Before I moved to Ukraine in 2010, there were a lot of jokes about me finding some girlfriend “over there” before I came back from my planned year-long excursion here. Being a single, Christian guy, I’m used to the older-than-I-am folks making jokes about me “finding someone” (and, sometimes, they’ve offered to find one for me… haha…). Everyone seemed sure, though, that, when I went to Ukraine, I would come back with a prospect. I remember one of my friends putting it this way:
“You’re going to go over there and, in one year, you’ll come back with some [word for attractive], Russian model chick…”
Needless to say, that didn’t happen. (Thank God!… I live in Ukraine, not Russia, for one thing…) Something else, though, did happen.
I became friends with a young woman named Katya (the Ukrainian version of the name “Katie”). She’s a very nice girl from a Baptist church here in L’viv. We met at her youth group, where the Pratt boys were going with friends, and we started working together on some projects when she became a translator for my church. She still goes to her church, but she works for ours. A year came and went, and Katya and I had a blossoming friendship. After a couple of serious conversations between the two of us, it seemed like there was the possibility to do something more with it. After much prayer and my furlough to the U.S., I asked her parents if we could start dating.
The first thing that I remember drawing me towards Katya was her Bible. You should see it – it’s torn to pieces. It’s got highlighting, underlining, stuff written in the margins… She has one in English, too, and she has stuff written in it as well. Also, she doesn’t just read her Bible – she tries to live it. After that, she has a caring heart, a strong spirit, and she loves to serve. She’s hard-working, she loves her parents, and she deeply respects me. I feel like we’re on the same playing field spiritually! Which, I believe, is really important. (She’s been through multiple Biblical counseling courses and served in her church for a long time. I’ve been to Bible college and served as well.)
She’s already been a huge benefit to the church in general and me specifically in all that we do here. The best thing in our relationship – honesty and openness. We’re very true to each other, we don’t hide much, and we talk through our feelings, situations, and expectations.
This is an unexpected blessing for me… It’s funny, though, because in 2011 I prayed to have a girlfriend. A few weeks later, I told God that I was willing to wait a little longer. I didn’t expect Him to give me one the very next year.
Ladies and gentlemen, please meet Katya.