One of the many wonderful results of working with medical students in Ukraine is that Jim becomes not just an adviser or a mentor but also a friend. And as such, Jim is often invited to special events taking place in the lives of these friends.
One such event took place on Saturday in Irpin, just outside of Kyiv. Jim and Marianna were blessed to witness the marriage ceremony of longtime friend Rostyslav Semikov and his gorgeous young bride Alla. Jim and Rostyslav have known each other for years and it was a treat to meet other people worldwide who have had an influence in his life: one young man who had been a classmate at Oxford (Jim helped with the application for Rosty and also wrote a letter of recommendation for him to study there), a delightful family from Louisiana who had hosted Rosty as part of a student abroad program (we loved opening OUR home to them here for their first nights in Kyiv), colleagues, and former medical school classmates as well as students that Rosty has impacted along the way.
Weddings are at least all-day events in Ukraine — sometimes 3-day events, particularly in villages — so we had time to renew friendships with other guests and also meet some wonderful new people. We especially enjoyed one of the bride’s American friends who is now leaving in South Korea with her pilot husband.
Yes, this was truly an international event (guests from Ukraine, Russia, America, Korea, Australia, Nigeria, Ghana, England), and a day many will remember for years and years to come. Not just because it was one of the hottest days of the summer but because it marks the beginning of a new family who has claimed God and His work to be central in all they do.