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August 9, 2013    Some Days are Hard

I woke up that morning with a sore ankle. It was hard to put any weight on it. What had I done? I limped to the kitchen to fix my morning coffee. In two hours I had to leave for the office, an hour's trip by bus and subway. Today I had five interviews with prospective church members. It was always an exciting time to present the Gospel to them one by one, if they were unsure that they were going to Heaven, or if they were trusting in their own good works. Maybe this is why my ankle hurts so. Another battle of the spiritual realm!

Our car had some crucial problems. One was that it was heating up, and yesterday steam was coming out the hood when we got home. Roger had called the Chevrolet dealer but the guy who does that work is on vacation. He called a second garage nearer our village. Their guy was on vacation. Had it not been for our friend Max, who knows the owner of the second garage, we would have been car-less for two weeks. But he knew the guy and called him and convinced him to come back to work so he could help us. The car would be fixed later that day.

But that didn't help me now. I would have asked Roger to drive me to the office, but he could only make the car go to the nearest bus stop two miles away. I was grateful, however, as I stood on one foot waiting for the bus to come. When it arrived, it was already packed with people. I was barely able to get on, and ended up standing on the lower step just inside the door. We bounced along to the next stop, where one lady wanted to get off.

Now, came the dilemma:
Does this door swing inward toward the driver or toward the back of the bus?
I don't want to get smashed. Last time I remember Roger got his hand squeezed because he was sitting by the door and it swang to the back to the bus. Okay!

But I was wrong. The door swang toward the driver and caught my right foot like a vise. "Oooooooow!" I screamed in a crescendo as the door pressed harder and harder on my foot. I couldn't think what to say in Russian: "My foot is caught in the door…..release the door….. I'm caught…..Don't break my foot….." The thoughts came, but no words…. Only my scream. And no one spoke to the driver for me.

It seemed like a long time, but the door released half-way so I could take my foot out. It felt like my ankle was cut, but I couldn't look down to see. I was still squashed against the rest of the people around me. And they didn't say a thing. Not "Are you okay?" ….or "Here, Take my seat. You're hurt." They didn't even look at me. It was if it didn't happen.

Then we were in a traffic jam with road construction, and the bus was barely creeping down the road. I held onto the metal bar wondering how long I could endure. I saw a small car driving on the sidewalk, swerving around the red plastic barriers that had been placed in the center to tell drivers not to drive there. Such a lawless country is the country of Ukraine!

Finally I was able to get onto the main floor of the bus. I looked down at my foot and raised my pants leg a little. Yes, there was definitely a bruise line on my leg, but no broken flesh. Now I had two bad feet, and how was I going to walk from the bus, down the steps, under the street, into the subway station, and down the steps to the train.

At the last stop before I was to get off, two people got up and left the front two seats vacant. One person was an old woman with a basket, and the other one was a man in common clothes. As I sat down and slid to the window side, I was surrounded by the strong aroma of urine and body odor.

Then I heard a radio softly playing with an English voice. What is that? That sounds like my voice! On, my! My portable tape recorder was playing a tape of my interviews in my purse. I reached into my bag, and turned it off. I thought I was losing my mind……

Soon we were at the bus stop where most of the people exited for the Metro, what we call the subway. I let everyone go ahead of me. I didn't want to be pushed.

I was praying as I gingerly went down the steps to the underground. But I began to feel strength come to my legs. Thank you, Lord! When I got to the train, I got the last seat on the car. Another blessing. I could sit for the 25 minutes it would take to get to the center of the city. My right foot, the injured one, started to throb. "This is going to be such a great day, because I've had such a hard time to get going," I thought.

I arrived right on time to meet my five new friends at the office. What a joy to share about Jesus with them, and all came to the understanding that trusting in Jesus is the only way to Heaven, that He paid for our sins on the cross, that we can know we have eternal life when we accept his free gift of eternal life by faith, and that the Bible confirms these promises.

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Yesterday we received 17 people (15 women and 2 men) into our St. Paul's Church. Their joy was extraordinary. When they answered the questions for membership, they did so with great enthusiasm. Each member got a rose, a certificate and a Bible. We hugged each other and took pictures after the worship service.

Even though some days are difficult, I thank God for this wonderful life in Ukraine! And as for the hard days, I just tell myself, "This will make a great page in my diary!"