Monday, November 22, 2010

Trip to Ukraine

Upon crossing the border back into Hungary, the Ukrainian border guard asked me: What were you thinking driving to Kiev with 2 little kids? I'm not quite sure what we were thinking either, but nonetheless, we had a good time - although we are all very glad to not be in the car any more!

Last summer I talked to George Markey about how we have a heart for Ukraine, and how we have started taking mission trips with our church to the region of Ukraine which borders Hungary. He suggested that we come to the pastors and leaders conference in Kiev, both so we could meet people, and so I could translate from English to Hungarian for Dankó József, the Hungarian pastor we work with in Beregovo, Ukraine (HU: Beregszász), who leads a Hungarian speaking church in that region.

We weren't sure if we were going to be able to go, because I had some assignments due for school the same week of the conference - but I was able to finish them early, and on Wednesday we packed the car up and headed for Kiev. We decided to drive through the night to Kiev, so that it would be easier on the kids. We picked up Józsi in Beregszász and hit the road at 8:30pm.

Around 4am we arrived to Zhytomyr - the town that my grandfather's family was from before they moved to Canada. I've always wanted to visit this town, and so we drove through and took some pictures:

Greek Catholic Church:

My personal favorite: Statue of Lenin in the main square.

We got into Kiev at about 6am. The conference started in the afternoon, so we had a few hours to see the city and get some coffee.
I really liked Kiev, and wish I could have had more time to look around.

More pictures here.

The conference was a great blessing; it was good to meet people and visit with some people we already knew. God is doing a good work through Calvary Chapel in Ukraine, and it seems that they have a great fellowship amongst the pastors and leaders.

After the conference we decided not to drive straight back to Eger, but to stay the night in Ternopil - about half way between Eger and Kiev - where we stayed with a missionary friend of ours, Merilyn Gibbs. On Sunday morning I got to teach in the church in Ternopil, and after church we went out to eat, then packed up our things and got back on the road to Eger.

A few quick thoughts/fact about Ukraine:
  • They sell Oreos there!
  • They sell caviar flavored chips! How cool is that!
  • Fuel is much cheaper in Ukraine than in Hungary. 95 octane benzine in Hungary is about 334 HUF/L (1.65 USD/L or $6.25/gallon). In Ukraine, the price is 191 HUF/L (0.94 USD/L or $3.56/gallon). I have a 50 liter tank in my car, which means that if I fill it in Ukraine I save 7150 ft/$35.39. That certainly helped make the trip a bit cheaper.
Here is a map of our route. According to Google, it was 2109 km (1311 mi).

View Larger Map

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