Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Today Rachel & David had the celebration (sprasnicom in Russian) at the art school. They go Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00 - 11:30. They do some kind of artwork or craft, play for 10 minutes in the playroom and then do some counting or alaphabet. Rachel and David love it, and we've been very thankful for the wonderful, kind teachers they have and a great chance to learn Russian.

It was so sad for me personally to see that *Christmas* is not really celebrated or the word even spoken. The first sentence of the program was 'We're here to celebrate the most wonderful celebration of the year... New Year's!!' Until 1990 no Christmas celebrations or even mention of the holiday were allowed in Russia. Anyway, all the children got up to say their little poems they had memorized.. all about Father New Year and Father Frost (their much skinnier version of Santa Claus). Rachel's teacher had asked her to sing a tradional American Christmas song during the program. Rachel was the very last child called up to recite.. she stood straight and tall and belted out ...'Come on ring those bells, everybody say, Jesus we remember this your birthday.' It was so beautiful I almost started to cry; I only wish everyone in the room could have understood what the song was saying in Russian. We had such a good talk and prayer time with the kids afterwards about why programs in America celebrate the birth of Christ, but that programs here have make up fairy tales and empty stories in order to have something to celebrate. Please pray next week on January 6th as we are having a special 'Happy Birthday Jesus' celebration at our house. We have invited all the kids friends (about 15 of them) and some of the youth are coming over to act out the Christmas story and do games with them. We're planning to have a big birthday cake and share the good news of Christ's birth with these children.

Also wanted to mention to please pray for James & Andrei on Thursday at 4:00 they are doing a big program at an orphanage. The director had given them the names of all the children and the youth made BEAUTIFUL cards for every child in the orphanage. We got each child a very nice wrapped gift and a sack of chocolate candy. Also the youth have prepared songs and a skit. It's been wonderful to see how excited the youth are about the ministry opportunities these next two weeks. I was so impressed with the cards they made and the hard work they put into the skits. Our friend Chris Brudi arrives Thursday evening - he's bringing 5,000 candy canes with him and on Saturday we're going to hand them out at the train station with a special tract that explains the gospel using the candy cane. Please keep praying for us and the country of Russia!

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