Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bureaucracy about town


I had to go to my bank here to get a statement. My friend lives near that metro, and I had letters for her, so it seemed like I could combine the errands. The only problem of course being that I couldn't leave Sophia for too long.

It was my first time traveling that far within the city since May or so. Six months! I was nervous about how I'd hold up physically. I guess I didn't go anywhere without David for a long time, but we did go as a family to church and elsewhere. In fact, as I left today, a friend from church was on his way over to fix David's old stroller for Sophia!

I felt okay physically and it was good to be out in the world...a little bit of culture shock and a little bit of post-partum shock, or whatever you call it when you're doing the same old things, but as a different person.

I met up with my friend and we headed over to a cafe to sit for a few minutes. As we walked in, the guy making crepes (blini) was a kid (now grown) that I'd known in the orphanage. I started talking to him until I realized he was working on an order. They had changed the cafe around and I felt a bit discombobulated and had trouble ordering "Earl Grey" with the right Russian pronunciation. I remember those old days trying to order McDonald's and drawing out all those words, Beeeg Mahhhhk, Kyehhhchup so that the servers would understand.

We only stayed for a little while as I was nervous about getting to the bank. My friend came with me since she had the day off. While waiting in line, I looked through my paperwork and felt so confused about the dates. My latest papers said "2015," but when was that? Last year? And I hadn't been back to this bank since last June? What had happened in the meantime? Had I skipped a year of government inspection? I had a translation of my latest bank statement, so I must have used it for going to the UK. Was that last year?

The clerk called me over and had a form for me to fill out. Incidentally, for the IRS, which meant I had to fill out all my info. in English. Doesn't sound complicated, but it's really hard for me now to write out Russian words in the Latin alphabet. It's like trying to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time. At one point I did switch alphabets, but didn't get chastised.

After muddling through the documentation, I was told to come back the next day...ah, well. My friend and I said goodbye and I headed back to the metro.

Back home, our friend was still fixing the stroller. Then he and Andrei left together as Andrei headed out for a radio gig.

I need to mail off my documents to the immigration bureau and then my reward will be to get going with Advent.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Keeping on


Haven't really felt like writing, but I promised myself I would be transparent and keep sharing my thoughts.

I've probably mentioned it before, but God ministers to me through music. I wish I knew Scripture as well as I know song lyrics, but there's room for both! And I try to challenge myself to match up the songs with corresponding Bible passages.

Recently when I've been trying to quiet my soul, I keep recalling the words "...'Cause life is hard. And it might not get easier."* That's from a song I learned at summer camp back in middle school. Not too positive, right? But the line before that is, "..and we all need Jesus." So, in that case, the words ring true. In John ch.16:33 Jesus tells his disciples, "In this world you will have trouble." I don't see that as a scary thing. I just see it as assurance that going through hardship is normal and doesn't mean that we are being neglected by God or specifically targeted. Of course I am writing this while still trying to convince myself that my troubles aren't any worse than anyone else's.

And then of course there is the obvious: "I cry out. For your hand of mercy to heal me."** Not my favorite song musically, but a good song of appeal, reminiscent of a Psalm.

There are also a few that we sing in Russian that are comforting to me. For some reason I like "With all I am" (Hillsong) better in Russian, but I'll include some of the English words here:

Jesus I believe in you
Jesus I belong to you
You're the reason that I live
The reason that I sing
With all I am

I'll walk with you
Wherever you go
Through tears and joy
I'll trust in you

And I will live
In all of your ways and
Your promises forever

And that one I guess is about Jesus as a precious friend and the center of life. For me I think it's about how He sustains me. I want to cling to Him and all of the promises that He represents.

P.S. Found this site, kind of neat: http://wordtoworship.com/

*"We Believe in God" (Amy Grant)
** "Good to Me" (Vineyard)