Making blinchki

Making blinchki

I had a friend over Friday night. She can neither understand nor speak English. Ha! It was so much fun! I made dinner, we ate and talked a little. Then she taught me how to make Blinchki. She also told me about her friend who just got married and now lives in Germany, and I understood a lot of what she said! Then we watched a movie in Russian while eating our yummy dessert. At the end of the night I was not exhausted from trying to understand and speak! I was so energized by her kind smile and patience with me. I am so blessed with wonderful friends.

Here comes the SON!!! (doo do doo do :)

It was sunny all day today!  Thank you Lord.  

And I had blessing upon blessing today from Jesus.  It started on Sunday when one of the pastors preached on the Peace of God.  I couldn’t understand most of what He said but I understood the Scripture he read.  Col. 3:15 was the verse the message was based around.  “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”  Pastor Vadim took the verse apart section by section and I was able to follow along on the note sheet he gave to everyone.  As he gave us the blanks to fill in on the power point I wrote it in and looked up it’s meaning.  It was so neat to be able to get a little of what pastor was saying.  And then on the inside of his handout he gave verses to read each day this week.  So I have been able to meditate on what peace really means with my new church family.  I am so thankful!  

Tonight I went to small group where we talk about the sermons and other questions we have from the Bible.  No one there could speak English and I did not understand most of what was said.  But afterwards, when we were all sitting around the table with a cup of tea, they included me in as much of the conversation as they new how.  I loved just watching them interact with each other.  The church here really knows about visiting, seeing one another, and just sitting around talking.  I feel like I have always been the one to rush out of the room when a meeting is over and not really just sit until all topics are exhausted   Just to sit with people because.  With no agenda, no pressing task weighing on my mind.  Bear in mind I have no idea what was being said so I could have completely misinterpreted this time… but it was still good to be reminded what is really important.  

I was driven home without asking for a ride.  They told me how it was going to be and I had to comply because I couldn’t really say anything else.  I felt so cared for and loved by them all.  Although it is strange for me that I am not being sharpened and challenged by the truth of God through daily conversation with friends, I am seeing God through these people.  I think they way I am used to being sharpened is going to change for a little while.  But the Lord knew!  I feel like the past few years I have been poured into from every side.  I feel so rich with the blessings of God from His people.  And now that I am here and can not experience the same kind of building up that words can do, I am still reminded of the grace that was poured out to me over the last few years.  The Lord knows what I need and when He takes away a blessing for a little while I can still look at His greatness and say, “Blessed be your name!  You give and take away, or just change the manner in which you give.  I don’t deserve any blessing from you, yet you choose to unite yourself to me.”  I have Christ above all and He is my life source!  

I just feel like skipping right now… but the neighbors under me might not like that…  

Just a normal day…

and the apartment’s kitchen 🙂 Where I spend most of my time.ImageI woke up this morning to my alarm assuring me that it was morning but I could not think of one reason why it should be morning yet.  My bedroom windows were very dark and I was still comfortably tucked under my warm blankets.  I am learning to get up before the sun because the sun takes it’s time around here.

During time with my Lord this morning I was reading Hebrews 1.  I got to soak in the truth that Jesus is not a prophet, he is not an angel, He is the Son of God and deserves my worship.  I also was amazed at the fact that knowing Christ as my Lord means that God calls me His child.  He doesn’t even give that name to the angels.  Because I am in Christ, God has lifted me up above the angels!  God’s church is His bride and His beloved.  I am speechless…

After breakfast and a quick clean up of my apt. (did you know that if you soak your shower head in vinegar it cleans it up just like new?  It works, I let it soak over night and now I have power in the shower.  hey, that rhymes!) my Russian teacher rang from downstairs.  I buzzed her up and soon was caught up in the whirl wind that is the Russian language/ my teacher 🙂

After lessons is a good time of day for me to work out.  It is around noon, so I know my neighbors will be awake and hopefully nobody’s taking a nap or trying to eat.  I try to jump lightly but…  No one has complained yet… of course if they did I would just say, I can’t understand you.  And think, “Oh, they are nice neighbors trying to meet me and all.”  🙂  this clueless thing is handy sometimes.

Today I really wanted to get across the street to the open air market.  Every time I try it is too late in the day and they are closed.  But I really think they are never open because I have never seen it open.  Today was the same story.  So I went to a store.  Tried to find cheddar cheese (to no avail).  I found parm cheese though!  And I got some ultra pasteurized milk… anybody want to explain to me the difference between ultra pasteurized and just plain old pasteurized…  I thought, since it sounded more processed, it would taste more like the milk I’m used to.  But it is kinda, not to my liking for drinking plain.  It is good for what I need it for though, soup.  I then went to a small store right on the corner of my street called, pit stop.  Isn’t that great?!  I got a cappuccino with chocolate.  And I’m sure I was very rude about asking for it too.  Even though I think I have been taught how to ask for things in the store, when I’m there, and the lady behind the counter glances my way, I freeze!  “Good feelings gone.”  So I just blurt out, “I want coffee.”  “Oh,” she thinks to herself, “this American just can’t take it any more and needs coffee, with chocolate.”  I wasn’t that desperate, just wanted to see if I could find something that remotely resembled what I was used to.  She proceed to cut open a tiny packet and pour the contents into a cup of hot water.  With a tiny, little, spoon she dunked a spoonful of chocolate into the little plastic cup and put it on the counter.  I looked at it knowing it was instant coffee and hopping for the best.  The cup was about as big as my fist, but it was okay, I only paid 15 rubles for it (that’s like 50 cents).  I began stirring in my chocolate.  The drink was nothing to complain about and I half enjoyed it as I walked back to my apartment.  But I wanted to make one more stop.  So along came my little, lidless, plastic (I don’t know why they don’t melt) cup into the meat store with me.  The meat store is basically straight ahead as I walk out of my apartment.  I see it everyday and wonder, “Just how bad does it smell in there?”  so I decided to find out the day I bought an open drink.  (I am making such a big deal about it because I felt a little unsanitary about the whole thing.)  It was not just meat in there, and did not smell very strong at all really.  And another plus was when I tried to open the freezer to look through the chicken and the lady said it was locked, I knew she was talking to me and what she was communicating.  (Knowing what someone is communicating is very exciting for me now-a-days.  I still don’t usually know what people are saying, but if I understand that the freezer is locked and she will get me what I want, it’s a good day.)  So I bought the chicken that the lady pulled out.  It didn’t look very good but when I tried to ask if there were any others she asked if I want more than one… I said no and that was that.  I am very happy with my frozen little chicken.  I like this meat lady, and since she is right here I would like to go to her more often so I can know her and stuff.  But we will have to see if this chicken is worth it.

What else…  I got home and did homework.  Heated up some rice and veggies and watched UP in Russian while trying to copy down my new words from today’s lesson.

oh, and I did laundry… can’t remember when that happened…

So now I am done and will go read my Russian children’s book about Jesus.  Then my adult English book about Jesus and go to sleep.

“Thank you Jesus for this day and that you were here understanding me and giving me joy.”  амин

Winter Camp

I just spent five days at TCC where the youth pastor of the oblast held a winter camp.  The small car that we took for the two hour drive got air a few times!  The roads between oblasts are apparently not high priority for the Russians.

NOTE: an Oblast is an area kind of the size of a small state.  It works sort of like a county and is usually named after the big city in the area. Tambov is the city I live in, but the oblast is also called Tambov, spanning more than just this city.

Arriving Monday, we got busy right away with decorations.  They gave me the arts and crafts kind of tasks where they could show me what needed to be done.  I cut out letters and cut out puzzle shapes and other such things.  The next three days I ran around in the fog of Russian, peeling potatoes, playing the piano, trying desperately to be creative and helpful.  I learned a lot of Russian, improved in my understanding and gained more friends.  🙂

When we arrived home early this morning, I walked into my bed room to see my big, beautiful quilt spread over the bed.  I thought, “ah, I am home.”  🙂  I am thankful for the time away for so many reasons, one of them being that coming back made me feel more like I was coming home.