Like I have mentioned in other posts that when I was 17 I went on a mission trip to Ukraine with 2 other girls from my church. It was the summer after my Junior year in high school and we left on my 17th birthday, July 31st, 2001. I hadn't read my journal entries from this time in a few years. It is amazing reading about all of the things that I forgot about. Two weeks before we left our church was visited by Pastor Rodoslavov and his wife who are from Ukraine. He spoke many times. Hearing him speak and seeing him made me all the more excited to go to Ukraine. Just a short while before he and his wife came to America for a visit their 9 year old daughter was raped and murdered on the streets of Odessa on her way to school one morning. It was amazing to see how much they leaned on the Lord and trusted in Him during that difficult time. She had been a little evangelist and wanted to tell everyone about Jesus.
July 30th, 2001 Monday
"Today we can now say "tomorrow". Tomorrow we are leaving and it still does not seem real to me. I am getting more and more excited as the time draws near.
Last night Pastor Petya Rodoslavov spoke and then they had a sending service for Rachel Suko, Hannah Sayers and I.
All of the deacons and interns, Pastor Mark and Pastor Rodoslavov came and stood behind us and prayed over us. It was amazing and wonderful. To know that there is an entire church behind us plus all those men it seemed who were guarding and praying for us, it was an overwhelming feeling. They gave us into the hands of the Lord.
This morning at 9:30am is the ladies' brunch and Mrs. Rodoslavov is going to speak. After this Rachel, Hannah and I will be going to the bank to cash our money for the trip. An extra $150 came in for me so I will be running to the store and getting some more supplies. After this I will run home and change then go back to the Suko's where Hannah Suko and Ruth will be taking me out to lunch for my birthday (which is tomorrow). After that is Bible Study until 5:30pm. Then I will come home and do my personal packing.
Busy, busy, busy! I will be running constantly but I am having lots of fun!
July 31st, 2001 Tuesday
"Well, here we are in the plane heading for Amsterdam.
I woke up this morning at 5:00 and took a shower. Then I packed all the little last minute things that I needed.
Last night I got home at 6pm and called everyone, then started packing. I played Steven Curtis Chapman ad Third Day really loud in the living room and enjoyed myself while I packed. At 6am this morning I went all over creation trying to find more disposable cameras. I finally did find a store that was open and had one for the horrific price of $17. I only bought one. Then I went home and everyone in the family called me to say goodbye and they would be praying for me. At 8am I woke dad up [my mom was down in L.A. visiting family] so he could get ready to go. We all met at the Suko's house and I rode to the airport with the Sayers.
I had the most wonderful feeling of joy when we left and blew a kiss as we walked onto the plane.
Before we left Marty [my youth pastor] came up to me and told me that I needed to keep the group strong and no matter what the circumstances were to keep smiling. I will keep smiling for the Lord and for Marty.
I can't believe I am actually flying to Holland. I can't imagine it! Praise the Lord! Slava Bogu! Soon I will be in Ukraine!