Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Christ is Risen!

I love the traditional Russian greeting on Easter morning.. 'Christ is Risen!' to which you reply 'He is Risen INDEED!' Rachel, David & Caleb had so much fun going to all our neighbors to give them eggs and kaluchi - a traditional Easter cake. They returned with their arms filled with eggs, chocolate candies and the largest apricot/liquer candy bar I had ever seen. Even Caleb learned to shout out "Viestemoo Voskress" (He is risen indeed) and enjoyed shouting it out to everyone he saw regardless if they had said anything to him.

James had an interesting Easter experience.... a few weeks ago an Orthodox Monk began attending the weekly Bible study. He said he really enjoyed actually studying the Bible without formal ceremony (hmmm good observation). So the Monk invited James to visit his church for the traditional midnight service (Sat. night) and then the large meal/celebration that lasts until 4-5:00am. Here's one picture James took of the Priest and people marching around the church three times at midnight. James said parts of the ceremony were very meaningful and God-honoring, but unfortunately most of the service was in the old Slavic language that is very difficult for everyone to understand. (like us attending a service in Latin) Pray for James' continued friendship with this Monk who's name is Slava.

Well I've been meaning to update this blog for weeks.. so here are random happenings from the past few weeks...

*our dog Snowflake had 6 puppies... our kiddos are wild with excitement! I know James is excited but he is hiding his joy very well (heh!) The father is a gigantic pure white Siberian 'kafkaz' - a huge huge dog (I'm guessing 200 lbs at least). Anyone out there want a puppy??! Hmm can you ship those UPS?

*Just when you think Johanna can't possibly get any cuter/sweeter.. she does! She is saying a few words her favorites being 'JoJo' and 'ut-oh' She has also become obsessed this week with stuffed animals... we have a collection of stuffed animals that none of our other children have ever played with - but now Johanna toddles around the house with her arms stuffed with 4-5 assorted bears, chipmunks and dogs. It's quite entertaining because you can hardly see her head as she walks around singing and talking to them constantly. (ohh and please ignore the black markings on her face.. I was getting the other kids ready for a walk so she decided to climb up onto the kitchen counter, grab a black permanent marker and decorate herself.. I was in a hurry so decided to just wash it off after our walk... and then afterwards wondered why all our neighbors looked at me funny...)

*UPDATE: on the house we are trying to buy for a youth center - they passed a new law in January and everyone is so scared of this law (??) that no privatization of houses/lands are being done right now... so we will wait some more :( The good news is that the lady we are buying the house from is also very discouraged about the wait and has agreed to let us rent the house! James & Andrei spent several days cleaning it and our friends Chris & Camilla moved in! So even though it's not *ours* yet, it's great to think about this summer and the many things we could do with a yard/more space. We are thinking of trying to have a children's day camp... pray for wisdom as we make plans for summer ministry! Thank you again to all our dear family & friends for your love and prayers for us - we are so grateful for each of you! I just don't express it near enough....

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