понеділок, квітня 10, 2006

so I'm turning Baptist...

So you know how I thought my saga of finding a church was over? God had other plans.

After school on Friday, I was at the post office mailing Easter cards, when a woman I didn't know came up to me and started talking. I eventually gathered that she was the mother of students at my school (the ones standing next to her were ones I don't teach, however), and then she started talking about church. I said that I'd been to the Orthodox church across from the school but that I was Protestant, and then she gave me a big hug and said that she was also Protestant, that Nelya had told her that I was religious (or Protestant, or something!), and did I want to come to her son's birthday party that evening?

Having no evening plans and being curious about the church (which I gathered was Baptist), I took her up on the offer. As it turns out, this is a family with 10 children, most if not all of whom are adopted...five of them aren't in school yet. They live in a huge house (you'd have to, with 10 kids).

It was one of the nicest evenings I've had in a long time. There were small children running all over (one of the boys is in my 2nd form), all the guests were people from the church, and we sang "How Great Thou Art," "As the Deer," and "Give Thanks" in Ukrainian. I felt very much at home--the father read part of Proverbs to the son whose birthday it was, we prayed before the meal, and they have the verse about "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" on the wall by the door, similar to how it was in my house in the US (except in Russian!). There was a sense of community that I've been blessed to have at two different churches back in the US, which made me all the more happy about it. Plus, it will be good for my language and not involve trying to get to Kharkiv, as well as getting better integrated into the community. I couldn't go to church with them yesterday, as I had prior commitments, but I plan to go next week. (Marina: "You're turning Baptist?" Baptists are looked at as sort of weird here, as are most forms of Protestantism.)


My prior commitment for yesterday was going to a town about an hour away with Nelya and her daughter Vera to an Orthodox service. (I think that Nelya thought I needed the cultural experience, Vera needed a small dose of religion, and she just likes the church.) The church was very beautiful, with murals of Bible scenes everywhere, and as always, the accapella singing in Orthodox services was beautiful. But we were there at the service for 6 hours, which is now my new record for lengthy church services. (We left Balaklia at 5am, and I had to get up at 3:45.) You have to stand for Orthodox services as well. (This will be a benefit to being Baptist, as I'm pretty sure they sit.) But it was a nice day, and I was amused by Vera, who is a typical 17-year-old girl, who, when we got on the train at 5 am, said, "There are no interesting people on the train. Now if we were going to Kharkiv..." She also corrected her mother's pronunciation of her name from "Vira" to "Vera," as the latter is the Russian variant, which she prefers. As I said, a typical 17-year-old.

The weather is gorgeous, sunny, and warm. My housing situation is once again up in the air, with several possible options. Perhaps by the next post it will be resolved? Here's hoping!


At 8:08 пп, квітня 10, 2006, Anonymous Анонім said...

Tell me how this works. How is it that you know someone so well and all you can talk about is the weather? It sounds like your conversations are going deeper than mine. Baptist, eh? -Amy

At 1:13 дп, квітня 11, 2006, Anonymous sea_of_daydreams said...

Glad you enjoyed the Baptist service you went to. :) We had our 12th grade baccalaureate at a Southern Baptist church here. Other than that, I don't think I've set foot in a Baptist church since.

My ex's dad is an Orthodox priest. I didn't go to one of their church services while my ex and his parents were here, but I think it would've been eye-opening.

I always thought that going to services of different denominations or religions would be interesting.

Glad you're enjoying your time in the Peace Corps! :) Your posts are fun to read.

At 8:24 дп, квітня 20, 2006, Blogger Jason said...

I do not remember ever attending a Baptist service. Thinking off the top of my head, I've been to these churches:

Presbyterian - in Northville, with my next-door neighbor & Christian rapper, Kevin. Also on my own, when I get tired of St. Colette's because hardly anyone there sings out.

Anglican - only once, during my July 2004 weekend in London. I went to a Saturday morning service at historic Southwark Cathedral, on the south bank of the Thames. Afterwards, I struck up a conversation with Tim, the only other young person there. Tim was an earnest, thirtyish Christian who worked for BBC Radio and lamented his peers' carefree skepticism.

Episcopal - in Chicago's northwest suburbs for Uncle Ken's spring 2002 marriage to Aunt Lisa. My aunt and uncle are still deeply in love!

Wesleyan - with Tim Brown on the Sunday before Palm Sunday, April 9th. We went to Faith Church on Lake Lansing Road (http://www.lansingfaith.org/) and heard Joel Gorveatte extol the spiritual benefits of fasting.

Last on this list, but first in my memories: Whatever Riverview is!

~Jason :)


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