Monday, October 20, 2008

Russia and The Rock

Some missionaries are criticized for giving up and leaving. Others are asked, “Why are you still here?” Both are legitimate causes for concern. In some ways I am glad that Russia is getting stricter about foreigners; it makes it clearer who should stay and who should go. But the Lord helps me overcome obstacles to living here. When I pray for guidance, I pray, “I need a sign bigger than finances. And I need a sign bigger than visa laws.” Because God is bigger and if it's His will He can make any problem melt away. I don’t have a family to care for, I don’t have a house, and I don’t have a specific “program” that I’m tied to, so my decisions are not dependent on those factors. As for health problems or family emergencies, I would rather not think about those. I have committed them to the Lord.

When I first visited Russia, it was 1996. A time of turmoil. But even now, a lot of Russians live in a state of instability. That is not meant to be a criticism, it is just something the Lord put on my heart. I see people struggling with daily questions: When will my rent go up again? Where will I live if I can’t afford it? When will I receive my salary? How much will the pension be when I retire? How will I get to work if the metro station is closed and I don’t have money for the bus? That’s not even mentioning the orphans and all of their uncertainties.

Is my life so stable? Is U.S. culture so superior? Americans face just as many uncertainties. Maybe they are hidden, but they are there. Or perhaps, their confidence is based on the wrong kind of stability. I wish that people from other lands would go and tell them that and help them see where to put their trust. There are unreached people in the world, but there are other lost ones who could use a fresh perspective.

Meanwhile, what do I have to offer? The only thing I have is a solid foundation.

The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. -Matthew 7:25

At camp this year we sang, “Jesus is the Rock and He rolls my blues away.” But in Russian it goes, “Jesus is my Rock, and I will build my house on Him.” I always had a little trouble taking that song seriously because it reminded me of Rock n Roll (bop shoo bop shoo bop WHOO!). But I like the Russian words better. And I hope that the children received the message that we were singing.

6 comments:

  1. So, have you found your sign...other than the visa laws and finances? It's very interesting to read what you write and completely understand (well, for the most part) where you are coming from...it's weird having my thoughts put into writing by another person!
    Have a great day!

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  2. Karen: I don't know! Sometimes you only recognize a "sign" in retrospect.

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  3. I like the Russian words much better, too. And that is where I need to put my faith these days as things in my life are so uncertain. Your faith is really a boost for me, Elizabeth.

    I am interested in knowing what church you attend (at home)... Your faith is so alive.

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  4. Thanks, Annie, I guess now I need to practice what I preach!

    My church at home is a pretty ordinary non-denominational church. It has gone through changes over the years but has maintained the goal, "To Know Christ and Make Him Known." I always see faithful people there. You can look at the website, I don't know how often they update it. http://www.thecollegechurch.org/index.html

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  5. Elizabeth,It was so good meeting you and your Mom during the Summer when I visited College Church with my 2 daughters. Was impressed by your testimony.I pray for u...Elsie

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  6. Thank you for your prayers, Elsie! I am thankful that the Lord gave us the opportunity to meet!

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