Can I get a stamp for that?

dsc00336.JPGMy cultural thought for the week is on communism.  I’m convinced that they purposely devised inefficient models of government and business to control the masses.  The hoops we are forced through for menial tasks leave us baffled. Many procedures are in response to the corruption and lack of Christian ethic, but this can’t answer for all of them. For example, below is a picture of the receipts from ONE trip to their large, modern home improvement store.  Don’t let the modern exterior and shiny new products you see when you first walk in fool you, you will be put through the ringer with every large purchase. It really tests the ultimate price you are willing to pay!  12 separate checkouts required resulting in another 6hr shopping extravaganza!  A special thank you to Yura from Khagalyk who saved me at least 3hrs.

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Anyway, the only explanation possible for the amount red tape, signatures, and circular procedures you face on a daily basis, is that of genius!  Mad genius.  There is a job for everyone in an inefficient model; a signer, a stamper, a security and yet another stamper.  With so many lines and procedures to accomplish anything from paying your utility bill to buying produce in the super market, people don’t have any time left in the day.  If you know it will take you all day to do 1 or 2 tasks, you literally can spend your life serving the system simply for survival.  It’s sort of like the SIM series of video games, you create a world for your characters (we like SIM Amusement Park), and then watch them function within it.  Except the goal here was to keep everyone busy, not necessarily amused.  This is obviously my own limited observation, but there remains a strong remnant of communism in this part of Eastern Ukraine.  You feel the former USSR effect the most when you are running in circles for no apparent reason.  Many foreign companies are investing here, and western influences continue to change the cultural landscape bit by bit.  The government run institutions will be the last to adapt I’m sure, the successful transition of Ukraine into a western modeled democracy is an event of great interest. 

Check out this article if you are interested in learning more about Ukraine and Russia’s interest in it – click here

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Having lunch with a CEO of a Commercial Property firm here in Kiev, his name is Oleg.  Pray for our lunch, it’s on Thursday.  We met in the line at the bank (maybe Jesus would take advantage of these lines!), and he spoke English very well.  We discussed the economy and some politics.  I talked a bit about what my business does in the states in regards to commercial property databases, he seemed interested to meet so we exhanged cards and set up a lunch date.  Actually, he said, “let’s get together for a beer”, won’t my dad be proud!  We’re meeting at a nice restaurant along the river downtown, I hope I can scrape up some business attire for the occasion, we’re still living out of a couple suitcases (4 months deb and I counted since packing our stuff in Texas).  I hope to break into some business networks, and build some relationships with people like Oleg, I believe the Lord opened this door. 

Purchased kitchen counter tops this week, although one piece was not ‘standard’ and will take a month to receive.  All major appliances are purchased and have been delivered to our house this week! Hopefully in the next 2 weeks we’ll see them installed and functional, it will be wonderful to spend a few days in Rz again.  Speaking of Rz, I have a conference call Tuesday with the Kilgore newspaper, they are going to do a story on the Sister City program, I’d better get moving on this end!!  Also met with Viktor from Lviv, our Cypress programmer (above pic) I hadn’t met yet, we had a nice time with Nadya (Andrei’s daughter) helping with translation.  We were able to share our testimony and pray together, as well as learn about Viktor’s background.  He’s a young fellow, in his 20’s, and eager to help us grow our Ukrainian office.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You: because he trusts in You.”  Isaiah 26:3

PS- picture of the boys is from a few weeks ago, they were desperate for a bathroom, this was the only thing we could find.. Brent is not quite sure!

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