Last night I attended my first Ukrainian birthday party. Ola, wife of Gregory, (the couple I stayed with last week) planned the party for her husband. About 16 people were there, invited friends of Gregory and Ola, some came over from the Rivne region. Some were in their wedding.
I ate “ekra” (ee-kra, long “a”) for the first time–a slice of bread and butter with salmon eggs on it. Hmmmm…it was O.K. There was food galore and my favorite of course was the mashed potatoes and baked chicken. We enjoyed the excellent meal and I could tell they were swapping stories and laughing. I also enjoyed red peppers marinated in a honey mixture. Yummy. As we ate, Ola passed around pictures of their wedding. She is a stunningly beautiful lady (as all brides are on their wedding day).
At one point Gregory got his guitar and sang some songs. He sang a popular Ukrainian folk song about a Cossack who fell in love with a blonde, a brunette and a red head. He didn’t know which to choose so he stayed unmarried. Some good people don’t marry was the “moral” of the song. Apparently it is funny because on various occasions the group erupted in laughter. He also sang a love song and it made your heart melt (even if you didn’t understand the words, which I didn’t). It was haunting.
Gregory has a wonderful redemption story. He is a neat young man. In his past (and Ola’s) were drugs, alcohol, and the “party life.” He had long-time friends who prayed for him. Ola and Gregory became Christians and Gregory now is one of the core people in the Fimiam Church worship team. They have a cute little boy named Andre.
One guest, Constantine, or Costia, took a liking to me. He claims to be a sports fanatic, a race-car driver. He rebuilt a Russian Volga and raced it. He likes soccer, too. Sadly his wife and daughter left him three months ago because she wanted nothing to do with Christianity. He jokingly asked me to bring him to A-mer-rika for he has a good friend in New York. He was with the three from the Rivne region and they want me to come to their church and do the seminar that I did at New Life Church. They also know Andre Kornychuk who is the pastor of Grace Church in Rivne. Andre is a sharp young pastor/leader I have met on many previous occasions.
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