Merry Russian Christmas!!
We woke up to another white Christmas here in Russia, which was beautiful. We started the day with a devotional by Sarah and Elena about praise and wants versus needs. We then went to church for the Christmas service. The service started by the praise band singing in both Russian, English, and Portuguese. It was an amazing experience to be apart of worshiping in multiple languages and praising one God. Then, two six year old girls were baptized. Pastor Doug then gave a sermon that posed the question “will you hold the baby” or in other terms will you accept the love that God showed us, which was followed by communion. After the service, we all ate lunch together in the youth space. Throughout the day, Jeff helped to cook the meal for the soup kitchen, and the Arnold’s helped to serve it.
Afterwards, we all went our own ways to different meetings and ministries. Elena, Sarah, and Linda went to the gypsy ministry with Ivan and Tania. This ministry helps to provide Sunday school and education for the gypsy children. There are 200 children out of 500 in the gypsy village. It was sad to see the conditions that the people lived in, but we saw what heart they had. The church has made a significant impact since it helps children learn to read and write Russian when they did not know their colors a year ago.
When everyone’s ministries and meetings were over, everyone gathered for an American game night. Then, we had a wonderful last dinner together. It is hard to believe that the week has lasted by so quickly. We are all so sad to leave our amazing Russian brothers and sisters, but we know that we will meet again. The people here are the most genuine, passionate, and generous people. While they learn from us, we learn much from them. They have such zeal for the Lord that we hope to take back to the United States with us. A big thank you to the, for so graciously hosting us and dedicating so much time and energy to our visit.
Thank you to Kevin for organizing another wonderful trip. This would not be able to happen without him or his expertise.
Currently, we are waiting for out early 3 a.m. bus to the airport. Some of us are awake playing cards while others are fast asleep. Thank you Pastor Doug and Pator Cathy for teaching us euchre.
Thanks for tuning in to our Russia experience. We can never truly do this special place justice.
(This is currently posted as we wait for our flight to Dayton, we are almost safely home!)