We got a bit of a later start this morning since we didn’t have a devotional before leaving for church. They only have an 11:00 service at the church, so we went to that, but unlike at home their average service is two hours long. Doug gave the sermon and Max translated for the congregation. Max also sat behind us during the service translated some parts. The praise band was very impressive, and one of the lead singers even sang some of the songs in English. They were nice enough to split the screen between Russian and English lyrics so we could follow along. We were presented with some gifts during the service and we had a chalice and communion plate for their church as well. The church has been very generous this week and we are very appreciative for it. Enjoy some pictures from the service:
After church we had a chicken and rice lunch with some of the church leaders. From there we moved upstairs to help in the soup kitchen run by the church on Sundays. Jeff prepared the meal for the guests with help from a member of the church named Maria. We then left the church and visited the embankment, which was like a riverwalk along a stretch of beach on the Volga. A few of us dipped our feet in the water and it was very chilly. However, it’s nice to be able to see a river that isn’t brown like the Ohio River. After walking down the embankment some we decided to rest on the grass. After trying to decline ice cream, one of the young adults with us went and bought a bunch, so what were we going to do, just let it go to waste? Of course not. Once we finished our ice cream and talked for a bit longer it was time for dinner.
We split up tonight and ate dinner at different congregation members’ houses. Sarah and I went to a woman’s house who runs the children’s choir and is involved with the youth at the church. I would include names, but I really have no idea how they would be spelled in English. Also, Russians don’t live in what we consider to be houses. It is typical for them to live in one or two bedroom apartments. They are usually pretty small, but since they own the apartment they are able to do what they want to make it their own. The house we went to was very pretty and homey. We were served pork chops, salad, a meat and potato dish, mashed potatoes, and a traditional dish from our host’s home country. She isn’t originally from Russia, but we’re yet to understand where she is from. We had tea and cake before heading out for our walk back to the hotel. Maria ( a different one than above), who was our translator for the meal, walked with us back to the hotel, which took about an hour. It’s safe to say that wore us out and we are now ready for bed so we can be back at it in the morning. Spasibo (thank you) for making it this far and we’ll be back with more fun news tomorrow.