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Upside Down

This day 5 years ago started like most early spring days. It was a Sunday. The sun was bright, yet the city was on edge.

For weeks, every Saturday and Sunday, protestors from around the region (and probably from outside the country) poured into the city center to protest what had taken place in Kyiv during the winter. People were angry that the “revolution” in Kyiv had ousted their local man as president.

I lived near the regional administration building. A beautiful boulevard ran parallel to the main street leading into the center. City employees worked hard to keep the boulevard clean, with flowers and other plants dotting the landscape, along with 1,000’s of beautiful roses. Those city employees had their offices in the basement of the building I lived in, so I saw them daily. I spoke to them and praised them for their work.

April 6, 2014, around 1:30 p.m. I began the trek from my apartment to the building our fledgling church was renting in the center, just off Lenin Square. Instead of walking through the square, as was my custom, I had to begin walking around due to the large gathering each Sunday afternoon.

As I walked by the square, the “meeting” had already begun. The square was full of people. Busses lined the street from the square, down to the river. It was obvious that people had been brought in from other places. Mostly men were buying food from various kiosks, and there were lots of people waiting in line at McDonalds.

I walked on to the building were our church met. Our small group of believers worshiped and we prayed for peace for Ukraine and Donetsk. After the service, when I walked home, the meeting in the square had dispersed, and after crossing Artema Street, I realized that the crown was blocking the street was they walked down it toward the regional administration building.

I walked down Puskina Boulevard, where the regular crowd of people walked up and down the boulevard, eating at the restaurants that dotted the street. As I reflect, the emotions of the two crowds could not have been different. One crowd was enjoying their Sunday afternoon stroll, the other was strolling toward change.

I doubt either group knew what that change would look like the next morning… when life would be turned upside down.