Lance & Megan's Blog

Ich war ein Tourist

September30

Sometimes it’s fun to just be a tourist and enjoy the local culture. I was able to spend several days in Berlin with my dear friend Allison while she applied for a new Ukrainian visa. We left our homes Sunday morning and traveled by train to Lviv (2 hours) then we took a trolley to the bus station (30 min) and waited for our bus. We boarded our bus and were off! Yes, I said bus, yes that does mean that I took a bus from Ukraine to Berlin. Really it’s wasn’t all that bad, only 16 hours or so… We arrived in Berlin around 5 in the morning on Monday.

I give you... the Reichstag!

Much of our time was spent getting other papers and documents for Allison’s visa, but we were able to see the sights of the city in between waiting for banks to open and for people to get back to us about insurance. On Monday we walked everywhere and saw lots with our delirious and half closed eyes (remember we basically hadn’t slept since Sunday…)

Tuesday we had learned our lesson and rented bikes.

The Berlin Dom from behind

Me and my glowing bike...

MY BIGGEST ADVICE TO ANYONE GOING TO BERLIN: RENT BIKES!!!!!!!! Your feet will thank you later.

Monument to Russian Soldiers

At the Wall

The city is set up beautifully for biking and everyone, I mean everyone, rides bikes. So despite the fact that banks seemed to not have their open times right, we got to see more of the city on our bikes. We were able to see the classic sites of the Berlin Dom, the Brandenburger Gate, Museum Island, The Holocaust Memorial, the victory tower, the Reichstag, and the Topography of Terror museum. We got to stroll through the peaceful Tiergarten and we got to enjoy Asian food, which is impossible to find in Ternopil!

The Holocaust Memorial from above

In the midst of the Holocaust Memorial

On Wednesday we said our goodbyes to Berlin and made our way by train to the peaceful little town of Herrnhut where a YWAM base has been established for some time.

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State of Megan Address 2012

September28

Family, Friends, Supporters;

This blog is marking my two years in Ukraine and to give you some brief highlights in the different areas of my life. If you’re wondering what I did last year, you can read the state of Megan address from 2011 HERE.

Health Care
Physically
I am doing well. No meltdowns, no broken bones, no visits to the hospital or doctor. I was worried earlier in the year about my teeth since one spot seemed to be very sensitive and would hurt randomly. When I was home I visited a dentist that frequents Ukraine and had come to Ternopil to work with local orphanages before. I honestly thought for sure that I had a cavity and would have to have a tooth pulled or something. When he saw me he said all it was was an overbite that could easily be fixed by filing down some teeth. Praise the Lord! I was so relieved! Other than that, I have been good. My back has been hurting some and I have not been sleeping well recently, so prayer for those things would be much appreciated.

Mentally/Emotionally
I can honestly say that I have been good in both these areas. There were many times during the English school that I wanted to pull my hair out or find a quiet room to cry in, but I know that God was with me in those moments and he always brought me out of the valley. I was quite tired once the school was done, but was filled up again by my visit home. As for emotionally, things have certainly changed with having a boyfriend this year. (Yes, I have a boyfriend!) 🙂 We have had lots of great moments together and are learning so much about what it is like to be in a relationship. It is hard trying to communicate with busy schedules and over long distance, but we are making it work and are continually finding creative ways to communicate.

Spiritually
I love the Lord and all that he has done for me! I have been more than blessed this last year with people who would give to me and towards the school. It is a huge faith booster when support comes from unexpected places. In my personal devotions I have studied topics such topics as; the Gospels, Moses (he’s one of my favorite characters, I like to study him every once in a while), the glory of God, I Corinthians 13, James (the book), Joshua (the person), and I Samuel. I could spend a lot of time telling you about everything I gained from those topics, but that would take a lot of time. We have just started accountability groups with the staff at my base so I am super excited to get that going too!

Foreign Policy
I have not done as much traveling this past year as the previous year. I went to Montana, Oregon, and Washington this past year. I of course still have to make border runs which are usually to either Moldova or Poland. This year, I am adding my personal responsibilities under the foreign policy category since I don’t know where else to put them. I am now the leader of all English ministries that happen here at the base. This includes the English school, English clubs and classes, and English camps. There could be more to this, but these are the main things. I am also directing the personnel department; sounds like a big role, but really it is just me creating a role and filling it. I am learning that this is a bit more than I thought it would be though. Starting this next week, I will also be on the leadership team for my base to help make decisions that affect the whole base.

Education
This past year was full in terms of education. I was doing a lot, I mean A LOT of teaching in the English school. I taught English naturally but also topics on dreams and desires, connecting with the community and local church, honor, and re-entry. We graduated 12 students from the English for Missions school. I also taught in a short-term missions leaders training workshop on topics such as budgeting, scheduling, leadership structure and team dynamics. I was a student in the Equip school in Montana learning more about leadership, discipling, spiritual disciplines, and YWAM as a whole. I am still connecting with other people in my church although I no longer run an English club for them due to my schedule.

Economy
In this past year, I have been working to create a more specific budget and to really stick to it. So I have created a new budget for myself and I’m trying my best to follow it through. This helps me to make sure I am putting money in savings and towards other things such as plane tickets home, health insurance, and an emergency fund. I have really been challenged to give and to bless people even when I feel that I can’t. It is always in these times that God gives back to me more than I needed. I have been so blessed to experience God’s faithfulness first-hand. Also in terms of economy, I have a new fridge and have been saving up food to freeze and trying to store things better now that I have a fridge to utilize. It has been wonderful!

There is my year in a contained post. I always love hearing from my friends and family, so please send me and email. Tell me about your life, ask me any questions, write me a poem… anything will be enjoyable. 🙂

Many blessings to you all!

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Day of Knowledge

September2

September 1, the Day of Knowledge, also known as First Bell.

Ukraine has a unique holiday of celebrating the first day of school on September first. Every year school starts on the same day through out the country. It does not matter if it’s Saturday or Sunday, school begins on the first!

Waiting for school to start

Students all dress up in their uniforms, girls have their hair done and boys are spiffed up. There are a couple of traditional items students will always have. Girls of all ages often have a white hair ribbon or bow called a buntiki. Basically, the bigger the better. The graduating girls often wear traditional clothes or their uniforms with a white apron over it.

All dolled up for school

All kids bring gifts to their teacher, this can be flowers or some small knick-knack. They meet their teacher, find their seats, parents and teachers can talk… all that good schooly kind of stuff. There is usually a band, some speeches, a priest comes and blesses the school and sprinkles everyone with holy water and the smallest/youngest student gets to ring the first bell signifying the beginning of the school year.

Blessing the school

It's raining holy water!

 

First bell!!

The Day of Knowledge began during the Soviet rule in 1984. It was meant to commemorate the honor of going to school to receive knowledge. The tradition has carried on after Soviet rule has gone. Many former Soviet Union countries still continue this tradition.

This was the first year I actually got to experience it in a small form. I didn’t really plan on attending any first bell celebrations, but as I was on my way to visit a friend I heard band music wafting over the trees. I thought I would go and check it out. I just joined the mob figuring they would never know I was there for the cultural experience and not to congratulate some relative. I took pictures like everyone else, but I aimed my camera at different people every time and took pictures of all sorts of things. It was fun to join in the celebration, I certainly wish it was like this when I went to school!

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