Road trip!

Road trips can be fun and interesting when one travels the roads of Ukraine. Sunday afternoon I drove to Khmelnitskiy in western Ukraine with another missionary, Mary Ellen, and her daughter, Melody, who is visiting from the states.

We left Kiev and drove westward. When we arrived in Zhytomer, I didn’t take the bypass and we wound up in downtown. After backtracking and finding the road we wanted, we were on our way again. Time lost about 30-45 minutes.

The view traveling down roads through the villages and countryside is quite spectacular at this time of year. The trees are full of apples and apricots not quite ready to eat (unfortunately!). The fields are almost ready to harvest. I really enjoy these views. It is a reminder of the words Jesus spoke when he said the “fields are whiten to harvest but the workers are few.”

We were to meet up with Mary Ellen’s husband, Joel, and a team from Bellevue in Memphis. The bus left at least 1 1/2 hours before we did, but we actually arrived about 15 minutes before they did after their bus driver got lost a couple of times.

A new church plant will be started through the evangelistic efforts of the team from Bellevue and a group from the city of Dunaevtsi, which is about 80 km from Khmelnitskiy.

I had heard that the largest market in Ukraine is located in this city so I wanted to go and check it out. Melody agreed to go with me so we went on the search looking for it. We “stumbled” across one in town and I asked one lady if it was the largest, and she said yes. Well, after parking and walking there we quickly realized it wasn’t.

So, I asked one of the vendors at the market where the largest market is located and she sent us to another place. After arriving there, I knew it couldn’t be the largest since it was closed. (Many of the markets are closed on Mondays.)

So, I asked another person where the market was supposed to be and he gave me directions. Well, fortunately, the third time was a charm! (Max, do you know that idiom?)

Many of the vendors were closed, but many were open as well, so Melody and I set off to find what bargains awaited us!

I have been wanting some Turkish rugs for some time and so we found some vendors and began looking. Most of the rugs I have found in Kiev are a bit pricey, so I was a little shocked by the prices at the first vendor we found.

I haggled with the 3 guys there and had a good “feel” for them and their products. I felt they were being honest with me. They even encouraged me to look around at the other rugs, which I did.

After looking around I went back and bought 2 rugs from the first kiosk. I had a great time with the three of them. (The 3 guys will be discussed in another posting.)

After having lunch with the team, Mary Ellen, Melody and I set off on the journey back to Kiev. It had rained on most of the trip to Khmelnitskiy, so I was happy that it was sunny on the way back.

Unfortunately, we saw two very bad accidents on the way home. The first invovled 2 vehicles and there were people sitting on the ground around the accident. There were several other vehicles there helping so we didn’t stop. However, one vehicle was crushed so badly that we doubted anyone could have survived.

Just a short time later on the same road, we came across a truck that had rolled over. It was right at the apex of a curve and I guess it was going too fast. Mary Ellen was sure that someone was still in the truck and had already died. The police were at the scene so I said a short prayer to myself and we drove on.

After making it through Zhytomer (without getting on the wrong roads this time), we were on our way to Kiev. We passed a beautiful field of purple flowers and then through a village that has storks. These beautifully large birds have built hugh nests on the tops of numerous electric poles. It is humorous to see these birds in this setting. I guess babies have to be delivered there as well!

We made the trip home in a lot less time than the trip there. (Of course, the weather was better and we didn’t get sidetracked.) The rugs look great in my apartment and I slept like a baby being in my own bed…