Over the last couple of weeks, I have had several opportunities to talk about the trip to Ukraine, starting with the plane ride from Kiev to Amsterdam. It has been really interesting to me the types of questions people have asked about the trip, about Ukraine, etc.
The most common question I’ve been asked is, “How was the trip?” I don’t think people realize they will receive a loaded answer. I always start off with how good it was, because that’s what people actually want to hear. Then, I try to say something quick about it also being a hard trip because of the conditions we saw. Then, I try to end with something good, either about how the trip impacted those who went or about the amazing people in Ukraine who are working to improve the lives of the most vulnerable.
From there, it’s always interesting to see where the conversation leads. The conversation I had on the plane from Kiev to Amsterdam was with a man who is ethnically Ukrainian but has lived in the Netherlands for 15 or so years. He was unaware of the level of poverty in some places in Ukraine. It was a good reminder for me that people can be unaware to the suffering in their own backyard. I know this is true in the US, and I think it is just as important to educate people in our cities about the truth of how some people must live, even just a few minutes drive away. Poverty is rampant in the US, and I think its important for us to have compassion on those living in poverty, but I think it is also just as important to have grace towards those who are unaware or who do not have the same level of compassion.
One of my favorite questions was from a good friend of mine here in DC. After letting me just process through and talk about whatever came to mind about the trip (which was a true luxury), she asked, “What can the people who will never go to Ukraine do to help the people living in Ukraine?” I actually felt really blessed by this question because she thought what I said mattered, and she thought the people I met had worth. Some people just hear a good story about someplace they’ve never been and have no intention of going. Others, like my friend, can see beyond and have compassion for people they’ve never met.
One of the most interesting questions I’ve been asked was, “Was the trip well organized?” Obviously, the answer to this is a resounding yes. The reason this question is interesting to me is because I don’t know the person who asked it that well. Is she just curious about whether or not the trip was led well? Were we well prepared? Was she actually asking about our church? I really don’t know. However, I’m glad I only had good things to say about this aspect of the trip and leave a positive impression about Caleb and Ashley and our church.
That being said, if you have any questions, feel free to ask!