Amazing Race #1


Leaving my youth group was one of the most difficult moments (after bag-packing – my STRUGGLE #1). I saw these people almost every day the past three years. My friends came to the railway station to give me two notebooks, as they know I love writing! Tears, hugs, goodbyes and here I am in the “elektrychka” (Ukrainian train) travelling towards new adventures. I am officially out of my comfort zone.


We took a train from Lviv to Budapest. There we will meet interns serving for JV in many different countries. Our team arrived early, so we had a night walk through beautiful Budapest. Fresh wind and bright lights at the bridges, which connects two parts of the city – Buda and Pest.

One thing I was praying for this summer: for God to put me out of my comfort zone and to help me survive out there, emotionally and spiritually.


The Amazing Race has started! We were so excited to meet the “American” part of our team at the airport – Hayley, Joe and.. unknown (for us. for that time) Andrew! Andrew is a hipster. Our task for the Amazing Race was to find and save a Slovakian princess from kidnappers (Don’t worry. It was only pretend). Actually, at the end of the AR it has been found that there were several princesses – each for every team for them not to feel outcast ._.

Actually, the real goal of this “rescue mission” was team-building and challenging yourself. We were playing “giant” people-chess and running over the Budapest looking for a bronze eagle, trying not to be caught by race helpers. The streets of Budapest are narrow, there are a lot of flowers behind the windows and cobblestone roads. We also had team-money for three days and a fat envelope with questions for us to learn new things about each other. My first question was “What is the biggest fear that you have?” Just remember this, you’ll hear the answer later.

I already knew Lena from my team – she is one of the youth-leaders in “Philadephia” church, in Ternopil. Hayley stayed in my house in Rivne two years ago, when some JV-interns came to visit our town. I also saw Joe in that team.

By the way from Budapest, Hungary to Koshice, Slovakia I talked with Andrew. He was studying film and recently graduated. He takes great Instagram pictures and has a good taste in movies. Learning more about our team is one of the best parts of building relationships. And now, I can say that our team is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.

We get to the Koshice late, LATE at night and walked to our five-stars-hotel. Just in case – five stars out of the starry night, not 5 of 5 stars.

In any case we were too tired to even care about such little things. Too tired and too excited about the next day!