The Sabbath in Khust - not a dull moment

Trip Start Jun 28, 2009
Trip End Jul 16, 2009

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Flag of Ukraine  , Zakarpats'ka Oblast',
Saturday, July 11, 2009

Breakfast was served in the Presidential Suite. We had cheese, chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers,  omelet, juice, coffee.  It was all served so nicely.  Total cost of breakfast for five:  $11.50.  Great value!  Dinner the night before was equally a good value. 

We then walked about 300 meters to services.  The marketplace was especially busy this morning….it is once again a beautiful sunny day in Transcarpathia.

We arrive at services at two minutes to starting time 10 am.  Ken and Cherie continue the last minute Lafayette tradition here in Ukraine.  It was great to see the people again…it's like a reunion.  This is probably my 15th or so trip to Knust.  Maybe more.   

The service has a "service leader."  It’s usually the pastor, but sometimes others are called upon to assume this role…especially when he’s away.  Services begin with Vasyl Mondich leading in prayer and  a song.  Services are no nonsense, intense and directed towards God.  There are a few more songs. 

Then attention is focused on the children.  Children are always upheld in a special way. Some children recite scripture  and poetry.  After they recite they receive their “reward” which is a piece of candy.  But, today was special: they also got a plum and Vasyl Mondich commented how this was a special Sabbath of a double reward.  Scott and Carolyn Scharpen who were with us in January were touched by this practice and have adopted it in their church. 

Then the youth choir sang.  Then all the youth and children came up for the blessing.  The pastor asked:  Why do we bless our children so often?  The answer is the same as, why do we eat so often? 

Then we sang our three songs from the hymnal.  I thought our singers did a great job.  I accompanied on the piano. 

Ken was the first speaker and talked about his understanding the Truth of God as a young person.  He admonished the people to appreciate their calling.  Then Dan spoke about Fellowship and the great value that Fellowship has.  He recounted how he and Cindy are quite isolated and can only make it to Paris Sabbath services once a month.  His two main points were that fellowship nourishes the congregation with fruits of the spirit and it unites the congregation as well.

Then I gave my message which was about the Satan—his origins, methods, work and future.  It was basic information from our Fundamental Beliefs. 

Then Vasyl Mondich talked his evangelistic travel in Greater Ukraine raising up churches  in Vinnitsa, Kirovograd and Simferopol, Crimea. It was very interesting.  He talked about the church in the Kirovograd buying a church building.  The cost of the building was $1000.  The church was able to come up with $200.  They were going to go on a fundraising drive the next month to raise the remainder.   Our Lafayette contingency (Ken, Cherie and me) decided that we would help supply the rest.  We comprise three of our seven person board…..we need just one more vote and we most likely will get it. The building needs some work on the roof, but it will give them a meeting place for the newly planted church of 18 or so people. 

After services we went on over to the Yurishko’s for lunch and just to relax for the afternoon.  The Yurishko’s are so hospitable and easy to be with.  Nina Yurishko prepared a tasty lunch with two kinds of soup, one with noodles and the other with beans, chicken Kiev, vegetable and all sorts of other goodies. From Vinogradov we were given two cakes and that was dessert.  Vasyl Mondich was with us for lunch.

Then drowsiness overtook us and I was going to lay down for a few minutes….it turned to about an hour and a half.   

We then talked so more at Yurishko’s.  We had some digital photos to transfer between Harpers, Zahora’s and myself.  We then went over to Mondich’s who live a minutes away.  It was good to see Lyuda, their daughter who now has four children.  The youngest being David less than a month old.

We spent about three hours with the Mondich’s in a fascinating conversation about his ministry and the pastoral work he does.  His pastoral training program which is founded on three principles:

1.  “Lord, send me”
2.  Close communication with God
3.  Using the power of the Holy Spirit to confidently do the Work

He is a very dedicated person and very focused.  Vasyl is always full of testimonial style stories about how things work out. He went into great detail about his evangelistic recent journey across Ukraine.  It’s quite a job as he visits people on a route….starts meetings…..identifies leaders, starts churches.  Very much like the Apostle Paul.  He enjoys talking about all the people who are moved to change their lives and come to repentance. 

In the course of discussion he asked the Zahora’s and Harper’s about their experience. I was very interested in the Zahora’s story about.  I have known them for more than 13 years, but it was this evening that I really got to know some things about their faith and experience for more than 30 plus years in the faith.

Vasyl recounted the stories of our working with Worldwide and now the United Church of God. It was all so interesting and enlightening to all of us.

We finally left at 9:15 from the Mondich’s.  Harpers and Zahora’s need to go back to Siloam.  But, Ivan decides to go back, too.  He is concerned about the red van in darkness.  No one in the red van has a cell phone.  Ivan drove the red van while Dan drove Ivan’s Mercedes SUV.  The SUV was wonderful to be in.  Ivan and the Zahora’s were in the red van.

A word about the Mercedes.  Ivan bought it in Portland, Oregon and shipped it by container to Europe.  He picked it up in Hamburg, Germany.  He still has Oregon plates on it.  Looks a bit strange in Khust.  I do now that his vehicle turns heads in the area.  The police and other traffic officials turn their heads away. 

There is always something exciting and fun about Ivan.  He is so successful in this depressed economy.  He has an attitude.  An attitude of success.  He’s hard-working, honest, generous and aggressive.  He makes LifeNets work for us in Ukraine. 

One funny thing before I get back to our story.  The ringtone on Ivan’s phone is “Jingle Bells.”  He has no idea that it has any Xmas connotation.  It’s so funny to hear Jingle Bells in July over and over again.

It’s a good thing that we all caravanned.  The gate to Siloam was locked and the formidable building was pitch black.  We eventually found out that help was on its way.  And we returned to Ivan and Nina’s home in Khust.  We stayed up another half hour to talk and then went to bed.  What a great day . 
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