Monday, January 21, 2008

The Baptists

So I've titled this post "the baptists" because that's probably the most exciting thing that's happened to me this week. Well, other than the fact that I'm still loving where I'm living now, and Raisa called and said she'd most probably be gone a full month, which made me really excitied.

Anyway,the baptists. For those of you from Church who read this blog, I'm not sure if this post will make you feel better or worse about my religous life, or lack of it, here in Russia. But it went something like this.

I was sitting in Obshest and paying attention because it's basically my favorite class. We've started a unit on culture and the various aspects of it. One of the things we were talking about is Freedom and how freedom in your life is a good things. One of the things the teacher, Anastasia Simonovna, mentioned was Religous freedom. She said something like "You have the freedom to chose what religion you want, we have a lot of churches here, the orthodox, catholic, baptists..." and I didn't hear anything more after that, or the rest of the lesson for that matter because I was like "Oh my gosh, there's a baptist church here? seriously? Baptists are kind of close to Church of Christ, at least in America. I wonder if she knows where they meet" and on and on and on the rest of the lesson. It took me about thirty seconds to decide to ask about it after the lesson.

So I did. I said "Anastasia Simonovna, you mentioned the Baptists in your lessons, do you know where they meet?"
And she said "No, but I can find out, the move around, but I know who to ask and I'll try to let you know tomorrow."
That was friday.

Saturday at school, She told me that there is a girl here at school who's father is the pastor of the Baptist church. Anastasia Simonovna introduced me to Anya and we sat and talked and I explained that no, I wasn't baptist but my church sort of resembles a baptist church and Anya drew me a map and gave me information and so I basically had decided to attend the baptist church on Sunday.

Church started at 10am. I left the house at 9:30 and though I had a map and a vague idea of where I was going, I was afraid I was going to be late, mostly because when I got off the bus it was 10 til 10 and I still had a ways to walk. So I ran part of the way. Anyway, the good news is that when I walked in they hadn't started yet, in fact the pastor and his wife, Anya's parents had gotten there just before me. As soon as I walked in this guy goes "You must be our guest" and I was like "yeah, that's me." He introduced himself as Valintin, Anya's dad and pastor of the church. I was also introduced to his wife, but don't know her name. They were really welcoming and Anya's mom was like "you can sit with our family" which was really nice of her.

The church is located in a little wooden building across the pond (literally) from the university. The only thing that designates it as a church is a metal cross on the top of the building. The service itself was and wasn't like home. They used a piano, but it wasn't really that bad. Some of the songs they sang where the same, but in Russian such as Amazing grace and What a Friend We Have in Jesus. They also sang some really cool songs in like this minor key. it was awesome. The pastor gave a mini lesson where he talked about Jesus' baptism and a little bit later there was a longer lessons, which I had some difficulty following as I don't have good church vocabulary. What else? at one point, some lady got up and read something from the pulpit. she wasn't preaching, she was reading, but I didn't understand so I have no idea what. The song books have just words, no music notes.

We started a little after ten and finished around noon, and then I walked with Anya and another Anna and Anya invited me over on Saturday after school and then to the weekly youth group meeting they have where all the kids from the different Baptist churches here (yes, there's more than one. there's even a couple that preach exclusively in Yakutian) get together, so I'll most likely go to that.

I guess that what I have to say is that even though it wasn't like home, in some ways it was and I thouroughly enjoyed myself and felt like I was walking around surrounded by a ray of sunshine the rest of the day. After attending church, the day didn't seem so grey and cold.

When I got home, I ate lunch and then dozed on and off for about four hours. Thus discovering that concentrating on church makes me really tired.

What else can I tell you? Well, I lost my key to the apartment and felt really really bad about it, but Elena Ivanovna was awesome about it and told me it was no big deal, she'd get another one made.

I made some little girls' day by talking to them and answering their questions. They thought it was really cool. Today they were in the Garderobe at the same time I was and are like "Do you remember us?" and I go "Of course" and they were like "who are we" and I go "you're the girls who were asking me questions." They then asked me to translate a bit of a song for them, which thankfully wasn't too difficult. That made them happy.

Time has seemed to be going pretty fast lately. I don't know if it's because I'm living in a different place, or what. I think that's part of it. I find myself being more social and wanting to be more social when people aren't telling me I have to be. I love sitting and talking to Elena Ivanovna while she's making dinner and she's really good about tolerating my horrible russian grammar, and helping me speak. She also makes me feel like part of the family which makes me feel good.

So I guess that's what you need to know. I'm really really enjoying myself right now, and my time here. This place is absolutely awesome, and even though sometimes I forget how cool it is here because I get down, things always look up again, and each time I come through a bad patch, the good things look better, and I feel happier longer. Hurrah for adjustment!

No comments: