Church, an indoor BBQ, and Ukraine’s 1st Euro Tournament Win!

Since Saturday, it has been a quick few days to start our second week in Lviv.

Sunday, we had the priviledge of worshiping with the great folks at St. John’s UMC Lviv. We even had the treat of having the Ukrainian sermon preached by Pastor Lubomir translated into English by one of the talented members of of the church. We loved being able to share whole-heatedly in worship together despite not having a language in common. After church, we were going to have a shashlik, a Ukrainian BBQ of sorts out in a nearby forrest, but sensing that our team was very low on energy to make the trek out there, David and Shannon graciously moved te event to their apartment where we enjoyed grilled pork shish kebabs from their back porch balcony along with baked potatoes, bread, veggies, and kool aid. We had a wonderful afternoon hanging out with and getting to know people from the church, it is wonderful to see the ways it has grown and developed from last year to this. We had an afternoon to ourselves to relax and explore the city and then caught another Euro Cup game in the evening, enjoying our day of rest.

Monday, we got back into the swing of things with our work on the student center space. We demolished more of the walls in the space and did lots of cleanup from the previous demolition work we’d done thus far. Then, these last two days we have worked on taking out the floors in the main room and hallway of the apartment and cleaning up the leftovers from that, and despite a few minor illnesses and injuries we are all doing pretty well. All through out our time on the work site, we’ve been building relationships with the guys who were working alongside. Probably by far we’ve interacted with on worker one most, named Rouslan. Rouslan doesn’t speak much English at all, but we’ve learned to communicate in shorthand, for example, when he wants me to help him carry some 100lb. Bags of sand from the lift into the next room, he’ll call out “Greg, Miami beach”, signaling me. Besides these shorthand codes, we’ve got to know him other ways too. Rouslan is always looking out for is, watching for dangers in the jobs we are doing or in the way we are going about a task so we don’t hurt ourselves or someone else, or waste time doing something the wrong way. Work has been very enjoyable as we’ve made new friends at the worksite.

Monday night, we had a great dinner at the girls apartment, planned English club, and then us guys donned our Ukraine jerseys and headed out to the Lviv Fan Zone to cheer on Ukraine against Sweden in their first ever Euro Cup game. The atmosphere itself was a great and worthy enough sight, but Ukraine came ready to play that night too, which made all the difference. It was exciting as Ukraine scored its first goal to tie Sweden 1-1, the crowd shouting and chanting “Slava Ukriane”, a national cheer, and yelling. Then the team scored again, taking the lead 2-1! Which was pretty decent or a team the supposedly didn’t stand a chance. After about 15 nerve racking minutes of holdin on tight and avoiding giving away a goal, the final whistle sounded, and Ukraine emerged victorious, and then the sea of fans on the main center of Lviv went crazy, shouting, cheering and reveling in their sweet win. It was great to be a part of something so meaningful to the pray of this city and country. Keep cheering them on as they play France this Friday, by the way.

Tuesday, we did more work ripping up the floors at the new student center. However our evening was the more notable part of the day. This Tuesday we led English Club here at the student center. Molod Do Isusa runs this conversational English club as their primary outreach to students here, and last week we participated to get a feel for it, an this week we planned a lesson and took the lead. Since it is summertime, we talked all about fun things we like to do in the summer both at home and in Ukraine. We talked about water parks, watermelon, swimming, camping, fireworks, BBQ, road trips, and anything else we could think of. And likewise we asked our new Ukrainian friends about their summer traditions and how they spent their time without school and with long daylight hours. We had a lot of fun and made many new friends. And then we played a game together, with each person getting a card with an animal on it, that they weren’t allowed to see, but they could ask other people yes or no questions about the animal they were. It was quite entertaining for folks to try and figure it all out. All told, it was a great experience.

This brings us up to Wednesday, which I’ll post about soon, that’s for reading, please pray for our last two work days Friday and Monday that they will be safe and fruitful. Thanks do much for your support.

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