We are all different, yet the same

One summer in a different country changed the way our daughter sees the stars at night. During her freshman year at college, Christy and seven other students from Lee University were invited to Russia to help set up the first Christian education department at Poltava University in the Ukraine.

When she came home, she tried to give us a visual picture of how different the lives of the people were in Russia. The food was very different, she said.  The main staple was hard bread and a fatty sausage.  Large families survived in homes with only one bedroom, (two bedrooms were considered a luxury) and desert was a rare treat. The amazing thing, she told us, was the Russians were honored to bring out their most expensive and appetizing food for the American visitors.

In the six weeks she was there she walked everywhere she went.  When she came home she had holes in her tennis shoes. One of her most humbling moments was when she was asked to eat a piece of the bread that was being blessed by a priest during a service conducted in a church that was near ruins because of war bombings that occurred when the communist took over.

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A small older woman took a piece of bread to the priest to pray over for her daughter, who was very ill.  She believed that her daughter would eat the blessed bread and recover. After the priest had prayed, she turned to Christy and the other American students and asked them to eat a piece of the bread.  When they ask her why, she said that the blessing would be even greater if an American ate a piece of the bread because Americans are blessed people.

At the end of the service a 70-year-old man who had risked his life 40 years earlier by taking a golden chalice from the church when the communist took over and destroyed the church and the people’s freedom to worship, was so taken with the American visitors that he bowed to them. He had bravely hid the chalice in his home until 18 months earlier when the breakup of the Soviet Union allowed the Ukraine to become an independent country. There sitting in this church of near ruins was the beautiful golden chalice. The experience deepened our daughter’s gratitude for freedom and the opportunities we have in the United States greatly.  We could see a difference in her when she came home.

One evening when we were taking a walk and watching the stars pop out one by one, she looked up at the night sky and said, “Mom, do you realize that the people in Russia gaze at these very same stars?” I had never thought of that, but yes, they do, I said. “We think people are so different just because we come from different cultures, different homes, and different parts of the world,” she said.  But we all are blanketed under the same sky.”


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Deana Landers
Author for Morningcoffeebeans.com

Deana Landers has had many roles in life — Pastor’s Wife , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer and Motivational Speaker ... more