Highways and By-ways

I traveled many kilometers on Thursday to visit some churches in the area.  The day started by driving south, southwest of Donetsk to the city of Novomikhalovka.

Along the way, we passed numerous coal mining plants on the southwest edge of Donetsk.  Also on the edge of the city is the really nice training grounds of Donetsk Shakhtar football club.  A little further out of town there were many sunflower fields, some of which were awaiting harvest, but the bulk of which were already harvested.

Upon driving into Novomikhalovka, Pavel and Sergei took me to an old Russian Orthodox Church in the city.  The church was built in 1907, before the October Revolution of 1917, which saw the Communists take control of Russia, Ukraine and much of eastern Europe.  It is amazing that this church actually survived the Revolution and two World Wars.

The church is being renovated at the moment, as visible with the scaffolding.  But, it’s architecture is incredible.  It is one of the great churches I have seen in the former Soviet Union when you consider it’s age.

Notice the inlaid crosses along the roof top.  The downside (I guess) is the new windows being installed.  They were so shiny that you could see your reflection!

Unfortunately, the building wasn’t open so that we could go inside.  Hopefully, they will open soon and I will go back for a further look back in history.

S00n, we were back on the road and heading to Uglidar.  The Russian words for coal is ugol and for present is dar, so the gift of coal is the name of this city.  Most of the people living in the city are connected with the coal industry in some way.

The Baptist church was given the opportunity to build a church on the edge of town and have built a nice building.  I really enjoyed meeting the pastor and several of  the men of the church.  I got to hear their heart and their needs.

I was quite impressed with their desire to share with others.  They have opened their building to 2-3 men who have been released from prison.  Kind of like a half-way house.  They also are doing the best they can to go to surrounding villages to lead Bible studies and do evangelism.  Imagine doing this without a vehicle, which is what they do.  They take public transport to these cities and sometimes have to walk part of their way home since there is no transport available late in evening.

When I arrived there were a couple of men from the church trying to complete some of the work inside.  You can access more photos of this church on my homepage by clicking the Flickr link…

More on my journey soon…