Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Joys of Calling Eastern Europe (And Other Missions Things I've Discovered)

I'm supposed to be calling Eastern Europe. And Finland. You see, Russia has some interesting visa laws. Namely that a foreigner can't be there longer than three months. So we are trying to work out that once my visa expires I can go to a nearby country and get it renewed in either a couple days or a couple of weeks rather than three months.

Here's the thing about calling Eastern Europe. It's difficult. Why? Well, because of the tiny detail that there is a time difference. No big deal right? Except that the consular information people I've been trying to call are only there from 9am to 12pm. No big deal right? Well you see, that's 9-12 their time. Which is like the middle of the night here.

So not only does taking care of this business require calling in the middle of the night, but it also requires that I call the right department, the people actually pick up the phone, and I am able to talk to the supervisors. etc. Yes, it's been interesting times.

In other news, the fundraising has been going pretty well. I told my parents the other day that Someone must want me to go on this trip because I've been able to raise quite a bit with minimal effort so far. Not that I'm trying to brag. I just think it's interesting. I have about a third of what I need for the entire year in Russia. Which is amazing! God and the people I've talked to have been extremely generous. I am extremely blessed! Just because I have a third of what I need though doesn't mean that I don't have more to raise. Please continue to pray for me as I go through this process and try to get the rest of the support to go!

In my personal devotional time, I've been reading though Acts due to the mission work that goes on. It's been taking me longer than usual because I've been reading it in Russian as well as English. I read the chapter in English then spend a few days reading it a few verses at a time in Russian, writing down and looking up words I don't know. I don't have a lot of Russian church vocabulary and so am hoping that this will help increase it. It's been an interesting experience and one that I am greatly enjoying.

That's really all I've got for the moment. Things seem to be going pretty well. Again, your prayers are appreciated!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Petulant Child

It's been an interesting few weeks. I'm not even sure where to begin.

I went through this phase of avoidance for a while. I don't know why I do this sort of thing. But I hate change and so often I will do things to avoid it. Namely by not thinking about it. Which is never good. There were times the last couple of weeks where I did a lot of thinking; wondering why I even want to go to Russia. I mean it would be so much easier to just stay here. But then I suppose that would be a waste of everything I've been preparing for.

I feel like the last couple of weeks I've been kind of like a petulant child. I was thinking about how I've made some decisions recently without really consulting God. Or, consulting God and then doing exactly what I wanted anyway. I imagined myself like a little kid stamping her foot and going "But I want this!"

It's kind of ironic that I had this image of myself because on Sunday the preacher talked about this exact thing. I feel like some of the sermons I've heard of late have directly related to me. Parts of them have really spoken to me, or related to things I've been thinking about.

It's also odd, the way that things can refocus you. I was kind of just going through the flow in a haze of uncertainty and avoidance and then I had a chat with one of my best friends. Katya and I have been friends and roommates and we can talk about just about anything. She came by my house the other day for a visit and we sat and talked for over and hour. Honestly, I can't pinpoint that there was anything exactly that she said or I said that refocused me. It was just the whole conversation. Maybe it's because we go from talking about ridiculous things like boys and scrabble and then in the next sentence talk about deeper things such as mission work, worship and where God is leading us.

In any case, it was an afternoon well spent and I came out of it going "Oh. I'm kind of dumb." I realized that some things in life are more important than others and I had been focusing on the wrong things. Again.

As our preacher put it on Sunday, God has everything worked out. He knows what's best for us. But sometimes we try to take the reins. We think we know exactly what we want and need and instead of focusing on God and trusting him to work it out, we go off on our own. I can just imagine God shaking his head as I go my own way and waiting patiently for me to come back to him. I am so grateful that he does wait patiently!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Virginia Beach Vacation

So, I couple of weeks ago I took a vacation to Virginia Beach. Why? Well because I felt like I needed a break, I'd never been to Virginia Beach and I wanted some time alone. Yeah, did I mention that I went by myself?

If you've never taken a vacation by yourself, I highly recommend it. You are beholden to no one and you can just kind of do your own thing. It is pure amazingness.

I stayed at a hotel about 8 blocks from the beach. It was a nice hotel, but if I'm going to do it again, I'd probably stay on Atlantic Ave. Right on the beach. It's definitely worth it. VB's main street is rather touristy. If you know me, you know I like to avoid super touristy places, but there were interesting things to see as well. Like the Wildfowl Heritage Museum which is free. If you go to Virginia Beach and are looking for a tasty place to eat, I'd recommend the 33rd st. Cafe. Their fish and chips are amazing and I had a nice chat with some of the locals.

All in all, I spent a couple of days essentially just lying on the beach. I ended up going the second or third week of May which was a really good time. It was warm enough to lay around on the beach, but there weren't mass amounts of people there. It was perfect and a great way to relax.