Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Shack

On the plane to Ukraine I finished off the book by Will Young, The Shack. Wow this book is brilliant! On the back cover it hints it will attempt to deal with the issue of suffering and pain in our world and how could God be in control and allow all of that? Much of the book does deal with this issue but then it hits on sooo much more! I recommend anyone who has any sort of belief in any higher being/religion or wonders if there could be such a being reads this book! Do not expect a theological argument or doctrinal statement about who God is or isn’t and why you should or shouldn’t believe in Him. However expect to have a lot of religious premonitions and ideologies kicked into space and a fresh perspective on how God just might want to relate to us if He is indeed real. It’s also been likened to Pilgrims Progress—the classic book written by John Bunyan in the 19th century. They hope this book will be made into a movie once a certain number of book sales are reached. So encourage your friends to get this book and read it! check out for more!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ukraine- Day 4

14042009999 A beautiful warm sunny day here today! After breakfast Jono , Jon and I went up to Daniels house and played table tennis. I don’t get as much practice as they do and lost to both Jon and Jono. Then visited Natasha (she runs Jono’s business for him) and had morning tea. Then Jono went to work and Jon and I walked to the beach. There is a really nice beach which is man made but a huge amount of sand has been put there so its a very large beach. Unfortunately they don’t keep things very clean so there are bottles and rubbish all along the waters edge making it look rather dirty. We walked back through the town stopping at the shop for lunch food. After lunch back at Jon and Ruths, I finished filling in the big hole in the back lawn. We had afternoon tea at Bruce and Debs place and then back to mark out and dig holes for Jon and Ruth’s deck. Ruth cooked a roast chicken dinner and Jono and Magdala came for that and then we all went to Masha’s place for a fire and cooked damper and hung out. Its been a great time here, very relaxing and London feels along way away! Tomorrow I leave back to the big smoke but I hope I can come back soon—really want to build the deck for Jon and Ruth!

Ukraine- Day 3

Woken by Jono and after showering we picked Jon up and drove out to the strawberry farm. Jono’s friend Gavin runs the farm and Masha works there 3 days a week so we spoke to them and looked over the farm. Then drove to a war memorial on the river where Russians set up a dummy river crossing to avoid the Germans but in order to make it seem real they had a camp set up with people in it. The Germans slaughtered all the people there. On the way back to town we stopped at a timber mill and Jon and I looked at some timber for a deck. Jon and Rufus plan to build a deck on the back of their house so I had drawn up plans and we found the timber we needed and at a fairly good price so we ordered it all and it will be delivered on Saturday. Not in time for me to actually build it unfortunately! We then went to the school where Jono runs his English teaching business and had a look around. We left Jono there and Jon and I went to the shop to buy some bread. Was interesting to look at the various food items and see some familiar brands- Nestle, Mars, M & Ms, Wrigleys, Kinder. The shop is kinder like a corner dairy but for a town of 10 000 people its not that big! I guess most rely on the markets for their goods—I’ll see the market on Wednesday. Back to Jon’s house to find Rufus with a power tool in the pantry trying to cut the shelves down to the correct size! The joiners hadn't done it correctly so I helped her with the first one. We ate lunch and then I put a sheet of backing on the joinery under the bar, and then went outside and destroyed the old outside toilet, completely filling the smelly hole in! They also had a massive hole in the back yard which I began to throw junk into from around the yard—mostly bricks and then shovelled dirt on top. It’s nearly all filled in now! Meanwhile Rufus had finished all the pantry shelves and sanded them and put all the food in there. We all ate dinner at Jonos with Cassie from Texas and watched some DVD’s before another day was over and time for bed! Also today

Ukraine- Day 2

Easter Sunday although in Ukraine its only Palm Sunday as they follow the orthodox calendar. Pancakes for breakfast and I hid Easter Eggs for the others to find (Cadbury Creme Eggs!). Went to church which today was all the 4 churches in the town together in one place for the first time. So it was a special service and ended up being 3 hours and 15 minutes long!! (and no breaks!!) We had translators but we were all still very restless and couldn’t wait to get out for lunch!! Lunch at Rufus and Jons was sandwiches and Masha also hung out with us. Later on went and played some volleyball with a bunch of locals in the town. Then back to Rufus and Jons where I whipped up a batch of scones which we ate fresh with jam and cream. Played a game of settlers which Masha won and then ate again—rice and a spicy chicken dish. Then back to Jonos house and watched a movie. Have now seen the town in the daylight and they have some great views of the river as their houses are up on a hill. Unfortunately all the trees are still bare so it looks a little dull but I can imagine in summer its prettier. The town is very basic tho, not to many cars or shops and the streets/houses are also basic. Most houses are whitewashed, and don't have running water but wells – some have pumps and some draw it by hand. Gas pipe run all over the place about ground always painted yellow.

Ukraine- Day 1

Another crazy busy week in London in which I moved into a house, and tried to prepare All Souls church for Easter weekend and the 6 Easter services it holds plus on Thursday holding a Memorial Service right after our normal lunch time service and before the first Easter service in the evening! So I got home at midnight Thursday after a very late dinner at Nandos and Friday morning I was off to Luton Airport to get on Wizz Air. London has 4 major airports surrounding it and for some reason only Heathrow and Gatwick have decent train links. Luton and Stanstead luck out. Wizz air however soon wizzed me off on a 3 hour flight to Kiev where I touched down at 6pm local time. They parked the plane in the middle of the tarmac and brought buses to it to get us to the terminal. However we were short a bus so had to wait behind the plane! 2 of the idiots waiting with us lit up cigarettes—all while standing a few yards from a Airbus A320 which10042009992 was being refuelled!! (They were soon told to put them out tho!) Customs was quick and easy and I was through to meet Jon and Rufus (my sister and her hubby). They had my brother Jonos van which is a bit of a machine! They took me into Kiev across the huge river Dnipr where we met Jono for dinner. At one point traffic got busy so other cars were driving up onto the footpath on both sides of the road and using them as extra lanes to try and jump the queue! People just park their cars anywhere and no one seems to care about road rules too much. Apparently many people buy their drivers licence without ever having driven before!! After dinner we walked up the main street and then went back to Rufus and Jons very nice spacious apartment. (after Jono broke the van key off in the gas tank cap and we had to get a taxi home!)

Saturday morning we packed up and loaded the van as we were going to end the day in Rzhyshchiv where Jono lives. We drove back into the city centre and got some great views of the city and river from the tin woman statue. Looked through the war museum and then a monastery and church with much gold everywhere. Could see how religious the culture is but so far from understanding God and Jesus. After lunch we wandered through a street market seeing all sorts of art and crafts and a lot of football shirts etc for sale! Then we drove south, I fell asleep in the van and an hour later we stopped at a town where a youth event was on. Interesting to hear songs that I knew sung in a language I couldn’t understand! We ate here and then drove the last 20 mins to Jonos town. Rufus and Jon also have a house here where they come to in the weekends and on holidays. There house is very nice as they have completely renovated it from scratch. Jonos is like a kiwi bach and so I feel like I’m on a holiday and I try to think that I’m actually down the Marlborough Sounds (my fav Easter vacation spot!) but tomorrow when I wake up I’ll see that I’m not!