Wednesday, May 9, 2012

the 9th of May!

Today is May 9th, a holiday here in Ukraine. Below is an article I found about today. I will post more about my experience tomorrow! "World War II ended ... on V-E Day (Victory in Europe) May 8, 1945 after 2,076 days of war. The USSR celebrated the end of the war, which it called the "Great Patriotic War," one day later on May 9th. Ukraine was the greatest victim of World War II, suffering the greatest material damage and the greatest human losses of any country in the war. How is it possible that Ukraine was even more devastated than Germany? One reason was that Ukraine suffered twice from a "scorched earth" policy conducted by the two greatest totalitarian powers of this century, first Stalin's Soviet Russia and then by Hitler's Nazi Germany. An American foreign correpondent, Edgar Snow, who visited Ukraine in 1943 and at the end of the war in 1945, was so astonished at the enormous losses it had suffered that he wrote an article for Saturday Evening Post titled "Ukraine Pays the Bill." It could be said that "The Allies won the war but Ukraine paid the bill." The story of Ukraine's role and suffering in World War II is generally unknown to the world because it was in the interest of the Soviet Union and Moscow to emphasize the sacrifice and struggle of the "Russian people," of whom inaccurate statistics said twenty million died. This statistic, first quoted by Khrushchev, included 16 million civilians, and actually applied to all citizens of the USSR. In fact, the majority of these victims were non-Russians, mostly Ukrainians. Ukraine was entirely occupied by the German Army for three years but only a small part of Russia was briefly under German occupation during the war. Prof. Norman Davies, criticizing western historians, wrote: "...the overwhelming brunt of the Nazi occupation between 1941 and 1944, as of the devastating Soviet reoccupation, was borne not by Russia but by the Baltic States, by Belarus, by Poland, and above all by Ukraine.... nowhere is it made clear that the largest number of civilian casualties in Europe were inflicted on the Ukrainians, millions of whom were killed both by the Nazis and by the Soviets."(New York Review of Books June 9, 1994, p. 23). " from : Andrew Gregorovich Forum: A Ukrainian Review Ukrainian Fraternal Association 371 N. 9th Ave. Scranton, Pennsylvania 18504-2005 United States

Sunday, May 6, 2012

May 5, 2012

Today has been a great day! This morning I went for a walk around my neighborhood. So many things have changed, but also things are still the same. Then I came home and made a Ukrainian salad, I thought it would be for my lunch, but instead, Chris Dewey, one of the other missionaries invited me to go downtown with her. We walked through the main market, went to several stores, walked down to the sea, and then ate lunch. It was really a nice time, I enjoyed being in town and was amazed how much I felt at home. Then tonight, my welcome party was continued. Thursday night when I arrived a few friends were her, but because it was late, they told me we would have cake today. It was so wonderful! Most of the young adult group from the church I attended when I was here before came. As each one came in, I had a chance to visit with them and hear a little about what is happening in their life. Then I shared my salad and some other food and we had a light dinner, cookies, candy, and cake! One on one, my Russian skills are not bad, but when the whole group is talking, I get completely lost. I was sitting and smiling when one of my friends asked if I understood everything. I confessed that I really didn’t understand anything, but I was so enjoying listening to them. As I lamented that my Russian is not at the same level it was when I left Ukraine four years ago, my friend Katya reminded me that it is also not at the same level as it was when I first arrived six years ago. That was just the encouragement that I needed! As the evening came to an end, we had a group prayer – something I have always loved about this group, our time in prayer together. Then all the guys left, including Veka and Katya’s husbands, but the ladies stayed with me. We sat and visited and played a game. Then Veka went next door to her apartment and Katya is spending the night. It really has been an amazing day. Looking at it, I see so many answered prayers. Prayers prayed for connecting with my new missionary team members, prayers that I will feel like I belong with the people here again, and prayers for this time of transition. I was also thinking about all the people that have hosted me in their homes for the last year, all the meals prepared and time spent. I can never repay your kindness, but I can pass it on. Tonight is the first night of that, I hope in sharing this story it has been as much a blessing to you! In Him, Shushan

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Here I am in the airport with my passport and ticket, clearly I am ready to go!!!


The trip from my home in Indiana to my home in Ukraine was much shorter this time than on previous trips because we are now able to fly into an airport that is much nearer to our home. Before we had to fly into the capital city and then travel by train and by car, making the average trip about 36 hours long. This time, I left Indianapolis around noon on Wednesday and arrived at my apartment in Berdyansk, Ukraine at about noon (Indiana time) on Thursday. Quite lovely! I was rather tired when I arrived, but I was delighted by the surprise that greeted me. As we opened the outer door to the building I was confronted by a humorously dressed “security guard,” my friend Igor. He stopped me with a sign, a demand for my papers, questions, a hand print “scan” and a face check. I felt my weariness fading away replaced by joy and excitement. My apartment is on the second floor and the requirement to climb the stairs was that I had to read the words written on each step (thankfully they were written in English). They were all words of affirmation, it was such an encouragement! As we got to the top of the stairs, one of the other WGM missionaries Frank Dewey opened my apartment door. I turned to thank Igor for the greeting and for carrying my luggage up the stairs for me – behind me, there was a popping balloon and a shower of confetti as my friends Veka, Katya, and Allosha all jumped out to surprise me. What a gift and a blessing. I have cleaned up the confetti, but I have left the rest of the decorations, balloons, and welcome sign. How long do you think I can leave them up?
a picture of my welcoming party - Igor, Veka and their daughter Jessica. Katya and Allosha - the flowers are for me, I love receiving flowers!

Humor in language for today

When I left Ukraine, I stored one box of things. To be honest, I hardly remembered what I had kept here so it was a little like a Christmas present. Today, I wanted to go in the storage room and retrieve that box. So, I asked my friend Igor, the building manager here at the Center (Home of Hope Ministry Center) if he would give me the key so that I could go get my “Klubnicka.” However, he was quite perplexed as to why I would have put a “strawberry” in storage. Of, course, that is not what I meant to say, so I searched my memory banks and came up with the right word, “Karova.” When Igor started laughing, I realized that my memory had misfired again. Storing a “cow” is even less practical than storing fruit. So, the word for “box” is “Karobka” and the good news is that I remember it now.