On September 12, 2003, I arrived in Kyiv, Ukraine to begin language school. I had spent almost 8 weeks in Virginia at orientation with my organization and was ready to “get to the field.”
What stuck out in my mind that first day was being extremely tired, having dinner with my supervisor and his wife at Fridays and then their vehicle breaking down on the way to take me to my new apartment. By the time I crawled into bed that night, I was one tired person.
I’m not sure how I could have forgotten the date (after all is is the day after 9/11), but for some reason I didn’t remember until I was in Metro Cash and Carry (a German Sam’s type store) last night and saw that they were celebrating their 9th Anniversary in Kiev. There were two stores that opened in Kiev in the fall of 2003, Metro and Epicenter (our Home Depot).
Both of these stores brought new shopping opportunities to those of us living in Kiev. Since 2003, these stores have built in cities throughout Ukraine. Along with them have come other stores from western Europe.
For me, though, most importantly is the relationships that I have forged across this great country. Just this afternoon, as I was preparing to leave Kiev to return to Donetsk, I saw some great brothers who work and minister with the Ukrainian Baptist Union. While I don’t see them often since I live in the east and don’t get to Kiev, we had a warm few minutes of conversation before I had to leave.
After getting the things I needed at Metro, I walked back to the apartment where I stayed. I looked all around me at the 15-25 story apartments that now line the streets and thanked God for allowing me the privilege to live in Ukraine. I thought of all the people who live in those buildings and prayed for them.
Nine years in the great scheme of live isn’t really that long. I look forward to many more years of living this life, thankful the Lord is watching over me.