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Showing posts from February, 2008

God cares for orphans, Part 4

In an example of a best-case scenario, one of my English students has found a home in a Christian family.




You may remember Lolita, 10, from earlier posts. She has now been adopted by an American woman. Lolita met her new mom through a hosting program that brings kids to the U.S. to stay in families during Christmas and summer vacation periods. This gives them a chance to get to know each other a little bit before pursuing adoption. Now that the adoption has been completed, Lolita’s mom reports that they are doing fine and that Lolita is enjoying school. Praise the Lord!

Many kids are being adopted through this program. Let’s pray that the children would receive the true Spirit of Adoption as they are being loved and given a home by families who are following the Lord.

This seems like a good opportunity to share about a dream I had a few years ago.

I was walking down a main street and came upon a rally of some sort. People were marching with banners that said “Abba.” I looked around and s…

God cares for orphans, Part 3

Recently I was talking with Galina, the orphanage counselor whom I tutor in English. I update the database of kids in the orphanage who are eligible for our hosting program, so sometimes I ask Galina to clarify about certain kids. This time she told me that two more of the kids are being adopted (by Americans), along with their older brother from another orphanage.

“Soon we will have no kids and the orphanage will close!” she said sadly. I immediately thought of our prayers for the orphanages to close. It is in some ways a joyous thought, but for someone like Galina, it is a sad one. It truly takes great sacrifice to love kids who may be adopted by others or will simply graduate and go out into the world. Some are moved to other orphanages as well. Therefore, many orphanage staff members who seem harsh are simply trying to keep a little emotional distance between themselves and children they might lose.

I am constantly amazed by orphanage workers who pour their lives out for the childre…

No words to add

I finally finished "Everlasting Man" by G.K. Chesterton. I got stuck in a few sections, but in general I enjoyed it.

Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book. The quote is about the power of the Gospel. But I'm not going to add any other explanation. You'll see why.

"The tale has been retold with patronising pathos by elegant sceptics and with fluent enthusiasm by boisterous bestsellers. It will not be retold here. The grinding power of the plain words of the Gospel story is like the power of mill-stones; and those who can read them simpy enough will feel as if rocks had been rolled upon them. Criticism is only words about words; and of what use are words about such words as these? What is the use of word-painting about the dark garden filled suddenly with torchlight and furious faces? 'Are you come out with swords and staves as against a robber? All day I sat in your temple teaching, and you took me not.' Can anything be added to the massive and ga…

God cares for orphans, Part 2

The other day I was at a prayer meeting for people with a heart for orphans. The crowd of about 14 included missionaries from different countries (Germany, the U.S., Great Britain) as well as Russians. There was a young Russian lady present whom I hadn't met before, although she was accompanied by some ladies I do know who work in transitional homes for orphanage graduates.

After the prayer had ended, I approached the young lady to introduce myself. She was sitting by herself as the others talked amongst themselves. "I'm an orphanage graduate!" she announced, partway into the conversation. My heart was immediately touched that she had risen out of her circumstances and joined a body of believers who wanted to help others in her situation. "I want to help orphans too," she said. She also shared with me that she had lived in Kazakstan for four years, as a missionary to the Muslims. "I liked my years from 20-25 the best," she said almost wistfully. &q…

God cares for orphans, Part 1

Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless. Exodus 22: 22-24



I am so thankful that God in Heaven recognizes the needs of orphans and does not forget them. They are one of the special groups of people to whom he has given attention since the beginning. He hears their cry. It can be perplexing to understand how to help, but God's stance on orphans is clear: He loves them, and it's an abomination to Him when they are mistreated.



What elections?

Elections for the next president of the Russian Federation will be held on March 2nd. But in St.Petersburg at least, things are quiet. I haven't been watching tv, but I checked the Internet news sites and there are no headlines about the Russian elections. There is a little information on Russian news sites, but it is eclipsed by an announcement about Putin's last presidential speech. In St.Petersburg, there are a few billboards reminding people to vote. But unlike during the parliamentary campaigns in the fall, there are no flashy messages urging people to lend their voice. Apparently, it doesn't matter whether they vote or not. Everything is already decided.

Heaven

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. -Rev.21:1



I was pleased to see this article from Time posted online. It is an interview of Bishop Tom Wright of the Church of England, as he dispels some of the myths in Western culture about what Heaven is supposed to be like. As explained in the interview, some of those myths come from a non-Biblical view of the afterlife, some from literature, and some from the Bible being quoted out of context. I don't agree with everything in the interview, but I like seeing the myths being questioned.

Four Continents

Later this year, my brother Nathan will marry Hortense, a native of Congo-Zaire.


This means that our family will include members from North America, South America, Europe, and Africa. We just need to get Asia and Australia to join us. Antarctica might be a little tough.

Praise the Lord, who brings different cultures together for His glory.

Psalm 117
1 Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.
2 For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.

Emotional

Recently I was struck by the story of Joseph in the Old Testament. I had read it sometime last year, but I don’t remember noticing how highly emotional it is. In nearly 10 instances, Joseph or one of his family members is described as weeping.

Joseph had experienced trauma on a variety of levels. The pain of a youth being betrayed by one’s family, in a culture where family was extremely important. The pain of separation from that family. The terror of finding oneself in a strange land. Spending time in jail. Not knowing whether he would be executed along with inmates.

But we are given no insight into Joseph’s emotions until the reunion. When he’s sold into slavery, the impression of him is the beloved yet spoiled son who pestered his brothers. And then suddenly he’s in Egypt, doing just fine. What did he experience?

And then the brothers come and Joseph struggles to control his emotions and to hide them, upon seeing his brothers again and hearing them remembering their sin against him.

24…

Street-smart

Today I was waiting on the metro platform and along came a stray dog. Somehow he had gotten through the turnstile and down the escalator. When the train approached, the dog began to bark, and I thought, "Surely he doesn't know how to ride the metro." But the doors opened, and he entered the same wagon as me! Then he settled down and took a nap. It was fun watching people trying to look stern, yet smiling anyway.

I took a picture with my mobile phone.



Here is a closer view, but blurry.By the way, this scene with empty seats is not typical. But I guess not too many people are out and about on a Sunday morning. Except for those going to church, heading to work, or returning from a night-shift.

The Future of Missionaries in Russia-Part III

I will continue my thoughts by going more into detail about the different lifestyle options for missionaries. A common strategy for missionaries is tent-making. For example, one main area of tent-making for missionaries to Russia is in education, namely teaching English. This continues to be an area in which foreigners can serve.

I've noticed that a lot of missionaries or other visitors upon arrival in Russia have either: 1) a profession acquired in their home country, but minimal Russian, or 2) Russian language training, but little professional skills.

Does there exist, or will there ever be a third group of people, who have an excellent command of the Russian language and also are highly skilled in a specific profession? People who could live like ordinary Russian citizens? It takes a long time to learn a language to the point of being able to work and communicate in a professional manner. Should living like native citizens be a goal? Certainly it makes sense to try to adapt to th…