Tuesday, December 9, 2008
One year ago...
We took the bus to church today.
It was virtually empty and the streets were deserted. At 10 o’clock in the morning most people were sleeping in, except for the faithful few…and a few merchants headed to their booths for the day.
As we rolled along, I couldn’t help but think of a book I read as a child - Alexi's Secret Mission. It was the story of a little boy named Alexi, who lived in Siberia during the days of the Soviets. His parents were Christians who helped smuggle Bibles into the area. The family lived in constant fear of being found out. And little Alexi learned the meaning of sacrifice and faith.
How times have changed.
A decade after the fall of communism, we were riding a bus, going to church…getting ready to openly worship in this former Soviet society. (I need to find a copy of that book.)
We finally reached the turnaround point and took off toward a row of apartment buildings.
Our new friend, Sandra Boykin, a fellow adoptive parent, has been in Kiev for five weeks trying to complete an adoption. It’s been a rough process, but the smile on her face tells of an inner peace in her quest. In her smooth, southern accent, she told us about the first time she and her friend, Tamarah tried to find this church. Another adoptive family gave them directions to the Kiev International Bible Church, and being the adventurous women that they are, they immediately tried their hand at locating the sanctuary.
They kept walking and walking, looking for the church…worried that they had somehow missed it.
It seemed a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. How in the world are we going to figure out which building is a church as rows and rows of gray apartment buildings loomed before us?
Finally, we saw it, a cross high up in the air…like a beacon.
And as we got closer we realized it wasn’t a gray, old building. It was a contemporary, new structure. Like something we would see in the states. Like a welcome, old friend.
We walked in the doors and started up the flight of stairs. (There are stairs everywhere in Ukraine.) The church is divided up into several worship services depending on your native language. There’s Ukrainian, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese and English.
The English service was on the top floor.
Up we climbed. It seemed like an endless number of stairs. In reality it was probably only three flights. We stopped at the top to catch our breath before opening the door.
It was like we were back in the States. The music was familiar. The words were familiar. The smiles were familiar. The smiles were welcome.
We quickly found some seats and settled in. We sang the same worship songs we sing in the states. We had the same offering time, prayer time and then it was time for the service.
It was long sermon…but a good one. And guess what the scripture was for this Sunday’s sermon?
Galations 3:29 - 4:6
1 Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a
slave although he is owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and
managers until the date set by the father. 3 So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
Talk about perfect timing.
The message was on God’s perfect timing. How Christ was sent at just the most perfect point in time. When man was most ready to hear about God’s plan for salvation. God’s perfect timing.
And the verse about adoption - well, that's always been one of my favorites! :)
It felt like God was just reaching down and offering us a little hug and encouragement.
After church, we headed across the busy street to the local McDonald’s (we’ve seen at least seven and counting) for lunch and then caught the bus home before taking a Sunday afternoon nap.
Just like home.