Monday, March 26, 2012

How many rooms?

The biggest thing on my mind right now is the snow outside. It just keeps coming! It has dropped more than 6 inches in the last couple days. They haven't scraped our road in a very long time so getting in the driveway tonight was nuts. Four of us were behind the car pushing with all our might slipping and falling in the snow. Finally a very nice stranger walked by. With his help, we finally made it into the driveway. It took about an hour to get from our road to the garage! Oh good times! You know how when your normal schedule changes and it feels strange. Well, it doesn't feel like the end of March! :)

How many of you all live in apartments? We lived in an apartment while we were interning at Yakima Bible Baptist Church. It was wonderful. It had two bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen/dining room. It was 969 sq feet. Apartments here in Moscow and the surrounding areas are very different. For starters, they are small. They range from about 350 square feet to around 600 square feet. Another thing is the floor layout. If someone says they live in a two room apartment, it doesn't mean they have two bedrooms. It means they actually have two rooms plus a bathroom. Some friends have an apartment that is a two room. It has 495 sq feet. One room is the kitchen, dining, and parent's bedroom. The other room is a living room and kids bedroom (they have two boys and a girl on the way). They are very organized people. I have been impressed with the creativity of those living in such small spaces. It's best to learn to make the best of what you have! That apartment is in Domodedovo and is probably worth around 50-60 thousand dollars. The next factor in all this is location. If you put that apartment in Moscow, you are looking at a million dollar apartment at the least! If we are talking downtown Moscow, we are talking more like two million dollars. If you put it on the twenty-fifth floor, you are looking at nearly three million dollars! So what happens when you put several apartment complexes together in down town Moscow? You get 500,000 millionaires living in one square mile of each other!

I was talking to someone who told me about an apartment he saw in another country he visited. He was amazed that they had one whole room just for a "restroom". This led to some confusion for a few minutes as I couldn't figure out what room he was talking about. He was actually talking about a room that you rest in...the living room. Unless you live in a house outside of Moscow, the majority of people don't have the luxury of one whole room just for a bedroom and another room just for a living room.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring in Moscow

Happy Spring! Can you believe the first day of spring is here? There is a certain excitement and newness that comes with the dawn of spring. What makes spring so wonderful? I think it's because it comes after a dark, cold winter. So without the cold, dreary days of winter, how would we know to appreciate the sunshine and new growth of spring. Let's remember to be thankful for those dark days and appreciate the bright days that much more. 

So what does the first day of spring look like in Domodedovo, Russia? Here are a few pictures I took this morning. I wish I would have made it out with my camera a little earlier because the day started out bright and sunny like a good spring day, but then a snow storm blew in seemingly within minutes. The sun is starting to back out again now. Ah, yes, spring in Russia! :)

The snowmen are actually melting! Poor things...they will be missed.

We can actually see the road! :)

And then there's the enormous mounds of snow that will most likely be there still in May or June.

So with the snow slowly melting now, the ground starts to reveal all of its dirty secrets. Trash is everywhere. The whole no littering thing isn't quite the same here. There are also many stray dogs here. They leave their "droppings" all winter long. It freezes and gets covered with another layer of snow. As the snow melts, all the nastiness gets revealed. 

Here's hoping you all are enjoying the new season!

Every Christian has a very personal responsibility to grow in their faith. Yet there are times when we seem to stand still. That is when God touches us like the earth in the springtime, bringing new growth and warmth for the faithful souls dedicated to His service.  - Ed Price

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Godliness with Contentment

You know that moment when it hits you that your contentment is slipping. Thoughts like, "Wouldn't it be nice if this was the case..." or "I wonder if this will ever happen..." or perhaps even, "I shouldn't have to put up with this!" Most people have something that they feel would just make life better. I've noticed these things change with age and stage of life. It becomes almost a mental life goal. Perhaps going to college, getting married, the perfect job, a certain house, having children...Has something come to your mind? We all deal with something that we pray about often, seek to give to the Lord...yet some days in our weakness those thoughts come back. It kind of reminds of a Chinese torture game. These "games" are basically a test of the will and how much you can take. At first it doesn't bother you at all. You simply try to ignore the consistent tapping. But if it continues, all of a sudden it hits you. You can't take it anymore and the fight is on to get the person to stop! I think we handle our discontentment like this sometimes. We try to ignore it instead of dealing with it right when it starts. When it gets to the point of, "I can't take it anymore!" we blame God and everything gets completely twisted from what His perfect plan for us is. God is sovereign and holy! One of my favorite sayings is, "God wants for you what you would want for yourself if you were wise enough to want it." God loves us more than our human minds can even begin to grasp. Sometimes we just need to step back and realize Who we serve, Who He is and how much He really has done for us. Many things I believe we'll learn about in Heaven of how often he takes care of us and protects us.

Another thing that can slip into our lives when we are not content as we should be is comparing. We know from Scripture that this is wrong, but no doubt we've all failed at this a time or two. Have you noticed that whatever it is that you are dealing with, that is poking at your contentment, seems to be everywhere around you? Everyone else has "it" but you! That is a sad, dangerous road. Its end leads to resentment and bitterness...and no friends! Do you remember that flood of peace and joy that filled your being when you accepted Christ as your Saviour? We have that renewed peace and joy when all is right between us and our Saviour. Let's remember to seek Him above all! Contentment is not based on what is happening in our lives, what we have, or what tomorrow holds! It's based on our Sure Foundation, All-knowing Lord, Protector, Provider, our perfect loving Saviour! Contentment is not having everything you want, but realizing you are in the Master's care. Contentment is having no clue what tomorrow might bring, and resting in God's Omniscience.

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5