This past weekend I visited Lugansk, UA. Lugank is the first place I lived outside of the US and where God gave me a heart for the Slavic peoples.
Going home is always interesting. You never quite know what to say to people after not seeing them for so long. Yet, after those first few moments, you settle in and things seem just right.
That is the situation I found myself in. Just moments after arriving at Emmanuel Church where we would spend the weekend, I met one sister I have known for 16 years. One look at her smile and I knew everything would be alright.
A little later my friend Sergei arrived. Sergei is the pastor of Emmanuel. I cannot begin to tell the ways Sergei helped me during those 3 years I lived in Lugansk during 1994-96. He came to my rescue on many occasions, even driving 2 hours late at night to pick up me and my friend Doug in another city after we had an accident.
Throughout the weekend, I saw people I have known since those early years in Lugansk. Each of them helped mold me into the person I am today. I am extremely thankful to the Lord for allowing me to live in Lugansk and have those friendships and connections with people.
As I drove out of town Sunday afternoon, I reflected on what had taken place over the weekend: a prayer walking seminar, a youth meeting and a Sunday service. I felt blessed to have been a part in each of them. The visits to Lugansk do not happen often, but when they do, I leave the city with my heart filled with new memories to add to those made so long ago.