We left mid morning and headed out to meet other Vineyard folks for a picnic at a lake here in Kiev. It was a national holiday to celebrate the end of World War 2, so the park was packed with people.
It was so fun to be reunited with old friends, and meet new ones! I met two girls from Zhitomir, so that was fun. :) When we walked up to where everyone was meeting I was greeted with "We love you! My country missed you!" Hahaha! A couple of the guys are hilarious. They love to spout off any random English words they can think of to make people laugh.
"Did you vote for Obama?"
"My pastor makes steaks"
"Are you Miss America?"
I love it.
We chatted, ate good food, played a game (which Masha and I lost miserably), worshipped. It was all good, every bit of it. I spend a lot of time sitting and smiling at all the Russian buzzing around me. I love these people.
After the picnic we went over to Sergei's (the pastor) house to eat and talk some more. I did a lot of smiling and nodding there. :)
Today I'll meet my friend Dasha in the city center for a visit, and then meet an American missionary who visits with children in the hospital. I get to go to the hospital with her, so that should be really fascinating.
So far, it's been really good to be back. In some ways it feels like I was just here last month, not a year ago. I may have had a bit of a panic attack in the grocery store, just imagining the learning curve of shopping for my family with the kids in tow. Last year when we shopped it was no big deal, we just figured it out, but I wasn't thinking about the future. This time, everywhere I go I picture my kids there. On the bus, on the subway, at the lake, in the grocery store. Most of the time I smile when I picture them here, but I did have a moment in the store when I wanted to panic a bit. (it could have been amplified by the fact that I was majorly jet lagged and it was almost 11 at night...maybe)
Then I got home and there was an email from our pastor encouraging me to look straight into Jesus' eyes as we walk across the water. Lock eyes with Him. Don't look around and get distracted by the waves. Keep our eyes on Him. That was so perfect in that moment. Just like this entire journey has been one foot in front of the other, saying yes, so it continues today. We say yes to what He has TODAY, not fretting or stressing about tomorrow, but walking one foot in front of the other. He will make a way. He will help us. He will give us great joy in the journey.
I feel about 50lbs lighter today after that encouragement. Why borrow stress? We don't have to learn how to live here on our first day! It's a journey! (and language learning will be a big part of it...yikes)
I say yes. Thank you Jesus for speaking right when I need to hear your voice.