Passionately Extreme

For over a year now I have been trying to pinpoint what it is that I love about Ukraine. People frequently ask “Why Ukraine?” when I speak of my love. Usually my answer is “I have no idea.”

However, recently while perusing various blogs and articles, I came across “For the love of Slavic culture” written by Sarah Wade, a missionary in Ukraine. She describes the Slavic world as “neither a warm nor a cold culture, but it is passionately extreme.”

Passionately extreme… I like that.  Why?

Probably because I’m that way. Maybe part of my love for Ukraine is that I don’t have a problem with there simultaneously being two polar extremes. In fact my life tends to operate in that manner.

Please don’t read this the wrong way… I am a huge advocate for bringing balance into your life. However, it is also true that for every situation there are two opposing sides. I usually see both sides too clearly, understand both sides of arguments to well and sometimes  I admit I get lost trying to reconcile the extremes.

They don’t always have to be reconciled though. The fact of life is that there is death and life, beauty and suffering, rejoicing and mourning, knowledge and mystery.

I still don’t think I have found a good way to explain it the way I see it and understand it, but for now I would say “passionately extreme” is a good description of both Ukraine and myself.



Currently I am sitting in a rocking chair, overlooking a valley full of fall colors and enjoying the cool breeze brushing against my skin.

In these north Georgia mountains it is training camp for almost 200 World Racers. The hills echo with declarations of God’s freedom, love, healing and amazing grace -the sound of a generation seeking the Kingdom of God and coming alive in the knowledge of Him.

It’s a beautiful thing.

Here are a few photos from the past few days.

All photos property of  © 2010, Stephanie Pridgen   
All Rights Reserved.

Of Tuk-Tuk Drivers and Thai Bars

If you spent only a few weeks in a city of approximately 1,328,000 people on the other side of the world, would you expect that your main transportation contact would remember your name a year and a half later?

I wouldn’t.

However, I received this e-mail from my teammate Tim Dixon who is out on the field squad leading:

I was seeing a team off Monday morning that was going to Siem Reap and heard a familiar voice call out my name, and it was Puun.  My memory is terrible and so I didn’t remember his name until after our conversation but he proceeded to name off all of you and ask where you were.  It was a complete encouragement for me because sometimes when you just spend a month in a place and move on you wonder what impact you had.  Well a tuk tuk driver we worked with in month 3 remembers our names over a year and a half later.

Honestly it made me shed a few tears.

Team Manna with Puun

It also reminded me of one of my girls in Thailand, Ae. The first night I met her in the bar I doodled while she served other customers and at the end of the evening I handed the picture to her. I don’t remember what it was, but I do remember her reaction and it was shock that she was on the receiving end of a thoughtful gesture. She had a precious, gentle nature about her but it was evident in our conversations that she felt worthless and without much hope.

Several months ago I received an email with picture attachments. Ae was smiling, joyful and surrounded by people. She is no longer working in the bar but is on staff with a Christian organization that “reaches out to women and teens working in the red-light district who are in, at-risk of, and coming out of prostitution and trafficking.”

When you travel so much and only live somewhere for a few weeks you wonder if it really made an impact. It is encouraging when you find out it did.

I encourage you to intentionally build relationships with others, even if it is only for a short season, you never know how God may use that time in their life… and yours.

A Summer in Photos: Ukraine Part 2


Babushkas on a Bench



ёжик в тумане ("Hedgehog in the Fog") monument



Vika and Nastia look like they are up to something



An acoustic afternoon



Until we meet again



Scrapbook Love



Just what I need for survival



Conversations over pizza



Sushi Happiness



A Walk in the Park



Soli Deo Honor Et Gloria


All photos property of  © Stephanie Pridgen 2010   
All Rights Reserved.

A Summer in Photos: Ukraine Part 1


On the Streets of Lviv


The Percussion Duo


To Be a Radish


Wall Flowers


Bracelet Making


Identity: The Crowd Fades Away


I will wait for you in Odessa


Pondering Stalin


Slava Ukraina (Glory to Ukraine)


Purple Maze


Conquering the Wall


All photos property of  © Stephanie Pridgen 2010   
All Rights Reserved.

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