We had thought that the Mondiches would be coming for lunch, but they did not arrive until we were preparing to leave for a second Sabbath service at another Ukrainian congregation in nearby Rokosova. We did stay and talk for a few minutes, as Victor performed introductions. Svetlana asked whether I was Vic and Bev's daughter, which was very flattering to me. She also said that she could see that both Kassie and I were very young. This was, in fact, the second time I had been told this, the previous comment having been made by Georgena on the plane to Frankfort. It was amusing to me to be called "very young," when in the United States everyone seems to think that I look quite old for my age.
Kassie had decided to stay back at the Yurishkos' house, so the remaining three of us set out with Ivan. It was not a long drive to Rokosova, which is quite rural. Rather than driving to the church building, we drove to Ivan and Anna Pavliy's house. The Pavliys had emigrated to the United States a couple of years prior, but had then decided to come home to Ukraine. They told us that life in the United States had been very stressful, that they hadn't been able to sleep for worrying about work and money. And of course, their whole family is here in Ukraine, with children and grandchildren. They said that they did not regret returning to Ukraine, though Anna said that she missed the good roads in the US.
When we arrived at their house, we initially thought that no one was home, but then Anna came to the door. She greeted everyone, Victor and Beverly especially warmly. She told us that she had been to the morning service already, and was planning to stay home in the afternoon and nap with the children.
Her husband Ivan, it was decided, would walk with us to the church. The Sabbatarians here do not drive to church (those in Rokosova are more strict regarding this tradition than those in Khust), so the Sabbatarian churches are relatively close together, allowing people to walk to services pretty easily. The church in Rokosova does not even have a parking lot in front of it, while in Khust there were a few people who did drive. Ivan Yurishko told us later that no one would say anything if someone did drive to church, but that the custom had more to do with preventing people from just driving aimlessly on the Sabbath.
The walk through the village was peaceful and pretty, but hard on my feet, as the roads (even the paved ones) are very bad and uneven. I regretted even the sensible heel I was wearing, and tried to keep an eye out for especially egregious pot holes. After a few minutes' walk, we arrived at an unpretentious chain-link fence which surrounded a small courtyard. There were a few brethren sitting on benches within, and I couldn't tell whether they did so by tradition, waiting for others to arrive, or whether they were just enjoying the lovely day.
The pastor of this church is Victor Roman, and he and his family arrived shortly after we did. He and his wife were very sweet and welcomed us warmly before leading the way into the church building.
The inside was simply spectacular. It struck me almost as a church that had been designed for weddings and festive occasions, it was so beautiful. The walls of the sanctuary were painted a very light blue-green, with tall arched windows trimmed in white and sculptured garlands and rosettes also in white. The windows had curtains in them, but some of them appeared to have stained or colored glass.
The choir sat on the stage, facing the congregation. The attendance was somewhat small, for this was the afternoon service. The pastor also sat on the stage, at a separate desk or table. Here, no one played to accompany hymns; instead, Roman led the singing, leading with an incredibly powerful, booming voice. The acoustics of the hall were such that, while they did apparently have a sound system, it wasn't needed in the least. I was told that Ivan Pavliy had designed the church building. He did an admirable job.
We sang for special music again, and Victor accompanied. People seemed surprised and pleased to see him play piano--a talent he had not before displayed. Beverly made me sing some of the hymns myself (I teased her about this, but she really was so sweet and encouraging). Again, I loved the acoustics--I didn't even have to raise my voice, and I could tell that everyone could hear.
People did not linger after services. We walked back through the town, this time on paved roads. Most of the time I walked with Anna Roman, but we could not speak to each other; I was so sorry for that, wishing I had more vocabulary. Roman invited us in for dinner, but we had already agreed to dine with the Pavliys. After quite a bit of conversation back and forth, it was decided that we would return after dinner for tea with the Romans.
While we were outside the house, there was an old woman sitting in her gate across the street. We had been standing there for some time when she began to speak to Victor, asking whether he remembered her. She remembered him and Beverly from a previous visit, when she had been making jam in her front yard and Beverly had watched her. She told Victor that she had had a dream about him--and the dream was that she was hitting him with a stick! It was hard to know what to say about that!