127 October 2012 Paetkau News & Notes
“Can you prepare shashleek for 50 people? Would that be a problem?” Challenge yes. Problem, no. A church ministry team was planning a meeting as part of the follow up with the invalid summer camp ministry. This was going to take place out at Grace Camp, and a meal needed to be planned. So I and a couple others took care of making sure that the meat was cooked and ready to be served after the activities that took place.
This fall “баба лета” (grandmother’s summer) has continued on throughout October. It has been a beautiful fall, with lots of color and great weather. We’ve enjoyed the opportunity to be outside a lot, especially as much that we do includes walking to a variety of places.
The city of Sumy has been in process of “beautification” with a variety of painting projects. It is a pleasant surprise to come around the corner and to see a famous
painting covering the wall rather than just bland bricks. Although it is the first time we have seen a three story Mona Lisa.
Fall is also annual mushroom picking season. This is a cultural activity that is always a point of humor between our Ukrainian friends and myself. When you travel to the camp you will often find cars parked randomly along the road, and people are visible wandering through the forest with the heads down intently focused. The issue for us isn’t if we like mushrooms, it is that those that can kill you and those that won’t kill you don’t look that much different. So that is one activity that we do not participate in, despite multiple invitations to come along. I would rather not be possibly responsible for someone sitting at their table enjoying their meal, and then falling over dead because of bad mushrooms. This happens every year and makes headlines here – which I always point out to our friends, and of course they laugh and say, you just have to know which ones to pick. Exactly.
Ministry-wise it has been an interesting month. I taught a two day course at Sumy Regional Bible College, always stretching and enjoyable. 12 fellows from around the region came to study, and it was great to reconnect with them. The English club ministries have also begun. Our teammates have three clubs a week – with adult beginners and advanced during the week and a kids/jr high club on Saturdays. This area of ministry has great potential as many people desire to improve their English skills for employment, travel, communications etc. Lanae is helping in these clubs,
along with involvement in a variety of other areas. Leanne is busy with homeschooling Alicia & Daniel, a few ministries like choir, connecting with different ladies and keeping us all fed and clothed. This month was also a milestone in Lanae’s life – she crossed into her 18th year.
Bruce McKay, our fellow Cdn teammate is heading back to Canada for home service after 4 years here in Ukraine. Well, he has Mennonite roots so he and I took an overnight train down to Zaporoziah to do a bit of poking around. Looking at site where his forefathers lived (which is now under the Dnieper River because of the dam), graveyards etc were all part of the day. We arrived early in the morning and rode the train back that night. Once we finished the Mennonite portion, we began to make our way back to the train station. Zaporoziah has one of the longest straight portions of a street in the world – Lenin avenue goes close to 10 kms without a corner. It begins at the river with a massive statue of Lenin and ends at the train station. So we walked the majority of it through the afternoon and into the evening on our way back to the
train station. Interesting sites along the way, like the “Burger Kings” stand which advertised something flame grilled but on further inspection wasn’t what it seemed to be. It is a real mixture of Russia, Ukraine, Soviet, European, modern and historical – old stores, new malls, high end retailers, low end dives all on one road.
Ukraine was also in the throes of election fever, as the parliamentary elections were to take place at the end of October. It is amazing how many new playgrounds, soccer fields and other improvements took place through September & October, of course with the accompanying fanfare and political party tent to hand out literature. The elections came and went with the usual calls of tampering and fraud, but without the massive protests that have been part of the history. Politics here is an interesting topic which is usually more confusing than understandable, for everyone involved. We continue to watch with interest the various antics of the major players – leaders in jail, hunger strikes, lawsuits, coalitions and various other events to keep everyone wondering who really is in charge.
Well, banya season has arrived – superheated sauna and shashleek. More on that story here.
We’ve also posted photos from this fall here, so please drop by the website for an update.
Have a great day,
4 the 5 of us