Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
It's my last day in Russia.
I really don't want to leave.
Yesterday i sang 2 songs in the worship service and then lead the kids stuff for the rest of the service. sang some Your Love is Strong, some Vicky Beeching (in Russian!) and some Bluetree. I think Bluetree was a hit. I then told them the parable of the farmer sowing seeds (mark 4) with their "help". We acted it out. My favorite was the seed who fell on the rock, and the birds who ate the rock. Each one of these objects was a kid, so use your imagination:)
Then we played American games and the kids taught me Russian ones. I taught them duck duck goose and ultimate frisbee. classic.
Then, we went to the lake with the church group and played epic uno battles. Russian uno has about 12 more rules than American uno and it's way more fun. I can't wait to play it with my friends when I get back. Also, Veronica and her dad gave me Russian Fairytales that i promise one day, i will be able to read.
Every day in Russia ends with the people i love so very much crammed in the kitchen drinking tea and talking. My room has a balcony, and i can see the whole city from here. I think maybe in this whole city, there is no place more wonderful than right here. I feel the gift of freedom here, the freedom to love and be loved. I know now that only God gives that kind of freedom.
There are about a million sparrows that fly by my balcony around sunset every night. I watch them and recite the "hope is a thing with feathers, that perches in the soul" poem by emily dickenson. It reminds me of the Madeline L'engle book The Arm of the Starfish. At the very end of the book one of my favorite characters remarks that "If you're going to care about the fall of the sparrow, you can't pick and chose who the sparrow is going to be. It's everybody and you're stuck with it."
Here, in Russia, in America. God cares about the fall of the sparrow. Like Him, we cannot pick and chose who is the sparrow. It is every heart, every cry, every lost and wandering body. Across nations, across time. How then, shall we live in blind safety while the sparrow falls?
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Yes, so in a country where 85 degrees is an absolutely unimaginable heat, they stay up at all hours of the night. Then it gets to the more reasonable 70 degrees in July heat.
Needless to say, it's near one in the morning.
Tonight i performed at an outreach concert for kids in the area of the church. It was absolutely amazing. I was really nervous (i think maybe more nervous than i let on!) about playing the guitar and piano and singing. But when all else failed i just sang, and i think people notice your voice more than anything. I sang desert song, lord of lords (partly in Russian) and lifeline. It was a brooke fraser concert! haha. just kidding.
I've been giving voice lessons to the worship team all day most days, as well as spending lots of time with kids at the church and building relationships with some of the teens. i lead the girl's small group and i've continued to talk to all of those girls. very sweet. There's one girl, who's name in english would be Julia, who has a wonderful voice. She's about 14 and i had alot of fun hearing her sing at the concert tonight.
Russian meals are much better than American ones. they sit and eat and talk for hours. it's wonderful. I think i shall adopt it when i come to America. and i will be back here, no doubts about that. I love this church. I think they have this understanding of community like i've only read of in the book of acts or maybe corrie ten boom. This real, true community. I wish you could've seen the highschoolers at the church talk to the other highschoolers who came to the concert. they brought them around, showed them everything, made friends and talked about God and it was.. something like I wish we could do.
Perhaps in a country that, as a whole, is so without God, those who have him shine so brightly that you can't help but notice.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I'm starting to think i can post less and less on the internet. I feel that it's very dangerous until i get back into the states. I will say, Russian's here say Americans have freedom, but it's the Russian Christians who are more free in their hearts than American ones. I am begining to realize will be very hard to come back home.
Yesterday I worked all day at the church. I taught voice, met with the kids ministry team about the kids worship service i'll do on sunday (!!) and.. dak. Did a voice recording for a video of the church for American churches, and probably millions of other things.
Today i went to Moscow. To Red Square, Christ Cathedral, Pushkin museum of art, the house of Ivan the Terrible and the church of Peter the Great. It was beautiful, amazing, but creepy. I told my friends i don't wanna see any more pagan temples. I spent all day watching old women pray to icons. Very, very beautiful icons, but icons. I think i needed to see it. It's breath taking and it helps me understand Russia. but sad.
I must go. I'll go to Church at ten tomorrow. Need some rest.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Last night Tanya and i stayed up past my bedtime talking God and politics and drinking Communist Cola. lol. It's our name for this type of cola that they make in Russia. It's not really sweet and it's made by yeast. So it looks and smeels like carbonated, non alchoholic beer. In Russia they say that American coke is bad for you and that true Russians drink this drink. (But i guess, even American's know coke isn't the healthiest thing to put in your body) The Russian Orthadox monks even develop thier own personal recipies for it! So Tanya calls it "communist cola'. We laugh, but the people of Russia are not free.
I even wonder how much I should write of the situation here until I am safely back on American ground. I'll save the words until i get to an American computer.
I can tell you that i'm getting ready to go to church. I CAN'T WAIT! I will lead worship with the kids and it's going to be amazing. There's a little girl named Mary who is 12 and reminds me of myself when i came to Russia the first time. She loves english and speaks it very well. Of course, she's one of Tanya's students. Then we will go with the church to the lake to swim. Since there's no air condition in Russia, and it's upwards of 85 degrees, lets just say that everyone is looking forward to the lake. alot.
Also, a note on Esther. I couldn't sleep this morning, on account of the fact that it was like 9 at night in America, so i read the entire book of Esther. I just can't get over what Mordicai says to Esther when she's scared. He basically says "don't think for a second that you are safe in the palace. If you don't help the jews, thier salvation will arise from someplace else, but you and your family will be killed. But Esther, perhaps you were made queen for such a time as this."
Mom says that when American's get to heaven God will ask us what we did with our freedom, with our money, with our ability to speak out against injustice.
The Tanya's of the world will get the nobel prize of heaven.
On that note, she made me breakfast!
Friday, July 16, 2010
We're going to worship team rehearsal to say hello to everyone and give them the gifts we've brought. And I think Veronica's Papa made Russian bbq. This also, is exciting. Especially after two airplane meals.
Russia smells the same as i remember. it's got that big city, people smell, but also something else. There's no way to describe it really, but as soon as we started walking to the flat i smelled it. Like something out of a dream, it has been 7 years.
I'm lucky Russian's talk with thier hands. It makes it much easier to guess.
God is good! Thank you all for your prayers. My adventure is begining!!
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
For all of you who followed my family vacation blogs at theseniorblog.blogspot.com thanks so much! I have decided to use this blog space to continue that blog, because I'm no longer a senior in highschool anymore.. I'm a freshman in college!! WAHOO!