"I've found that when life's brush obscures my view with gloomy strokes that seem to mar the scene, God's hand appears and gives to sunless hue and dreary skies a more majestic sheen." Gustafson

18 August 2009

We are SO spoiled!

Life outside of the US was quite an experience! Nothing too traumatic or crazy BUT different and very interesting to say the least.

You know you're in Russia when....
*You have to pay for toilet paper in some public places AND you never flush it! No, no....soiled TP goes in the trash!
*Trash cans are hard to find. The majority of trash goes on the ground.
*Cows stop traffic....you're on their time people!
*Grilled lamb is prepared on the side of the road.
*BO is the fragrance of choice.
*Very few people smile.
*Smoking in the airport IS allowed....cough, cough!
*When buying bottled water, you must ask for NO GAS or you end up with seltzer like water. YUCK!
*Encouraged NOT to wear your seat belt by a local.
*Tailgating is an understatement and their are no rules on passing. There were countless times I thought we were going to die from a head-on collision!
*Bread (pronounced "kleb"), cucumbers & tomatoes, Chai and coffee are staples at every meal.
*Speedos are the bathing suit preference of men.
*The area zoo only had 8 animals!
*Russian anecdotes (our version of jokes) don't make any sense!
*Saw chicken legs get cut-up with an ax in the camp kitchen.

Needless to say, I was SO THANKFUL to be back in the US! Spoiled with my starbucks, comfort foods, english speaking people....ahhhh, welcome home!!

Seriously, I joke about the differences I experienced but I NEVER would have dreamed God would change my heart for Russia and the precious people He allowed me to share life with. I want to go back next year, I want to learn the Russian language. In fact, I "promised" a few of the ladies that if the Lord allows me to come back, I will know how to speak to them next year. In response, some of them shared they would learn English!

I've never felt so free during worship. The worship time is very interactive with dancing and singing and I love that it's multi-generational. Families worshiping together with infants on up to the elderly. It was a true picture of what I believe Heaven will be like one day. Despite the language barrier and not always having a translator close by, the Lord allowed me to bond with some of the women. Most of it was through smiles and lots of gestures and "sign language." I felt like the crazy American waving my arms around and gesturing to get my point across but some how, we bonded.

I really connected with one of the older ladies...I consider her my Russian grandmother. EVERY time I saw her, she would smile and say, "Brrrrrrrrrrrooooooookkkkkke!" with such enthusiasm (they roll their "r's" so it's really fun to hear her say my name!). The morning we left camp, we were loading up the vans at 6:30AM and a few of the people came out to see us off. My "grandmother" (one of the oldest ladies there) came running up to me with tears in her eyes, saying my name and handed me a flowered box. The translator explained she wanted me to have her perfume..she was sorry it wasn't new but that she wanted me to have it. I had smelled her all week and when I open the box now, she's with me again and again! Her sacrificial and loving gift is so biblical. By the way she dressed and from what I had heard, she doesn't have much but yet she wanted ME to have her costly perfume! Before I ran off to the van (I was so stinkin sad!), she gave me the tightest squeeze I've ever received and said that she hopes she lives long enough to see me again next year. That statement sent me over the edge and I balled my eyes out! God allowed me to find my tears again in Russia.

There's more to share but I'll end this blog entry for now.

Abundance is...hearing Britain say "I'm the best cook" and "You are amazing!"in the same day! :)

13 August 2009

Back in the U.S.A and in the blogging world again!

Hi supportive friends! Ok, so I've been back in the USA (praise the Lord!) since late on the 2nd but to be honest, I've had a hard time gearing up to blog again. I've actually thought about quitting altogether as I'm overwhelmed with ALL that God revealed to me in Russia AND I'm so unbalanced in my eating and workouts again.
I'm continuing to process what's going on in my heart and trying to remember that what was revealed to me in Russia was true and real. The hardest part is not forgetting to live it out, especially now that I'm back at home in my comfortable routine.
The distractions in America are SO loud and tempting!
I'm so grateful the Lord allowed me to come back home, I wasn't sure if I'd make it back alive a few times! The drivers over there are crazy and some of the plane rides were a little scary. But, alas, I'm one blessed lady.

Abundance is...the JOY and THRILL of seeing Thunder go pee pee on the potty for the first time! :)