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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cameron Townsend---Wycliffe Founder

We have been reading a missionary book on the life of Cameron Townsend to the kids at night as part of their curriculum for school. How timely that we are studying missionaries this year! Our theme for studies is "Cultures and Countries," a very appropriate year of school for us while we are here in Russia.

So, we are about half-way through the book and we have covered 19 years of Cameron's life so far. John looks at me last night and says this and we are both amazed that so little has happened of the whole picture of Wycliffe Ministries(as we see it) in 19 YEARS!!! You know, that's a LONG time!!!! Cameron started out as a Bible salesman, then had a heart to start teaching a specific Indian language, then started translating the first 4 chapters of Matthew, then the NT, then he started doing "camps" in the states for linguists to learn and go down to Mexico and evangelize as linguists. His first purpose had changed many times before doing "Wycliffe" camps. At his first camp, he had two graduates, the next camp 5 grads...and that's where we are now. Don't laugh at small beginnings nor be discouraged when your beginning purpose changes.

John and I sometimes get ancy over here thinking...we haven't "done" much for the kingdom of God...and now we have a bit of perspective. TWO Months ONLY have gone by...we can rest assured that God is not finished nor is he confined to such a short time period. God's plan is sooooo much bigger than ours. We might think we have to complete something this year, and yet, God may think---this is just the start of what I will do.

When we had been here in Russia for about a week, we were at a prayer meeting where a lady shared that she felt God saying something like this---"Just give me some time to do things"...we want God to do things so quickly and right now, that we don't sit back and just know that He will be exalted in the end, even if it takes years to get there. I am reminded of the many times my dad would talk about leaning on the Lord and resting in Him, I think it was based off of a Watchman Nee book he was reading and re-reading entitled Sit, Stand, Walk. I have often thought that I should be resting in Him and then I start to think...NO, I should not always be resting! Well, maybe we should rest more in Him, doing only what He prompts us to do and not all the "things" we think are "good" to do at the time. He will perform His will and I want to see it be done ---even if it takes a good many years to see what it is. We may not even see it in our lifetime...who knows? Only He does!

So, Sit back, listen, and obey His voice---resting in the knowledge that He will be exalted while we rest in Him "Be Still and know that I am God and I will be exalted among the nations." Psalm 46:10

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Our Next Step...

My lovely sis in law asked me a question that I thought I'd answer for everyone---what is our next step?
We have seen two things as doors that the Lord could open or shut to allow us to stay longer here in Russia. The sale of our house and also a way to lengthen our visa. Remember our visas here were only for 3 months. So, the first door opened...and we have stepped through--OUR HOUSE---it has closed with no hitches in this economy---God is gracious and good! The second door is open--John has applied to a school in the area that he is already attending and we expect to get year visas for the whole family through them. So, we have started this extension, but it hasn't been completed yet. We will keep everyone posted on that door.

We plan to return to the states sometime in June if our visas are extended. Will we come back to Russia? We are expecting the Lord to answer that question throughout the next several months. If He wants us to stay or go, that is what we will do. My dad sent me another Hudson Taylor quote about 2 weeks ago that is perfect for how I feel right now..."It is no small comfort to me to know that God has called me to my work, putting me where I am and as I am. I have not sought the position and I dare not leave it. He knows why He places me here – whether to do or learn or suffer. He that believes shall not make haste." It's even a better fit than the quote at the top of the blog.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Our house has sold OFFICIALLY!!!

You know when God does something, it's much better when He gets glory from it. Well, our house has been on the market for a little over a year!!! A YEAR IS A LONG TIME!!!! There were pros to house was much cleaner b/c it had to be!! The kids learned many clean up skills. We purged our things many many different times!!

So, when the US housing market was doing pretty awful and we had heard from over here that the economy was getting even scarier---God brings a couple, from Colorado, to look at our house through their parents! They had not even seen the actual house at the time of signing yesterday! Our real estate agent went by the house today to check in on them and meet them and they told her that the house was EVEN BETTER than what they had expected!!! Amazing!!! We loved our home and hope that they enjoy it as we did.

So, did God get the glory---YES, He did---we had to wait, but He came through.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What do I miss from the states?

I have been asked what I miss, so I thought I'd turn it into a post...nope, this is not a cry to send me's way tooo expensive to do's about $10 a pound!!! YIKES!

Things that I miss ...
---magazines in English!!!(I had no idea that I would even miss this...I wasn't a big mag. person!)
---brownies/cake mixes---just the ability to buy them would be nice.
---flavored decaf coffee
---vanilla---just found out they have this--it's just in powdered form not liquid...who knew there was such a thing??? Not me!
---Christian bookstores in English!!!(should have brought more books and less what??? hmmm...well, maybe should have paid more for the extra luggage-haha!).
---What is John's missing---the ability to get in the car and just go. He doesn't miss the car, just the ability to go somewhere quickly.

I finally have some family outside photos...

Ok, we have taken photos and there are rather than uploading all to this blog...I will put a link. It's to my facebook album. If you can't see them there, let me know. There are enjoy!!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Reminder or a News Post for New and Old Readers

Just in case you didn't know and you want to know more about my blog....
I have many different sections on the side of my blog that I update from time to time. If you are on the blog and you notice I haven't posted a new post, check out the side bar...sometimes, I post there first then do a new blog post later.

I even have what we are reading and what I want to read later!

You can always leave a comment under a post or just,easily on the side bar, jot a note. I love hearing from all of you! It's so exciting when I see my family and friends checking out the blog--I can see your cities when you visit!!!

Here are a few I have seen ---I know who some of you are, but not all:) These are some I know!!!---Chita, Russia; Germany; Plano;Houston;Austin; Oregon; Minnesota; Florida...and more!!! Love it when you visit--so THANK YOU!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Another one of our group!

I have never seen such a group that is better at taking group photos! Matthew was hidden behind people but he was there! This is our big group of friends here! Most of them, at least!

A Change in our Family Home...

Vera studying her English at the dinner table

Well, as I finally sit down to write this out for you, it is with a sad heart that I journal. Our student, Vera, who has been in this family home since just August of this year, has been told that she must return to her dorm. This happened on Monday night and has been a very hard thing for us, the kids, Lena and many more people who love Vera very much to swallow or understand. So, you may did this happen and why??? Well, it's a long story, but I will try to hit the highlights.

In Russia, the "Christian" church that people "should" go to is called Russian Orthodox. This is very much like a Catholic church, but they have a "Priest" instead of a "Pope." Anyone else who doesn't believe in the exact same way of the Orthodox and attend their churches, in their opinion, are considered "sects" and very dangerous to people. I am so glad that it's not that hateful between Catholics and Protestants in the states. The government may even go so far to think that girls are better in prostitution than in a sect. Sometimes, people with wrong information make judgement calls that may seem crazy to us, but obviously not to them, but we need to pray for them too in the midst of these hard times.

So, knowing this information, the dorm authorities did not look upon the home Vera stayed in favorably because we were not Orthodox. They would tell Vera during her school day that she should come back to the dorm but they would not do anything to enforce their opinion. Well, on Monday, government officials came to the dorm to investigate what this particular dorm was doing or not doing. They had been turned in to the government by a social representative of one of the kids in the dorm. The officials(police) went to every room and checked on who was "registered" for that room. If they weren't there, they asked why. When they came to Vera's room the dorm's assistant director said that she was living with us and that they had no official paperwork for this move. We had filled out the proper info to our knowledge, but had no copy of it ourselves. Because the dorm was already in trouble for some things that were happening, they quickly said that we were not allowed back at the dorm to visit or to have Vera or any of their kids live with us. Since Vera is in school through this dorm, these directors have a say in where she lives. When she graduates from seamstress school, she can live where she chooses, I believe. The room situation in Russia is very complicated and so hard for me to explain because I do not fully understand all of it.

Monday night, Lena and I had to come home from the dorm and tell Vera she had to be back at the dorm by the next morning before noon. She had to pack and leave at 15 til 7 in the morning just to make it to her dorm before it closed for the morning. She was very broken because of this. So were all of us. We know that God works in the midst of terrible news. He did not say we would live a life of ease when we serve Him. He has Vera in His hands and she knows this.

So, please pray for Vera. She is such a tender sweet-hearted child of God and will do great if she can trust in the Lord's strength. Pray for her as she needs to do this more now than ever. Pray more for God's purpose than anything...this is what we desire in the end, even if it means that we are not pleased with the temporary sadness.

What are we doing in the mean time??? Well, only God really understands that question! But, as we wait for Him to show us more details, we will change the dorm that we have been visiting to the dorm that John has been going to on Saturdays. We have some contacts with some orphanges and will continue to visit them. We also have met a couple in the city that have an art studio and reach out to the kids in the city through this outlet. The girls and I will start going here on Friday afternoons. John and the boys may come later for dinner and fellowship. There also may be some more paperwork that our leader needs to fill out for us to have another student in the future. We are praying for God to do His will and that we would fulfill His purpose. Sometimes, His ways are not so clear to us, but it's His vision of all of this that matters in the end. We just need to stay obedient and open to Him and His direction. We believe that He will show us more details soon. Please pray for us to have open ears/hearts/eyes. Thank you so much for your prayers---it's one of the ways we feel His strength!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Still here...working with TEXANS---yeehaw!!!

I haven't blogged in several days. So sorry!!! We have been working with a team from Texas, going to an orphanage in the city. We have met several very nice translators and amazing people by working with them. We have been to the orphanage twice and have enjoyed meeting the kiddos in our particular groups. John is working with the older kids group and I and all our kids are working with a group of 10-12 year old kids. We have been able to teach the different holidays that Americans celebrate such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and tomorrow will be Easter. The group that I get to help with has about 5 kids that will be adopted in the US in the next year or so. Many of them are part of a hosting program where they stay with an American family for about 6 weeks in the winter and many of them are adopted from this program. Very amazing to see this.

We will not be able to be there tomorrow b/c of other committments on Thursday--one of which is the girls and I will be visiting an art studio run by an American and Russian couple. They offer classes to orphans throughout the city. Katie and Melissa may go to a class tomorrow and I will help in whatever way I can. Very exciting!

I will try to download pics later, but not's 23:43---haha---I will never get used to seeing military time!!! When it's 12am, the clocks say 0:00!!! Funny to see.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ten Day Forcast---The same picture!

I was feeling a bit chilly from the air outside, so I thought I'd check the weather...the temperature is about the same as what it has been 40-50's...but the rain cloud picture was on EVERY day for the next TEN days!!! Wow! Now that's some forecast! It's starting to feel a bit like the State of Washington with that forecast.

She is reading my mind...

Have you ever read something in a book and, how did the author get into my mind and know my thoughts exactly? My friend Alisa is an avid reader and has this happen to her a lot...well, it was my turn last night!

My dad suggested a book to read for me before I came here to Russia. It's written by Hannah Hurnard...she also wrote Hinds Feet on High awesome allegory that I have read more than once! She was also a missionary! Imagine that?! So, I am slowly reading her book and LOVE it more than I can describe---it's sooooo accurate about how one feels as a missionary or believer in a strange place.

So, here is the part that made me laugh out loud b/c it was so JOHN and ME!! I read it to him and he laughed too.

The enemy of souls, of course, knows this and does his utmost to hinder the keeping of the daily quiet time. Almost anything will prove easier than to form this daily habit, for so many factors combine to prevent it. First there is the strangeness of everything, the complete uprooting of all the old ties and habits and customs, leaving one feeling unsettled, restless, tired, and with the continual sense of being in a strange environment to which one only slowly and painfully becomes adjusted.
Then there are the endless irrations(Karen's definition--things that are illogical) and nerve-racking difficulties due to lack of the new language and the misunderstandings arising from this ignorance. Also the difficulty of adjusting oneself to the completely different outlook of those among whom one has gone to work. Then, perhaps there are the primitive conditions and lack of conveniences to which one has been accustomed; and above all, the change of climate.

Whew...there it is...ok, so these paragraphs seem like life is really hard...we don't feel that life is this difficult but the difficulties that we do feel are sooooo described here in this section.

I love the part about miscommunications--you think it's hard when you speak the same language ...there are many times where there is a miscommunication just because someone is speaking English and it's not their native language so some things come out meaning something very different than what was intended! Funny!!!

I am loving this book and always look forward to reading it b/c Hannah H describes life in the Lord soooo well.

John goes to a "guys night out" tonight with a bunch of Americans---they are having barbeque(yep, they have BBQ sauce here!)...he has been gone today with some boys from one of the dormitories. Just wanted to update John's friends/family with a bit of what he is doing!:)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Can you say backbend???? The change that doesn't jingle!

One thing we are having to deal with here in Russia is Change Change Change and I am not talking about change that jingles. This is the picture they (whoever "they" are) should send out to all people who come to Russia. A friend of mine sent me a list that describes many ways the Russians may think...they said the word we need is FLEXIBLE!!! Before coming here, John and I were always told that we were both laid back. As in flexible to change...HA!! Boy, I think that it wasn't enough flexibility!! Things change so much, it's really hard to say much as to "the plan" because it will probably just change in the end. When talking with people(that are state-side) about being over here, I hear---well, I thought you said such and such. Well, before coming here there were a lot of things that I said that I thought were, things have changed, changed and changed again. We have started to laugh at the amount of change.
Keep in mind, when anyone sends out a list of this is how Russians are---you must have this thought in mind...this is a general rule--not a hard fast rule. So, maybe not all Russians are this apt to change, but we are in a "ministry" that must have all these general rules true--well, maybe not all but a lot. I don't like it much when people here generalize about "Americans" so I can't generalize too much about "Russians" either.
If you want to pray for us, pray that we hear God's voice and direction clearly and that we are flexible to His plan not just to people's changing plans. It's hard to tell when you should just go with the flow and when you should say something.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Thanks Sr. Igor!!!

Buckwheat--not the cereal!!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Buckwheat...what's so good about it?

Wild Buckwheat--who knew it was pretty!?

Ok, so I have been told that Buckwheat is good for me but why? Anyone who really knows me knows that I always like to know the reason why!!! So, I did some is what I found:)...just in case you want to enjoy a big ole' bowl of buckwheat in honor of us!!!

The Benefits of Buckwheat!

The protein found in buckwheat contains the eight essential amino acids.
Buckwheat is rich in B vitamins as well as phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese.
Buckwheat is a good oil source of Alpha-Linolenic Acid, which is one of the two essential fatty acids we must have to be healthy.
Buckwheat is high in fiber. A single cup of cooked buckwheat groats contains over 4 grams of dietary fiber.
Buckwheat contains a rich supply of flavonoids.
Buckwheat lowers glucose levels and is beneficial for managing diabetes.
Buckwheat has been found to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.
Buckwheat is a fruit seed and is a gluten-free alternative to grains.
Buckwheat in a bag

Who knew??? Well, some of you all may have, but I didn't! So, now I will research some recipes for using the way, that is what the girls and I had for breakfast this morning.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Our Balcony outside of our room.

Our balcony...from the side view...see the hanging rack--it's used for drying clothes, mops, cleaning gloves:)...My goal is to go through the two boxes of craft supplies for my friend Nancy and see what all kinds of supplies we have!!! I can't wait to get rid of the mosquitos...then I can really use the balcony!!!