The trip to Kyiv was very long (as usual) but, thankfully, very uneventful. I made my connections and arrived in Kyiv at about 12:30 a.m. on Monday evening.
When we landed, I was just overwhelmed with the feeling of being “home.” In fact, I actually teared up a little bit. The Ukrainian man next to me stared at me – surely wondering what in the world was wrong with me. The only thing wrong with me was that I had not been here for almost a year and a half. When I left Ukraine with Ethan to get medical treatment, my intention was to be back there in a couple of weeks. Instead, our world was turned upside down and before I knew it, we were trying to adjust to life in the United States again.
I am more excited about this trip than I have been about anything in a while. It is a wonderful opportunity to speak love and truth into the lives of a large group of people who do not know the hope of Jesus. There is much that will happen before the retreat, but I am eagerly anticipating the retreat. I am so grateful to God and to the people who have made it possible to make this trip and organize the “Priceless” retreat.
When I finally came through the customs area doors (after having my bags searched – I guess I must have looked guilty of something – little did the customs officer know, that was utter exhaustion, not guilt) it was so wonderful to see our dear friends Jamie and Sveta. And then out the exit door and into the Ukraine air. I admit I took a deep breath and felt so great. Sounds silly, maybe, but it was such a blessing. Then Yuri was waiting at the van. What a great reunion.
By the time I got to the house, I was pretty much spent and I hit the bed hard and slept all of three hours. Yes, that’s what happens when there is an eight hour time difference.
One of the major goals of this trip is to get my permanent residency document renewed. It has to be submitted between the 45th and 46th birthday. I turn 46 in 3 days so I still have plenty of time! I met our attorney’s assistant at the immigration and registration office first thing Tuesday morning and got everything turned in. It was one of the easiest experiences I have ever had in this sort of office. The only hitch is that she told me that they are doing things completely by the book, now, and it will be two weeks before I can get it. Well, it is completely out of my control, so I am trusting the Lord to get it back in time. It was good to see the money-taker on the bus. She, of course, remembered me and it was nice to talk to her a little bit. They even took me to the house, instead of the bus stop. A nice blessing!
Today was pretty much a loss after the visit to the immigration and registration office. I slept quite a while in the afternoon (setting myself up for tragedy tonight when it is time to sleep again). It was great reconnecting with Jamie and June (another dear friend). Both Jamie and June are living in our house right now. They pay rent and it helps us pay the monthly payment on the house/property. Not to mention they are both wonderful friends and ministry partners. They will both be participating in the retreat with me. So glad to be sharing the load with them!
Thankful to be here. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!