Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."

Monday, February 21, 2005

Friday, 11 February 2005

There is more lively discussion on the Calvinism debate during class today, and we have to refocus on the material. We are now discussing the three omni-s and how they relate to one another. Everyone seems on the ball and they stay focused on application.

After class Jim and Phyllis show up for a tour to the War Museum, along with Yuri, one of the prospective students. Yuri is 33 years old, and an officer in the Ukrainian Army Reserves. He is eager to tag along since he is currently looking for a job. It is about 18 degrees outside with a steady wind coming off the frozen winter – so maybe down below zero for wind chill. The vehicle park for the museum is outside, and Phyllis and Yuri stay with me as I explore all the old Soviet equipment. This is an impressive collection, but nowhere near the Patton museum. Still, I am in heaven – Soviet tanks from World War 2 to the 80s! T-34s and ISU 152s and Mig and Yak fighters. From the vehicle park to the inside museum there is a tunnel with giant size metal or stone carvings of the WW2 fighters of the Soviet Union – army, marines, partisans, and peasants. Inside is a really impressive war museum with materials, photos, dioramas, and so on from the war. It follows the course of the second world war in and around Kiev and the Ukraine. We have barely enough time to get through it all since we arrived late, but Yuri told the ticket person that I was an American soldier, and that seems to impress them enough to let us in; they held it open a half hour late so we could go through. I really didn’t come halfway around the world to be a tourist, but this is a very nice bonus.

Conversation with Jim Myers is excellent; he tells many stories of life in Kiev, regarding the history of his missionary work here, a biography of each of the students, adventures with the quirky people of Kiev and especially the thugs on the bus system (not street thugs but the guys who actually run it), and his experience of being the only protestant to teach at the Lavra Monastery in its thousand year history. He gave the grace gospel, and hasn’t been invited back.

Ukraine seems pretty westernized, but lacking the capital to live the same quality of life. New apartment buildings are going up all over the city, but not many people can afford them. There is some infiltration of western franchises; the ubiquitous McDonalds, and funny, a TGI Fridays. It’s kind of fun to spell it out in Russian then realize the sign motif is exactly the same. The language of technology is all a matter of phonetics; television, computer, internet, and many other modern things don’t have a Russian word, just a phonetic spelling that makes it obvious what it is. People downtown are all into the bustle just like anywhere else; women wear a variety of headwear, balaclavas for older women, mongol fur-pointed hats, leather and knit are all in style. I notice that many of the knit caps are light powder blue; no doubt to match their faces in the cold! Few people wear colors in their outer layers, black and brown by far being the dominant colors. Also, there are manners for coats! There are coat racks and hooks at every entrance, and you must leave your coat there – at the restaurant or in the school classroom. No one leaves their coat on when they eat or when they study, no matter how cold the room might be.

We have the experience of riding the metro (light rail) back during rush hour, and we are packed into the train like sardines. You cannot possibly fall over from the crush of people, and I think that Alene and Phyllis don’t have their feet on the ground for a while. We get back to the office and I send my daily email to my family before we separate for the evening. A few hours of pleasant conversation with Jim Dumas, and now it’s time for bed.

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