Ukraine Mission Trip Journal Entry:
July 31st, 2001 Tuesday cont.
"Right now I am at the Schiphol Amsterdam Airport. It seems weird to be in Holland. It seems weird that I am in Europe. Wow!!
The airport does not have very much Dutch stuff in it. Hannah and I walked around but we found nothing. It is all focused towards Americans and their money. The whole airport looks exactly the same. It is huge and very boring.
The flight was fine and I was able to take a short nap which gave me a boost of energy. It is 9:10am here and at home it must be about 12 or 1 in the morning. So it is way past my normal bedtime even though it is the morning...
...My body is tired but the Lord can give my soul strength."
Thursday August 2nd, 2001
"Well, we are finally here. Right now it is 5:30am and I am wide awake. Our flight from Amsterdam to Kiev was very interesting. After we got on the plane there was nothing I could do to keep my eyes open. I didn't care how uncomfortable a position was, all I could do was sleep.
Then since I had my little boost of energy I was able to stay awake the rest of the flight. Rachel switched spots with me so I could see out the window as we were coming into Kiev.
The clouds were thick and I could not see the ground. We started to descend through the clouds and it got very dark. Then all of a sudden we broke through and opening up beneath me was the farm land of Ukraine. It seemed so weird to think that was Ukraine. It was the place I had been so longing to go to...
...When we landed the plane parked and we got off by walking down stairs to the tarmac. We were quickly shuffled and stuffed into a kind of trolly bus that took us to the airport.
When we got inside we had to wait in a line for a very stern faced officer behind a window and desk to look at our passports and ask us questions. I got through easily after Rachel and just answered each question exactly like she did.
Then came the hard task of us three girls to try and get our six, 70 pound luggage cases. Praise the Lord they had carts and we were able to get two. We then had to fill out our Declaration forms and went to the red line because we had more than a thousand dollars. Rachel said that they would probably go through each of our bags (which would have been a task) and check everything out. So we prayed that they wouldn't. We got through the line in 5 minutes and they never even looked in any of our bags.
We went through a small door where on the other side there were people waiting for their loved ones. Vladimir [Christina Suko's father] reached out to me and shook my hand tightly. He had brought a big utility type truck and he had a driver named Andre. Andre was very tall and a smoker. He did not speak any English.
After they put our bags in back we climbed into the back seat in the cab of the truck (which had no seat belts) and started out two hour journey to Cherkassy. And what a journey it was.
There is no way for me to fully explain how these people drive, but they tend to not even notice that there is a line in the middle of the raid separating them from the oncoming traffic, or that it may be smart to wait until there are no oncoming cars before you try to pass a slow vehicle ahead of you. You get the idea. Rachel was horrified. I just sat there in the middle, looking straight out the front window, not really worrying at all just because of the fact that I was so tired. [By that time I had been awake for almost 36 hours.]
When we arrived at Christina's parent's apartment Serj came down to help carry our bags. [He is Christina's younger brother who is the same age as me. He also was one of our translators.] We then went up to the apartment where Christina's mom, Maria, was ready with hugs and dinner. [Since they did not have a dining room they set up a table in the middle of the living room and we sat on couches in order to eat.] After that Serj invited us to go on a walk tomorrow after breakfast with Yuri [Another guy my age who would be our translator.] and Yuri's sister Olga."