Saturday, December 06, 2008

Hello From Kharkov, Ukraine!

After a splendid month in Kiev, I am heading back to home-sweet-home in Rostov-on-Don. But hey, not in toooo big of a hurry, because right smack between Kiev and Rostov is Kharkov. And that's a place I had never been and but I felt compelled to go because I have friends there. Well not friends exactly, but friends of friends. Would that be friends-to-the-2nd degree. . . or friends once-removed? Ah never mind, first you'll want to see the map:

Kharkov, they're telling me, was once the capital of Ukraine. I've got it written down somewhere when Kiev became the capital. You'll forgive me, will you not, for not running around to find the notebook in which I jotted that tidbit of oh-so-vital information. But what I can tell you is that Kharkov is the 2nd largest city in Ukraine, almost 2 million people and just a hop-skip-and-jump from the Russian border.

So at the Kharkov station dear Facebook friends Mike and Lucy (and friends of friends Tim and Rebecca in Athens) met me at the station with dear brother Volera, (friend of friend Jay from Atlanta). Got that? We'll have a quiz later. Oh, but is it wonderful to be met by friends and ushered into a new city. Even just for a few days.

Any monuments in this town? You betcha! Here's a big soldier statue and Yours Truly. The Soldier Statue is a good landmark. We've been meeting at the Soldier Statue several times in the last day or two.

Oh, let's rewind to Thursday morning and the train trip: An express train runs between Kiev and Kharkov daily. Departs 6:33 a.m. and six hours later, in Kharkov. I was busy sleeping most of the way. Here's a little glimpse of what we passed after mid-morning, after my little nap.

Looks like Ohio doesn't it? Maybe more like Texas. Surprise, it really is Ukraine, the breadbasket of the former Soviet Union.

There's a settlement up north of the tracks. Let's zoom in a little closer. It's some city a bit more than halfway between Kiev and Kharkov. You don't expect me to look up the name of that now do you? Well, okay then. I've just rummaged through my purse with my handy-dandy ever-present map of Ukraine and here it is: Poltava. Maybe not. But at least it's in the general vicinity.

Let's zoom on in for a closer look. Looks kind of like an ancient, walled city does it not? A Cossack fortress perhaps? No, but in a previous millenium, walled cities existed in this neck of the woods. Zipping right along. . .

Come Friday morning, dear Volera showed me around through downtown. In the distance is an Orthodox cathedral, Byzantine Architecture.

A demonstration was in progress at the WW2 monument. It was the Communist Party of Ukraine trying to drum up support.

The lady in this picture, I think she's busy evangelizing in a way, trying to persuade this fellow to join up. Hard to say. . . There were quite a few militia posted around making sure things stayed peaceful.

Nightfall comes early in these parts and here's Lenin up there on his pedestal. That guy gets around, I'm telling you. There are statues to Lenin absolutely all over the place. Plus his body's lying in state in Red Square at the Lenin Mausoleum. I've been there, maybe you have too. Once is enough to see his body, although worshiped by many.

There's good news: Here in Kharkov are several congregations and tomorrow I'm hoping to meet with a couple of them. The best news of all is that we serve a Risen Savior. And He's alive and well in the hearts of His followers.

So, lots more folks from Harkov to introduce to you. . . Monday morning catch the train back to Rostov to arrive there Monday evening. And it's likely that Monday evening will be the next time I'll have easy access to the internet. So until then, your friend and travel companion signing of from . . . Kharkov, Ukraine!


Charity said...

Wow, you really get around, Eileen! As always, I really enjoy all your pix - maybe you need to think about going into photo journalism. :)

I pray your time with the believers in Kharkov was a blessing and that you have safe travels today.

Rob H said...

Eileen, it was wonderful to get to know you and have you in our homes. Come see us again when you have a chance!

Eileen said...

Hey Charity, Thanks for your note and kind words about my pictures. Gotta admit, this photo-taking can get addictive. ;)(Can only imagine what I'd be like in that dept if I had little ones of my very own!) Yes, had a very nice time in Kharkov, thank you for your good wishes. Oh, and by-the-way, got a kick (in a way) out of your *smashingly good Thanksgiving* post. Oh my, oh my. . .now I understand that I'm *not alone!*

Rob, THANK YOU for your kind words. Oh it was so nice to meet and spend time with you all. Wishes and special prayers for all good things for you and team in Kharkov. And I'll always remember your kindness in supplying me with Diet Coke and ice cubes and free reign to your computer/internet access one particular afternoon. Thanks much to you and Denyce. Best wishes in Your new kvartera!

Anonymous said...

Hello dear Eileen.
My name is Andrew. I live in Kharkov, Ukraine.
Accidentally saw your blog. Was very shocked and surprised.
I have a great desire to communicate with you via email. And if you're still in Kharkov - in person at the meeting.
I have to a great request. Help me to learn English, because I really needed.
Much to my regret, language gives me very hard.
Or can you advise who to contact.
I ask you, as your ability to respond to my letter.
For me it is very important.
Advance very grateful.
With best wishes, Andrew.

Eileen said...

Hello Andrew (*Anonymous*)

Thank you for your note. I live in Rostov-on-Don, Russia and was just visiting in Kharkov. But I do have a suggestion: Look in the comments above and see the link to *RobH.* That will connect you with Rob & his family who do live in Kharkov. They're just back from a major trip to the US, but I'd recommend you get in touch with Rob and I'll bet he'll have some good ideas how to help you w/ that English. Best wishes to you in Kharkov. A neat city, isn't it?!