We travelled to Sevastopol and straight to McDonalds to have our lunch and coffee. Yuri, on the left leads a church in the city and Alex leads a church in Balaclava and is also our main translator from Russian to English. The Crimea is predominantly Russian speaking. Sevastopol must have at least 375,000 people and is a major resort and port on the Black Sea. The Russians have a navy base here.
After a meeting to catch up on how their churches are doing, they took us to a drug rehabilitation centre outside Sevastopol run by the church. The house is home to about 50 men and women.
One of the things some of the guys are able to undertake is car repair.
These two young ladies are the cooks, who fed the whole community. I told them that they are heroes! Because not only is it constant hard work, but this is what they were cooking everything on!
This simple wood burning stove! Yes, cooking for 50 people every day!
The guys are kept busy cutting wood for the stove, growing food, keeping pigs and ducks etc.
One of the many bedrooms. Privacy is definitely at a premium. But the centre is seeing people come to Christ regularly, and several of the young men are being used in church leadership
After this we travelled along the coast to Balaclava. This is the city that gives its name to a battle fought on 25 October 1854 during the Crimean War made famous by the charge of the Light Brigade. Balaclava helmets were knitted hoods worn here by soldiers in the bitter weather of the Crimean war. In Soviet times it was a secret submarine base, but now a marina. After a stroll, we went to a house where most of the church was gathered.
Last weekend was Easter for those in Orthodox countries like the Ukraine, a week after our Easter. The church had fasted for a few days and now on the Thursday evening were gathering to have communion and eat together.
I was asked to lead the communion when we remember that Jesus lived and died for us and rose from the dead on the third day. We prayed together for the local church, and then we had another wonderful substantial meal.
Salads are fresh,
and always accompanied with pickles.
After the meal it was time for farewells, and back to our accommodation in Sevastopol for the night.
Some of the varied Books I've read recently in no particular order....
The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni. Another one of those books I wish I could have read 20 years ago. Excellent about how to achieve organisational health.
The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware. very helpful in helping to understand Orthodox history and thinking. The Orthodox Church is the main church in Serbia and Macedonia.
Austria-Hungary and the orgins of the first world war. Helps with the historical background to the Balkans. The Powers at work then are still at work today, politically, economically. Samuel R Williamson Jr
Bradt Guide to Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia etc (excellent and sometimes the only guides avaiable for lesser known countries)
Jesus through Middle Eastern eyes. Opened my eyes to see the Gospels in a new way. Kenneth E Bailey