Lance & Megan's Blog

Student Profiles #4 & 5


It just seemed appropriate to tell you about Lena and Riza together since they are married. The only nickname is for Lena, Riza likes to call her hunichka (it’s like saying honey/hun with the infamous ‘chika’ at the end. How cute is that?!) Here is the amazing Gench family!

What a cute couple!!

Age: Lena is 27 and Riza is 33

Lena is from Kiev and Riza is from Turkey. I have yet to learn how they met, but it must be amazing!

Lena loves talking to people, this comes in handy since she is our beloved translator! She is so cheerful and loves to give hugs. Riza absolutely LOVES pizza, he may be sick but he can always muster strength enough to eat pizza. Riza also enjoys walking and reading and they both enjoy watching movies.

I had the wonderful privilege to stay with Lena’s family while we were in Kiev in October. Wow, I love her parents. They were so happy, loving, caring, and accepting. They were just a blessing to us! Lena describes her mom as having a fierce whisper, which I can see could be true. (I was fortunate enough not to hear the fierce whisper in person.) Her dad loves to preach and be with people.

Riza grew up in a Muslim family and became a Christian against his family’s wishes. He had considered himself an atheist at one point before he became a Christian. It was difficult for him to go against his family especially his father whom he was close with. Riza brings great perspective to our team since he grew up in another religion.¬†One of his favorite memories growing up was going to the Turkish baths on Sundays.

They are such a great team, I am not sure I can adequately do them justice. They are not overly affectionate in public, but they clearly display love for each other that only a married couple can do. They are both supporting each other and give the rest of us singles a great example.

I am really, really, happy that they are coming to Ethiopia. Lena will be able to translate for me and I am no longer the only one who does not speak Russian!

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