I’m here… and I’ve mailed a letter!
Actually, I’ve been here two and a half weeks already. Wow.
In that time, I’ve found an apartment, begun getting to know Kiev and where to find things for my apartment– you know, dishes, furniture, linens, towels– all that stuff. I’ve nearly used the 50 rides on my Metro card, plus I’ve racked quite a few up Marshrutka (minibus-taxi) rides, started studying Russian, and walked a lot more kilometers than my daily routine included in Chattanooga. A couple surprises so far:
- Coffee is far more readily available than my last time here in 2009. One can even find good coffee, though instant espresso (made with a machine, not hand-crafted by a barista) is available outside of most Metro stations for the equivalent of 50 cents to just over a dollar. Actually, the last couple mornings I’ve grabbed an espresso and a vartrushka before taking the Metro. But as far as caffeinated beverages go, tea is still at the heart of this culture.
- Leaving Chattanooga was far harder than I had anticipated, especially saying goodbyes to a few particularly close friends and family. I hope to flesh that out a bit more in my next email update, but having the confidence and send-off of those who know me best, and the commissioning of my home church, is a huge encouragement. Thanks!
Having left Chattanooga, when I looked down on Kiev as the plane passed low over the city on approach to the airport, I had a very strong sense that this is my city. Not that I own it, or even understand it, but God called me here, sent me by your encouragement, prayers, and support. Behind the seemingly everyday reality of being here, I’m actually a commissioned bond-servant of the King, called to serve in a different part of his realm. All authority and power are his, and he has sent me out.
I’m deeply convinced that learning Russian is a crucial step I must take to seek the welfare of this particular city, of the particular people whose paths God will weave together with mine. So pray with me on behalf of Kiev and the millions who live here. As the Lord said through Jeremiah when God’s people were called to live in Babylon, “in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7). Somehow, my welfare is wrapped up in seeking the shalom of Kiev, a city in the borderland between many different things.
Through your partnership with me in the gospel of Christ, and by his spirit, I’m building in the borderland.