Edna cleaning pickling cucumbers
Today our neighbor Olya came over to help Edna can some pickles. We've been anticipating this day ever since Olya gave us a jar of her pickles during the winter. Aside from canning, it was a good opportunity for fellowship and ministry. While Edna and Olya were in the kitchen, I was helping to entertain her granddaughter, Alyona. We made a bracelet together and learned to sing a simple Ukrainian song about God's Love. Olya said she was touched by the words of the song because they were so rich in meaning.
Edna working under the watchful eye of Olya
Food seems to be the center of life in Ukraine so it's no surprise that food is a great ministry tool and the kitchen seems to be where most of our ministry takes place. (Yes, God can also be glorified by canning pickles.) Last Friday, we had Olya over for dinner and we were able to sit around the table and learn more about Olya's life. Olya grew up in Bila Tserkva and lived in a house that was only a short walk from where she now lives. She shared with us about how things use to be and the difficulties of living life in Ukraine.
Olya was surprised that we had never canned before. She was shocked to hear that not everyone cans in the United States. She told us that we should can as much of everything as we can while it's in season. She said that if we work hard now, we can sit back and rest during the winter while we eat our canned foods. (Not exactly the first thought that comes to mind for most Americans when they think about getting through the winter.) It's also a lot cheaper and tastier to can your own fruits and vegetables. That's what most Ukrainians do and it makes perfect sense so we're going to try and can everything we can for the next month. Olya has offered to let us use some of her storage space for all of the food we can. We are grateful for all of her help and her friendship. Edna is looking forward to many more hours with Olya in the kitchen.
Edna with the finished product