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Showing posts from January, 2008

The gift of life

Last Tuesday marked the 35th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision which deemed the choice to have an abortion a constitutional right during the first trimester.

A lot of Christians featured this anniversary on their blogs recently. I avoided looking at photos or videos, but I still managed to dream about dead babies last night. :(

The sanctity of life is a major issue. I am strongly against abortion and yet no one I've been close to has had one, to my knowledge. What I mean is that I've never had to make the choice, and I've never been close to anyone who has had to make a choice. So I don't pretend to know what it feels like, and I won't cast judgment on people. But I believe abortion is wrong.I don't want to focus on lives that have been lost, but on those that have been saved, and are being saved. I am very thankful that the children whom I work with were not aborted, even though they have gone through painful circumstances. Each one is prec…


January 30, 2008. I carefully dressed, from long underwear to a sweater to my scarf and hat. As I departed the building, I was hit by warm air, sunshine, and chirping birds. Could this really be January in Russia? I didn't look at the thermometer, but it must have been nearly 40 degrees. Incredible.

I was late to the orphanage. I got to the first group and the little girls came running. I took out their lesson...which wasn't there. I had accidentally printed it twice, and then left both sets at home. Hmmm. Thankfully I had remembered to bring the girls' new copybooks, which I had been promising since September.

I only had one copy of the assignment. "We can make a photocopy!" the girls shouted in unison, and scampered off. I was saved.

Galya has matured a lot in the past year.

I have a new student! This is Nastia, ten years old. She took English at her previous orphanage, and is doing well.

Katya and Nastia, innocently doing their assignment:

Don't I look thrilled…

Sunday school update

Our Sunday school class has finally progressed to...the New Testament! While the Sunday school teachers try to incorporate the salvation message into every lesson, I was privileged to be present at this second lesson about the character of Jesus.

At the previous lesson, the kids had learned about how Jesus loves children. This time, we talked about how Jesus healed the paralytic by the pool. Our message was that 1) the Lord heals and 2) He is near even when others do not seem to care.

After telling the story, we encouraged the children to follow Jesus' example. Suddenly the toddler had to take a bathroom break with the other teacher and I was left alone with the rest of the group. Searching for something to talk about, I asked the kids to share about a moment when Jesus had helped them when they were sick or lonely. There was only one brave volunteer. Next we began to talk about school. Was there anyone at school who was often alone? Why might that be so? Maybe there was a problem a…

The Future of Missionaries in Russia- Part II

Since I haven’t been posting regularly lately, it seems appropriate to write an update on the “state of things.”

A few weeks ago before my computer crashed (or rather it got infected and I made it worse), I had been researching options for foreigners living in Russia. I’ll explain the situation as I understand it.

There are several different options for staying in Russia short-term. You do have to register within 3 days of arrival, but other than that, no big changes. The recent changes that have come about apply to one-year multi-entry visas. Other than a working or student visa, the multi-entry visa has been the only option for presiding long-term in Russia, without having a green card.

Under the new rules, a foreigner with a multi-entry visa may stay in Russia for only 90 days out of 180. Then, he must be out of the country for 90 days. These days may be scattered throughout the 180-day period, but in total only 180 days may be spent in Russia during the 365-day period. It is almost l…

You know you've been living in Russia too long when... eat caviar...

...for breakfast. It was leftover from the holidays, but still.

When it pays to be a packrat, Part 2

I notice that I haven't written a new post for a week. But, it's a wonder I'm posting at all, since I managed to delete some vital system files a few days ago and render my computer useless.

Thankfully, I had the installation discs! Never knew what they were for, never thought I would have to use them, but the situation arose. I popped one of the discs in and within an hour had a functioning computer again (although still-infected).

You might argue that it was a common sense moment, but in the mind of a packrat there is no prioritization of things rarely used (operating systems disc vs. used wrapping paper). Anything that might come in handy is worth saving!*

I dread the next time I have to move.

*Note: I don't regard this as a life principle, but it's the way I think. At times it is a plus, and at times it complicates my life.

"Interviews" with God

There's a flash presentation on the Internet called "Interview with God" (click on "view presentation"). It takes beautiful Nature scenes and displays an inspiring poem about God. Supposedly it has "touched" a lot of people around the world.

Meanwhile, Ray Comfort's ministry put out another flash presentation in response, called "Another interview with God." This one attempts to be more straight-forward in presenting the Gospel message, while adhering to the same style.

I was looking for reviews and didn't find a lot online, so I'll give it a try myself. Check out the two links and then read what I thought of them.

My reactions:

"Interview with God":

1) Way too "warm and fuzzy" for my taste! It borders on emotional manipulation, in my opinion.

2) Along the same lines, the Gospel presented is too watered-down. It portrays some characteristics of God and paraphrases Biblical passages, but there is no direct mention to…

Dream sampling

Last night I dreamed I was kicking my brother. I woke up and I was kicking my computer on the desk. I managed to hit the disk drive and some other buttons with my foot by accident, and the computer turned on. I had to get up and turn it off. Violent!

I also dreamed that I was trying to put my flute away and there was this room full of flute cases and I kept getting them mixed up. Finally a man came over and said "Is this your cleaning cloth?" and it was my handkerchief with the yellow flowers on it. I wonder if this was related to having a stuffy nose. Hopefully I wasn't playing my flute in my sleep. That would be weird!

Jet-lag progress

Can lag and progress be in the same sentence? It seems to aptly describe the past few days. I went from waking up at 4am to going to bed at 4am.

Yesterday I got up fairly late. It was afternoon, I'll say that. I had thought it might be good to sleep in while I had the chance. Fast-forward to bedtime. I didn't get into bed until after 2, and even then I wasn't sleepy. At about 4, I turned the light back on and decided to read until I got sleepy. That didn't happen. I don't know when I actually fell asleep, 6 or so. Got up at 12. Notice I didn't say "woke up." I'm not sure what actually qualifies as being awake.

Brushed my teeth for the first time at 3pm. Got dressed at 4. Went to the store around 5 to get something to eat. Thinking about maybe taking a shower today. Or tomorrow. Unpacking at some point. I did a load of laundry, but I didn't put it away, I just take the clean clothes out of the dryer.

I feel like a college student. Except that I…

Accidental Evangelism

Have I mentioned I'm jet-lagged? Just lifting my arm to click on the mouse seems like a waste of energy. But, I'm gradually adjusting, and might even unpack my suitcases tomorrow. I only got them yesterday. And that is a story within itself...

When I arrived in St.Petersburg, I waited for about an hour at baggage claim after going through passport control. There was a short announcement apologizing for technical difficulties. Finally a crowd formed around the airport officers (think Russian ladies in army green suits and stiletto heels). No official announcement was made, but the officers were explaining to some people about filling out a Customs form and then going to the lost-and-found. We foreigners figured this out a lot later then everyone else. So all the passengers from the plane formed a line to first get their Customs form stamped and then to enter lost-and-found to fill out a missing baggage slip.

Oh, I forgot to say what happened to the baggage: they sent it back to G…

Hymn #5: One for the bad days

Wow, it's been a while. I'm going to get back into blogging with a hymn called "My God, My Father, Though I Stray" by Charlotte Elliot. It's a bit heavy, but it seems to me that it's good to have hymns for when life is tough. Recently, singing hymns (silently) helped me get through a trip to the dentist. It was either that or hyperventilate.

My God and Father! while I stray
Far from my home in life’s rough way,
Oh! teach me from my heart to say,
“Thy will be done!”

Though dark my path, and sad my lot,
Let me “be still,” and murmur not,
Or breathe the prayer divinely taught,
“Thy will be done!”

What though in lonely grief I sigh,
For friends beloved, no longer nigh,
Submissive still would I reply,
“Thy will be done!”

If Thou shouldst call me to resign
What most I prize, it ne’er was mine;
I only yield Thee what was Thine;
“Thy will be done!”

Should pining sickness waste away,
My life in premature decay,
My Father! still I strive to say,
“Thy will be done!”

If but my fainting heart…