Don't these two look GREAT!!

We’ve been here long enough that we’re starting to feel the rhythm of this city. The day starts with the honk of horns outside and our neighbor playing an incredibly loud opera song. We hear the water running through the pipes to other apartments and doors slamming as people head to work. Bread trucks deliver fresh-baked goods around the city and the marshrutkas start up for the day. The babushka’s find their spot on each street corner selling peanuts, sunflower seeds, fresh milk, flowers and plums and the bazaars open. This is a fairly loud city during the day…people are busy doing things that people everywhere do. At night we hear the sound of families sitting in the ‘courtyard’ below our apartment, dogs barking and, most nights, a random firework display (anyone can get them anytime of the year). And, of course, the car alarms.

Having the ability to attend church on Sundays breaks up the rhythm a bit, in a good way. It’s wonderful to get to sing familiar songs (even if the rest of the room is sining them in Russian) and hear very good sermons. We’ve been blessed to have an excellent translator the past 2 weeks and today we had a Bible student (Yura) from Kiev come do the sermon. Everyone is expected to participate in the service so when they needed an English speaker to read parts of the Bible today, that was my job. It certainly helps you pay close attention when you know you’re going to be called on every few minutes! Yura spoke on Mark 10 when Jesus speaks to the young rich man and the focus of today was on God’s grace to us, but His expectation that will we follow Him regardless of what it means we must give up. This one hit home because before this experience I would have said the one thing I would never be able to do is leave my children. I can give up a lot and do things I don’t like, but I would never have dreamed I would be willing or able to be gone from my babies for so long. In the long run this separation will be worth it and probably won’t even seem like such a big deal several years from now, but for right now it’s painful and I find myself crying at the smallest things because they remind me of one of my kids and make me long to have them in my arms. Even seeing the weather at home this morning made me cry because there were thunderstorms and I was hoping Josiah wasn’t waking up scared. Yura’s talk this morning was a good reminder that we’re doing the right thing by being here because we believe God has given us this job. And following Him through this has increased our faith in ways we didn’t expect, which is why we chose the name ‘Faith’ as Leeza’s middle name.

On the way home we were talking about all this and I confessed that even though I was trying to be obedient to Christ I wasn’t really very happy about where that had put us right now. Philip’s take was that Jesus told us to give with a happy heart…He never said we had to leave our kids with a happy heart. So for now we’ll keep looking for the blessings in our situation (and there are many)  and I’m pretty sure the happy heart thing won’t be a problem when we’re all under one roof again!

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