If an eagle symbolizes America, then what symbolizes Ukraine? It is the trident seen on my shirt here. But, what is it?
It is not an anchor but a stylized falcon from the time of Prince Vladimir the Great (980-1015) who first ruled in Kiev (Kievan Rus). Falcons are quick and alert much like our eagle.
The golden wheat and blue sky are the national colors. Clearly the rich soil and good growing seasons have made the Ukraine the bread basket of this part of the world. No wonder others want this productive land. My shirt is a gift from our associates here, the Sagadeyevs. They are also co-grandparents of our grandkids here.
Our weekend in Odessa was productive too. Sunday Caleb and I were at the Skinniya Church in the downtown. Their building, a store front, is smaller than our barn but packed full of people. During the week the building is productive also as a Bible book store. I spoke here on the resurrection. Some Tatar believers from South Ukraine testified also about the first Bible in the Tatar language just produced. The director of education for all South Ukraine was also visiting and had lengthy discussion with Pastor Oleg afterwards. Pray!
In the afternoon we visited an old Soviet resort where now about 500 war refugees are housed. The sun came out so we had the first outdoor service of the season. Vladimir Sagadeyev organizes this regular outreach and provided portable sound and music which brought residents down from the old hotels nearby to see what we were doing. What an opportunity for the gospel to such needy people.
Monday we relaxed until noon and then met our long time ministry associate, Velodia Motovilian and his family from the village of Makarovo. They came to have lunch and talk. Our Ukraine Fund will assist them in doing a VBS this summer. They also have invited us to a special 25th anniversary celebration in October.
Minutes later we also met with Vasiliy and Olga Kaletnik to talk ministry for a few more hours. Fortunately we were able to help sort out some financial matters and discuss future ministry. We feel humbled that the Lord has put together such an amazing ministry team in this place that needs the gospel so much.
We bid our missionary son Caleb's family goodbye in Odessa as we boarded our overnight train to Kiev. We'll spend a few days with our missionary daughter Rachel's family and then fly home. All in all I have gone boarder to boarder in all four directions and spent four nights and a day (53 hrs.) on trains doing it. Thanks again for praying for us during this amazing time of ministry and family fellowship in this amazing borderland of Ukraine.