Sunday, February 5, 2012

Belarus - Activities

This is my second blog post from my Belarus trip - the highlights of what I did there.  The first one was about the travel.  There are more blog posts to come.  I was blessed to learn so much about my friend's country and the history of the area as well as to meet so many people who are part of his life.

When my train arrived in Minsk on Friday about 8:30 AM, my friend was waiting for me, as was winter weather.  It was still dark, there was little snow on the ground, but it was below freezing and windy.  As the day went by, it got colder and there was more snow.

We went to McDonald's for breakfast and then to his sister-in-law's apartment in Minsk.  There we rested a little and I was able to take a shower.  After the last-minute completion of our registration the day before, I was still amazed to even be in Belarus!

Then it was time to do some walking in the city.  Minsk is a beautiful city, even in the winter.

We walked and visited a small Christian printing operation where four ladies were working.  It was nice to meet and visit with them and, of course, we had to have a cup of tea.

Coca-Cola is everywhere!

For lunch, we ate pizza and enjoyed the warmth of the restaurant.  We walked a lot.  I did not realize how far we were walking at the time, until we took a long trolley bus ride back.  By evening, there were several inches of snow.  We went to a church where my friend spoke at the youth service.  Afterwards, we drove through the snowy roads to my friend's apartment in the town where my friend lives.

Saturday we had a couple more inches of snow and that evening was a missions supper at church. I shared with them why America needs prayer and then we prayed for America.  The American supper was chicken tetrazzini, fried egg, half sandwich with meat, salad with bok choy cabbage, and a dessert.  It was fun joining with my brothers and sisters for this special event.

Here was the sign - in English

Tee pee with a "fire"
Sunday was church in the morning.  I brought greetings from the church in America and Ukraine, then sang for them.  It was great to be in their morning service and getting to know some of the people there.  In the evening, we went ice skating and then out for pizza.  I had not been skating for more than 20 years, so I was very pleased that I did not fall.  I took it slow, too!!

Part of the group of friends that went out for pizza after skating
Monday we went site seeing in Minsk again.  It snowed almost the whole time we were out.  We went to the hockey stadium to try to buy tickets for Tuesday night, but they were all sold out.  (They lost the game in OT anyway.)

Winter arrived!

This was a Ford F350 truck we saw near the hockey arena
- a very rare sight in this part of the world!

Tuesday we drove to see a castle and a palace - both from the 16th century.  It was about 10 F and there was both sun and fog that day, but we had a great time looking at some sites.

Picture of the sun in the fog

Some fog over a frozen lake with barely visible land across the way

Wednesday and Thursday we stayed home and I got some studying done.  We talked about going to Minsk on Thursday, but decided that it would be best to stay home because of the snow and wind.

On Friday, the church went to an elementary school.  First, they had a clown entertain the kids and second, they shared about Christmas.  They were able to share very openly the Christmas story.  One person shared a short sermon about Christmas, another one sang a song, and then there was a skit of the Christmas story - with Mary, Joseph, the Angel, shepherds, and wise men.

After lunch, we headed to Minsk so I could do some souvenir shopping, which meant doing more walking.  It snowed most of the day on Friday, but that did not slow us down.

Sign we saw when I was souvenir shopping - Salt and Pepper Cafe
We planned to have pizza for supper, but the place was too busy. Instead, we went to McDonald's.  Then it was time to head to the train station for the trip home.  It had been a great week, but I missed my family and it would be good to get home.

Stay tuned for more posts and pictures from my trip.

I had a great time of fellowship.  Not only was I blessed by my friend, his family, and the people I met there, but I also had the opportunity to encourage and bless them in return.

How about you?  Do you appreciate the special times in your life?  Do you both give and receive a blessing during those times?

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