Sunday, April 13, 2008

Day Two - Ukraine Trip

(Heidi here this time) Sunday morning we arrived on the train in Kherson around 10:15 a.m. (The train was not as bad as some people claim - but I'm sure it would be a lot harder with a few Russian speaking children in tow.) Agape's driver Vanya was waiting for us and spotted us right away. He drove us straight to church service - we were about 45 minutes late to the service, and they had seats waiting for us in the front row. A visiting Ukrainian pastor from a church in Sacremento ( gave the sermon. And Felix joined the stage, too, for a testimony which Sasha translated.

After church, we had lunch in a private dining room in a mall buffet with about 15 church members and visitors. The local pastor treated! I felt honored, but guilty. It was point and pick buffet, and the food was good!

After lunch the local pastor Anatoliy took us for a tour of the city. Kherson is truly a beautiful European style town. Then he took us to our apartment - a nice clean room with a private bath in a bible publishing building. It used to be the Agape office, but Agape outgrew the building. We rested for an hour or two, and then our driver and Anatoliy's 9th grade English speaking son (Andrey) picked us up and drove us barely two blocks to the orphanage. (Anatoliy's family lived in NY for 6 years, and they just moved back to Ukraine 6 months ago.)

We parked out front and walked around a few large buildings, our eyes searching everywhere for a hopeful glimpse of Zina. First we saw a group of about a dozen 3 year olds playing outside. They ran up to shake hands with Vanya and Andrey, and they were proud to report they had killed an ant. They were adorable. (There are no healthy children in Ukraine?!?) There was also a large group of teenage boys playing soccer in the field.

Zina saw us first, and she came running from across the playground to give each of us a huge hug. She wasn't too surprised to see us because an hour earlier she browsed the photos on Karen's camera and saw pictures of us in Kiev. It was wonderful to see her. We were all glowing with happiness. Andrey helped us translate and visit with Zina about how she was doing, her friends, school, Rimma, and our new house. We broke the news that we want to adopt a large family and she was a little concerned - she wanted to make sure she was included in it! Zina also said that she wants to come to our meeting with director to tell him that she wants to be adoped by us! Of course it isn't appropriate to put her in that situation, but it's tempting...

We asked Zina to take us inside to see Vika and Eddy, two more of the children that visited Colorado in December. Vika squealed and came running to hug Felix and I, but Eddy was not as excited to see us. We interruped his video game! Vika was busy with a cross stitch project with her caretaker, Victoria. They make crafts to sell at church to earn money to buy icecream for the orphanage kids!

Zina tried to call Rimma a number of times while we were there, but she couldn't reach her. Later Karen did get through, and Rimma begged us to visit her. We're going to try to find a way!

Sasha took us back to our apartment, and we met for about 30 minutes with him and the US paster. We talked about partnership opportunities between Ukraine Orphan Outreach and Agape, and we talked about our plans for the week.

On Tuesday Sasha is going to personally take us to meet with the orphanage director to talk about Zina's registration. Say a prayer for us!


Leslie said...

We'll be praying for the meeting with the director. Thanks for updating us!

Ashley said...

I am so glad you are able to see Zina! She is just a beautiful and sweet girl! I have a lot of catching up to do with your blog, so if you don't hear from me for awhile - I am here just reading all of your posts! LOL

Irina said...

Hello! :) Your trip reeves surprisingly friendly to you :). Let you meet good people only, and let your plans be carried out to a full degree!
Irina, from Sevastopol, Ukraine

Mayme said...

Hey guys, Sounds like you are having a successful and exciting trip so far. Keep enjoying yourselves!! Mayme

Debbie said...

We have been praying and praying. Update us when you get a chance, please! You're leaving us hanging! :-) (Please, don't worry about updating. Just enjoy your time in Ukraine!) I am bummed that Zina knew you were coming, but what a huge treat for the three of you to see each other again. May the Lord bless the rest of your trip!

Anonymous said...

Holy Cow! I don't check in with you guys for a couple weeks and you are off to the Ukraine!

I am so excited for you both, and am praying that you continue to have a fruitful trip, full of love and good news!

Keep the information coming...I'm on the edge of my seat! Tell Zina and Rimma hello, and give them a big hug from all of us back here!

Lots of love!

Lynn Cranston

Tami said...

We'll be praying for you!

About Us

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Longmont, Colorado, United States
Heidi loves to play sand volleyball, sail and garden. Felix loves to fly at the local aeroclub, sail and fish.