# 138 January 2014 Paetkau News & Notes
Have you ever traveled at 247 kms/hr (153 mph) but not on a plane, but on the ground? The weird part was that I didn’t even realize it until it was pointed out to me by Chad, my SEND teammate with whom I was traveling. We were on a train in Germany, traveling to a European missions conference, standing in the corridor chatting when Chad pointed to the LED display on the wall. To confirm that we were actually moving that fast we glanced out the window. Everything was a blur – yes we were going that fast! Amazing. We’re used to traveling in Ukraine on trains that go 50-70 kms/hr and you feel the movement.
We have a few traveling stories to tell from December and January, for we as a family put a few miles underneath us for various reasons. Will tell those in a moment – after a few ministry & life highlights.
First, a quick note about life and politics. If you have been watching the news, the country of Ukraine is going through some very challenging times. As the situation is in flux, we have been asked not to comment, which is very understandable. We are safe and there are those who are keeping a close eye on the situation. Please continue to pray for the situation here and that God would work through it, and that people would be impacted for the Gospel.
Christmas this year was special, as it was the first Christmas with a child coming home from college. Lanae came home for 10 days over the holidays from her bible school in Germany. It
brought back a lot of memories for both Leanne and I, when we went through the same process at her age. The time went quickly. Then she and Alicia were off again back to Germany to spend a week with friends and to bring in the New Year there. They had a few adventures on their travels….
While the girls were in northern Germany, I spent 5 days in south central Germany. I was serving with other SEND missionaries at Missions-Net, a bi-annual European missions conference. I had been asked to help represent SEND there as part of the ministry team that was being put together. I didn’t realize how big this event was: 50+ countries represented, with 3600+ attendees (2700+ participants, 500 staff & volunteers, 400 mission exhibitors). Primary languages used were English & German, along with other languages translated at different times through various means. It was very encouraging to see so many young people who desire to see God move and work in them and through them in the nations of the world.
Alicia & I both returned home the same day via different airlines and at different times. The next morning Daniel, Alicia & I, along with a few others caught a marshrootkah (small bus) out to Sumy to take part in Grace Camp’s Winter Teen Camp. Leanne came two days later to catch the final three days. 36 teens came out for the 5 day camp, enjoyed the snow, the rain and the mud and all of the various experiences that it all offered. The ministry team did a
great job, and it was a joy to be able to help out in the background and see teens impacted for Christ. One answer to prayer was that Ruslan, a friend of Daniel’s from our old building in Sumy came to camp. We had been praying that he would, and late in December his mom called us asking about details. We connected them with the right people, and there he was. Praise the Lord! Click here for a brief write up on the week, and here for camp photos.
The week following camp our family took turns getting sick. Both Alicia & Daniel got strep throat, and Leanne and I were under the weather. It was a fun couple weeks. The remainder of the month included hosting (Genna Friesen stayed for a few days while in town for a conference), traveling out to Sumy to participate in the college ministry and a few other ministry projects. We are very thankful for how God worked out many details and provided what we needed at each moment.
A few traveling stories to wrap it up….
Lanae & Alicia flew out of Kiev to Dortmund, Germany, and from there were to catch a bus to Frankfurt to meet friends and go to a missions guest house for the weekend. Well, the flight was normal but after that things got a little interesting. This is how Alicia described it.
“We got to the bus station, and sat down to wait for our bus. Two buses pulled up at our departure time, and neither were for Frankfurt. 10 minutes after our departure time another bus pulls up that says “Frankfurt”. We went to the the driver and showed him our tickets (that Lanae had purchased in advance). Nope – this bus just came from Frankfurt. So we sat down and tried to decide what to do. It’s getting dark, and the parking lot is empty except for one bus (from a different company), which a fellow is cleaning. We eventually went over and Lanae attempted to explained what had happened. He didn’t speak English very well, and Lanae’s German wasn’t adequate for the task. The fellow (turns out to be the driver) looked at our tickets, pulled out a phone, made a call, talked to someone, and then handed the phone to Lanae. The person on the line told her to be back at the bus in 1.5 hrs and and that we could ride on their bus to Frankfurt – they would honor our tickets. Praise the Lord! But one small problem – we would be getting in late and would need transport to the next city near where the guest house is located. Well, once we were on the bus (which had wifi), Lanae checked the train schedule to find out how to get us to our destination. She found out that the train we needed to catch in order to not spend the night on a bench (last one that night) was scheduled to leave the station 5 minutes prior to our scheduled arrival. By God’s grace we arrived 10 minutes prior, which gave us 5 minutes to catch a train. Lanae ran & I followed. It was kind of like one of those spy movies, you know where the clock is ticking and the Jason Bourne character is running through the crowd, getting onto a vehicle and out of harms way just in the nick of time. We made the train just before it left, found two empty seats and sat down. We looked at each other – now what, we don’t have any tickets. Oh well, lets see what happens. The conductor came and said no problem, and sold us the tickets there on the train. Yep, it was a bit of an adventure…..”
Chad Wiebe (a SEND teammate here in Kiev) and I traveled together to the Missions-net conference. The way there – planes, trains and automobiles – was pretty normal, beyond of course the fact that we flew along at one point on a train at just under light speed. The way home was a bit of a different story. We were to catch a midnight train to the Frankfurt Airport, a 3 hour trip. There we stood on the platform, waiting for our train. It arrived on time and we prepared to board. That was the first problem. We had tickets for wagon 9. There was no wagon 9, only wagons 1 through 8. A conductor climbed out of wagon 8 so we quickly went to him (since the stop was only 5 minutes) and asked for help. He pointed out the obvious “Nope, no wagon 9 tonight. Just get on this wagon.” Ok. Well, we had reserved seats on wagon 9, but obviously they didn’t transfer to wagon 8. Thankfully we were able to find fold down seats in the open portion of the wagon, not the most comfortable since they were in the corridor area, but at least we could sit down and try to get a bit of sleep. That proved to be a challenge, as it seemed every few minutes someone had to try and walk by and would stumble over one of us. Eventually we were able to move to different seats which helped a bit. It seemed that a number of people had planned on being on wagon 9. By the time we got to the airport there were a lot of people standing in the aisles with luggage strewn everywhere.
This flight home to Kiev went through Austria, but it was going to be a very tight connection. Leanne and I had flown through Vienna once on our way to Canada 10 years ago, and at that time it was a small terminal – and I had thought that it would relatively easy to make our connection. As we taxied up to the airport, Chad pointed out the window and said, “John, I think they did some renovations”. Yes, major renovations. Gone was the small terminal I had remembered that was easily negotiated in 10 minutes or so. In its place a gleaming structure of glass and steel with multiple spokes where numerous planes were parked. We disembarked at gate E something, and had to get to gate G something (of course, the very last gate at the end of a different spoke). Add a passport control check in the middle to add to the challenge. If we had landed as scheduled, we would never have made our flight (even though we only had carry on luggage and ran the whole way). God seemed to feel that He should have mercy on us both again, for our plane had landed 20 some minutes early, and we made it to our gate with a few minutes to spare.
That wraps up this edition.
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Talk to you in a bit
John (4 the 5 of us)