Wednesday, January 25, 2006


You talk about COLD weather!! Last week it was the coldest it's been in the Moscow area in 26 years! The coldest the official thermometer at the bank registered was -34 C. They were predicting it would get down to -40 one night.. I thought that would be neat since C and F level out at -40 :). On the coldest night Johanna was nursing around 2:00 am and I kept thinking.. 'it's really cold in here', but was too tired to get up.. James got up around 5:00 and realized the radiators were cold - NOT good! The gas heater had stopped working sometime in the night and besides a cold house all the water pipes were frozen! We got all the kids up bundled in our bed with a little space heater and made a fun *family memory* reading and cuddling all morning while poor James ran around trying to figure out why the heater had stopped working. He finally discovered that the vent to the outside had a piece of ice frozen inside and the heater has a safety feature that if anything obstructs the outside vent it immediately shuts down. So we were very thankful when it started working again - it's amazing how quickly a house can cool down when it's -30 out! I'll never forget David's expression when he was cuddling in bed with me.. he had a far away look on his face and I asked him what he was thinking about.. he answered 'I'm praying to Jesus' :) he's too cute. I told James there's nothing like a little crisis to make for some good family bonding times! :)

In other news.. Chris & Jeremy returned and had more home visits and Bible studies. There has been a young man Vlad who started coming to the English lessons - he told James he was an atheist, but wanted to learn English. After a few weeks of coming to the English lessons, he came to the Wed night Bible study and stayed late asking all kinds of questions. James gave him a Bible and he's been reading through the book of John. Anyway, some Jehovah Witnesses showed up at the Youth Center apartment and wanted to visit. Andrei (James' assistant) invited them in and they asked 'what exactly do you do here?' They told Andrei they had been visiting a young man named Vlad who told them he was an atheist, but IF he ever would decide to believe there was a God he would be interested in the God they talk about at Marshalla-Zhukova apartment 24 (our address). So the JW's decided to check out who lived at that address. For some reason this was amusing to me.. to think about an atheist *witnessing* to the JW's :) Anyway, pray for Vlad. And yes I will try to post some pictures soon before the Grandparents disinherit us :) :):)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Merry Christmas!!

There is SOOOO much to tell you about.. and so little time :( Okay Thursday the 28th was the big program at the orphanage. It's not a true orphanage, but more a foster home type situation for children that have just been taken from their homes (i.e parent in prison) and are on their way to an orphanage. Anyway, there were 28 children presently living there and James had received their names and their requests for what kind of present they would like to receive. The youth had made beautiful cards for each child to go along with the gift. The program went very, very well. James said the youth enjoyed *performing* as much as the children enjoyed the program. Rachel, David & Caleb all got to go along and James said they loved sitting among the children & enjoying the program also.

Friday 29th, 30th & 31st - James, Andrei, Chris Brudi & Jeremy Nunez visited homes all day every day. When we received the names and addresses from the city administration we didn't realize that many of the families had a parent in prison. The homes visits were just incredible. James couldn't believe how open the people were to talking.. I have lots of stories I'll save for later. Actually I want to post some pictures that Chris has with him.. so more later.

New Year's Eve is the BIGGEST holiday of the year here in Russia. James woke Rachel & David up just before midnight to take them to the city square to watch the fireworks. They came back an hour later and David's eyes were as big as saucers... he is still talking about the *big explosions* and of course his narrative is always with very loud sound effects.. too cute!

January 1st - 6th - James & his crew continued the home visits every day. The 3rd they had a big bonfire/ *shashleek* (hot dog roast) out in the woods. It was a beautiful day, but very cold. They had a really special time of singing, sharing.

January 2nd James and Chris were visiting in a large dormitory building where homeless people are given a small room (no kitchen or bathroom). As they were leaving the building James said he heard a large *pop* that sounded exactly like when a light bulb explodes. He looked up and Chris, who was right beside him, was staggering like he was about to fall over. Someone had thrown a vodka bottle from one of the balconies up above and hit Chris right on top of the head. Chris blacked out and had a very bad headache and ringing in his ears for the next two days. Chris said the bottle just *happened* to hit his head right on the little ball that was on top of his hat.. if it hadn't hit right there he could have suffered even more serious of an injury. We were so thankful for God's protection! Chris & Jeremy left the 5th to go to Moldova and will be back in Nara-Faminsk the 18th - 23rd.

Saturday 7th we collapsed :) and had a wonderful Christmas celebration with just our family. I need to run, but just had to post a quick update and thank everyone for praying. There are so many stories I want to share about passing out candy canes and home visits... I will post more later, I just need to run to feed a hungry baby... I need to post a picture of Johanna - she is growing faster than okra in July :) and is getting gigantic chipmunk cheeks. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!!

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