Our day in Khust

Trip Start Dec 16, 2007
Trip End Jan 11, 2008

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Today is our Khust day. We spent the predominance of our time in Vinogradov where we are immersed with a project to help children. Today is miscellaneous in Khust to pay visits to other friends. Tomorrow will be Church day and early Sunday we leave Ukraine.

I had less than restful a night as something bad didn't agree with me. My stomach did not do well. I'll spare the gory details, but one must be careful to mention that are not feeling 100% while in Ukraine. I was not careful. First, statements in defense are made that the food certainly was good. It could not have been THEIR food that made you sick. Usually those statements are adamant. Next, out come pills of different colors that are purported to make you well. What they are is not always clear, but they always help. After a few refusals I caved and took an orange and white one and seemingly felt better. Anyway, they repeated this dosage later in the day and my recovery is almost complete.

We got a slow start and the day is short but that doesn't bother us much. It's nice
just to be at Ivan's home. He has a son is a little over 13 months old by the name of Sergei. He's as active as his Dad. He's quite a little comedian and is curious about everything. He's a master climber up and down steps in their home. He especially was good at clmbing a ladder to the attic in one of the upstairs rooms. He was so quick.

Ivan and Nina's daughter Nelya was married on December 4th. Last night they showed us wedding photos that were very tastefully made up by a professional photo studio. They were as impressive as any photos that I have seen in the US. It was a very nice wedding with some relatives coming from the United States. We would have loved to be here then, but my schedule with Council of Elders and Senior Pastors conferences didn't allow me to plan this trip then.

Off we go in Ivan's car. The car is beeping as we drive because seat belts are not worn. Ivan says it's not necessary to wear them. As you might recall from former blogs entries while in Ukraine, it is not considered good manners to wear seat belts as it indicates that you are not satisfied with the driver's driving. Well, Cindy tells us that in a book she studied before coming called "Culture Shock," that you must wear seat belts no matter what your host or driver tells you. I think they wore them, but with even one person not wearing seat belts the beeping goes on. Ivan told us that he never pays attention to the beeping. We were beginning to tune it out, too.

It was fun just to ride around town with Ivan. It's almost year-end and Ivan has lots of year-end business. Contracts to sign, money to collect, money to pay out. The government has hired him to do a number of jobs and there has to be a certain year-end accounting. Ivan is a master at juggling lots of things and hosting us at the same time. As he drives down the street a person signals to him. He briefly talks to them conducting some sort of business or transaction. That is repeated a number of times. His cell phones ring incessantly. He has two for conversations. He says it's easier to talk on one and then transfer information to the other. He even has a GPS device. Ivan has everything.

He recently bought a piece of land about a mile from his home that he wants to develop as a cul de sac with ten homes. Ivan has stayed with us in Indianapolis and told us that a cul de sac was a neat idea and wants to put the first one in Khust. He wants me to send a Google Earth photo of our cul de sac that will be the basis of his planning.

We then go to his concrete business. This has been his latest venture. He now has three cement trucks and other trucks besides. He has a cement mixing structure. He and his brother-in-law have gone into that business together said they do very well with it, but it's taken all his time and has caused them to invest quite heavily. We could see that. He bought an old Soviet factory on the river Reka and runs the operation there. He also makes cement blocks and other concrete wares.

Back to the city center. Ivan has some business to conduct for 20 minutes so the Harper's and we walked through the bazaar that wraps around Mission Nazareth where church will be held tomorrow. Everything imaginable is sold on the street. I was amazed to see an ATM imbedded into the building where Mission Nazareth is located.

We stopped to see the new 15 Dell computers at the LifeNets school. They classroom really looks nice and right now there are just night classes. Ivan hires two teachers: one for practical education and one for computer theory. The theory class is two groups of 15 combined, while the practical class is one student per computer. This is the third set of computers for our class since we started it in November 2000. Ivan is a master organizer. Previously our computers were used for a vocational program as well for people could not otherwise afford computer education.

We were spared the visit with the mayor and regional director (like a governor). We always spend part of day with these dignitaries, but the visits are always the same with the same glittering generalities and platitudes expressed. Sometimes the visit goes on and on. The dignitaries like visitors from the US and other parts of the world and often our visit would be reported in the paper. Maybe Dan and Cindy would have enjoyed the experience, but often while the dignitaries would thank us for what good we did in the region would also put a guilt trip on us to do more.

We will have dinner tonight at pastor Vasyl Mondich's and his wife Svetlana's.

Visit with Vasyl and Svetlana Mondich

Vasyl Mondich is one of the first people I met in my coming to Transcarpathia. He is really a decent person and is sincerely interested in evangelism, the Word of God and a relationship with God. He was the first head of the Association of Sabbath-keeping Church in Transcarpathia. I stayed at his home with John Karlson, our German Regional Director when visiting here for the first time in October 1992.

We used to always stay with the Mondich's, but now their daughter, her husband and three children live with them. Their 17 year old son Vasya walked in. How he's changed! Really grown up.

Vasyl Mondich has adopted the keeping of the annual Holy Days and this last fall the Church here kept the Feast of Tabernacles for the first time! What they do is hold day services on the first holy day of the Feast and then have services on the Last Great Day. During the week, the people work and they hold evening services. He said it really worked out well. They would typically have 70 in attendance at the evening services which is quite good because it represents only the local people. We(UCG)have almost completed translating the booklet on the Holy Days. Vasyl said it is very badly needed at this point to explain the Holy Days and their meaning. We will put this project on the front burner and get 3000 copies printed.

Vasyl Mondich and I always like talking about what we can do to spread the word of God. We have had the Sabbatarians print out Bible Study Course in Russian. We print about 3000 copies of each. They keep 1000 for regional use. He told me how much they appreciated them.

He told us about how as he goes around places in Western Ukraine how various clusters of people have adopted the Sabbath and Holy Days. Most of the people are from Baptist or Pentecostal backgrounds. Vasyl holds evangelistic training meetings where he has a three point plan.

1. Be ready to say: "Here I am, Lord, Send Me.
2. Listen to still small voice of God
3. If I go, Lord, give me the Power.

He says that that plan has been most effective. Vasyl has also spoken to the ministers of the Association of Sabbath keeping Churches, but the reaction is mixed from them but it's better than it used to be. Now the churches are more accepting, but not adopting of the Holy Days. Vasyl told me that when I first broached the question of Holy Days 15 years ago, that he personally said this: "If Victor explains them well, we'll be accepting them, if not, we won't." I'm not sure what the conclusion of that was because it's taken almost 15 years for him to accept the Holy Days. But, he DID accept them.

After a wonderful evening of discussion we went back to Ivan Yurishko's which is about 300 feet away.

I was looking forward to some rest, but I see Vyera Vasilvna Andrąshko and her son Vasya. She is a general family doctor who is also a Sabbath-keeper. I was wondering why they were there at this hour (about 9:15 pm), but I knew it had to do with me. After 20 minutes the conversation shifts to the son Vasya who seems to be about 20 years old. He has questions about the Apocryphal books included in Catholic Bibles. I explained to him that they are non-canonical books that some choose to include, but they have no sacred standing. He starts to argue. OK. Here we go. I continue to explain further how they may be OK literature as any ancient or classical literature, but they are not inspired of God. More arguing about who says what can become part of the Bible. He grabs the book of Sirach and reads a chapter and says that could only be written under inspiration of God. I told him enough -- the day has been long enough. Five more minutes and I'm done with the conversation. It seemed no matter how I responded there was some rebuttal.

The next day his mother came to Ivan to apologize for her son's intellectual bombasts.

Tomorrow is the Sabbath.
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