2011

Day 16 - 18: Departure

Early in the morning our team got up to prepare to leave. We moved our luggages downstair and ate our last breakfast at HOM before departing. The sun was just peeking through the clouds...

As we loaded the van with the luggages the kids started to come out for our final farewell...

There was lots of hugs and tears...

Pastor Kenny saying good bye to his Godchild :)

And we were off to the border. Thankfully the line wasn't very long as we crossed and we made it through rather quickly...

But the mission trip wasn't done yet! God has something else to show us on our way to Budapest. As we were driving toward Budapest, a mercedes behind us kept flashing his beam at our van. Vasya thought maybe something was wrong with the van so he pulled over and check. It turns out the driver behind us needed help getting to Czech Republic through Hungary/Budapest. Vasya was happy to lead the way to Budapest as the Mercedes followed. We stopped a few times for breaks and as they chatted they found out the driver was the head surgeon specializing in bones in their region. He knew the doctors that took care of the HOM kids with bone issues and he also offered to look at those kids himself!! What are the chances?! How awesome is our God!!!

We arrived in Budapest in the early afternoon and after we checked in to our hotel we took a tour of the Castle district...

... Waiting for a few of the ladies at the souvenir shops...

At night we had our traditional team dinner at the chinese restaurant. We decided to try their 6 person combo...

We were surprise by the size of the dish...

Day 17 was the beginning of the epic journey home. After we checked in and got to our gate for our flight from Budapest to Frankfurt we found out our flight was delayed due to a thunderstorm, or atleast that's what we were told. We later found out there was a strike going on at the airport by the air traffic controllers and it may continued the next morning, this got us pretty worried. By the time we reached Frankfurt our layover time was down to 9 min. Eventhough we could see our next flight at the gate the agent won't let us through so we had to find the Luthfansa ticket agent to rebook our flight... As we got to the airline ticket area we found hundreds of people waiting to do the same thing. We took a number, #538, and waited... When we arrived they were serving #413 and we were told it will be about 2 hrs. So we waited and waited... from 2PM to 8PM we waited, we even played a few games. At about 8PM we finally got the see an agent and was rebooked for the next morning at 9:25AM, so a night in Frankfurt it is!

The next morning we found out the strike was averted!! Thank God!! As we waited at our gate we were treated to live Cuban music by a group of travellers!! What a way to start the morning!!!

The team landed back home at 11:25AM and as we headed home in our separate ways we thank God for letting us be part of His work. Seeing Him work in ways we can't imagine from day 1 to the last day. There's still much to do in Ukraine, and we pray we can continue to be part of His work there for many years to come!

Day 15: Our last full day at HOM

Day 15 marked our last full day in Ukraine. It's a bittersweet day because we can't imagine saying good bye to the kids but we were also looking forward to the Talent night that will be coming up in the evening. We started the morning in the town center... As we passed by a giant map of the region on a wall Vasya gave us a overview of some of the places the children came from as well as various highlights of the region...

At the center of the square there was a large selection of children electric cars for rent...

Beside the square there was a bridge that span over the river that runs through the town...

As we tour the bridge we notice all these locks on the rails. Turns out couples in love would put that names on the lock, chain it to the rail and throw the keys into the river...

This specific lock was made by all the boys at the church in appreciation for the girls at the church. Quite sweet in deed!

As we passed by the Adidas store we bought HOM a EURO 2012 football, we know how much all of them loved football!!

We stopped off to enjoy a cup of cappuccino....

And take in a bit of the daily lives in this city...

In the afternoon we did a quick practice for the our Talent night presentation...

And spend as much time as we can with the kids!!

We started off the Talent night with some songs!

And off we go!!! We had singing presentations...

Sample of Oksana's hair braiding!!

Lillian played a piece by Yanni...

Vasyas' mom presented us with 2 amazing cakes! 2 country, 1 heart!!

Our team ate the Ukrainian cake that night, we left the Canadian one for them to eat!

Skits! Guess which Bible story this is...

Acrobatic!

... They still remember the recorder lesson taught by previous team!!!

And arts! Josef presented each of us with one!!

And then it was our team's turn...

Yes it is the Cupid shuffle :)

After our presentation we announced the People's choice for the bookmaking class and then we gave gifts to the staff and the children of HOM! Yup these are the gifts many of you have helped made during fellowship!!

After dinner all the kids went off with their gifts!! Some gave them away to younger kids because they wanted to "Give Happily to God" (one of the lesson taught in week 1's VBS camp!!!!)

Grace helping Vasya build one of the toys...

Timothy with a giant balloon!!

As the sun began to set we took more photos with the kids as some will have to go home soon...

... things go flying on to the roof...

Photos with Andrew and Mark!!

But before the night ended they made a nice camp fire for some songs and game!!!

It was a great worship time!!

And then we played this tunnel game, going around and around the campfire!!

Then the night ended. We hugged each of the children saying our good byes 'cause we weren't sure if we will see them in the morning. We were leaving the next day at 9:30AM and it was hard to say Good bye...

Throughout the past 2 weeks in Ukraine we witness how God has not only provided in terms of conditions and weathers but He was constantly at work in the lives of the Ukrainian. Through HOM, Norwegians, Americans, Canadians, and many more God was using every willing workers to fulfil His purpose in this country. His love, grace, and mercy can and do break through social, economical, and racial barriers. It's a huge reminder for myself that sometimes it's not about putting ourselves in the most favourable conditions in order to grow. On contrary a lot of times it is through challenging conditions that we find the all powerful God at work.

Stuck in Frankfurt

Our day began with a delayed flight out of Budapest to Frankfurt by about an hr + half. As we arrive in Frankfurt we are told the delay was because of a thunderstorm, but after we landed we realize we cannot make the connection to our flight to Calgary. After several runaround by different agent we found the ticket area for Lufthansa with hundreds of people waiting... We took our number... #538... The number at 2PM was around 413 or so.... During the 6 hrs of waiting we were intrigued by the number of people needing reconnections and then we heard rumor that its because there was a strike going on at the airport... But at long last at around 8PM our number was called and we got our flight rebooked the next morning at 9:25AM (arriving at 11:25AM/Tuesday).  

Our team is now residing at a hotel 15 min away from the airport, we are going to rest up and get to the airport bright and early at 7:45 or so just in case there is a strike... Please pray that we will make it back home tomorrow!!!

Good Byes...

As I write this post its 2AM here at HOM, we will be leaving in about 7 hours and I probably won't get to make another official post till I am home. I promise I will give a fuller update on Day 15, but in short on day 15 our team went out to the town centre, there was the talent night and also an amazing campfire time with all the kids & staff... Then we had to say good byes to some of the kids and friends here... A moment we all dreaded... But God willing we will be back to see them again.

 

As I look at the camp fires burning in the middle with the sparks drifting up to the starry night I am reminded that our lives are like these sparks, short lived, and quickly flickered away. Some of us may never see some of these children again, but like the bright stars over top, we set our hopes on something more constant, a final destination that won't flicker away; A place where we will never say good bye.