Saturday, October 24, 2009

Summer report

I told James to chain me to the computer and not let me up until I had updated the blog :)   We've had so much going on I feel like I never really reported on summer camps.  James said this summer was by far the *best* ~ most organized, lots of great help, great kids (no one brought drugs or got drunk!!  this had never happened the previous years).    One neat thing that happened after camp is that two young men Costya & Dennis decided to go to a Christian drug rehab center.   They have been there almost 8 weeks now and both have repented!   James has been going to visit them and share with the group.  He is really impressed with the Christian man who decided to begin this ministry; it is certainly a huge need.  The facility is a tiny wooden house and James said 20 people sleep in the one room you see below.  Costya and Dennis are both doing great and say the training and encouragement they've received have changed their lives.   

If you notice the lady sitting to the left in the black scarf ~ that is our neighbor Olga.  Her son is the one that committed suicide last month.    James had invited her to go along just to get her out of the house and have some fellowship.  She has been coming over all the time to just visit and talk.  One night last week she came over and did my dishes and folded laundry with Rachel.  She brought over a stack of children's books that had been Dima's and wanted to give them to Johanna.   There is still deep grief, but it's been amazing to see how this has opened up a friendship.  To give you an idea of how things work over here with the Orthodox Church.. I told you the local Orthodox Priest had refused to do the burial.  Well Olga went to a higher up Priest in Moscow and gave him a monetary *gift*, and he agreed to come out and perform the ritual of 'praying his soul out of hell.'    Thank you to those who have prayed for her and Zhenya.
I wanted to post some pictures from the end of August.  Both of Rachel's friends have birthdays and the parties are always a highlight of the summer.  The older *babushka* in the back is our dearest 'Babul Irena' as we all call her.  She is Olga's great-grandmother and one of the sweetest ladies I have ever met.  Johanna and I take a walk every evening in the summer and we always end up at Babul's house for a chat.  She is 82 years old and is amazing ~ there is a reason they call them the 'greatest generation'.  :)
This is from Darina's birthday party.  Don't worry the kids didn't consume any alcohol ;)  They played games out in the field and had a wonderful time.
September was filled with apples ~ we have 6 apple trees in our yard and this year was a bumper harvest.  We made apple butter, applesauce, and apple cobbler and pie almost every night.  There is a reason the fall is my favorite time of year!  It was so much fun to watch the kids climb trees all afternoon and sit up there munching on apples.   Our other dearest Grandmother 'Baba Luba' as we call her (red hair) and her sister Vera came over several days to help us peel apples.   With them around it seemed like a party.  James also took entire van loads of apples to all the widows/shut-ins over at our old apartment building.  Baba Luba was joking that all the Grandmothers love it when James rings their doorbell!
Here's Rachel and Johanna helping her friend Olga with their potato harvest.   Rachel had so much fun helping in the garden.
And of course Johanna thought she was the biggest helper around.
Summer 2009 will forever be remembered as the summer of the puppies.  Our dog Nutmeg had three adorable puppies and the kids played for hours and hours with them.  Johanna dressed them up in doll clothes and pushed them in her doll carriage and was in canine paradise.
There is something about little boys and puppies that just makes your heart melt.
Caleb & Super Hero, David & Rex (a family in Texas is laughing right now.. but don't worry he isn't your namesake, he was named after Billy's dog in the Billy & Blaze books ;)  and Rachel & Paprika.
David kept telling me.. Rex thinks I'm his Mommy!  Oh we had so much fun with these puppies!  David's dog is a guard dog for a store not far away so the kids still walk down and play with Rex.  Happy happy Memories.

So there's a few pictorial highlights of our summer.  We're back to our school schedule which for James includes two Bible studies a week and then Sunday.  Teaching English at the orphanage, visiting the drug rehab center every other week, and also an English class at the Youth Center as a way to meet new people.  Also he and Andrei do lots of visiting in the hospital and a low income apartment building (similar to a homeless shelter in the States).  

Prayer Requests:

1. Continued good health for Susan ~ so far all my tests, scans & bloodwork have been good.  Yeah!  I am still struggling with anemia.. so pray I start liking liver ;)

2. Sanity for Susan as she homeschools ~ a 5th, 3rd and 1st grader now!  All I can say is I'm camping out on God's promise that 'HIS grace is sufficient'  cuz I feel like I'm in wayyyyyyy over my abilities!   

3. The children & Susan to learn Russian  fluently ~ we're really trying to make this our goal for the year.  James & Rachel are completely fluent.. but the rest of us to only varying degrees.   

4. Wisdom for James and continued opportunities for ministry.

5. Please pray for a dear friend Slava, he came to camp last year and regularly to the Bible studies last year. (those of you who helped at camp last year.. Slava was the one with the glass eye)  While he was away this summer his Mom Ludmilla was beaten to death by the man living with her.   Ludmilla had come several times to talk to James about camp and the Bible and was a wonderful loving, caring Mom.  Slava is devastated as they were very close.  

6. Our neighbors Zhenya & Olga as they continue to grieve over the death of their son.

Thank you again for all YOU do to make it possible for us to live here... may God richly bless each of you!

1 comment:

salvation78028 said...

Wow! What a catch-up! Thanks! I love you and your dear family. I'll be praying over your prayer list. God is good!

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