Last Sunday we had a Ukrainian single guy missionary give his testimony in church about his mission trips to various places. We gave him an offering, and I gave him some money personally. But as we drove home, I felt kind of bad that no one had offered to have lunch with him. I remembered times in village life in Ukraine– they pretty much always had lunch for visitors.
So … I’m studying Homemaking and Hospitality this year.
This Sunday, we’re having a pretty well-known Ukrainian man singer come and sing. It’s good for inviting unsaved friends, as he sings great and shares his rather interesting testimony of how he came to the Lord.
And lunch? What can I do? …. So Monday, I called our elder pastor’s wife, and I asked her if I could do lunch for the visitors and her and her husband. She asked if it’s something at our home, or just there in the building after the service? So I asked her what would be better? She said she’d talk to her husband and get back with me. … She calls me back Wednesday, says her husband recommends doing it at the church building after the service. I said, OK, I can bring plov (a rice dish with meat chunks, sweet peppers, fried carrot/onion– it’s good for a group). And all the disposable cups and plates, etc. She wanted to bring the drink (kompot) and desert.
I need to get my ducks in a row today, Thursday, because all day tomorrow and Saturday, Vitaliy and I are attending a missions conference in Belaya Tserkov (a town 30-45 minutes away).
The hospitality book I’m reading suggests writing out a prayer for the event. So I will do that. And just pray as I work now thinking and planning.
So, approximately 10 people, and my list of needs:
Rice, meat, plov spice packet, peppers. (I already have plenty of carrots and onions)
Paper big plates, small plates, napkins, forks, cups, small spoons for sugar stirring in tea/coffee.
Just in case: tea bags and instant coffee packets and sugar. (Our church has tea after every service, so they might have these things already. There’s also a small tea/coffee machine in the entry of the building we rent, so we could just use that if needed.)
My plan is to make the plov in the pressure cooker– put it in Sat before bed, and just take it to church and plug it in on the warming function. Or, it just occurred to me, that I could put everything in Sunday morning, plug it in at church and let it cook during the service.
I also realized I need to make a salad and I want to take bread and mayonnaise (those are to staples for the “Ukrainian table.”) I need to add this to my shopping list. The salad I can ask Vitaliy’s mother to make while she’s babysitting our kids Saturday. And it needs to be a kind of salad that doesn’t get ruined by sitting overnight– Vitaliy wants the salad named olivye (it’s well-loved here generally).
Shew, I’m glad I’m writing all this out! I helps me think through all the details. And to see now, can I add something extra? A small gift to send with them maybe? I need to pray and think about that, too. I’ll ask Vitaliy if he has any thoughts.
And just to think about how to help them feel welcome.
Another thing I realized as I thought about this. Years ago, when I visited Ukraine, it used to bother me that the man would sit at the table to talk to me/othervisitors, and the wife would bustle around the kitchen getting stuff for us. In the American tradition, everything is set out and the husband and wife both sit to converse. But I’m starting to get, even myself, that the way I express hospitality (my love of having them with me) here in Ukraine is by moving things, keeping plates and drinks filled, letting people talk while I bustle around….. It’s the style here. Maybe because there is so little room on and around the tables in the first place, that it’s necessary to keep moving/removing…. ?
This is such an intriguing process!
Edited to add: Here is a photo of the couple and our lunch. I ended up hosting it right in the church hall with the elder pastor and his wife and another church member or two.