When we first came to Bila Tserkva, we were only greeted with stares and suspicion. Even the children avoided the strange looking American boys. So it's nice to finally feel accepted and even more than that, to feel trusted. Parents don't mind if their children are over at our place playing Uno until well after dark and the children outside will often offer to help carry our groceries for us. We regularly trade baked goods and fruits and vegetables with our neighbors. We know that because our building and the buildings around function much like bee hives, nothing we do or say goes unnoticed. It's nice to know that we have somehow managed to give the right impression.
(l. to r.) Zhenya, Olena, Vika, Joshua, Masha, Veronika, and Dasha
Today was unusually nice and sunny so Joshua decided to take advantage of it by hosting a picnic. He took down a deck of Uno cards and threw down a blanket. He barely had his picnic set up before Olena and Veronika joined him. It didn't take long before word got out and Joshua was mobbed by the neighborhood girls. (For some reason none of the boys were out today. Probably for the same reason that Dominic was camped out on the couch. TV and computer games.)
The little babusya with her bread
Dominic went downstairs to check out Joshua's picnic and he said a strange thing happened to him. He said that a little old woman (babusya) that he didn't know, gave him some money and asked him to buy her some bread from the store. She knew that he was an American so she spoke slow and was patient with him. Dominic bought the bread she wanted and gave it to her. She thanked him and waved good bye as he came back upstairs. He was so surprised that this woman, that he didn't know, trusted him enough to give him money to buy bread. It's such a blessing to know that by all of us doing our best to reflect Christ in how we live we have earned the trust and acceptance of those around us.