Friday, June 7, 2013

May/June 2013 Easter in Siberia

Don't let the title of this post confuse you or think we're totally confused...some of you know that in Russia and a few other countries, a different calendar is used for holidays - especially religious ones. For example, in Russia we celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January although many churches across the country are also recognizing the 25th of December. There is also a different date for Easter; although the dates are usually a week apart, this year was an entire month. This difference gave us the opportunity to celebrate here in the US and in Russia! What a joy to share in the celebration of our risen Lord in two countries and two cultures! 
 The pastor gave a powerful message what the cross should truly mean in our lives and afterwards three people came forward wanting to know more about how to change their lives for an eternity!
Easter celebration with worship...
....and the Word!
We traveled through Korea this time and wanted to share this photo of the largest plane we've ever been on and I (Laura) believe the largest passenger plan made to date! It was day we're going to get that first class seat/bed for these 13 hour flights! 
A380 Airbus....two complete levels...tail is 10 stories high!!!
In the US we celebrate Memorial Day each year at the end of May. In Russia they celebrate a similar day known as Victory Day to remember those lost during WWII on the 9th of May. To this day, in every city and village you will find a memorial in the center of town dedicated to those who lost their lives during that war. We've seen numbers as high as 27 million casualties of the war over the course of four + years. The cost was high in many ways and the nation takes this day to remember in songs and music from that era.
Buryat girl waiting to dance with her class.
Kevin and our little friend bring some ice cream!

WWII Memorial in the center of our village.

Banner declaring May 9th as Victory Day

Shutters and window 'decoration' found on most
village homes across the country. 
In the mid 1800's, Csar Alexander of Russia gave two families from England permission to travel to Siberia. Their goal was to reach Buryatia and translate the Bible into the Buryat language as well as teach in the local schools. They were successful on  both counts and because of the translation work several Buryats became believers in the Lord Jesus. One was named Shagdar and the gentleman seated in the picture below wearing his WWII medals in the great-great grandson of Shagdar. On the 9th of May we, along with our Pastor and fellow worker who has done a great of research on this family, visited this gentleman and his family. We had only intended to stop in and wish Morjeet Dojar well and gives thanks for his long life and service to his country. (He's 92) What we didn't know was that his family, which numbers over 70 relatives, also takes this day to celebrate as a family. We were given the honor of sitting at his table, where his oldest sons should have been, and shared a meal and stories of his life in Russia. Most of the family was there this year so it was exciting to meet so many people from one family! The family knew most of the story about their great great great grandfather, however, our hope is to spend some quality time with them and explain the true significance that early translation of the Bible means for their 'people'!
Morjeet Dojar with his 10 children.
Morjeet Dorjar with most of the grand and great grandchildren.
Morjeet Dorjar's family

Springtime always brings an abundance of opportunities. We're always looking ahead at the coming winter and know that wood, and lots of it, will be needed to keep the buildings and homes warm through those minus temperatures! This stack of small pine trees was delivered so Kevin and I plus a few of the ladies from the fellowship got to work and well...take a look...
Wood is delivered...about seven cords total. 

Kevin cutting the trees into smaller  log pieces ....

so they can be stacked....

.....and dried before winter sets in. They'll be cut as needed into
smaller pieces before thrown into the stoves.
Old pieces of fence getting stacked before being cut
into much smaller pieces.
We decided to sell our car this year after realizing that it just is NOT made for the 'roads' we have in and around the village as well as the main road we take to the city each month. It's great for in the city and was great on Japanese roads...but just isn't logical for our needs. Soooooo..we had a buyer and knew it needed a few small things done before it was sold. At least we thought it was only a small thing needed. A very long story-short; we had the repairs done and the buyer gave us permission to take the car back to the village to use until we left the county. Sounded great to us....about 20 miles outside the city we felt a huge pull, a BANG, as our bumper hit the road and miraculously Kevin was able to get the car off the road just a little! It seems the guy who worked on the car forgot to tighten a bolt that was VERY important and basically our tire tried to go right without the car...well, that's my(Laura's) explanation. The pictures show the story...

After a three hour wait on the road, a tow truck driver that came with NO tools, stopping at least six cars to see if they had what we needed, oh and did we mention while we were waiting it was so windy we thought the car was going to roll over???!!!  Eventually, we actually drove the car back to the city and the shop did all the repairs and paid for our tow charge! Our buyer took the car and we are grateful no one was hurt and all ended well!

THANK YOU for the abundant prayers you continually lift up for us and the folks we live and work with in Russia! We are privileged and blessed to be a part of this work. We also want to give thanks for the generous gifts that were made for a chainsaw (Kevin was using in the above picture), a TV for the children's program and several huge donations for windows! What a blessing and a picture of how the body of Christ works around the world!!
                  Blessings from Siberia,
                     Kevin & Laura