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

Tuesday, 15 February 2005

This morning’s theology class finished the topic of God’s love. We steer off topic to favorite subjects often, and every time the class spills over for 15-30 minutes as I answer questions. This is a good sign of eager students. We talk about the charismatic movement, and help to equip Alla, my one female student, to communicate truth to charismatics (she attended a charismatic church for four years).

After class we have an amusing time, as we go shopping for our families to an outdoor market. This market cascades a quarter mile or so down a narrow, cobblestone street. Which is not amusing, but it is very raining day, on top of yesterday’s snow, so now it is a sheet of ice. We all survive the cascade, and buy some nice Ukrainian things for back home, mementos and gifts for our families. I am in a bubble over here. The bubble effect I remember from Marine Corps and Army training periods where there is little contact with the outside world. Life goes on out there in the Denver world, and I miss my family and my flock, but life here is going a mile a minute, and I can hardly think of what is going on elsewhere. It will be very strange to be back home for while.

In the evening we head to the cancer hospital for children. More Jane Eyre conditions, like the detention center. Here there are parents and their children, the kids having various kinds of cancer, missing legs or have massive growths on their heads, many bald both boys and girls, and some still self-conscious about it. The parents have the creases of worry as any would with a dying child, but perhaps some additional dimensions than what we see in the states. The hospitals here don’t provide meals or medications, so those must be brought and bought for extra. Although healthcare isn’t as much in the states, many live on less than a few hundred per month U.S. dollars, so the poverty of illness is poverty indeed. One woman has made beautiful needlepoint napkins with flower designs so that she can add to her income and pay for her child’s surgery. Tomorrow morning the child, who is maybe two years old will have a kidney removed. No such thing as credit for that, or for the blood transfusions either, so it is pay as you go. The physical condition of the hospital is not good; no way this is a clean or healthy environment; American doctors would faint, I’m sure. The squalor of kids, parents, attendants, etc. is very distracting, but the bottom line is that it’s a gospel opportunity.

Before our team speaks, a Greek Orthodox priest is here to chant a celebration for Saint Simeon’s day. St. Simeon, as you may know, lived to be three hundred years old. He translated the Septuagint, then lasted another 250 years to see the Christ child. This priest guy is maybe in his early thirties, and a pompous, first class goober. He sprinkles us all with holy water. Alene gets dowsed while I only get a misting of the good stuff. Finally he is gone. Then two of my students, Sasha and Viktor, Jim Dumas, and I take turns giving the gospel to the parents and children. This takes place more or less in a small sitting area off the hallway. The woman whose child is having the kidney removed asks Alene and I to pray with here, and through Margaret our translator we do so. We go back home and arrive by 7 PM. Long day – but good.

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