Privet from Russia

Welcome to the blog! If you haven’t already heard, a group from HPCUMC has journeyed to Samara, Russia in order to do mission work with our sister church, Samara United Methodist Church. This is Anna Renfro and Sarah Krott running the blog, but we are here also with Kevin Betts, Pastor Doug Johns, and Mary and Jeff Sheldon. We’re a small group, but we’re happy to make any contribution we can.

We began our adventure at the Cincinnati airport Wednesday at 1:15. We flew to JFK airport where we had a short layover before leaving for Moscow that evening. We were supposed to take off around 7pm, but an unknown bag was loaded onto the plane, which caused a delay of little over an hour. Thanks to a strong tail wind, we still made it to Moscow right on time. Not only did we get a choice of chicken or pasta for dinner, we also got a late-night sandwich and breakfast right before we landed. It’s safe to say we didn’t starve on the way over. After landing in Moscow and clearing customs, we were ready for our final flight to Samara. We had to go through security again, but Moscow’s security is a lot more relaxed and Kevin was even able to get a full water bottle through. We landed in Samara around 5pm, which would be 9am in Cincinnati. We are eight hours ahead of central time and our bodies are very confused because we only saw two hours of night before our plane found the sun again.

Everybody’s bags made it without any problems (kind of), and after leaving baggage claim we were greeted by some friendly smiles, hugs, and flowers from members of the Samara United Methodist Church. They accompanied us on our drive to the hotel, providing us with history and answers to many of our questions. A young man named Max is very fluent in English and helped translate between us and the church staff that came with him. We are currently in the hotel and don’t have plans until 10am tomorrow morning, which gives us plenty of time to relax and catch up on some much needed sleep.

Enjoy some pictures from our first day of travel:

The whole gang at the airport before departure

The whole gang at the airport before departure

A picture looking out the plane at the view of Samara

A picture looking out the plane at the view of Samara

Sarah, Anna, and Doug catch some z's on the flight to Samara

Sarah, Anna, and Doug catch some z’s on the flight to Samara