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Showing posts from June, 2011

"When David slew Goliath (yes!)...

....that was a miracle, too."

Today I was on the way to get the decision from Immigration about my new passport. I was really trying to walk in faith, and I remembered the "Miracle of Miracles" song (from Fiddler on the Roof), which I have never found very appealing musically. But suddenly, the lyrics seemed appropriate. I needed my miracle.

The waiting area was as tense and sober as usual. I thought to myself, even if I were completely confident about the state of my own documents, I would still be nearly brought to my knees out of compassion for all of the others. So much confusion and despair and frustration. Where to go, what to write on the form, how to get some answers when the line is so long and the working hours so few. I feel raw inside each time I go there.

As a Christian, shouldn't I be immune from fear? But I can't live without emotions. We are IN the world, even if we are not of this world. And the words came to me: salt...yeast...just a little bit…


"We have sad news in the orphanage." I felt like my heart stopped when Galina told me that today during our weekly tutoring session.

I immediately started thinking of the "older" ladies who worked at the orphanage. I hoped nothing had happened to one of them.

"It's Liosha," said Galina. "His parents are not coming to get him. The adoption is not going to happen. Liosha cried when he found out, and he went to camp yesterday."

My heart was breaking for Liosha at this news. Out of all the wounded kids, his pain and loneliness gets to me the most. Galina said that when he came to the orphanage he used to just sit under a desk, afraid to come out.

He was afraid of me too, for a while. But nowadays I can get a playful smile.

Getting adopted seemed like the best thing that could happen to Liosha. He is so fragile emotionally, though he is a kind, smart boy. I just can't picture his future after graduating from the orphanage. A new life in Calif…

Yes and maybe

Today was a somewhat crucial day as far as some of the goals we've been working towards for the summer.

1) At 8:30 in the morning, Andrei had his visa interview at the U.S. Consulate. We had heard rumors that spouses aren't guaranteed non-immigrant/tourist visas since they might be just using their new marital status as an excuse to emigrate. The general approach is that the Consulate assumes the applicant will be tempted to stay in the U.S., and therefore he should prove that he has ties to his home country.

Andrei and I got a few letters of recommendation and could have taken some steps to prove our relationship is legitimate, etc. However, Andrei felt that he just needed to tell the truth and not embellish, nor hide anything. So he headed into the Consulate at 8:30 this morning and emerged within an hour with an orange card...that means YES.

2) After picking up the translations of my latest documents (including the letterhead and stamp of a few documents that were otherwise…

When candids go wrong

Ummmm....not quite what Andrei and I had in mind when we were looking for a home appropriate for having guests over...:)

Don't I look like the most welcoming hostess? Tea, anyone?

more photos/-
But in the end, everyone was full and happy...

Old life meets new

My college professor is in town! We met for coffee today and I got to show off my fiance, who always has lots of interesting cultural facts to share. :)

 Andrei and I were asked to speak to the group of students from my university that are here for a summer exchange program. Stay tuned for part 2 in July...

Rejected again

I had the idea of going to the Consulate again. After all, they got me my (currently disputed) passport, and they can intercede for citizens, even when it's outside the realm of their usual services.

At the same time I wrote an e-mail to the Embassy in Moscow, thinking that since there are more U.S. citizens there, they might have seen this problem before.

The lady from the Consulate in St. P. called me right away and suggested a few options. It was nice of her to be so responsive. She described another letter that she can get for me, but I explained that it will not be accepted without legalization. It turns out that the problem with getting it legalized is that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can't confirm the signature of the Consul in St. Petersburg!

She said she would make some phone calls and get back to me. Today, the word was that she had called both the Wedding Palace and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and once again, both offices refuse to do what Immigration has d…

Bureaucracy at its "best"

The officials have done a really good job this time, sending us from office to office without anyone wanting to take responsibility and give an answer. Apparently our case is strange and perplexing. Who would have thought?

3 weeks ago (seems like longer), I spent the day at Immigration, having spent a month collecting all the documents they'd requested. Since then, we have tried several different options, none of which have been fruitful (yet).

Week One
Friday: Immigration: they are confused. I am distraught.
The following Tuesday: Immigration: they still are confused. I am calmer, but longing to be understood.
Thursday: The committee at Immigration gives us two options: We can go to Moscow (they already told us no) or go to the wedding archives. The people at the wedding archives are confused and send us to get a document. The document guy won't be in his office until Monday.

Week Two
Monday: Meet with professor guy who can get us the document.
Tuesday: The document isn't re…

Letting go

I got a new phone the other day because my other one was dying, and it took a certain amount of effort to transfer the contacts between the two. But I actually received an unexpected blessing going through those contacts, in the form of memories.

My tendency to accumulate things extends even as far as my address book, and I looked at the list and decided it was time to prune...why was THAT person still in there? Surely I could do a little pruning in this area of life, at least.

But it wasn't so easy. My first year here was FULL of encounters with various interesting people. I was very prayerful about how I spent my time, and about each relationship. Perhaps it happens for many missionaries or any Christian servants, that they expect miracles at first and look at each day with such hope and anticipation...

No, I know it was hard. I didn't know Russian as well then, and everything was new and strange. But I sought the Lord, and He was with me.

And I look at the names of people w…