Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Home again

I just woke up from my first night sleeping in my own bed. Americans are so loud! ha. it's funny. and they give hugs alot.
Oh Russia.
This blog is because I want to leave you, my readers, with the last thoughts on my adventure. I told my friend Nate last night that I wasn't "changed" in a way that some people come back from trips or some experience and claim they'll never be the same again, they're going to change every detail of their life, etc. But now, I feel more... more Mallory than i've ever felt before. I feel more like my true self. More like the person I always was, but sometimes didn't act like. When everyone sins they lose part of their truer nature. The closer we are to God not only will we begin to look like Him, but we will begin to look more and more different from everyone else. Beauty and life and love can only produce originality. Not a new me, but the original me.
I'm very excited for this new chapter in my life. For college, for moving out into the world. To study music, theatre, dance. To become excellent in the things I love. And then when i come to Russia i will have more to give. My friends in Russia.. how i love them! I think that's the hardest part now. But it's not waiting. It's not goodbye. This is foreward motion. I will work now, I will learn now, I feel ready.

Also, I'd like to do a 24 hour theatre with kids ages 13-18 to raise money for the Christian School at the church. Sometime next week. It's a whole play in 24 hours. Cost would be $15 a person to be in it and $5 at the door to come see the performance. Does anyone want to help?

Thanks for reading along,

Monday, July 26, 2010

Last day (the Sparrow Falls blog post)

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

12:30 at night= mid afternoon for Russians

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

Pushkin, pagan temples, and my 5th day in Russia

Previet! I'm told my Russian is getting better. I think they're all just getting more comfortable speaking english to me.
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

Communist Cola, Esther, and my heros.

I'm staying at Tanya's house until Tuesday. It really feels like home here. Absolutely amazing, I can't describe it.
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

First Post from Russia

It's 7 at night here and I FINALLY arrived in Kaluga, after flying into Moscow, taking a train, a metro, an hour and a half wait and then a three hour bus ride and now I"M HERE!!! I'm so excited. (Veronica says Amerikee's say "i'm so excited" alot. )
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

Jesus is my Best Friend... thank you Vicky Beeching!

I just found out that I will be leading kids worship in Russia.. yahoo!! We will be doing Russian versions of "God's Plan" by Bluetree, the Chorus of Your Love is Strong by Jon Foreman (you know, the part that goes 'your love is, your love is, your love is strong." and Vicky Beeching's genius kid's song called Jesus is my best friend. SO stoked to translate these to Russian!!
So, to celebrate, and in honor of all these artist's songs being spread to the four corners of the world, i've made a series of iphotos on my mac to demonstrate the motions. Sadly, the blog photo thing has decided to not work. Therefore, I've created a series of word aids to help you picture what these motions might look like had the pictures been uploaded.

Jesus is
(imagine me with both hands pointing up)

my Best

(Imagine me with both hands now in the 'thumbs up' position and a big goofy smile on my face)


(imagine me giving myself a big ole hug!)

I hope you've enjoyed this journey through the chorus of "Jesus is my best friend." Tune in by next tuesday to see pictures of Russian children singing along and laughing at me trying to pronounce "Eesus moy luchshii drug" (Jesus is my best friend)

Monday, July 12, 2010

New Blog Space/Russia/FAQ

For all of you who followed my family vacation blogs at 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!
But if you'd still like to look back on my old blog days, that blog is still up and running and linked to this site, shouldn't be too difficult to find.

In other news, I'm about 3 days away from my trip back to Kaluga, Russia. Although I'd love to email/call/text everyone while I'm in Russia... I know that's just not realistic. Instead, I'm going to blog my adventures, much like I blogged the family vacation. (think of that as the test run for the real thing.)*

I visited Word of Life Church in Kaluga, Russia when I was eleven years old with my mom and a team from First Pres Baton Rouge. We've kept up with some friends at the church and my dear friend and translator, Veronica, is now in the states after 7 years!! She's currently sitting on my bed and says that the best things about America are red beans and rice, UNO, and blueberries. I agree.
I will travel back with her on Thursday, July 15 for the first time since I was eleven. I will stay for two weeks and do lots of exciting and marvelous things including (but not limited to) singing at church, hanging with Russian youth group kiddos and seeing Moscow. Oh and introducing Russian kids to sugar babies. (you know, that awesome and impossible to chew candy?) and teaching them how to play ultimate frisbee and UNO. My come home day is july 26.
Be sure and follow my blog for updates, and hopefully pictures, if I can figure out how to post those. I'm experimenting now with my two favorite pictures from the trip when i was eleven. There's one of me and Veronica, and another of me, mom and Tanya (the children's pastor). I'll be staying with both Veronica and Tanya on this trip.
If you'd like to pray for me, it would mean so much to me. I firmly believe that trips like this are only successful when we earnestly ask God to go before us. Here are some things you can pray for me.
*Most of all, that God would do his will. That he would anoint me, give me words, open doors, and most of all, that it would be his plans, and not my own silly American Mallory ones that happen. That it would be him, and only him.
*second, pray for me. Pray that I'm not physically exhausted from a 9 hour jetlag and 13 hour plane ride. Fast recovery.
*Also pray for me spiritually. That i would have peace about what God has for me to say and that I would be clear on what i should do.
*Pray for the people I'll be talking to/interacting with. Pray that I make new friends (of course i'll get to see the great friends i already have!) and that people's hearts would be open to truth.
*pray for travel through customs, that the Russian's let me through and don't lose my luggage!:)
*and lastly, pray for my family back at home.
If you would take one or two of these and pray them for me, I know it will make a huge difference on my trip. I have decided that my verse for this trip (well it's actually a chapter) is Psalms 34. I will read it/pray it every day, as i have been in preparation for the trip.

Can't wait to tell you of my adventures! Please comment on my blog while I'm there- I'd love to hear from you all!

*as a side note, you'll notice that my punctuation is inside my quotation mark. Thank you, Mrs. Brenda!! As is well known in the Searcy house, my writing is acclaimed (if at all) merely for it's content, not it's grammatical style. I will improve.