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rise and shine

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

We were up bright and early Wednesday morning…
Bright – as in 2 a.m.
Both of us are having a hard time with the time change this time around.
I brought some Melatonin with us on this trip, but can’t find it. So we’re struggling with getting sleepy in the middle of the afternoon and being so tired that we can’t help but take an afternoon siesta, falling asleep again around 7 p.m. and then waking up in the middle of the night.
After reading a whole book (one of only two I brought with me this time.), I finally fell back asleep around 5 a.m. only to be woken up again by the alarm at 8 a.m.
We needed to get down to the U.S. embassy as early as possible to get Meshack’s paperwork taken care of. He won’t have time to go to the embassy before his plane leaves on Monday morning, so we HAD to get it done today.
It was as easy as pie.
Well…if you’re baking it in a Ukranian stove with no directions.
Lev called right away with the U.S. embassy phone number and told Meshack to give them a call and set up an appointment.

So we called.
They said to come down anytime before noon…but the earlier the better. Who knows how long the lines would be.
We called Lev back with the news.
I don’t think he’s a morning person.
Anyway…he instructed us to take the Metro (by ourselves) eleven stops…and he would meet us there at 10 a.m.
This was a recipe for disaster.
He gave us the name of the stop…but you know how it is. It’s a different alphabet…all Ukranian sounds the same to us right now and we’re so sleep deprived, who knows if we can count to five let alone eleven!
Thankfully we had our handy-dandy map.
Cue the Dora the Explorer music, please.

(I’m the map, I’m the map, I’m the map, I’m the maaaaap.)
We found this awesome map at TGI Friday’s on our trip in December. Anyone traveling to Kiev needs to pick this thing up! It is written in English, has all the major (and minor) streets on it (including markers for the embassy and touristy type stuff)….and a complete map of the metro.
The only problem was, Meshack couldn’t remember exactly which stop Lev had said to stop at (remember…sleep deprivation).
He knew it started with an L and was eleven stops away, but there were two stops with an L in a row…and one was 9 stops and the other 10 stops. Were we supposed to count our starting point, which stop was it? We were so confused.
So we got on the bus, made our way down the Metro and started praying…and counting.
We eventually decided to stop at the first one…that way if we had made a mistake it would only be one more stop that we would have to go, instead of turning back around.

Good idea - kudos to us!
And then we realized we didn't know for sure where Lev said he would meet us. Was it upstairs by the entrance or did he say the platform. What did he mean by platform? Was he using it the same way we would? You just never know!

UGH – sleep deprivation is awful! It makes normally intelligent people, blithering idiots!
Finally, something kicked in. I don’t know if it was the Hershey’s kisses I brought with me or the Coca-Cola light Meshack drank, but we finally decided to call him on our cell.
But before we could dial, Lev showed up.
We had picked the right stop and the right place to wait.
Wow. What dumb luck…especially since we had just remembered that we hadn’t bought any minutes for our phone!
Thankfully, the visit at the embassy didn’t require a whole lot of brain cells. All we had to do was fill out a couple of forms, raise our right hands to swear to something and sign our names.
No big deal.
We were in and out in 20 minutes.
It was so nice to have something go smoothly.
And we were treated nicely…smiled at…even wished good luck by the embassy worker. Not everyone was friendly though. I don’t think the Ukranians who were in the waiting room were too thrilled with us. They looked like they had been waiting awhile and kept shooting us dirty looks.
Oh well.
We walked back through security and off American soil.

Back into Ukraine.
Lev took us back to the Metro station, asked us if we could find our way home, mentioned something about picking up another paper from the SDA and said we would be taking the train that night to Odessa. He would give us a call with the details.
We rode the Metro back 10 stops…or was it 11 and made a quick pit stop at McDonalds. And who do we run into there, but a bunch of Americans?!!!
Is it our day or what?!
And they were from Missouri!!!
Can you beat that?
We travel half-way around the world and bump into some virtual neighbors.
We had a great talk with them.
They were students from Missouri State’s chapter of Baptist Students Union (I think). They were on a mission trip and were staying with the couple who pastored the church we visited while we were here in December.
They had arrived a couple of days after we left and were going to be leaving later this week.
We literally traveled half way around the world, bumped into some virtual neighbors from Missouri, who are the same denomination as us and are staying with the missionaries we met on our last trip.
Weird, huh?
Actually, I’m thinking it may have been a God-thing.
Maybe it was his way of showing us just how He is in all the little details.
He brought these two groups of people to a McDonald’s at exactly the same point in time and had them sit in the same part of the restaurant and start their meal at almost the same time.
I don’t know…maybe just for encouragement.
The students were thrilled to be talking to someone who spoke fluent English. And while we haven’t been here that long, I have to admit it was nice to see some friendly faces.
And we got some more prayer partners out of the deal.
What a blessing.
A few hours ago, they didn’t even know us and now these kids will be lifting up these middle-aged strangers before the Father.
We have so many people praying for us on this trip – he’s going to get sick of hearing about us.
Yea…probably not. ;)
He is thrilled when we pray for one another…even if we don’t know them, just heard about them, or met them in a McDonald’s on the outskirts of Kiev. Kind of like the thrill I get when one of my kids prays for another to feel better.

Cool to think of, huh?
Our Daddy is pleased.
What a day.
It was exhausting.
We told our new friends, ‘das vedanya’, rode the bus the last few blocks, climbed the stairs to our apartment and promptly fell asleep! ;)

9 salty messages:

DoveFamily January 11, 2008 at 1:43 PM  

We felt safe and at home when we went to the embassy. Everyone working was so friendly and helpful. And talk about VIP treatment - we ALMOST felt guilty when we went back to get William's visa and got to bypass the very long line of people outside... all because we were carrying U.S. passports in our hands!

Praying for lots of wonderful memories to be made over the next few days and that you'll all be reunited in the U.S. as family very soon.

Waitingonmyua2 January 11, 2008 at 2:02 PM  

I call those "winks from Heaven." The whole time I was there, God gave me winks - I just had to be aware of them. Getting off at the right stop and being on the right platform - a wink. McDonald's - a wink. Can't wait to hear more about more winks! Beth

Kathy and Matt January 11, 2008 at 2:13 PM  

Your posts are the best! I can so imagine your state of mind as you were both trying to figure out which stop.

And having a 5 year old, I cracked up at the Dora reference - how many times have we sung that song.

God is in the details and He loves the prayers being offered for you as you finish the details to bring Maddie home. Know that you've got one more family praying on your behalf.

Hope all continues to go well.
Get some well deserved sleep!

Gail,  January 11, 2008 at 2:24 PM  

Awesome story. Yes, God is in Ukraine too. Don't you just love how He takes care of us?

Shelley January 11, 2008 at 2:25 PM  

glad to hear things are already going well & that you were able to feel GOd's presence the very first day. Can't wait to read the rest of your journey!

Drew, Michelle, Luke and Tetyana January 11, 2008 at 4:50 PM  

I have to tell you, I don't know you but I feel like I do. I have been following your blog and I am so happy for your family! Your daughter is beautiful.

I can't wait to read about the rest of your journey.

Thanks for the tip on the map from TGI Fridays. We are traveling in March and we need all the help we can get!! Drew and Michelle Paras

kate January 12, 2008 at 12:50 AM  

see- "easy as pie" must be preserved! sounds like you were off to a good start.

Nataliya January 12, 2008 at 3:25 PM  

I can imagine how you felt when taking the Metro and not knowing where to get off! The very first day in Odessa we were instructed to take a bus, and we were terrified even though we were born in Odessa and speak the language! You did a great job getting there by yourselves!

Anonymous,  January 14, 2008 at 9:57 AM  

You guys are GOOD - able to find your way even when sleep-deprived. I'm impressed. :-)And that sure was something about meeting that Missouri group in McDonald's! What are the chances??? - Melinda H.

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