We welcome our new team of volunteers to Ukraine! May it be a time of blessing and valuable experience for them!
Hi to all from the newest team….a group of 5 from IL flew into Warsaw Poland on Wednesday, June 29, and were instructed to find the red van in some random parking lot. We had no issue in locating it but then the real fun began. The parking ticket machine took only cash and we found a small wad in the van so we began poking in bills only to discover most of it was Ukrainian money! We tried asking several people if they could help us out since there was no place to exchange money and it was in the middle of the night so we couldn’t get a taxi either. Of course they didn’t understand English and were probably freaked out a-bit. Long story short everyone did great with keeping a good attitude and we threw our sleeping bags on the grass and had us a little camp out. We woke up to the sun blazing in our faces, ants crawling over us, and guys raising a huge racket on a roof across the road. Oh boy, we probably way overslept!!! But no, it’s only 4:00 am! Ok we might as well start our day too! A few of the guys hailed a taxi and went back to the airport to exchange money and grab some food. The machine still didn’t work since it needed the exact amount and we just had big bills. Lord, please help us get out of here somehow!!!! We literally ended up tailgating another vehicle thru the raised bar in order to get out since we had already paid more then the amount and it was still not opening!)
We picked up some medical supplies in Poland at Laverne Hershbergers and they treated us with great hospitality and warm food. We then drove to the border and picked up another van. It took around 5 1/2hr to get both vans thru. Communication was poor so I’m not even sure what the big deal was but it had to do with us not knowing the exact weight and amount of supplies and the new van not being registered in Ukraine.
We got a motel for the night since it was already getting late. An apple for supper, a HOT and COLD shower, and then oh glory, a for real bed! We slept soundly!
Friday we drove to Kiev and met Tim and Tracy, unloaded some wood pellets then filled up the vans with boxes from the warehouse in Skvira, ate pizza which was our only meal that day, and headed towards Dnipro. It was again getting too late so we booked an apartment for the night. The gps takes us onto some teeny back roads then says “you’ve arrived”. Ok? There’s a gate with nobody to open it. After awhile a man shows up and tells us to come in. He took us into the lower level of the house and we assumed this is where we would sleep, but there’s other people milling around there too and nobody speaks English or barely even looks at us. We finally realized we will be sharing this little place with 5 other people and a dog. The one guy kindly moved out of his room for us and made his bed by the kitchen table. It was hilariously crazy and stretched our comfort zones quite abit!
We finally got to Dnipro around noon on Saturday then Venya, Jason, and Matt went to Kramatorsk with a load while the rest of us chilled out at the house.
This week has consisted of going out with 3 vans and the whole team everyday, eating delicious Ukrainian food served with the best hospitality, seeings lots of military vehicles and so many sad faces. It breaks my heart to think of what these dear souls have been experiencing. So much trauma and fear, so much pain and heartache. And yet, to hear the testimonies of the those who are trusting God is just incredible! The peace and light shining from their faces are for real. It’s so sad that we can’t speak their mother tongue, but our hearts beat to the same rhythm and we still connect with each other.
Last night we stayed in Kramatorsk overnight and heard distant rumble and sirens etc. its hard to believe that such a beautiful country with its acres of wheat and sunflowers and peaceful countryside is actually being ripped apart and lives are forever being changed. God have mercy!