From Kharkov With A Diet Coke

At the Kiev airport Monday afternoonI’ve been told there is Dr Pepper here. David and Liv have both said they can find it occasionally. Until then, it’s been all Diet Coke, or “Coca-Cola Light” as it’s labeled here. That’s the one thing I can order by myself at the little shops and kiosks around town. I’ve learned how to say “thank you” and “good morning.” And I was grateful to learn today that I did not in fact pay $45 U.S. for a can of Pringles in the Kiev airport as I believed I had five minutes after I bought them on Monday.

David & Olivia in their new kitchenIt’s been a busy first full day with the Nelsons. They have a beautiful three-bedroom apartment near the Kharkov center. It’s on the sixth floor of a brand new nine story building, far above the buzzing mosquitoes but still very much in range of the howling packs of stray dogs. Like in Texas, it gets dark at around 9:00pm, but the sun really does rise at about 4:30am local time. It certainly didn’t impact me this morning. But it might tomorrow.

I started my day by walking to the underground train station with David and hooking up with the other two men in their missions team, Mike and Rob, for a weekly meeting at a Kharkov coffee joint. Mike taught me a little bit of Russian from the story about the Lakers and Celtics in the Ukrainian newspaper. And when the cigarette smoke from everybody else in the room got to be too much, we stopped, dropped, and rolled out the door to a supermarket and then back to the Nelsons for a lunch with Mike’s family and Olivia’s mom, Nancy.

C-A, Olivia, Vida, and Vida’s daughterCarrie-Anne spent her afternoon with Liv and Vida, their first landlord here in Kharkov, and Vida’s 14-year-old daughter at a coffee shop close to the apartment. And then we met with a group of Russian-speakers that are coming to the Nelsons every week to learn English. They are all so friendly, each with his or her own story and background and worldview. David and Olivia teach the language Olivia, Julia, Andrei, C-A, me, Gene & Alexander at tonight’s English class in David & Liv’s living room. We read from Genesis 1 and talked about words like “hover” and “bug” and concepts like being made in God’s image. Wow.using the Bible as their text, very much like the Let’s Start Talking groups do around the world. It was so good to meet and hug Andrei, the young man who was baptized six or seven months ago. It was also great to meet Julia and Gene, to put faces and voices with the people we’ve been praying for.

Nelsons’ Baby BoyTomorrow is mostly a sight-seeing day. But Olivia also has a three-hour doctor’s appointment tomorrow afternoon, a pretty important one that may go a long way in determining whether she’ll be able to deliver their baby boy naturally or not. Pray for her tonight and tomorrow, that all may go well.

It’s after midnight here now.  The dogs are barking outside. It must be bedtime.




  1. Debbie

    Sounds like ya’ll are having a wonderful time! Give David and Liv a big hug from us!

    Debbie M.

  2. Jesse

    What an AWESOME opportunity! I know you all will have a full schedule, but if you can, please keep the updates coming!! I’m so excited for you all to get to make this trip, and for David and Liv to get some encouragement. We’re all there with you in spirit!

  3. jason reeves

    Diet Cokes??? Coffee shops??? I thought this was Allan Stanglin’s blog?

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