Tuesday, March 24, 2009

THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Hi Everyone,
We arrived home safely around 6:30 tonite. You have no idea how good it is to be back in the good old USA... When we got to the airport and went to baggage we looked up and there were Rilla with her pig tails flying and Liddy with the cutest purple hat turned sideways running down the hall with their little arms up screaming "Grandma, Grandpa" Oh it did our hearts good. And then of course Jen and Adrian were there. We really missed them all. When we got home the older kids had lit candles, put a tray on our bed with flowers and candy and a note saying welcome home. Some dear friends went together and bought us huge bouqets of flowers so my house is full of blooms. It is just plain good to be home.
Our flights were great. United airline has been great to work with and the service was excellent and we even had leg room for which we are thanking God.
Last night we had to spend the night in Munich and had made reservations through Discount Hotels for the Kempinski hotel at the airport. Wow if you are ever in Munich make sure you spend the night there. It is a 5 star hotel and was very comfortable and the service was incredible. When we got to our room they had mood lighting on and a welcome message for us on the tv screen. We were supplied with Robes and slippers for use during our stay and so after a nice dinner we went down to the spa/pool and took a swim and sat in the whirlpool for an hour and just relaxed. It was good to rest after 2 intensive weeks of ministry.
So that was our past few days. Hopefully the pictures will be up soon. We have to coordinate with Jen to do that. Please give us a call and catch up on your news now that we are home. Just let us sleep in tomorrow until at least 10. Thanks. :>)
God Bless You all,
Love, Wayne and Sherry

Ukraine Musings

Well it is our final hours here and I am waxing nostalgic. This always happens. The past week has been wonderful as you have already read. The people in this country are very dear to our hearts. It is obvious to us that God has put this love in our hearts. The people are warm as a general rule and very guarded which is baggage from the past under dictatorship. It is seen in the homes, in the ways the pastors use authority and the way people pretend all is well when in fact it is not. God is doing a deep work in the hearts of the people here and we are honored to play a small part in what he is doing.
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The thing we see that stands out to us the most in the churches here is the passion for souls. The people are always looking for ways to reach others and they work tirelessly to accomplish that. They pray for hours with passion crying out to God for their loved ones and neighbors. The churches start orphanages, adoption programs and rehab centers no matter how small the church happens to be. They even have soup kitchens in most, even the small village churches. The poverty in this country is overwhelming at times.
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Yesterday, Wayne preached at Pastor Oleg's church. The congregation numbers around 80 with the kids and is located in a small village where drug lords lived and operated until around 7 yrs ago when Oleg began the church. The church is located in a former drug lords house. It is a beautiful building and pictures will be posted next week. Wayne preached on choices and how they affect relationships and eternity. Eight people came forward in response to the message and we were blessed to pray with them. Afterwards we spent the afternoon with Oleg and his wife Svytlana in their home which happens to be the back room of the church. We laughed a lot and talked non stop getting to know them. Oleg is the pastor who arranged for us to come here after attending our parenting seminar in Uzghorod.
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Ebi picked us up at 6 for dinner at his home. Natasha made home made pizza in honor of us leaving since she remembered it was Wayne's favorite food. We had a wonderful evening of fellowship with them and looked at lots of pictures. Ebi is a very funny man so we laughed a lot.
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By 10 we were back in our temporary home so we could pack and get ready to leave this morning. The sun is shining today and the weather is mild so it should be a good travel day.
Please keep these people in prayer and also pray for our travel. Leg room for Wayne and also sleep on the plane so we arrive home refreshed and able to enjoy those precious grandchildren who will be waiting at the airport.
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Thanks again to all of you for praying, giving and supporting us emotionally as we go. Only heaven will reveal your reward but meanwhile know that you have been a very real part of this trip. The Ukrainian church sends greetings to you all.
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Love and Blessings,
Wayne and Sherry

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bittersweet Endings

As always, the last day of any seminar is the best and the worst. The best in that we had the week to build relationships and pour our lives into these people. The worst in that we have to say good bye.
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The people were like sponges all week. We spent alot of time answering questions for the pastors on personal issues in their lives and their children's lives. When we asked for evaluations of the week the response was very positive and we have been given an open invitation to return. One pastor stood up and said, "To my shame, these truths were in my head but they had never gotten into my heart. They are in my heart now. You helped us learn how to apply them not just know them." This was a common response with all the pastors and their wives. Many of them put on a face where people would never know they have marriage problems. But the theme that kept coming up was that many of them suffer from poor relationships with their spouses, never having dealt with the issues because they had no one to talk with.
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Throughout the week we assigned homework that tied in with the teachings of the day. The homework was to help them apply the truth they had heard that day. We did marriage checkups, which exposed many weak areas in each of their lives. It was a spring board for conversation between them throughout the week. One of the most rewarding assignments was that they were to write love letters to each other. The testimonies that came out of that were incredible as husbands and wives cried and said how they had forgotten how special their spouse was and this reminded them. Several of the pastors came without their wives because they were students of the seminary and this was a required class. It was fun to watch them take out their cell phones and call after each session to share with their wives what they were learning and then also to do their homework assignment over the telephone.
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Each evening at dinner the students that were here staying with us were teaching us Russian words in an attempt to communicate with us. (Our translator was not there in the evenings.) It is amazing how much you can understand through charades and drawing pictures on the table! We laughed alot.
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Ebi and his wife Natasha have become very dear to us this week as we shared many hours of fellowship together. Tomorrow we will relax and have dinner with them and a free day - praise the Lord! On Sunday we will spend the day with Oleg and Svetlana at their home. Wayne will also be preaching at their church Sunday morning.
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We have made many new friends this week and it has been a joy to get to know our brothers and sisters in this part of the world. They all send their greetings to you in the States and say thank you for allowing us to come. Pray for us as we leave on Monday and return home. We will post pictures by the end of next week, Lord willing.
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God bless and we love you,
Wayne and Sherry

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday

This past week has been wonderful. The pastors and their wives have started to open up with us and they have been doing the homework we have assigned which is revealing things in their marriages that have needed work. One couple said they are having a new honeymoon. PTL! We started the parenting seminar today and will finish it up tomorrow. On Saturday we will go with Oleg to visit area sights. It is important to him for us to see his city. Then Sunday we preach at his church and spend the day fellowshipping with he and his family.
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Please continue to pray for God to reveal truth to us and that the hearts stay pliable. He is good all the time.
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The internet keeps shutting down so we may not get to update again before our return. We do have lots of pictures though and will post them hopefully by Friday of next week.
God Bless You, Wayne and Sherry

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday

Praise the Lord! Today is wonderful. We are on the web, the sun is shining and the class is going well. The Lord is touching the hearts of the pastors and wives and they are opening up with the struggles that they are having in their marriages.
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Please continue to pray along these lines. Ruslin is doing much better today, although I think it is just his style that we are seeing.
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Not much else to share, hopefully I will be able to update again tomorrow. God is good for sure. We love you, Pastor Wayne and Sherry

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday Update

Hi everybody! We are finally getting a chance to update our blog. Sorry it has taken so long. We are not able to get on the internet due to connection problems, so I am dictating to Jen.
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We arrived safely and well rested. Oleg and Ebbi picked us up at the airport. Ebbie talked non stop all the way back. It was so nice to get to know him! He and his wife Natasha welcomed us at their home for a wonderful dinner and we visited with them until about 9:00 p.m.
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We arrived at the church and our room. We discovered we have a wonderfully HUGE bathroom with a large bathtub. And praise the Lord! Plenty of hot water and water pressure! Thank you to all who prayed for these things, keep it up!
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Saturday we rested until about 1:00. We had lunch at Ebbie's home and met our translator Ruslin and his wife Anya. At 4:30 we ministered to the young couples at the church. Believe it or not, it lasted from 4:30 until 8:30 p.m. They meet quarterly for a dinner and conversation around tables. There were about 20 couples.

Sunday was wonderful! Wayne preached at the Good News Church on Choices and three people came to faith in Christ. We are rejoicing with the angels! We spent the afternoon at Ebbie's home and visited with he and his wife. It was fun for them to fellowship with people outside of the church. We felt an immediate connection with Ebbie. It is as though we have known him for years and it is very easy and comfortable to fellowship with him. At 5:00 Pastor Oleg and his wife picked us up and took us to their village. We ate ANOTHER meal and spent good quality time with him. He attended a previous parenting conference that we did in Uzhgrod last July. It was nice to reconnect with him.

Today was the fist day of our marriage seminar. There are about 35 pastors and wives as well as seminary students in attendance. We covered the basics with them today. We would like specific prayer that the Lord would touch their hearts during the classes and that they would not simply gather more information, but that it would be life changing for them all. We would also like specific prayer for our translator Ruslin. He is a wonderful young man who loves the Lord, but it seems that he is extremely tired and having difficulty grasping some of the concepts for translation. We want the Lord to bring a chemistry between us so there is a real flow in the teaching. Please continue to pray in this manner for the rest of the week. We will be teaching daily and he will be translating for us.

Thank you for your emails. Although we have not been able to get online yet this week, we know that when we do we will be encouraged at just the right moment by your words to us. special thank you to Pastor Bill and Andrew for the fine job you are doing holding down the fort while we are gone. We do have spies among you. Ha Ha!!! You are a tremendous blessing to us.

Wayne's back is doing much, much better, praise to the Lord! Would all of you please give Mrs. Bath a call and tell her hello?

Love to all at CCF. We love each one of you and miss you and can not wait to return home.
Pastor Wayne and Sherry

Friday, March 13, 2009

Reflections on Romania

This past week has been wonderful. The people of Romania are wonderful warm people and we found that wherever we went we were welcomed. We had fun going into a coffee shop by ourselves one night and trying to order with someone who could not speak English . We all laughed as we did charades and figured out what we wanted. The Romanians are of Latin origin and are fun loving people.
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The church here has grown alot in the 6 months since we were here last. The recent events with the marriage of the leader falling apart has really caused the married couples to take stock of their own relationships and want to strengthen them. continue to pray for this man to come to repentance and stay with his wife. It would give God such glory.
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This was a most productive visit. Each couple we met with thanked us for coming and kept saying how important our ministry is because in this part of the world they do not have counselors to help them. We look at our ministry as a mentoring ministry. Our primary target group is pastors and their wives. If the pastor's families are strong, they can teach the church what they need to know.
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We love coming here and spending time with Pastor Mihai and Eliza, who are in their 30's. They are like sponges wanting to soak up all they can to learn and minister more effectively to their congregation. We always spend time with them and also Gaby and Adina. We have known Gaby since he first married Adina and they are very dear to our hearts. They have grown so much in their own relationship and we know God will use them in the area of marriage ministry in the future.
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Nicu and Claudia have had their first baby since we were here in July. That has brought new challenges to them but they are doing well. Last night we met with a wonderful young couple who are in a difficult place since he cannot find work and they are having to live with her mom. Can you imagine how hard that is for this man who wants to provide for his own little family? Please pray for Ovidu to find work soon.
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Mihai wants us to come and do another seminar sometime in the near future since they are going to have 10 new married couples before January. Please pray for this church that God would bless them with godly marriages to affect the culture here.
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We are sitting in the airport in Munich waiting for our flight to Ukraine. We will meet tonite with the pastor of the church where we will be staying. His name is Ebi pronounced ABE. Tomorrow we meet our translator, Ruslin. Please pray that we have an immediate connection with him. It is so important to have a good relationship with the translators since they are responsible to share our hearts to the people. Pray for us to get a good night's rest and to be fresh tomorrow.
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God is good. We will write again as soon as we can, if you feel prompted to pray please do so and write and tell us when and what you prayed. It is fun to hear all the God appointed prayers which always hit the mark. Wayne's back is some better today but still sore. Thanks again.
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We miss you all.
Wayne and Sherry

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday Evening

Hi Everyone,
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We are finished here in Romania and had a timely and productive time. We are still praying for the couple who had separated, please pray that the husband comes to full repentance. We have counseled every 2 hours this past week and are emotionally drained. Please pray that tomorrow as we travel that the Lord will refresh us. The couples here in Romania are young and have been really shaken up by the couple who look like they are headed for divorce. They were very receptive to our ministry and we heard from almost every one of them that they don't want the same thing to happen to them. So we spent lots of time helping them put up hedges to protect and strengthen their marriages.
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We leave here tomorrow at 7 a.m. and will be in the Ukraine by dinner time. We hope to have daily internet access there so hopefully the updates will be a little more informative. Wayne's back is still hurting so please keep praying. Also for those of you who do not know our dear friend Joe Propri has had a stroke over the weekend. Please keep him and Debbie in prayer and believe for a full recovery.
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God Bless You all. Much love, Wayne and Sherry

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday Morning

Our ministry Monday evening was well attended. This time we had over 12 couples who came and we taught on factors that destroy marriage and things that build marriage. It opened up lots of questions which led ot more teaching opportunity and then we set up appts. for the couples who wanted to meet with us. We ended up with non stop apts through Thursday scheduled every 2 hours.

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We are very encourged that the couple who had seperated are coming to us for counseling each morning for 2 hours. Please pray for them that they are able to do what is necessary to reconcile and save their marriage.

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We will leaave here on Friday and head to the Ukraine. Please pray for us as we travel since Friday will be a very long day with plane as well as car travel. We will begin ministry on Saturday.

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We miss everyone and have so enjoyed receiving your messages and covet your prayers. I

will try to update again in a few days.

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Blessings to all, Wayne and Sherry

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday evening

Mom and Dad called home this afternoon to check in. All is going well. They were able to meet with some people this afternoon and minister to them. They will be counseling every two hours Tuesday and Wednesday, leaving around midnight to catch a plane to their next destination. Please pray for wisdom, stamina, and health. Marriage counseling can be quite intense and draining.
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Jen

Monday

Hi everyone, we made it here fine. The extra leg room on the flight was a real big blessings so we both were able to sleep. Today is Monday and we started ministering already at 10 today. We are meeting with couples and want prayer especially for the young couple who have been seperated. We met with the wife this morning and the husband is willing to meet with us tomorrow. Please pray that he will be open and that we can help them reconcile. Tonite we are teaching at 7 Romanian time and will meeting with the couples then starting tomorrow we will meet one on one with those who want to talk. Hopefully we can give you a full report tomorrow. Blessings, Wayne and Sherry

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday

Pastor and Sherry arrived safely this morning.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Latest prayer need

HI,
Well it is Thursday evening and the bags are packed the notes are done and now we will just do last minute things and enjoy our family.
Two prayer needs that have come up.
1. The airlines have informed us that since we have a layover in Romania, that when we reboard the plane in Bucharest and fly to Donetsk that the luggage allowance changes from 2- 50#bags each to 1-44# bag each. The cost for the additional weight is 10 Euros per kilo. which is around $13. for every 2 1/2 #. We should be ok but it would be nice not to have to pay. Thankfully we are traveling light and have only one bag each.
2. The brothers in Slavynsk have written and said to pray that the apt. we will be staying in on the 3rd floor will have enough water pressure to supply us with water. Now that is Eastern Europe for you. :>) So please pray that the pressure is good enough for us to shower and flush the toilet. The alternative does not sound good. On this one we will be sure to keep you posted. Such fun, don't you want to come with us? It is not unusual for the water to be turned off or that there is no hot water. We are so spoiled...brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
We would love for you to leave comments when you visit the blog so we know who has visited. Thanks again. Blessings, W and S

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Itinerary

Well the day is almost here and we are busy finishing up last minute details so we can leave knowing we did all that needed to be done. Please continue to pray for our family and our church. Our mothers are both older and we are always concerned leaving them.
Here is our itinerary as of the moment.
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Leave Cleveland on Saturday March 7 at 2:25 arrive in Bucharest on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. there time. We will be picked up by our friends, Gaby and Adina and they will take us to Tirgoviste to our hotel. Pastor Mihai and Eliza will meet with us there after their church service.
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March 9 we will begin ministry in Romania with a leaders/wives meeting and then meet with any couples from the church for a time of teaching and question and answers session.
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March 10-11-12 we will be meeting one on one with different couples and ministering in whatever way the Lord shows us. We will also be working in time to fellowship with our friends there and are really looking forward to that.
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March 13 at 7:00 a.m. we will be flying out of Bucharest Romania. That means we have to be at the airport by 5 a.m. which means we have to leave Tirgoviste at 3 a.m. to get there. This will be a long day and we will need much prayer. We arrive in Donetsk at 3:10 p.m. and will be met by Ebi and will have a 2 hour car ride to get to Slavynsk and then he will take us to dinner at his home. Pray that we will not have jet lag and will be able to sleep on the plane trips.
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March 14 we will meet with our translator Ruslin to get to know him and then we will have lunch with one of the pastors and that evening we will have a time of ministry with the young couples of the church. The church is named Good News Church.
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March 15 Wayne will be preaching at the Good News Church and that is all we know at this point about the Sunday ministry.
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March 16- 18 th at 12 p.m. our Marriage Seminar/Seminary Class begins at 9 and goes until 4 each day. We have been asked to be available after classes to minister to individuals or couples.
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March 18th after lunch until March 20 we will teach our Parenting Seminar/Seminary Class using the same schedule as to time.
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March 21st we assume will be a free day
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Sunday March 22nd Wayne will be preaching at Pastor Olegs church.
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March 23 we leave to come home. Our plane leaves Donetsk at 11:15 a.m. which means another early morning of travel by car so we can arrive at the airport by 9. We will have an overnight layover in Munich and then will leave there on March 24 at 10:25 a.m. and fly home.
We covet your prayers while we are gone and will update the blog every opportunity we get so you can see what the Lord is doing.
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CCF remember that we are representing you as a congregation as well as our Lord so you will get to share in whatever fruit there is from these missions. Thank you for allowing us to go and do this. We love you all for it more than you can ever know.

Article of Interest on Ukraine

(KIEV, Ukraine — Steel and chemical factories, once the muscle of Ukraine’s economy, are dismissing thousands of workers. Cities have had days without heat or water because they cannot pay their bills, and Kiev’s subway service is being threatened. Lines are sprouting at banks, the currency is wilting and even a government default seems possible.


In Independence Square in Kiev, protesters have set up a tent city to demand the government’s resignation. Signs read, “Everyone out.”

Truck drivers threatened last week to block roads.


Ukraine, once considered a worldwide symbol of an emerging, free-market democracy that had cast off authoritarianism, is teetering. And its predicament poses a real threat for other European economies and former Soviet republics.

The sudden, violent protests that have erupted elsewhere in Eastern Europe seem imminent here now, too. Across Kiev last week, people spoke of rising anger about the crisis and resentment toward a government that they said was more preoccupied with squabbling than with rallying the country.

The sign held by Vasily Kirilyuk, an unemployed plumber camped out with other antigovernment demonstrators here in the past week, summed up the pervasive frustration: “Get rid of them all,” it said.
Mr. Kirilyuk did not hesitate to take that further. “There will be a revolt,” he said. “And people will come because they are just fed up.”
Mr. Kirilyuk, 29, was standing in the same central square where throngs in 2004 carried out the Orange Revolution, a seminal event that brought to power a pro-Western government in Ukraine. He said he was a fervent supporter then of the protesters, but now he and a few dozen others who have set up tents here are demanding that the heroes of that revolution step down.

It is not hard to understand why world leaders are increasingly worried about the discontent and the financial crisis in Ukraine, which has 46 million people and a highly strategic location. A small country like Latvia or Iceland is one thing, but a collapse in Ukraine could wreck what little investor confidence is left in Eastern Europe, whose formerly robust economies are being badly strained.

It could also cause neighboring Russia, which has close ethnic and linguistic ties to eastern and southern Ukraine, to try to inject itself into the country’s affairs. What is more, the Kremlin would be able to hold up Ukraine as an example of what happens when former Soviet republics follow a Western model of free-market democracy.

“Ukraine is a linchpin for stability in Europe,” said Olexiy Haran, a professor of comparative politics at Kiev Mohyla University. “It is a key player between the expanding European Union and Russia. To use an alarmist scenario, you could imagine a situation in Ukraine that Russia tried to exploit in order to dominate Ukraine. That would make for a very explosive situation on the border of the European Union.”
That Ukraine can cause problems for Europe was highlighted in January when Ukraine engaged in a dispute with Russia over how much it would pay Russia for natural gas, as well as over gas transport to the rest of Europe. The Kremlin shut off the gas for several days, and some European countries went without heat. The Kremlin also shut off gas to Ukraine in 2006 in a pricing dispute.

While Ukraine’s economy is dependent on exports of steel and chemicals, which have plummeted, the crisis has cut deeply because people are disillusioned with the government.
President Viktor A. Yushchenko, a leader of the Orange Revolution, who garnered attention around the world in 2004 when his face was scarred in a poisoning episode, is so widely scorned that a recent poll found that 57 percent of people wanted him to resign.
His rivals have also lost popularity, as the public has become exasperated by years of political bickering. In February, the International Monetary Fund refused to release the next installment of a $16.4 billion rescue loan to Ukraine because the government would not adhere to an earlier agreement to pare its budget.

Around the same time, Ukraine’s finance minister resigned, saying that the job had been “hostage to politics.”

On Friday, the monetary fund projected that Ukraine’s economy would shrink by 6 percent this year, and said that it was continuing to work with the government to find a way to disburse the rest of the rescue loan.
A presidential election is coming, probably to be held next January, and this prospect is making politicians, especially Prime Minister Yulia V. Tymoshenko, reluctant to adopt an austerity program that might alienate voters.

Mr. Yushchenko and Ms. Tymoshenko were pro-Western allies during the Orange Revolution, but have bitterly feuded since then, and he fired her once. A third rival, Viktor F. Yanukovich, a former prime minister who heads an opposition party that favors closer ties with Russia, also wants to be president.
On Friday, Mr. Yushchenko and Ms. Tymoshenko held a public meeting in an effort to demonstrate that they were working together. Mr. Yushchenko said he wanted “to show the readiness of all sides to take political responsibility for decisions which today are not easy.”
Even so, the two did not announce further anticrisis measures.
All over Kiev have been signs that tensions are building.
On the city’s outskirts, more than 200 tractor-trailer rigs were parked Thursday, their drivers threatening to block roads if the government did not help them with their debts, which they said were caused in part by the drop in the value of Ukraine’s currency, the hryvnia.
The truckers dispersed Friday, only after the government said it would try to address their demands, but they said they would be back soon if they were ignored.
“The government is to blame for all this,” said a trucker, Viktor V. Zarichnyuk, 26, who had been at the protest for 12 days. “We want the government and the national bank to agree that the money allocated by the International Monetary Fund, at least part of it, should go to regular people.”
At a branch of the Rodovid Bank across town, a tense crowd gathered Friday morning. The bank, close to failing, was allowing withdrawals of only $35 a day. And so people, some of them pensioners fearful for their life savings, have been trooping each day, ever more aggravated, to try to get what they can.
“Every day we come here — it’s insulting — in the cold and line up,” said Alevtina A. Antonyuk, 58, an engineer. “They are nothing at this bank but a bunch of thieves.”
Who is to blame, she was asked. Before she could answer, Dmitri I. Havrilkiv, 78, a retired crane operator, interrupted.
“The government has to be replaced,” he shouted. “They just can’t handle it!”
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