Saturday, July 4, 2015

Safe Travels All the Way Home...

We arrived at our home a little after midnight earlier today to find everything exactly as we'd left it 2 weeks ago.  That was a welcome way to arrive home even if we were very tired after a long day of travel which had been uneventful.  We were able to sleep some on flights.  We crawled into bed with hearts filled with gratitude.  We awoke mid morning with many thoughts about our trip which continued the feelings of deep gratitude we have for all the ways we were guided and sustained by God.   We experienced his strength which was sufficient for our work. 
Flay flying at our home in TX on July 4, 2015
Since it is the 4th of July, I hung the flag as soon as I awakened.  I am thankful for what that flag stands for and I'm extremely thankful for all who serve or who have served in order for our nation to remain free and protected.  God has given our nation honorable, wise founders and many others who have led our country with selfless distinction.  May many more men and women be elected to lead whose choices will represent the values established by our forefathers in our Constitution.  With wisdom from our divine Creator, this can be so.

The day is ending.  We've watched our town's fireworks from the street in front of our home.  We live part way up a hill and it has become tradition to stand with neighbors to view the fireworks which shoot high above the trees in our area.  Well done again this year.

Thanks for all prayers that have been offered on behalf of our team as we have prepared for and carried out the 2015 Mission Trip to Moldova.  May there be fruit from the seeds we planted which will continue to bring honor and glory to God for generations that last until the end of time on this earth.  We know God is faithful and will be at work to draw people to Himself. 

My heart is overflowing with joy because God has chosen to use me again this summer in the little country of Moldova.  I love that land and its dear people. 

There is an open invitation to return next summer with another team.  Stay tuned.  God may want you to be part of a team in 2016. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thursday... St. Cyril's, Georgian Restaurant & The Botanical Gardens...

One of the things our son wanted most to see in Kiev was St. Cyril's church where he had learned that there were paintings that had been done by his favorite Russian artist, M.Vrubel.  That was our first stop today and he says it was so worth getting there to see this artist's work in 4 icons and other fresco paintings done in 1884-85.  The church was built in the 1100's and has had significant damage over the years but has been in a restoration phase for the past nearly 100 years.  It is in quite excellent condition now as a museum rather than an active church.  It has been necessary for us girls to cover our heads as we have gone into the Orthodox Churches here.  We used our own scarves for that purpose.

No photos were allowed inside this church so we only have our memory of this art which our son feels was well worth the subway, bus and walk to get to.  This artist is not well known outside of Russia and Ukraine but he was indeed, a gifted, excellent painter.
Note the most famous M. Vrubel in the center of this entrance board.
Took this photo through the protective covering of this board.

Following St. Cyril's, we headed off to find a restaurant that served Georgian food.  That was the second thing son James wanted while in Kiev.  We found the restaurant and were served some really delicious food - mostly things I'd never before eaten.  I did order Borsch which was familiar to me. 
You do not see pizza.  This is bread with melted cheese inside.  It is very delicious.

The last thing we fit in for our visit to Kiev was a trip to and walk around in the Botanical Gardens.  Parts of this garden are still well maintained but other parts are being neglected.  It was a beautiful day with temps in the 70's, some occasional sprinkles but mostly a great last day in Kiev.

My favorite travel companion...  

Church in the Botanical Gardens.  Service was in progress so we stood with the others who were there and listened to the liturgy being spoken and sung by the Priests.
While inside the church, we heard bells ring but we were not outside to see it happening.
View of the city from a high point in the Gardens.

Bumble bees were buzzing all over this beautiful heather.

A taxi will pick us up in 7 hours at 3:15 AM.  Should take 30 minutes to get to the airport.  We're about packed.  Should be back in San Antonio by 11:30 PM Friday - 28 hrs of travel - then an hour's drive to Kerrville.  Will send an update when I wake up on Saturday in TX.  So thankful for this safe, significant and memorable trip.  Really appreciate all prayerful support.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Little Rain, Mostly Sun and A Long Bike Ride...

Bikes left outside as we visited an open thatch roofed house.
We spent  today's sight-seeing outing at the Ukraine National Museum which is an outdoor site. As we arrived, we bought a map and observed long expanses of roads and buildings which have been brought in or built on a large acreage in a southern part of Kiev. The next thing we noticed was a bicycle rental area.  Our son was immediately interested.  The rest of us were a little wary but we all decided bikes would be a great help with all the walking that would be required to see and enjoy this property.  So off we went with pretty easy biking at the opening of our self guided tour.

Enjoying P,B & J sandwiches...
We stopped at a first grouping of homes where one was open.  It was a model of a country home from the 1960s.  From there we biked around a corner where we stopped to explore another structure which we thought may have been a large kiln.  We continued on the road to another grouping of thatch-roofed homes which looked interesting but as we arrived, so did a sudden downpour.  We saw a covered pavilion across from the homes and hurried under the roof there without getting too wet.  There we stayed with other visitors for at least an hour as the wind and rain came.  We had brought some sandwiches with us so decided it was time for our picnic.  The other folks were 4 adults and 6 children and they did the same.  It was spacious and restful so we weren't too worried about the delay.

In time, the rain let up and we headed across the road to the homes we had passed earlier.

These were Cossack homes and there we met a host of that complex of buildings.
They had a couple beautiful horses also.
Windmills in lots of places on the property.
 The rest of the pictures will have few explanations.  This museum had lots of buildings but very few were equipped with an interpreter and they were locked.  The signage was predominantly in Russian which son James could read and mostly understand so that was very helpful.

Stopped at this church which was locked.

 When we did find an interpreter, we stopped and looked inside but weren't able to learn much about what we were seeing.  It was quite self-explanatory, however, which I think you will agree.

The hostess at this home took our picture.

Another church...  Eastern Orthodox - all of the churches.
Water Mill...

Beautiful grounds...

Some pretty steep hills we walked up...
But loved sailing down from the top...
Late in the afternoon we arrived at a spot which had food.  We ordered and lingered over borsch, chicken, pork, bread, pickles, potatoes...  Delicious.
Another church stop which was open.
We ended our day at 5pm as the museum closed.  The man from whom we rented bikes called a taxi for us which took us back to the apartment.  It had rained on and off so a couple more times we had to head for shelter.  All in all it was a fun day.  We really enjoyed the beauty of the property and the quiet as most people stayed home apparently.

Now it's time for tea and cookies before we head to bed.  Last day here is tomorrow.  We are enjoying Kiev and very grateful to have our son with us who speaks and understands enough Russian to engage folks to help meet all of our needs.  More tomorrow