After we got back from our trip in South Africa, we all got together to celebrate Christmas as a team. We were especially excited to give all the pressies we got for our teammates in South Africa. Since they couldn't see all the animals with us, we brought them back wooden sculptures! We had a great time exchanging gifts with everyone. We also shared some soup that Denyce had prepared along with buckeye balls and peanut butter pie... yumm! It was a great time together. Although we were celebrating Christmas "late," Ukrainians would have considered it early. That's right, Ukraine sees December 25th as just another ordinary day. Their Christmas decorations are just going up around that time because they celebrate New Years, then Orthodox Christmas on January 7th. Hopefully the longer we're here, the more we'll learn about their Christmas traditions! Here are a few pictures from the main square (which is just a couple blocks from our house). There are lights everywhere, a huge Christmas tree, ice sculptures, and ice slides! They certainly went above and beyond to make their square festive for the holidays!
New Years Eve and David's Birthday
On the day we moved into our new place, we had everyone over for a New Years Eve/David's birthday meal and celebration. Our whole team and our two friends, Vetali and Galina came over to celebrate with us. We all ate pizza together, shared some birthday chocolate cheesecake and David opened his presents. He got some nice gifts, including this angel from Galina and Vetali. The angel is our first Ukrainian gift, so it will always be very special to us! Vetali and Galina and the McDougles had to leave before midnight, but the Hindmans stayed and we watched the fireworks together on our balcony at midnight. Our balcony is not heated, so we all were bundled up in our coats and shoes... it was cold! (See pictures) Fireworks went off for the rest of the night as everyone was celebrating around town. New Years is really Ukraine's big holiday of the year. The next day Kharkov was a ghost town. Almost all the shops were closed for New Years Day and the few people who were out were in the square celebrating and enjoying the holiday as families.Visit from Brandon and Katie Price
Our friends from Lubbock, Brandon and Katie Price, came to see our team over the holidays. We spent quite a bit of time with them while they were here, soaking up every minute we could with them. They were able to stay at our new place for a few days which was heaps of fun. Brandon and Katie have worked here in Ukraine in the past and hope to come back to do mission work here in the future. Right now they are currently living in Lubbock, Texas, working with the AIM program and an after-school outreach program at Central Church of Christ. We really enjoyed hearing their dreams for this country and are excited to see how God will use them to spread His Good News here in Ukraine. Please keep them in your prayers as they will be making decisions over this next year about their future and possible work here in Ukraine.