Monday, January 30, 2012

Aww Sunshine...brrr...

Funny thing about sunny days...they are so beautiful as the snow glistens and the ice cycles sparkle. It makes you want to go for walk and enjoy God's creation. Sunny days are rare here. Most days are cloudy with flurries or all out snow. It's those days you want to grab a good book and not leave the house. You would think with the sun out you could wear just one layer of clothes and go for a nice long walk, but this is not the case. It's the sunny days you need to be prepared. The sunny days are the coldest days! Oh well...I'll gladly put on an extra shirt, pair of tights, socks and mittens over gloves and enjoy the beauty of it all! :)

Here's a couple pictures of the guys clearing some snow/ice off the cement. It's hard work in cold weather. The snow becomes frozen and heavy when it's this cold outside. The above picture is Joel to the left, Allen in the middle, and Jed on the right.

We had a great day in God's house yesterday. We had a good number of people even though one family wasn't there, and another just recently moved to Ukraine. The most exciting though was someone actually came to church from a tract they received! Passing out tracts can be so somewhat discouraging at times. Because of the huge gates on houses and the codes on apartment buildings, door knocking really isn't an option for many areas. But you can always find people! We can go to the park or walk throughout the apartment complexes. There's always a way! :) Still people usually don't come to church from it, but will sometimes come to a free English club we do every Friday night where we always at least have a devotion. What an encouragement it was to have someone come to church from a tract! Praise the Lord!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Don't eat the last piece!

When we first arrived in Russia a few weeks ago, I put on several layers to walk down to the store. Halfway to the store I was sweating! winter.... in Russia! Well, that is not the case anymore. We just went from the house to the car this evening and my hands were throbbing. Moscow is not among the worst, but it does get cold. Right now it's around 3*F with noticable breeze bringing the windchill to -13* according to I still stand by my claim that I prefer arctic to desert though, but will let you know if that changes! LOL :)

We just finished an English intensive camp today. This one seemed to go a lot smoother than the one we did last summer. Living with the Russian people for several days straight definately gives some serious cultural experience for both Americans and Russians. Jed and Allen, the guys visiting from our sending church, have many stories. Some they probably wish they didn't have! Of course, the reason we do these is to meet people and share Christ with them. We have a preaching/devotion everyday and have opportunities to talk with them during the camp. It takes time to build relationships. Loyalty and trustworthiness is everything to the Russian people, but it certainly does not happen over night. They have a saying that basically means we'll be true friends when we've eaten a bag of salt together. That either takes a very long time or one really rough, challenging experience. I pray Joel and I have many bags of salt and lots of patience ahead of us!

I was listening to a conversation about culture during the camp. It is very rude here to eat the last piece of anything. Someone was saying how Americans don't care if you eat the last piece. One said, "Yes, because Americans are rude." The conversation progressed as the American tried to explain that just finishing the last piece is not rude in and of itself. It is based on culture. The Russian did not understand how anyone could think that was not rude. Culture is such an amazing thing!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Line drying in the winter

While I was packing to come, I made sure to bring dryer sheets. They are next to impossible to find here because most people don't have dryers. The dryers that do exist are very different from the states because the houses and apartments don't have dryer vents. We are currently living with Joel's parents and will be for at least a year while I learn the language and adapt into the Russian culture. They brought over a dryer on a container many years ago. All these years they've had to find ways for the vent situation. Well, yesterday the dryer gave out. It was a trooper for many years. If it was summer, this would be slightly easier. Hanging clothes on the line outside would result in frozen clothes! :) The other option...hang them inside...anywhere you can find a place. I have clothes on every chair, closet door and many other random places. :) I'm not quite sure what I'll do with the dryer sheets. Oh well, I've heard they are great mosquito repellents. I'll have to give it a try this summer.

The snow is SO wonderful!  It's not been too cold either so the snow was wet and stuck to everything. My icecycles are back and longer than the last ones. These ones are at least a foot long! It is weird getting use to all this darkness. In the 6 hours of sunlight we're suppose to get it still stays pretty dark because of the clouds. They said the sun has only shone itself twice in the last month.

Joel, Jed and Allen had a great time in Kolmekii. They have plenty of stories to tell. :) It's never dull to travel in this amazing country! Joel was able to preach on little to no sleep after travelling from the states for over 24 hours, then another 15 hours in a car. He didn't sleep at all on the trip down there because the driver kept falling asleep. It's interesting how survival kicks in with situations like that.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Always check the label

We have arrived safely. :) I always love the feeling when that last luggage shows itself. Praise the Lord the travelling is done and we are well...and so are our bags. Joel has gone to Kolmekii in southern Russia for a few days with a couple of guys who are visiting from our sending church. I feel bad for Joel though he didn't even have time to rest before leaving. Jet lag is in full swing for me. A huge chunk of snow fell off the roof last night and scared me to death. It woke me up from a somewhat restless sleep. I had no idea where I was and when I reached beside me to find Joel he wasn't there. Needless to say I was pretty shook up. Once I realized everything was fine, I fell back asleep until about 3:30 in the morning. Then my eyes popped open and try as I might I couldn't sleep again until 8:00...yes I slept until lunch time! :) LOL I must stay away awake until 10:00 tonight. I will not let you win, jet lag!

Funny story...I walked down to the store today with my sis in law. I needed chocolate and a few other not as important items. As we were getting ready to check out, I saw a 2 liter water jug and thought that would be nice to have in the room. The kitchen is two flights of stairs away and I'm feeling a little lazy at the moment...As I picked it up Hannah got this weird look on her face. "What do you need that for? You don't have a car," she says. I looked a little closer to realize I was planning on drinking window washer fluid . Even better, window cleaner here has a high content of vodka. Oh goodness, I'm starting off well. :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

January 3 has arrived

We've said this date over and over. Talked about it, prayed about it. And now it's here. In a few hours, we'll be Russia-bound. The last weighing of the bags is done. I'm a little concerned about the old scale we had to use. Hopefully it was accurate. If you are a fan of Tim Hawkins, maybe you've heard his thing about suitcases in airports. Who really comes to the airport with grasping and dropping clothes wishing they had some kind of container to put it in? Why do they sell suitcases at the airport?? Last time we flew I got a better understanding. A couple in front of us thought if they paid enough money they would allow them to have overweight bags. It was entertaining to say the least as they had to get out of line and yes, go find that store with the suitcases. They surely paid extra money, but not in the way they thought. I wonder if we, as Christians sometimes think that if we give enough tithe, offering and missions, God will overlook how we're not following his commandments like we should.

May God bless you all in this exciting New Year. My next post will actually be from Russia...and of course with love! :)