Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fresh from the garden!

One of my favorite things about this time of the year is all the fresh produce that becomes available. People start bringing delicious goodness from their gardens to share with others. This year the Reasoner family has joined the gardeners. We don't have a lot of space due to the dogs that guard the back of the house. They have already proved their ability to destroy by digging up an apple tree planted in the back yard. We have done what we can with what we have though.

The corn is definitely the star of the show! The only corn here is what we would call field corn. They eat it like we eat sweet corn. It's so hard to enjoy it after years of experiencing the amazingness of sweet corn! So...this is sweet corn! We have quite a few ears growing! This has been my mother-in-law's dream for a while, so she is just thrilled! = )

To the right of the picture are my babies. Green beans!! I love them!! I know it's a bit strange, but I seriously could eat fresh green beans like this every day! They are doing amazing, and we've been enjoying delicious fresh green beans! The rest of the stuff is doing pretty well. We have onions, garlic, carrots, cabbage, beets, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini and pumpkins. I think that is everything! = )

So I had to take a picture of these. I have never seen anything like it. In addition to my bush green bean plants, we have these tall vine green bean plants that produce these insanely long green beans! I'll admit I was pretty nervous to try them, but they taste just like green beans should. Has anyone else ever had green beans like these? I'd love to hear about it if you have.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Arctic Adventure - Part 2

It amazes me how quickly the days fly by! I meant to post part 2 last week, but it just didn't happen. So here it is. = ) If you are interested in part 1, you can find it here.

After several days of passing out tracks to three different cities, we decided to visit a city that my father-in-law had visited about 8 years earlier. It was a town around 2000 people, and the Reindeer people had been nearby. The best part was that it wasn't in the area that was illegal to us, so we could hold a meeting there. Excited to see yet another Arctic town, we boarded a train. This town along with the others were all located inside the Arctic Circle...awesome huh! As we were getting ready to get off the train, the guy asked us why we would want to get off here. We told him we were doing mission work, and he replied by asking if we realized there's no town here and only five or so people...Well, we didn't realize that, but didn't have a choice in the matter since our tickets ended there. We couldn't have stayed on the train if we wanted to. The train guy told us that we would probably have to flag our train down to pick us up because it didn't always stop, and if it did stop, we would not have more than 90 seconds to board before it would take off again. My heart went into my stomach at this point. We had no choice but to get off at this deserted town and there was no guarantee our train would stop the next day. There was not a ramp to get off the train. It was just a nice big jump. Here we were, a few snacks for food, a very small amount of water, a couple tents to sleep in the cold, mosquito infested, sun shining all night city of Palarny 110. Joel said the 110 was the kilometers from any kind of civilization. = ) There were 7 of us altogether. Joel and I, his parents, and 3 Americans that were getting the adventure of their life! 4 of us were girls, and as we got off the train and realized the extent of the situation we all got a severe case of the giggles!! I mean we were out of control! Mom always said it's better to laugh than cry, and laugh we did! The witty bug bit us all and we were having a time of it. When we got into "town" from the tracks, you can only imagine the looks on the faces of the few guys working on a Americans in the middle of Arctic Russia! We asked what had happened to the town, and they told us that basically the government decided they didn't need that town anymore and shut it down. With no food or money, the town had died quickly. From this point on, we began to realize and see the hand of God providing for our every need! I just have to insert here how much this trip grew my faith and trust in our omnipotent God!! They told us to just pick a "house" for the night. They were all empty. We found some furnished buildings, and picked a couple that didn't seem too bad. We put our luggage down and ate a few snacks before heading out to speak to the few there, and investigate this ghost city. Here are some pictures of where we slept that night.

It may not have been Holiday Inn, but we were praising the Lord for a roof over our heads. After we figured out where we were sleeping, the exploring and sharing the Gospel began.

This guy listened the longest of those we met that day. He really seemed under conviction, but never made a profession.

Exploring! I like this picture because Joel and I look all cute holding hands. Ok, I'm done being sappy. = ) Check out those deserted apartments. It was amazing how bad a city could look after less than eight years of little to no people.

Sad looking buildings and beautiful mountains!

So this is where the story really gets amazing!! While we were passing out tracts and talking to people, this guy in the orange says, "hey, I know you!" He went into his house and came out with a prayer card of the Reasoner family from 10 years prior! I think shocked would be a good word here! LOL Back when my father-in-law had visited this city, Elijah had given him a ride in his tank out to the Reindeer People. Many accepted Christ on that trip and Elijah had been one of them. He pulled out his Bible that he had been given so many years ago and said that he reads it everyday. We had brought some discipleship material with us and gave it to him. He fed us shashlek, bread and tea, and yet again God was taking care of our physical needs. He also gave us a teapot for hot water so we could enjoy some of our Ramen noodles. = ) Here is the contraption we came up with to heat the water.

 And if you thought this story couldn't get any more incredible, it does! Elijah uses his tank to do research in the area. While doing that, he has become good friends with the Reindeer people he once feared. He keeps up with them when they travel through and knows how to find them. This is the biggest struggle we have in reaching the Reindeer people. They are extremely hard to find. We have Elijah's contact info and hope to run into him again down the road. Elijah gave us a ride to the tracks in his tank the next day. Yes, I got to ride in a Russian tank! So cool!!

I didn't mention much about the mosquitoes, but I just want to add that they are large enough in size and number to carry a small person away! haha! = )

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Arctic Adventure - Part 1

This is our second summer here in Russia which means this is our second Independence Day to spend in Russia. It is just another day here, and I must admit I get a little homesick on this day. Though America seems to be on a slippery slope of moral degrade, I'm still thankful to be American. Living in Russia has only made me more thankful for my roots.

Last year at this time was a pretty incredible week in our lives here in Russia. At that time I hadn't started my blog, so today I thought I might reminisce a bit and share with you a glimpse into our eventful week inside the Arctic Circle!

Joel and I have a burden for Northern Russia and are currently praying and seeking where the Lord would have us to begin our ministry when we are finished training and learning with Joel's parents. One city we were praying about is called Salekhard. So last summer we took a trip up there to visit and seek the Lord about it. Salekhard is the main base of operations for a group of Reindeer people called the Nenets. When we purchased the tickets, we asked the lady if the city was open to Americans. She said it was and we continued on. Joel and I boarded very late or very early, however you want to look at it, and arrived in the morning hours of Sunday. We knew of a church in the area and planned to visit there for services, but that never happened. As we got off the plane we were met with cold winds (in July) and officers. We quickly learned there was a piece of paper we didn't have and were in fact Americans in an illegal city...not a good mix. While Joel was being taken away he told me to retrieve our luggage. I did and waited for a bit not having a clue what to do or what was going on. They came and got me, and we were held in a small room for not quite an hour. Then we were ushered into a very large, loud vehicle and taken on a back road to a gated building with guards holding enormous weapons. Joel and I didn't say a word to each from the time we got in that vehicle until hours later. Because as soon as we got into the building, he was immediately taken back behind a huge metal door, and I didn't seem him again for 3 hours. That was a really long 3 hours. The whole time they were trying to figure out why we were there. Why on earth would Americans come to the middle of no where? Joel told the whole truth and the whole Gospel! = ) After many threats and scoldings for coming to a city we weren't allowed in, they decided we were who we said we were and allowed us our freedom. Since we already had train tickets home, they knew we wouldn't be there long. The other problem was that Joel's parents and a few Americans visiting us that summer were planning on also coming the next day. Joel asked if he should tell them not to come. They said that they wanted some more proof that we were telling the truth so they should come and bring lots of tracts. = ) So the group came on. We weren't able to communicate to them though that they were going to get arrested as soon as they landed. LOL So they had a fun time as well. We all had to sign a paper that we had committed a crime and now all officially have a record. So last year at this time when Americans were celebrating their rights, we were laying ours aside! Praise the Lord for His protection! We handed out lots of tracts over the next few days, but they did not allow us to hold any meetings. Then came the night we spent in a deserted town...but that's for Part 2! = ) Here are some pictures from the first part of the trip.

The Arctic Circle

Handing out Tracts

Adorable Reindeer people little boy.

Government Building

There were supposed to be Reindeer People living here, but we had just missed them. = (

Lots of Fish! This fish has not been cooked, but rather salted and freeze dried. It was actually really good. Again, So thankful I like fish! 

 I'm so thankful for the opportunities that we had. Later Joel saw this man reading the tract that I had given him. He asked him if he understood what he read and the man gave a strong salvation testimony. We smiled over the "understandest what thou readest" and called him Philip from Acts 8:30.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Leah Grace

Welcome to the newest little Reasoner member! Meet Leah Grace. Praise the Lord Leah and her mommy are both doing great! I can't wait to meet her in person! = ) Congratulations to Micah and Sarah! Her big sister doesn't quite understand fully what is going on. I always think it's fun to see how the older sibling reacts to the newcomer.

Grandma and Grandpa Reasoner are back renewing visas and were able to see her.

Here's Daddy (Micah) with his daughter Chloe and Grandma with Leah. Isn't this a sweet picture? So that's the latest Reasoner family news! I just wanted to share a bit of family with you. = ) Thankful for family!