New Volunteers…

JULY 6 , 2015 – MONDAY – Sergei calls early to the nurse about Tonya, as we have guests arriving today, and if we can get this document, we could feasibly get Tonya and Olga on the train today to Kherson.  The Nurse says that she won’t be able to do the form till Tuesday morning.  Hummm, not good, as the longer she is alone, the more possibility that she will drink. 

Our guest from Kyiv arrive today! And we have soldiers arriving in the afternoon for showers.  We will need to go to K. to pick up  Aloyna and Sema from pastor Keith’s church in Kyiv.  We drive to Konstanivaka but in my haste, I fail to bring my car documents.  What a mess… we get to the border, and I realize that I have forgotten my car documents!  I’m so mad at myself.  And we think if it is best to call Nickolia (SBU) and get help from him.  The border guard doesn’t believe me, and thinks that the van isn’t mine.   He keeps, my license until I return with the papers.    Because we had to sit and wait at the block post over 30 minutes, and then to be detained even more…so we didn’t get any shopping done, so we will do now.   We get to the train station, and the girls are waiting for us.   We need to buy boots, and we get to the place to purchase them, but she is closing, but she agrees to stay open for us, to purchase 10 pr. of boots.    We run to ATB and purchase some items and then we are off.  Going down the straight way, we hear something break, and there is a noise, and then a light on the ‘dash’ goes off, and a slight electrical smell.  Not good!   We make it to the block post, and one of the patrols recognizes me, and gets my license back, thankfully, we don’t need to go back to the block post today!  I instruct everyone to pray for the van, so that we get home.   

Nice girls, it seems we are on the same page for vision for the ministry.  They really want to serve soldiers, orphans, IDP’s, the church…just be a worker for the Lord.  All good!  We have 5 soldiers coming today for showers…I leave to pick them up with Sema while Aloyna and Sergei cook.  Arriving at the block post, they men are ready and carrying food and dirty laundry to the van.   Sema is mesmerized by the equipment!  We need to leave, have a lot to do…  So we get them back, and they all go and shower, while I finish preparing the food.  One of the men asks to use the guitar, and he starts to sing, Let It Be, by the Beatles.  You would never think that ‘that’ voice came from ‘that’ person…he has a very unique tone, but we all enjoy it, and he is very happy to play the guitar. Julia drops me a note, that we are feeding hospital men today, so I’m shocked, but Sveta can’t do it…so we agree, and we pack food for when we take soldiers back to the post, we will stop on the return at the hospital and feed soldiers.  The girls are a great help with preparing food, and the men enjoy everything.  We dash back to the post, but the van won’t start when we go to leave.  Seeing that we are in distress, all the men from the post run towards us to help push.  In no time, I pop the clutch and the van starts, and we are ‘off’.  At the hospital, we decide that I will stay in the van while they go and serve.  There are only 4 men… They are gone about 20 minutes while I drive around the streets near the hospital.  They finally come out, and tell about the delay, that there were 4 new men…2 were ambushed in a tank, and were shot, one in surgery, one badly wounded (head mid body, and leg).  2 other men with wounds also.  We leave, and run past the ‘big letters’ so that we can fix the ‘R’ in ‘blue’…  NOW the sign is complete. 

July 7 – Tuesday – We are working on the plans to get Tonya to rehab.  The problem…we find out this morning, that she has had her baby, …  1 kilo 900 grams!, tiny, tiny!!!   Darina.  The bad part is that really, Tonya should wait to go to rehab. Due to the baby and her recovery.   We go to the hospital and visit this tiny sweet baby, and she is just so very small…  Sima gives her a stern talk about the effects of alcohol on her baby, and that she must be sober and alert to have such a baby, as she is going to be a lot of work and care.    We go and try to find the part for the van, and end up having to order from Kyiv, but at least it will be ‘in’ by tomorrow.   While at the hospital, Nicholia calls and asks if he can meet with us concerning Alyona’s schooling.  We have another set of guests arriving from Zap. today, and we call and let them know that we can’t meet them, to please ‘take the bus and then a taxi to the center.’  They are fine with that, and understand the situation.  We had left Alyona at the center, as she wasn’t feeling 100%, and that way kids could come to the center if they wanted.  We go and pick up Pavel and Nickolia and we go to the Route 20 for a coffee and talk.  We call Alyona and ask her to join us.  It is a good meeting, but long.  Sima is there, which is a good thing.  As we go to leave, I mention to Nicholia that we need a ride to the train station tomorrow.  He immediately picks up the phone and makes a call.  He looks at me and says, ‘tomorrow, 3:00 car will come to center and take you 3 to the train.’  Just like that, he fixed our problem.  I think the men like Sima.    With Alyona and Sima, it will be tricky, as the men will probably WANT to come to the center and see them… they will need to be mature about this.    Personally, I think they are up for this, but I feel I need to be there to over see this.   We finish up and get back to the center, where we greet Olya and Vovo , an ATO chaplain.  Olya is who recommended Sergei to me, as she does some work with Andrew Kelley, who mentioned to her that I was in need of a translator.    Olya is very nice, and great in the kitchen.  She is great with the kids, and is ministry focused.   Vovo, a trained ATO chaplain is great with the men.  He works with them one on one, and builds a relationship with them.  I think he would be very good to work here…but a back and forth, probably won’t work.  God, send us workers.

Wednesday –  Whirl-wind –  It is always interesting to me that God puts things in our path when we least expect it, and when we really don’t have time for it.  Today is the day we leave for Kyiv, and our day is jammed packed.  We are up and out the door to the Children’s Shelter at 10, unfortunately, Anya isn’t there, she arrives for work at 1, but there is no way we can be here at 1… We go to the auto parts store but the part hasn’t arrived, they said they would call just as soon as it arrived.  Then off to the hospital to take food to Tonya, food to soldiers, and shorts to another soldier.  While at the hospital, the blockpost calls and says, if we want to come, need to do it ‘now’!   We load up and speed out to the block post.  Everyone is with us, so it is good that Olya, Vovo, Sima and Alyona all made it out there before we leave.    

Thursday July10, 2015, my trip begins to return to the U.S..  Not sure what to think about all that, but I will certainly miss the guys, and miss this work.  I only wish I could speak the language…it would really make things so much easier and complete.  The day is jammed packed by starting the day with trying to get the part we need for the van..but it isn’t ‘in’ yet…so we dash to the children’s shelter , and visit with the kids to 30 minutes.  The director comes out, reminding us that we can’t take any photos (((((, then we leave for the market, then hospital, then out to the block post.  We want to give boots, but when we arrive, they say that the boots are too hot for summer….we are discouraged, and aren’t sure what to do, but we can’t leave them…there is no point.  It is great to see the men again, and give them last blessings, and hugs…praying for each of these guys…keep your head in the game, and as Rich would say, ‘keep your head on a swivel.’   We are off to the auto parts store and to purchase cake for Aloysha.  Pick up the part, and head for the mechanic, but he is not able to do this for 1.5 hours…which isn’t going to give us the time we need for preparing to leave, and leaving by 3.  There is not enough time, bottom line.    We give up on the auto repair and head to Rainbow to meet with the commander about having a Bible study.  Vovo doesn’t seem real sure on his fee when conversing, so Semi steps in at times. 

Finally finishing up, we head to the center, to finish packing and load up, as the army is taking us to the train station.  Alyona and Sima go with the military men to the center, the only problem…they have idea where they are going and get lost for 20 minutes.  Simi is very fascinated with the guns and Range Rover..  They finally arrive, and get my bags loaded.    Sergei is still insists that he goes to the train station with us…but we tell him, it really isn’t necessary, and he needs to stay behind to be with our guests and kids.   He seems offended, and we try not to offend, but he is silent. 

We take everything outside and take some photos, pray and then make the ‘hug’ rounds.  I hug Sergei last, and it is like hugging a child…he squeezes hard, like he will never see me again.  I assure him that ‘everything will be o.k…he will do fine’  He has so much self doubt,  it concerns me, but I can’t do much about this, at this point.  I must go, I have so much to do, so many supplies to buy.   We start the journey to the train station.  On one side of me I have a gunner and the other is a sniper.  In the front is Sima and Alyona.  It is a crazy ride, and the guys are great.  We arrive, and they get us to the train, and then leave. 

Once on the train, we have about 15 soldiers in our wagon.  Sitting next to me, is a woman from Donetsk.  She doesn’t want to talk about the war…she is afraid, but finally towards the end of the trip like a last minute thought, or maybe she finally realized that we were ‘safe’… she tells us that she is pro-UA.

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