a handle, but, seeing a lock underneath where the handle should have been, I assumed that when I unlocked the door, it would swing open. Unfortunately, I was mistaken. After several hard shoves against the unlocked door, I realized that a handle was, in fact, necessary for my exit. I heard Emily washing her hands on the other side of the door, so before she could escape I said, “Umm….Emily?” which prompted her near immediate laughter at my predicament. After a moment of panic, followed by the revelation that Emily would not allow anyone to make me stay in the stall all night, i started to laugh as well. It seems that I am the only person on earth who puts myself “blonde moment” situations on a regular basis! After trying to substitute all of the random articles in my purse for a handle, I realized that there wasn’t much I could from the inside, and I would just have to wait. I could hear Emily on the other side of the door telling random onlookers (who were also laughing) different phrases in Russian: “My Friend!” and “Help!” After about 10-15 minutes (maybe it was shorter, but it seemed like HOURS to me!) Emily was finally able to rig up a tool from bobby pins and a hair band that prompted the latch to open, and I was free! Oh, what would I do without her?