Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Русская Mузыка

Every Tuesday for our conversation class, we have the privilege of attending music class. It's really not that bad, and we get to learn a little about Russian history through the old folk songs that we are singing, oh and we get to watch tv as well! So, I guess it's good! :)

Well, today, Julie and I were faced with the task of singing an American song. Do you know how hard it is to find a song that has some great meaning and that's also considered old?? Yeah, there's not that many, especially ones that are easy to sing, but thankfully our teacher kept asking for spirituals, and these two girls, well we know a few spirituals. The song that came to both of our minds was Amazing Grace. So, before it was our turn to sing, I just asked God for guidance and for the knowledge of how to explain the song in Russian and that our classmates and teacher would get an understanding of the song and of its meaning.

So, when it came time to singing, I opened my mouth and out came the words of that beautiful song. I heard the Korean girl across from me, breathe in and say something in Korean and then she smiled. Also, I could see our teacher from the corner of my eye, and I saw that she too recognized the song. We only sang the two verses we could remember and then it was time for me to explain. All I could put together with my limited Russian, along with the help of my trusty dictionary, was that it was an old British and American song that's about when Jesus Christ died for us, He gave us grace. When we first believe in Him, we receive that grace.

After I finished explaining the song, our teacher told us that she had heard the song before when she visited America. Then she asked if we could give her the words.

Julie and I know for a fact that we were the only believers in the room and I pray that our song, along with it's very limited translation reached the hearts of our classmates and teacher. Here are the names of our classmates, Moto, Hyien, Yukari, Mien, Roma, Enjay, Hoozal, and Pak Segee. I'm not sure of our music teacher's name because we only have her once a week, and I forgot it!

Please be praying for our class, that Julie and I will seek to glorify the Father and that through us seeking Him that others will in turn start to desire and seek that themselves. Also, please pray that each of our classmates and teachers will have a believer in their lives that is able to communicate to them in their native language and speak the truth to their hearts.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Going on a Walk

Wow! God is good!! Today we went prayer walking around the center of the city, and even had some answered prayers before we were finished with the walk. Here’s what happened:
So this morning starts off overcast and cool. I wasn’t feeling too good, I’ve had like a cold or allergy thing going on, and so I wasn’t really up to walking all over the city and I was actually kind of dreading the walk, but I went anyway.

We arrived at the church a few of our Russian brothers and sisters were already there. After waiting around a few more minutes, Nadia, the prayer coordinator at church starts talking and holds up this bowl of rock salt. Then she has these little pieces of paper that are stapled on the sides passed out to each of us. I take one and notice that there’s nothing written on them. Then she holds up the bowl of salt and reminds us of the verse in Matthew where it talks about us being the salt of the earth. She then passes the bowl around, and each of us take a small handful and put it in our paper pouches. As we’re walking through the city, we are to spread it in the streets. I loved this idea!

So, Julie and I start off walking from the church and we head through the center of town making our way to the Vokzal, or train station. As we’re just getting started in our walk and crossing the central square, it starts to rain, and not just a little drizzle, I mean big drops of rain. Today was the celebration of the krai, which is like a state, and there was to be a concert later on in the day at the square, but if it rained, the event would have been postponed. So we prayed for the rain to stop and for God’s presence to fill the square. After turning the corner and walking down the road for a few minutes, we noticed that the rain had stopped. Then as we all gathered to have a final prayer over the city as a group, I looked up and saw the sun shining! God is good even in the little things He is good! Thank you for providing the sun and for making the rain to stop so that we could finish our walk and not be completely soaked, and thank you Father for making the rain go away, so that my friends could celebrate their history.

I'm glad that I went, and while we were walking, I didn't feel tired, or really remember all of my ailments, it wasn't until after the walk when we were heading home that I remembered my complaints. Sometimes I wonder how much the evil one has his hands in things, trying to make me miss out on one of God's blessings!

Please continue your prayers for my Russian friends. Pray that Father will bless me with new people that need to be a part of the family, and pray for the softening of their hearts. Also, please pray for my Russian brothers and sisters, that Father will show them how to reach their world for Him.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


You never know that to expect when you sign up for a trip to go see waterfalls, even in the states, one can’t be 100% sure of what to expect. Are we going to drive up a road that takes us to the water, and get out of the car and take photos? Are we going to have to walk a little bit to see the waterfalls? Or, are we going to be hiking up a mountain and follow the waterfall from the base up? You see, these are all good questions, and I kinda wished I would’ve asked the last two.

Living here in Russia, I’ve learned to go with the flow. Now, I was never one to need a plan and to need all the details lined up before doing something, that’s not me. I’m very laid back and relaxed, I’m a go with the flow kinda girl. Well, living here, I’ve gotten even more relaxed, and here’s why. I have no idea what anyone is saying! They could be telling me that they are fixing to feed me to a pack of starving lions, and as long as they did so with a smile on their face, I would do whatever they motioned for me to do. So, two weeks ago when my new friend, Yana, asked me to go to the waterfalls with her English Club, I said yes, and didn’t really ask for details. Thankfully, though, I did think to ask what she would be wearing, and when she said, “oh you know my trainers”, I’m just thankful I’ve watched British telly, so I knew what trainers were.

Let’s move ahead to this morning…
This morning we left our apartment with Yana and Kolya picking us up at 8am, in their van…well we thought we were going in their van. Julie and I walked outside to meet up with them, and see them standing in our parking lot without van. That’s when Yana informed us that they rode the bus, so we all hopped on the bus and headed to the northern part of town. About 40 minutes later, we get off the bus, and then proceed to walk a few blocks to another bus stop, where our waterfalls bus awaited us. We were told by Kolya, who speaks a little English, that the ride was about an hour away. We didn’t realize he meant an hour away from this town called Artyom that was about an hour away from our city.

Our tour guide talked the entire time on the ride there and Yana translated everything for us. I got to pass through the longest village in all of Russia (I’m not sure what that means) and I also got to learn all about the animals and flora and fauna of the Far East as well as other waterfalls around the world. We finally arrived at the waterfall around 12ish and we proceed to empty out of the bus. I looked around and saw people leave things on the bus, so I asked Yana what all I should take. She said, oh just take what you think you will need for this trip, because it’s in total five parts. So, I head on out with everyone else thinking I was going to see one of the five waterfalls. We start hiking up this hill, and it’s a little muddy but not too bad. Our guide stops us and points to this guy in our group, Yana informs me that his name is Ivan and he’s here to help us with our hike. I took a quick glance around the group and notice that half of our group is overweight smokers or they are senior citizens, so I turned to Yana and said, what do you mean by “help us”? I’m thinking he’s like a medic and we’re all about to die, and the guide expecting people to pass out. Yana just laughs and says, “he’s here to help us”. “Oh okay,” I say and follow them up the hill. Little did I know that this hill soon turned into a muddy mountain and this first trip, was actually the whole trip, and all five parts were being hiked to at once. We weren’t going to have the bus to drive us to the next part and the next part and the next. It was all us, hoofing it up the mountain, and yes, I mean mountain.

I soon found out why our helper was there. You see, parts of this hike were climbing up huge muddy rocks, and one cannot climb them without a rope to help pull yourself up, and then one also need someone else pulling you up at the top. I looked up at these spots and I immediately thought of the little old grannies that were with us and I wondered how are they going to get up that? Then I thought of the overweight smokers who had lit up a cigarette at least twice every hour…how were they going to get up those rocks? That’s when I looked up and one of the grannies was climbing the rock, and I noticed her footwear. She was wearing dress shoes with a heel!!!!! Yes, dress shoes!! I couldn’t believe, and I took pictures to prove it! I watched as our
helper pulled her up the mountain, and then I realized, oh that’s why he’s here. He’s our helper!

I’m not going to lie, it was a hike, but it was beautiful and I loved it and would do it again. After our hike, we then hiked down the mountain and walked down into the valley and riverbed for a picnic lunch. They had tables setup with tablecloths, and even another table set up to the side with herbal tea and canned caramel. We sit down to a soup of potatoes, carrots, noodles, onions, some type of purplish leafy things, and meat (it’s a don’t ask and don’t want to know type of thing). As I’m sitting there the girl across from me pulls out this bottle of fermented honey and water and offers it to me. I was being offered moonshine!! Wow! What’s a little Baptist girl like me supposed to do when offered homemade moonshine…well you turn it down, and I did, and I think she was okay with it. Then all of a sudden, her friend beside her pulls out this plastic container that has bread slices with butter and a little dish of these cute little orangish red things. She offers me some and I look at Yana and ask, “What is it?” “Oh it’s caviar,” was her reply. The lady offers it to me again, and I thought what the heck, I’ve never tried it before and I hate fish but why not try it, after all I’m in Russia, caviar is cheaper here than in the states and it’s a huge Russian tradition. I put some on my buttered bread and took and bite, and what do you know…I liked it!!! Then I even put a spoon full on my bread and ate it all (I have pictures to prove it Mom)! Caviar is much cheaper here than in the states, you can buy about 4 lbs for about $20-$30 USD. I’m glad I tried it.

Well, after eating caviar, we played a few Russian kids games on the riverbank. On the walk back to the bus, my caviar friend bought a huge basket of red berries from one of the villagers. I was offered some of them, I pulled one off and put it in my mouth and right about the time I bite down on it, Yana looks at me and says, “Oh they’re very bitter.” Heck yes they were bitter! I asked them why people would eat them and she said they are very good for your blood pressure. Also, she mentioned that usually people put them in tea or make a compote, which is a bunch of fruit boiled together, kinda like juice and a little sweet.

Anyway, my day didn’t quite turn out the way I had imagined it to be, it was long, but good! I got to spend time with some two of my students, as well as Yana and Kolya. I got tons of great photos of the waterfalls, the forest, and of me eating caviar, and I’m glad I went. Here’s what I learned…it’s okay to not know what you’re doing and have to depend on the nationals. It’s okay to trust them with your life, literally, and to follow their lead. Yeah, you may have to climb a few mountains, but you’re building relationships, which will hopefully lead to sharing about eternal things, which are way more important than my terminal earthy things.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A New Sister

Camp is such a different experience than back home. Here’s how it’s different. It’s about 10 days long, and the staff brings their families and babysitters along. They wake up each morning at 9 am to the sound of silly Russian folk music, then with people calling them to come to the morning workout session. Breakfast is at 10am, lunch at 2pm and dinner at 7pm. There is a lot of free time, but the staff uses that time to build relationships with the campers. They usually have two daily sessions that have about an hour of songs and skits and then at least an hour or more of preaching. Also, the rooms and bathrooms are quite different than what one would expect for camp. Well the rooms aren't bad, it's just a different setup than normal. The bathrooms are what's really not for the faint of heart! But, hey I survived and so did Julie! It was a learning experience! :)

But you know with all of the differences there were some amazing things I got to see. One of them I wouldn't trade the world for, and it has to do with my new friend and sister, Anya, when she was baptized. Anya has a pretty rough home life, her mother is mentally insane and verbally abusive and her father is strongly against Christianity. So, it was such an incredible thing to see when she was baptized, because it was a step of faith.

Baptisms are done a little different here. First of all, there isn’t a baptistery with man made lighting and manually heated water. The “baptistery” was the ocean with the sun lighting up the day and heating up the water.

Everyone walked out to the beach and started singing, while the Anya, the pastor, and the photographer and video guy made their way out into the ocean. The ocean is very shallow where we were, so it took them about five minutes to finally get deep enough. When they arrived, the pastor turned and faced the crowd on the beach and raised his hands toward the sky. A hush fell over the crowd. Even though they were pretty far out into the water, you could hear Pastor Eduard's voice. As he was praying with his hands lifted to the sky dedicating our new sister to God, I an image came to my mind of what it was like for Moses, when he parted the sea. I realized, that this was what it was like during Jesus' day when he would go out a little ways from the shore and preach to the crowd.

Pastor Eduard amen carried in the wind, and all was quiet as we watched. The second she was lifted from the water, the praise music started back up. Then Pastor Eduard raised his hands again to the sky and Anya did the same. You could see a huge smile on her face and as she prayed to God. I could feel the Holy Spirit there with us on that beach and chills covered my body. Wow, what a sight to behold. That was the sign of true freedom! Even though her father threatened all sorts of things if she was baptized, she trusted in her Heavenly Father, no matter the cost.

Welcome to the family, Anya!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

And Finally....Russia!

So, tomorrow Julie and I board a plane that will take us to Russia. I am so excited! It will be exactly four months to the day that we were supposed to leave for Khabarovsk. Plans have changed, and now we're not going to Khabarovsk anymore, but I know that the Father had a reason for this change. Already we've seen reasons on why we were delayed and sent through Ukraine. We've been joking that we had a long layover...just a couple of months!

Ending language school was sad, yet good because it was another thing that we've accomplished while being on this journey. Yes, I do have more school that awaits me when we get to Russia, but I can't wait for just Russia in general! I've wanted to go to this country for so many years now, and tomorrow this dream becomes a reality.

The last day of language school, I found myself in an awkward situation. One of the janitors at the school is always saying hi to us. He's this older man, probably my grandparents age, and he's very nice and speaks just a little English. Well, he's always said hi to us, and so one day he didn't say hi, so I initated the greeting and said hi to him. Ever since then, he's acted strange to me.

The very last day of language school we took our break as normal. We had our snacks and was sitting outside on the bench when the janitor walked up. He was carrying a bucket full of water and cucumbers. He sat the bucket down a few feet in front of me and then stepped infront of it. He kept saying things to me, and I kept telling him in my little amount of Russian, I don't understand. Then he would take a step closer. Then he would say the same thing in Russian, and I would said again in Russian, I don't understand. Then he would take another step closer. Okay, but this time, I'm kind of getting nervous here. I look over at one of my friends and she's got this nervous look on her face and just kind of laughs and shrugs her shoulders. So the guy says something again to me, and I said again I don't understand. This time was he steps closer he reaches out and touches my nose. But it's not just a little touch, he like grabs the end of it. I'm kind of shocked that he's touching me, and I don't really know what to say so I just say, I don't understand. Then he releases my nose and repeats whatever he was saying, again and then he touches my nose, steps back and then picks up a cucumber from the bucket. I look at it and laugh a nervous laugh and say, oh cucumber. He repeats me. Then he picks up the bucket and walks over to this drain.

Right after that, I decide that I've had enough excitement for one day so my friend Jamie and I decide to head inside. Of course to get inside we had to walk past cucumber nose guy, and as we walk by, he pulls his hands out of the cucumber water and starts splashing us. We thankfully were able to run inside where his cucumber water couldn't reach us.

Wow what a way to end language school in Ukraine! I still have no idea what he was saying, and I'm not really sure that I want to know. I've seen and have been told that older men like to marry really, really younger women. For all I know that could have been the Ukrainian way of asking a girl to marry you! Ha! I'm just thankful I didn't say yes or no, and that I just stuck with my, "I don't understand".

So, I know that I will miss Kiev with all of it's experiences, but I am ready for what awaits me in Russia. I have a feeling that I will have more stories, oh how I wish each of you were able to experience them with me first hand!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Church, Champagne, and Blood

This week has been full of mini adventures and experiences! Sunday we decided to go to a new church, new meaning new to us. So we arrived about ten minutes early, and upon entering the sanctuary we could tell that this was a very traditional church. There weren’t any screens for the music or scripture, and all I could see was a piano. I looked around at the people sitting in the little wooden chairs, and I noticed that most women had scarves on their heads. Yes, very traditional indeed. We took our seats in the back and shortly after, the service started. The only things I gathered from the service, which was in Ukrainian and Russian, was Thank God and then a few words to some hymns that I know from home. The service lasted from 10-12ish and there were three sermons. Yes, I did say three sermons, about twenty minutes each. Very traditional.

After church we decided to eat out for lunch. We arrived and sat in one of the corner booths. As we were eating we noticed this man came and sit down in the booth beside us. He was drinking a beer and watching and listening to everything we said. After a few minutes the guy got up and went to the bar. He came back with the waitress who was carrying a tray with a bottle of champagne, three empty champagne glasses and another beer. The girl walked to our table. I look to our friend who speaks Russian and I think she was in too much shock, because as the waitress pours champagne into the three glasses, the only thing that was said audibly for everyone to hear, was “Lord help us”, which came out of my mouth, not hers.

We were speechless. None of us has ever had a guy buy us a drink, so we had no idea how to turn him down politely, and to do it in Russian. The man stood there insisting that we each take a glass and toast to who knows what. We tried to tell him that we do not drink thank you, but no. He didn’t take no for an answer. He started telling us how pretty we are and listing off the things he owns. Then, the man pulled his chair up to the end of our table, and blocked in me and Julie. We couldn’t escape! Our other friend looked at us and said let’s leave. So, I politely tell the guy in my little amount of Russian, excuse me please, and I tried to squeeze past him. Thankfully, he allowed us to pass and we got the heck out of that place! That was only Sunday!

Fast forward to Wednesday.

Well we learned that we needed another HIV test. I’d already had two and they expire in three months for the visa. Since it has taken so long for this whole visa process, I’ve got to have blood drawn again, for the third time.

It all started Wednesday morning. We’d called earlier in the week and found out that this place near our apartment would do the HIV test, but we weren’t sure how to get there, and the person on the phone wasn’t really sure what HIV was so we took a friend with us. Our friend, Luda, met us downtown and we were off. We arrived at the lab, a few bus rides later, and walked through the doors. Luda did all the talking and I could tell something was up when the girl behind the counter repeated HIV and said something about not understanding. After conversing for a few minutes Luda turns around and informed us that we couldn’t have it done there and we would have to go back across town to a hospital. We said okay, and after a few bus and metro rides later we get to the street.

“It’s just up this hill,” Luda says. Julie and I both look up at the “hill” and immediately I’m filled with dread. It wasn’t a hill, it was a MOUNTAIN! By this time its midday and Julie and I are pretty hungry. We weren’t allowed to eat or drink anything all morning, and we were feeling the effects. But, we needed the blood test, so we trek up the mountain, oh I’m sorry hill, and arrive at the hospital. Oh and it wasn’t a hospital, but more like a very small clinic, stuck in the 70s. We walk inside and it’s dark, and all we see are stairs leading up and down. We go down and arrive at the bottom to see a guy sitting outside a door, Luda asks him a question, then opens the door. We’d arrived at the clinic. We walk into the room and speak to a guy behind the desk. I’m tired, hot, and hungry so I sit down and pull out my little fan and fan myself. After some talking, we present our passports and twenty griven, which is like 3-4 American dollars. He wrote down my info and told me to go into the other room.

I walk in and this lady is standing there. She starts gesturing to me and pointing at the table and speaking very fast in Russian. I have no idea what she’s saying and Luda is helping Julie in the other room. I call out for Luda and thankfully she comes to the rescue translating the Russian for me. The nurse/doctor lady said, “Put your form on the table. Sit down. Put your arm here.” Then she held up a needle for me to see and spouts off something in Russian, I notice that Luda had stepped back into the other room to help Julie, so I had no idea what she was saying about the needle, I was just glad to see that it looked clean. Later on I found out that the lady was telling me something like, “I am a professional and this is a clean needle.” She found a vein after telling me to pump my arm repeatedly, and thankfully she found it on the first try. As we’re leaving she tells me to drop my cotton ball in a little bucket of clear liquid located by the door on the way out.

We were very thankful that Luda was there! After walking down the hill she pointed us in the direction of McDonalds and parted ways.

We get to go back either Friday or Monday for the results.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Saint Patrick

Tonight I came across a quote from Saint Patrick on one of my friend’s facebook profiles. She had just a few lines, and it made me want to read more about Saint Patrick, so I googled the quote. It brought me to what is called Saint Patrick’s Breastplate. From my short research on google, I found that her quote was part of a prayer that Saint Patrick prayed as a shield for himself each day. Saint Patrick was a missionary to Ireland after being held captive there and forced to be a shepherd tending other men’s sheep for about six years. During those years in captivity, he sought and found God. After escaping to Britain, he felt God calling him back to Ireland. Many say that he had visions and dreams of God calling him back to Ireland to reach the pagans who worshipped many gods and to teach his old captors about the one true God.

Too many times I’ve thought of my calling as great or grand, and people back home assured me of this and helped me place a great amount of importance on it. But when compared to Saint Patrick or even to the Disciples, what I am doing is nothing! It’s too easy, way too easy! Yes, I know that God has called me to this place and time, and that He has appointed me to serve Him for these two years. But what Saint Patrick and the disciples did wasn’t just a few years, it was their life calling. My two years of “roughing it”, according to American standards, are nothing compared to the trials, torture, and hate that was shown to them. I can’t help but think of Paul’s warning in 2 Timothy chapter three, where he tells Timothy, that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”. Notice that Paul didn’t say some people, he said “everyone that wants to live a godly life”.

This past year, I was sent an email by one of my mother’s friends, and it had this quote, “I want to be the kind of woman that when my feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, ‘Oh no, she’s awake!’”. I realized that in order for me to make Satan shudder, I had to give God each day before my feet even hit the floor. The day was to be His, to be completely for His glory, and He was to use me, because I was a willing vessel.

My life has to mean more than just these two years. I am called to more than just this short time. It’s a life calling. Anyone that calls himself a Christian is to take up their cross daily and must be willing to deny himself of the worldly things (Matthew 16:24-27). When I mention all of this, I’m addressing myself, even away from home where I don’t have all my worldly comforts, I am too stubborn and stingy. I’m clinging to my worldliness, and not to the cross. So, I need to remember that each day I need to wake up and dedicate the day to God, for His glory.

Also, I will remember the words of Saint Patrick’s Breastplate,

“This day I call to me: God’s strength to direct me, God’s power to sustain me,
God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s vision to light me,
God’s ear to my hearing, God’s word to my speaking,
God’s hand to uphold me, God’s pathway before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s legions to save me: from snares of the demons,
from evil enticements, from failings of nature,
from one man or many that seek to destroy me, anear or afar…

Christ beside me, Christ before me;
Christ behind me, Christ within me;
Christ beneath me, Christ above me;
Christ to right of me, Christ to left of me;
Christ in my lying, my sitting, my rising;
Christ in heart of all who know me,
Christ on tongue of all who meet me,
Christ in eye of all who see me,
Christ in ear of all who hear me.”

My Brother Timothy

I’ve been reading the second letter to Timothy that Paul wrote while he was in a Roman prison. He warned Timothy of what the last days would be like, and how much godlessness there would be with people being “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers o f pleasure rather than lovers of God” and the part that struck me the most, “having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3). Wow, doesn’t this sound like the world today? I thought of Paul warning Timothy about these things that would happen, and I realized that all he warned Timothy about is happening today and is a warning for me. He told Timothy that when these things arise to continue going on the way he was raised, to continue believing what he was taught about the Bible and of God and to continue sharing.

I got to thinking and I realized I’m a lot like Timothy. I was brought up in the church with sound Biblical leaders who taught truth. I was raised to share the gospel of Jesus, and the for eternal life and salvation from death, one has to accept Jesus into their life as their personal savior. I’ve been trained on how to share and to teach it when I studied at DBU, and yes I’ve even learned how to use it when rebuking and correcting. So I’ve got all of this, just like Timothy and now it’s my turn to continue to share it even when being persecuted. I’ve been thoroughly equipped, and I should be completely competent.

So did God give all this to just me and Timothy? Nope, He also gave it to you too, other Christians that have been brought up on Truth and have been trained. Even if you don’t feel it, you are thoroughly equipped and completely competent, you are lacking nothing to reach the lost.

So, what’s stopping you?


“When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” –Psalms 56:3


“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” -2 Timothy 1:7

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Father, tonight as I was reading through my friends’ blogs and a few of their emails, I realized what an amazing net of friends you’ve woven together for me! Over the past few years, I’ve been in places and situations that I’ve hated, now it wasn’t all bad, but there were some growing periods in there that I hated living through. Now, I look back and see that while in those circumstances, you placed key people in my life. Those trials brought me closer to several people who I now call my very dear friends, without them, I would have had a harder time getting to this chapter in my life. Oh, I know that I would’ve eventually made it here, but I now see looking back, all those times when I thought my prayers were hitting the ceiling, and my life was completely miserable, you were giving me true friends to lean on. Friends who have a bond with me and that know me better than I sometimes know myself because of what we went through together.

Thank You Father for your provision, yes even with friends, you’ve provided better than I could’ve even imagined myself. Thank you for not allowing me have a say in the friends I thought I needed!

To my friends, I might not be calling or emailing you every week, but know that I truly thank God for you. I thank God that He brought us together. My dear friends, you know who you are. Thank you for putting smiles on my face, for always helping me see when I need to make u-turns, and yes, even change my attitude. Thank you for your honesty, love, compassion, and most of all grace.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wild Strawberries

Yesterday, we were getting a tour of some of the catherdals of Kiev and I noticed a billboard on top of a building. The sign had one word, and it was in Russian, and I was able to read it and understand what it meant!! It said Corona! Yes it's for the beer, but that doesn't matter, I could read the sign! That was my first Russian word to read, not counting my school work!

Well here's a little cultural story about an experience we had tonight:

So tonight, Julie and I had made our way across Kiev to hang out with our co-workers at a coffee house they host every Thursday night. We were taking the Metro home, and it got a little crowded after we transferred over to our line. Julie and I were the last ones to board the Metro and we were smushed up against the glass! We had to lean in and push people back so our purses wouldn't get shut in the doors. I didn't even have to hold on when the Metro took off because the bodies surrounding me held me up. At the next stop, we had to get out of the way and let some people off. When we got back on, we were still right in the doorway, but we had a new person standing next to us. He was probably my age, he had hair to his shoulders that he pulled back into a ponytail, and he was wearing hippie clothes. He had an empty water bottle in his hands, and he had cut the top off. I noticed that he kept bringing the bottle to his face and smelled it, and then he would glance in my direction. Yes, it was weird; I thought he was high or drunk. Then I realized that he saw me looking at him and he smiled. I smiled back at him, and then he said something to me in Russian and shoved the water bottle in my face. Here's the thing, I couldn't move backwards because people were literally up against me, and I couldn't move my head back because I would have knocked heads with the person behind me. Both of those were my gut instincts, but since I couldn't move I just stood still and didn't breathe in any air, I was afraid of what he had in there. So I just smiled and said, "I don't speak Russian." He said, "Oh berries." Then he shoved the water bottle back in my face, and said, "Smell." I smelled the berries and they smelled like strawberries but didn't look like them, so I asked him, "Strawberries?" He looked at this older woman that was with him, maybe it was his mom or it could've been his girlfriend, and they started talking in Russian and she told me that they were wild strawberries.

All this time, Julie was standing right there with me, while this guy kept looking at me and putting the water bottle in my face wanting me to smell, and it was weird and awkward, so I said to him, "Let her smell them" and then nodded toward Julie. I could tell in her eyes that she didn't want too, but I wanted her to join the fun! :) He finally looked away from me and reluctantly let her smell them too, but then he offered them back to me to smell. Thankfully at this point we had arrived at another Metro stop, and he got off with his girlfriend/mother, whoever she was. It was weird, but I guess that's what happens when you ride the crowded Kiev Metro!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

He Lives! He Lives!

Yesterday we visited a few of the typical tourist sites. If you get my newsletter then you know all about the Patriot Museum, or WWII Museum, if you do not receive my newsletter and you want to, email me at and I’ll add you!

The other tourist site we visited was the Lavra, which is actually the Kiev Pechersk Lavra. Pechersk means cave and Lavra is actually the word for a monastery where high ranking male monks study. The site consists of several buildings as well as caves, or the catacombs and the current housing of the monks. Yep, I said catacombs, so you can probably already put it together that I saw some mummified bodies yesterday!! Actually, I did not see the bodies, but I did see the cloth that holds the bones and the glass that incases them. As I am walking/stumbling through the catacombs in the dark, I noticed the people praying to the dead bodies and even crossing themselves and then kissing the glass coffins. They did this repeatedly, at each mummified body, sometimes even more than once. It was eerie, and not because it was dead bodies they were kissing, wait well yes that was a little creepy, but it was really eerie because these people believe that their prayers and devotion to the dead are going to bring them closer to God.

I got in trouble twice while I was in the catacombs. The first reason was because I had my flashlight out, we didn’t realize it was going to be so dark, or we would have bought the candles at the door. The second reason I got in trouble was because I had pushed my head scarf back off of my head and on to my shoulders. The guy in charge of keeping the people moving in the catacombs walked over to me and pointed to my hand, and almost grabbed it saying no flashlights, but by the time he arrived, I had already turned it off so he just looked at my hand in confusion, because my little flashlight was hard to see in the dark. Then he grabbed my head scarf and tried to pull it back on, I pulled away and acted dumb and said oh okay and then did it myself. I just can’t believe that those two little things are so offensive! I wanted to ask him, “Where is your freedom? You know the freedom we receive through Christ?” But I didn’t I just walked on feeling pity for those who depend on rituals that require kissing glass coffins that hold mummified bodies and saying prayers to a lifeless pile of bones.

"I serve a risen Savior, He's in the world today. I know that he is living whatever men may say. I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer. And just the time I need Him, He's always near. He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart. Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing. Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King! The hope of all who seek Him, the help of all who find. None other is so loving, so good and kind."

A Cultural Short Story

Julie and I went out with some friends to one of the malls. We decided to eat at the food court, and I wanted a baked potato, and yes they do have them here. So we went to the counter to order, and my friend Elizabeth ordered in Russian for us just a potato with butter, cheese, sour cream, and salt. You should have seen the look on the man’s face. He was confused at first because he thought he misunderstood her, so he asked her to repeat the order. She did again, and he thought she was confused because she wasn’t ordering any of the toppings, and no, for the record, toppings are not chives, sour cream, bacon bits, and all the good stuff. Toppings consist of various mayonnaise salads, for example, little mushrooms with mayo and dill, or another salad was mayo with corn and cheese oh and of course dill. As you can see from my dilemma, I did not want their toppings, just give it to me plain! For all my brave friends, come to Kiev and try one of these baked potatoes with the mayo salad toppings and let me know how it is. If you can't tell from this story, I passed on that culinary dish!

Oh and I will be sending out a newsletter soon! If you aren't on my email list, send it to me so I can add you to receive prayer and newsletter emails!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Wow I am leaving the country in less than 48 hours! The time has finally arrived and I have such mixed emotions. I am very ready to be on that plane heading overseas, but I also am finding my niche here at home. This summer our church has the opportunity to work with 24 Moldovan college students and I've been hanging out with them for the past two weeks and I love spending time with them! It's hard because my ministry has been brought right to my front door, I don't have to go around the world to find it! I've had great conversations with several of the guys and I believe that God has brought them here to find Him. I am praying for the Father to reveal Himself to each of them this summer and that they will have a desire to know Him.

So it's hard to leave because what I feel called to do is finally here in my hometown. But, I do know that come September they will all be on planes on their way home to Moldova and I will be getting settled in Russia and speaking my newly acquired Russian. So to wrap up my mixed emotions for you, I am sad to be leaving family and friends, yes even new friends, but I know that God has something great for me just through that next door.

Oh and for those of you who do not know this, I am no longer going to Khabarovsk, but will be traveling to Kiev, Ukraine for language study until August. Then I will travel to Vladivostok where I will continue studying Russian as well as begin teaching English courses. These have been pretty big changes, but again, I can see God's hand upon each change.

I leave Thursday afternoon for Ukraine and I would appreciate all the prayers on my behalf to the Father!

Friday, May 1, 2009

An Invitation

All this time I've been waiting on an invitation. Well the invitation has arrived! I knew it would in God's perfect timing, but it's a little frustrating to have to wait with nothing to do. :) I still have a little more time of waiting while my visa is being processed, but at least now I know that I have been invited to the country! :D

Today I was running errands and I was about to change the radio station when this song came on. I can't tell you if I've ever really heard the song from the beginning to end, but God allowed me to today, and He spoke to me through it. Here's the song by Downhere-Here I Am.

Sometimes your calling, comes in dream.
Sometimes in comes in the Spirit's breeze,
You reach for the deepest part of me,
And call out for the things of eternity.
But I'm a man, of dust and stains,
You move in me, so I can say,

CHORUS:Here I am, Lord send me,
All of my life, I make an offering,
Here I am, Lord send me,
Somehow my story, Is part of your plan,
Here I am

When setbacks and failures, and upset plans,
Test my faith and leave me with empty hands,
Are you not the closest when it's hardest to stand?
I know that you will finish what you began.
These broken parts you redeem,
Become the song, that I can sing


Overwhelmed by the thought of my weakness,
And the fear that I'll fail you in the end,
In this mess, I'm just one of the pieces,
I can't put this together but you can.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Photos from Home

This is actually an old pic of me and Bri at my going away party. I told her I would post it on here!
This is Noah getting baptized! I'm so proud of him!!

Brinks and I had a photo shoot, I don't think he really liked it...what do you think?

Harrison and I attended Ranger's Opening was so much fun but cold!!

Jodi, Gage, me and Addi at Granny's house. Jodi and I look so much like sisters, but we're only cousins! This is what I've been doing while home, just trying to fill the time before my visa comes in for Russia. Hopefully, I'll be able to leave within three weeks!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Well, my time at home is going to be a little longer than originally planned. I was supposed to leave yesterday, the 9th, for Russia, but I've yet to receive my invitation so I'm still here in Texas. I'm trying to make the most out of my time, and so far I have. I've gotten to speak to several groups, and I've been able to take care of extra paper work, like obtaining a 2nd passport. Yes, I said a 2nd passport, which it is legal by the way to have two active passports, but it's a pain to figure out how to get a second one issued!

Words that I've heard a lot and I've said this a lot the past two weeks are about this all being a part of His plan. I know this is all a part of God's plans. He has a purpose for allowing me to stay longer in Texas than originally planned, but I'm ready to go! :)

So, I do NOT ask for prayers on patience, because I believe that I am already experiencing enough situations that are teaching me patience. I would rather ask that you pray for me to use this time wisely, and that when I do finally leave, I will be completely ready to go, without any unfinished business or things completed half way. Please also continue to pray for the three people that God has for me to initiate and cultivate relationships during the next two years. Pray that I will be able to determine who those people are, to find the ones that are truly seeking from those who only want an American friend to teach them English (aka English Leeches).

BTW, if you are close to me in Texas, and you have a group that you would like for me to speak to, within the next two weeks, please feel free to email me

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The End is Near...for training anyway

Here are just a few pics from training, I have like 100 pics, but too many to post on here. So these are the ones that make me laugh or remind me of something good. These are friends I've met here at training, and there's also a photo of when it was really cold with snow and ice on the lake!! Yay for coldness, ice and snow!! Oh and the photo of just myself was one of the pics I took for my p cards...but it didn't make the cut.

Monday, March 9, 2009


I realized just the other day that I only have 2 and a half more weeks of training and I could stay here for longer than that! I do want to get to Russia, but I love it here. Our Father has shown me so much the past couple of weeks, and I have been watching and listening.

Something He revealed to me is that this time has been a chance to break old habits and start new ones. It's not that I had any bad habits(ie:smoking, drinking, drugs), just not ones where I used my time productively or ones that helped me grow, you know things like vegging out in front of the tv, spending way too much time on the internet, or reading my fictional books. Those things are fine, but when you spend too much time on any of them, it's not good. So these past few weeks have been a great time of evaluating my habits, changing them for the good.

Overall, I am ready to come home for a few weeks, but I could stay here for a while longer. God has been good, and to tell the truth, the person I miss the most, is my dog, Brinks. Yes, I did say person. :) I can easily make it through the next two plus weeks, and I am still asking for prayers to help me continue to be focused and listening.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Today I visited a church, it was really interesting and it made me thankful for my church family back home. I sat in a pew in the back watching the congregation “worship”. I couldn’t understand half of what was being said, it was a Greek Orthodox Church, and even the English part was hard to understand because they sing it all! As I sat there, I watched this lady to the far left of me and noticed that she not only knew most of the prayers by heart but she even knew the hymns in Greek and Russian, and she crossed herself frequently. I would say that in an hour and a half service, she probably crossed herself 50 times! I understand the meaning behind crossing yourself, but sometimes I wonder when it becomes a habit or an everyday ritual and not something that is a meaningful symbolic reminder of the cross? When we arrived at 10 am the service was just starting. We walked into the sanctuary and less than a fourth of the pews were filled. Throughout the service people continued to file in, and fill the pews. By the end of the service, right before communion, the place was packed. I wondered why they didn’t arrive on time so I asked around, here’s why. For them, salvation comes in fulfilling the sacraments, i.e. communion. It doesn’t matter if you miss the “preachin” and the “singin” and you arrive two seconds before communion, as long as you are there to participate in communion. It’s all about the works and good deeds for attaining salvation.

While sitting there I couldn’t help but critique them, and that’s when the conviction happened. How many times do I do the same thing in worship? How often do I sing a song and not take the words to heart? How many times do I say “amen” or nod my head in agreement, but not really listen to the words being prayed or preached? Do I rush through the motions, arriving late just to check another thing off of my spiritual to do list?

I am thankful for my experience today even though I didn’t walk away encouraged or inspired by the Word, I did come away from that experience evaluating my heart and actions.

Monday, February 16, 2009

God Provides

God is so good to provide for me girls that I can just sit back and laugh with a recklessness, which is something I haven’t done since I left home! I love that and I’ve missed it so much. It has been a little hard here for these past few weeks, but like always, God provides. He has provided me lifelong friends, and I know that I will always keep in touch with these amazing godly women.

This week in our sessions, we are focusing on church planting. It is so true that God has called us to be fruitful and multiply, but so many times, we are just complacent and satisfied with our lives and happy with our casual addition to our numbers. We do not go out and reach the lost. I realized today that I have just been sitting back, and my short little two-week trips are nothing. Yes, they are great, but I feel like most of them only boosted my knowledge, self-esteem, or pride. Of course, I came away with a greater awareness for missions, and God can definitely use those trips for mighty ways, but many times, I think I’ve used them as a chance to see the world, not reach the lost. Yes, I have already answered the call, but my previous trips were nothing compared to what needs to be done. There are so many lost people groups, and not many church members are answering the call to reach them.

What are you doing to reach them?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The past couple of days I've felt like Bella in the Twilight series when she has to constantly drink out of her cup…all my avid Twilight buffs know what I'm talking about. Anyway, I felt like her in the sense that she has to have that cup of liquid to sustain her and to give her energy. Well, the past couple of days I've been living in a dorm type setting, and I forgot how hard it is living without a kitchen and frig, and with a big glass to fill with water. So, anyway I've been really thirsty so I got a styrofoam cup, with a lid and straw, from the cafeteria and I walk around all day long with this cup filled with water. I've been extremely thirsty, and I'm not sure why. I drink water at breakfast. Water at lunch. Water at dinner. It's water, water, water, yet I thirst for it all day long.
I can't help but think that as a Christian I should be just as thirsty for Him, and His living water. So many times as Christians we walk around all day long with a thirst for Him, but we do not always fill that thirst with the much needed liquid. We fill it with dr pepper or my favorite diet coke, when truthfully the only thing that will make the thirst lessen is water. How many times do I need Him, but fill myself with the diet coke of the world, and not His word, and seeking Him daily in continuous prayer?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Adventurous Saturday Night

Well, I am doing the same thing I did tonight as I did last night...I'm in the library!!! Sounds like fun huh? For all my high school and junior high friends who complain about staying the weekend at the house with their parents, well at least you have your television, almost any dvd you want to watch, and you have a great cell phone signal to be able to talk with your friends. To get on the internet, I have to hike up the hill. To get cell phone service, I have to hike up the hill. To get television, I have to hike up the hill, and then check out an educational video. That's my television!!! Ha! :)

I'm tired of staring at my grayish-white walls and sitting on my twin size bed looking at the trees outside my window, in the complete silence of my room. So, I hiked up the hill, it's 27 degrees and extremely windy.

Ahh but the good thing is that we are walking constantly and with much walking, up and down hills, one usually loses weight!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I've Got Good News, Good News, Good News

Wow, so the information is continuously being given out to me here at training and I am officially overwhelmed. Actually, I'm at the point where I'm past overwhelmed, but I'm going to take one day at a time and I know that I will get things done. I feel like I'm taking Master courses because of all the reading that I will be doing for the next two months. But, I'm working on it a little at a time, so I know that I'll get it done. Plus, I have an amazing future roommate Julie, who is great at keeping procrastinators like me on task. :) Father knew what He was doing when He paired us together!

Anyway, I'm having tons of fun and meeting people that I love hanging out with, so it's all good. It's amazing knowing that we are all called for the same purpose and job, and that our Father is here to guide us. Keep on lifting me up and asking Him to help me stay on task, and to be focusing on Him above all else.

Oh and I will have a newly remodeled bathroom by the time I get to Russia...well hopefully! Anyway, that is my GOOD NEWS!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Wow! I am speechless by all the love shown to me by my family and friends! Thank you for the support and prayers, and really, I'm just blown away.

When I came to Lakeside, I knew that it was where I was supposed to be because I could feel the Spirit working in that place! I'm so grateful to call Lakeside my home, and I feel privileged to serve and represent the family!

I'll make sure to keep this thing updated so that all my brothers and sisters can keep up with my travels!

Again, thank you very much!

Template by