Sunday, August 24, 2014

Love Without Borders

Dear friends near and far, I am so thankful for your prayers and for your support. The last two weeks Hilary, Allie, and I have been readjusting to life here in Tomsk. We have been teaching English classes in our apartment. We also have been just hanging out with our students.

Last Sunday, we attended a different church. Our Russian teacher and friend, Oksana, and our dear friends Emile and Jenny (who helped us get our apartment) attend this church. They have house churches, but the first Sunday of every month they have a gathered service. It worked out that their gathering was the second Sunday after we returned from Kolpashevo. I was just getting over being sick, and I felt like I needed some rest. We had two people during the service translate for us. It is such a blessing to worship God with the Russian people. Their love for following His statutes is evident in how they treat each other.

I was very encouraged by the pastor's message. He spoke about what is happening between Ukraine and Russia. He said that as Christians we must be aware of what is happening. We pray for our brothers and sisters around the world, because there is a mighty war going on in the world. A war that we cannot see, a war of souls, and so we pray. We pray, because God is our refuge. Prayer is powerful, because God is powerful.

He also said that many sanctions have been put on Russia. There has been much talk about who is guilty of certain attacks. The media in America likes to slant the story to make it look like Russia is horrible. It is very difficult to get accurate information, so the news will sell out and give people propaganda. Propaganda sells. But we should be sober-minded. We can't paint this situation with just black and white. Pastor said that watching the news can easily fill us with fear. Fear can lead to hate and hate blinds us from seeing the truth of the situation. I choose to pray for Russia and Ukraine. I choose to be sober-minded.

Here is a question I offer up to you and myself: How would we (Americans) react if we couldn't import something? The American people would not like that very much. We should not be happy about these blockades. There is no “good” side and “bad” side. The people suffer from these sanctions, not the leaders. Political talk can become so bitter so fast. I have been challenged to really try to have an open mind to all sides and to ask myself what kind of attitude is God-honoring. I pray for peace, and my mind and heart is seeking to see others through mercy and justice.

I know the pull between Russia and Ukraine is not new. It has for centuries functioned as the border between the west and the east. I am hoping Ukraine can attain stability. It needs decades of stability so that it can grow to have its own identity. This way it can have a healthy relationship with Russia and Europe, without being controlled by either. My heart is heavy for the Russian and the Ukrainian people. Even though I have only been in Russia for a little over two months, I have become attached to the Russian people in a way that is hard to explain. I know this is because God is helping me and giving me the strength to love without borders. I can love others, because God in Christ loves me. I try so hard to imagine being in a Ukrainian or Russian person's shoes who lives in the strife and confusion of this time. My heart is heavy.

I have come to love so many little things about my Russian friends. One thing I have noticed is that Russians cherish each other. Now you wouldn't know it from walking around the streets of the city and seeing cold faces everywhere, but Russians have big hearts. Once they get to know you, they are such loyal friends. They will never ever forget you. They know how to take care of one another, and they do. They will find any excuse to invite you over and share chai with you. And it is not just because we are American. Russians our the ultimate sharers. They share what they have, because they survive by looking out for each other. Tonight, our good friend Olga brought a huge bag of vegetables from her mother's garden to us. The bag was full of cucumbers, onions, garlic, squash, carrots, and a beet. She has given us vegetables from the garden before and flowers. She loves learning the English language, but she also just loves people. We love hanging out with her. I could give you so many stories of people being generous with us.

Russian hospitality might be a cliche, but it is so true. There is nothing like being a guest at a Russian home. Last week we visited our friend and student, Valentina. We visited her and her family at their home. We thought we were just meeting up to chat, but she had made a full meal for us. The next day she took us on a tour of her work. She is an assistant professor of automation and robotics. She teaches mechanical engineering. We visited the Institute of Cybernetics within the Tomsk Polytechnic University. In Tomsk, there are three studies that are very popular in university. The three major studies are programming, engineering, and medical studies. Most of the time when we ask a student what they are studying they will say one of these three studies. I really enjoyed visiting the school and seeing all the big machinery they use.

I also find Russians to be a lot more patient. Russians don't have the sense of impatient entitlement which Americans are almost born with. Russians are resilient, and I believe with all my heart that I can learn a lot from them. God is showing me how people can't be defined simply by what country they are from. I will never underestimate the influence of Russia's history on it's people, but I see more than that. As I make friends here I remember making friends in other foreign places. It is always such a special friendship. I think that God's unbounded love shines through so brightly when we can find true lasting friendship with people who are so different from ourselves. With people we never dreamed of understanding or trying to understand about. I thank God for each person that I have come to know here, and I am praying fervently for genuine friendship.

Last week, we had a meeting in our apartment with friends from church. We decided to hold a week long English session for the last week of August. We had some very encouraging discussion. We are excited to work closer with our Russian friends. Tomsk is about to get a lot BIGGER. School resumes in September. This last week of August a flood of new and old students will be coming to Tomsk for University. Tomsk is a University city, about eighty-five thousand students live and study in Tomsk. This past week we handed out flyers and spread the word about this week long session. This week long sessions starts tomorrow so please pray that we would be diligent and responsible teachers. The following are the topics we will be teaching on the next five days: Introductions: Meeting People, Internet Navigation: Surfing the Net and Shopping, Everyday Conversations: Surviving a day in an English Speaking Country, University and Travel: Programs and Semester Abroad, Television and Entertainment: T.V. Culture in the Past, Present, and the Future. I am looking forward to our first day and to meeting new people.

This past Friday we had our Russian class with Oksana. It was her birthday, so we gave her chocolate chip cookies. Surprisingly, they don't have chocolate chip cookies here. Oksana is the best teacher, because she is so full of joy. When I think of her, I think of a beaming light. As we were having conversation, something she said stuck with me. She said “Serve people, but allow others to serve you also.” I really needed to heart that. I really enjoy having our Russian language class with her. Later that day we decided to walk around Tomsk for fun and we ended up going to Travelers Coffee for dinner. As we were about to leave the cafe, Oksana and her husband came in. It was such a surprise! We laughed and wished her happy birthday again. Our waiter, Leesa, knew a little English. She had been so kind to us the entire night. We invited her to our English courses and I am really, really hoping she comes.

Yesterday we went horseback riding with our friends Anna and Olga. It was really fun! The last time I rode a horse was at Echo Ranch Bible Camp two years ago. I really liked my horse and was fantasizing about riding it in Alaska. Maybe one day I will have a Russian style garden and a Russian horse in Alaska. You never know....it could happen! After we rode the horses, one of the girls showed us around. She showed us more of their horses. I was in awe of how beautiful the horses were. I don't think I have ever seen such strong and robust looking horses.

Today, we sang a Russian song at church. We sang half of it in Russian and half of it in English. The song was “How Great is Our God.” Maybe later, I can record us singing it and share it with you all. The more I try to speak Russian, especially sing it, the more I fall in love with the language.

As I look ahead to our classes this week I think about how teaching English has challenged me. Sometimes God calls us to do something that really challenges us. Often, I find it so easy to say to God: “I'll do it God, as long as.....it doesn't make me uncomfortable, it doesn't put me at risk, it lines up with what I want, or it doesn't challenge me beyond what I believe I can handle.”

But, what sort of faith is that? That is me trying to control what God wants from me. Even though teaching English is hard, I remain grateful for this opportunity. I have faith. My joy rests in God, because He remains faithful in all circumstances. I delight in God through all my obedience, not just what I want to obey.

I lift up to God my concerns and my doubts. Being away from home has shown me that at the heart of trust is being satisfied with all that my Savior is for me. He is enough, forever and always. He is not a duty or an obligation in my life. He is my Sustainer. I come to Him to have my soul hunger satisfied. I choose to rest, even when my flesh wants anxiety and control. I am praying that I will choose to listen to the still, small voice of God each day this week.

Thank you again for your prayers and support.    


                                                                               Singing at Church.
   A sculpting machine -the only one of its kind in all of Russia at Tomsk Polytechnic University.
                                              Enjoying some Apple Strudel at Traveler's Coffee.
                                                             Where all the beautiful horses were.
                                                                          Getting ready to ride.
This Sunday we arrived at church early to practice singing "How Great Is Our God" in English and Russian. 

                                                                  Walking around Tomsk.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

My Russian Family

It has been too long. Way too long.

My good friends I want to share with you what has occurred this past month. Right now Hilary and Allie are off teaching English class and I'm sitting in the apartment with a summer cold. But I have so much to be thankful for! My mind, my body, and my heart may give out, but the Lord is still in control.

Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26

This apartment I am in is our own apartment! The last two weeks of July we were in Kolpashevo, a town a six hour drive up north. We stayed with a family that we met at English camp in June and we taught English at the Baptist Church in Kolpasheva. I want to fill you in all about Kolpasheva, but first let me tell you how we found this apartment.

I know that our new apartment is God's doing. Our friends that go to one of the house churches in Tomsk showed us this apartment. We went to their house for breakfast the day we were leaving for Koplashevo. Emil and his wife Jenny told us they had an apartment we could come look at. We were surprised. We had scheduled to go see three apartments that same day before leaving. All the apartments we had seen were not big enough for us three girls. That day Emil took us to see the apartment. We were amazed at how perfect the apartment was suited for our needs. We agreed that day to rent it before leaving to Kolpashevo. He took us to see the woman who rents it out. She liked us and we payed her that day. The apartment belonged to an American Christian family for twelve years. They left behind a bunch of useful material for us to learn Russian and to teach English. We have a bunch of books! We also have a whole bunch of movies in Russian that we are so excited about. This apartment is a true blessing. We had been praying for the RIGHT place, and this truly is the RIGHT place for the rest of our stay. Praise God! I can't brag enough on how wonderful He is.

Now let me tell you about Kolpasheva. It was a bumpy ride getting there, but I enjoyed it. On the ride there the kids in the car sang Russian songs and I saw so many Birch trees. I also experienced using squatty potties along the way, but I'm pretty use to it by now. Once we arrived at midnight, the family we were staying with had cooked us a full meal. Victor and Larissa welcomed us into their home. We did not know we would be eating like royalty for the next two weeks.

We taught English class two times a day. Even though I am not a natural teacher, I really enjoyed having conversations with the Russian people. For the two weeks, we had twenty-five students overall attend our classes. We are planning on skyping with them once a week while in Tomsk to teach some English and teach some Biblical terms in English as well. We had Christmas in July and we shared with them the true meaning of Christmas. I read scripture from Luke and Leah read in Russia after me. We taught them Christmas words such as "Shepherd, Angel, Manger, Star, and Gifts." We watched "Elf" and shared with them afterwards how secular culture celebrates Christmas, but then we showed them the true meaning of CHRISTmas.

The family we stayed with became our family. They have five kids. Cyril is the oldest and was the translator. He speaks English very well. His father was very funny, because he would speak Russian with an American accent around us. He would say YA Nippy DI MIO ParooSKy. It was soo funny. Their oldest daughter, Leah, is 14 and she was such a great Russian language teacher to us. Leah and Cyril got baptized on the second sunday we were in Kolpashevo. We went to the lake before church and it was such a special time to share with their family. Living with them made me want to learn Russian so bad. But even though we could not always understand each other, we became true friends; The best of friends. I often forgot they were Russians. Our faith united us together, and their love was a reflection of God's grace. I will miss all of them.

 The other three children, Sophie, Tikhon, and Arsinia were awesome too. Sophie reminded me of myself when I was younger. Quiet, but she has a fighter inside. Tikhon was hilarious. He would say goodbye to us in English every way he knew how: Goodbye, see you later, see you soon, see you tomorrow...! He reminds me of his dad. And Arsinia would say Hello and Goodbye to us in a really high voice and then a really low voice.

Larissa cooked authentic Russian food for us everyday. She cooked us lunch and dinner. She made soup, borsche, Hooha (fish soup), and pliaf. She taught us how to make pliaf and manti. Manti is ground beef and a ton of onion rolled into dough and steamed. It is a dish from Kyrgyzstan where their father is from. After one day of class she taught us to make manti. So, we decided to make them an American meal. We made hamburgers, Macaroni and cheese, and chocolate chip cookies. They LOVED it! They loved the cookies soo much that we surprised them. Back in our apartment we baked 300 COOKIES for them and for English class students.

Every night after English class we would either drink tea and talk around the kitchen table. We shared testimonies, we share funny stories, and we sang songs together. At church each of us girls gave our testimony. The church is small, but they are filled with so much strength. I think about them everyday. I love the Russian people. I love drinking chai and trying to speak Russian. 

There was one women, when she returned home from camp in June started attending the Baptist church in Kolpashevo. I don't think she is a believer yet, but her heart is so open to God's Word. She wants to believe. She told me that every time she reads the Bible it makes it harder for her to believe that the stories are true. Her Mother and her Husband both disapprove of her attending the Baptist Church. They believe they are bad people and liars that want to steal her money. They see the Baptist Church as a false church, and they see the Russian Orthodox church as the only true church. We decided to Skype with the church every week from Tomsk to do a small lesson on English Words and teach on God's Word. I am praying that she will receive the Gospel in it's whole and that through ongoing encouragement through personal talks on Skype, that she will feel God calling her to Himself. Please pray for this woman.
These past two months have been a huge learning experience for me. God has been teaching me how team work should look and how to be patient with my two teammates. It is so easy to try and control everything and to think that you know best. The Spirit of God desires freedom in our lives. The Spirit wants us to be free to love others with joy. Fear and control only hinder that possibility. God is showing me what that love should look like more and more each day. It can hurt my pride at times, but the Lord knows what I need. I am amazed at the perseverance of the Christians in Tomsk and Kolposheva. This is a tough place to be a Christian. It is even tougher when you choose to really be vocal about your faith and try to reach out to the people around you. Many of the believers need encouragement to share their faith, and I believe God is asking us to do that.
This next month of August we are teaching English classes every Monday and Thursday in our apartment. We also our holding a Bible study on Tuesday nights in our apartment. We will be teaching English at Roobius, the computer company, atleast five times a week. We will also be helping teach English at a new language center as well. We hope to learn Russian better as well, as we resume our class for that. We also are getting ready for our visa run in September. We will be going to London and doing some ministry while we are there with univeristy students. Please pray that we will be able to get new visas with no major problems. Please pray for Hilary, Allie, and I to be strong and faithful this month. I think that living with such a wonderful family in Kolpashevo made me miss a lot of family back home. Please pray that we would be present and rely on the Lord and His Words.

Overall, I am amazed at my teammates! We get along so well and I respect them both so much! We are falling in love with the Russian people. I know their enduring faith has encouraged me. Praise God! 


                                                      There were cows roaming all over the town.
One night we watched Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Larissa shared what the story symbolized.
                                                   Walking to Church where we taught English.
                                                         Three members were baptized on our last Sunday.
                                                              Inside a Russian Orthodox Church.
                                                                                  Arsinia and I.
                                                                  A Russian Orthodox Church.
                                                      Characters from well known Russian fairy tales.
                                                        What many of the homes look like in town.
                                                   The ferry ride back to Tomsk with our family. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Good Connections

Another week and a half has gone by and there is so much to tell!

On June 27th we moved into a new apartment. Two younger women, named Katia and Anissa offered us a place to stay for the next three weeks. Living with them for the past week has been the best! Anissa is a pediatric doctor. She speaks English fairly well, but she challenges us with the Russian language everyday. As we walk up the stairs from a long day she points to everything around us and quizzes us. Katia recently got engaged and she will be getting married in September. Both girls heard our need for a place to stay for three weeks before Kalposheva, and the Lord truly did answer our prayers....and beyond!!

We also have begun teaching English classes four times a week. We have had our first week of classes. At first we kept the classes loose, because we wanted to establish where all of our students were at. It can be hard to structure an English class with such a variety of students, but at the same time I enjoy getting to know each student for who they are.

Yesterday was very encouraging! In the morning we had our first Russian language course with Oksi. She went through the alphabet with us and taught us some basic rules. She understands the difficulties of learning the Russian language for English speakers. Her lesson was very helpful! Later that day, I went to Anissa's open English class and got to see how they teach English to Russians. It amazes me how our Father connects us with the right people at the right time. The man who owns the business and the people who work there are of the same mind as Hilary, Allie, and I. Today, us girls will go to the English staff meeting to see what they are up to and how best we can help. Also, yesterday we had our Independence Day party. Anissa and I walked to the party together after her English class. We had about twenty people at the party. We played games, ate lots of food, and had a great time!

I wish I could just rant and rant about the connections God is making here with people, but I will just let you know that He is mighty and He is strong. All of this is His doing.

I'm excited for this upcoming weekend. We will be going swimming with some English class friends. Also, Hilary, Allie, and I will be connecting with another man to help at his computer company with English. This upcoming week we hope to plan out our English lesson plans, so that they are pristine. Please pray for good communication between our team and the people in Tomsk. Wonderful things are happening here and I'm eager to see them through. Blessings to you all!  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

English Camp and What is Ahead.

We have been in Tomsk Siberia for one and a half weeks. So much has already happened, and I know God still has much in store for us girls.

June 16th through the 20th was English Camp. Early Monday morning all the campers showed up at Central Baptist Church and we loaded the bus. There was 52 campers in attendance and 10 American teachers. There was a variety of ages in our group. We had kind babushkas ready to improve on their English and children as young as 10 years old eager to be taught. When we arrived at the camp it was quite a change of scenery from being in the hustle and bustle of the city of Tomsk. We were surrounded by the Siberian forest. Tall birch trees, long grass, old wooden cabins, and the Ob River made up the scene. There was also many mosquitoes, but we were told by our American team that they were not as bad as last year.

Even though I felt somewhat unsure of my ability to be an English teacher to the campers, God was showing me once again that I can put my trust in Him wholly. I taught the Elementary level class and I had about 12 students in my class. My students were Masha, Nastyia, Tatiana, Liya, Karina, Sophia, Pasha, Oleg, Denis, Tehon, Bogdan, and Andrew. I enjoyed getting to know them all in class. We went through the English Workbook each day learning many new English words. We played many games and I was surprised by how much my students enjoyed the classes. I was told that many teachers in the school system in Tomsk can be harsh on students and not be helpful in answering students questions. The teacher is not a friend. I chose early on to be their friend. I also taught them the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand and taught them words that corresponded with the Bible story.

Everyday at camp we would play games, sing worships songs, have a sermon, and just spend time together. I had one on one talks with many Russians. I had some good conversations at the Banya. The banya is like a sauna. It is very popular in Russia.

                                                                             A Late Night Movie
                                                                                   The Main Building
                                                                                      The Banya
                                                                                          My Cabin
                                                                                           Ob River
                                                                                        Meal Time

During meal times we were encouraged by our team to sit with Russians and not Americans. At first it was a bit daunting, but soon I felt more and more at ease with being in situations where I had to stretch myself. I got to know quite a few students very well, and I am praying for many of them. Now that camp is over we are hoping to grow in friendship with many of the students we met and share the hope we have in Christ with them. The thing to do here is to walk around Tomsk with friends, and Hilary, Allie, and I plan on meeting up with friends from camp to further our friendship. 

At camp we met two Christian families that I was tremendously encouraged by. We will be doing English club on Saturdays nights with one of the families. On July 19th we leave to live with the other family in Kalposheva for two weeks. We will teach English and make friends there also. Many of the campers are actually from Kalposheva.

For the next four weeks we are scheduling English courses and our friends from church are helping us organize it. It has been hard at times to feel like God can use me here, but I know He can. Please pray for our English courses to be fruitful. Also, we have many people offering apartments for us to stay at, please pray that we would find the best place for us to stay. Most of all please pray for us to be seeking God's plan out in everything we do. Thank you all for your faithful prayers. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Reflecting on the Road Behind Me and Anticipating the Road Ahead

Hilary, Allie, and I have our visas! In three days we leave for Russia for six months and I could not be more excited! So much work has gone into preparing for this trip and I am elated that the time has finally come! The anticipation is the worst part. Looking back at everything that has brought me to this point fills me with a feeling of overwhelming gratitude for the blessings God has given to me.

For awhile, I left SBU and I did not think I would be going on a semester abroad. God has brought strong people into my life to challenge me and show me that I can do extraordinary things when I live my life with courageous faith. My heart no longer fears uncertainty, I embrace so much of the unknown. I wish I was a better writer so I could express just how grateful I feel to be freed from fear. I no longer worry about the future or about so much that is out of my control. Don't get me wrong, I have my moments. But the important part is to keep moving forward and to not make decisions out of fear. 
 
As I sit and reevaluate the past two years here at Southwest Baptist University, looking forward towards my last semester abroad in Russia, I can see how my studies have helped me grow spiritually and how community has helped most of all in my life. Personally, I have grown so much, and have been challenged so much just living life in a community with others. Living in community has helped me appreciate being still and learning from God.
 
I've always loved learning! I haven't always loved sharing my life with others, and that is not something you can learn to love in a classroom. I learned it many places, but I was challenged by it at Echo Ranch Bible Camp. The summer of 2010 and 2012 God gave me a community, a body of believers to be a part of. In the vast wilderness of Alaska God opened my heart to how much I needed Him, before anything else in my life. I formed a strong relationship with God in Alaska, and I am thankful for that time. My emotional development has been extremely impacted by Alaska. I learned so much about my strength and weaknesses in the body of Christ, and began to accept the person God made me to be for His Kingdom.
 
I used to be such a doubtful person. Always second-guessing myself. Always saying yes even when I wanted to say no. Never really standing up for myself when it mattered. My heart was thrown around in a sea of doubt, my feelings crashing against beliefs. I would hear the truth, but often it would only be words. It truly did not resonate in my heart.

I was not even aware of how much my feelings guided me, rather than God's promises to me. I was struggling, but I did not admit it to anyone. That first summer working at camp I broke down. I could no longer hide how much I was struggling in my faith, because I was surrounded with a loving community. God was pouring out His love and mercy on me through His faithful and broken people. God's Word was breaking through into my heart, and the lies that I believed were truth were coming to the surface. It was really hard, but it was sooo good! I cried that summer more than I think I ever have, and the burdens I was living with God was taking off my back. I was truly experiencing rest in the Lord. The enemy's foothold in my life was becoming weaker and weaker. I began to have a relationship with God, actually bringing my problems to Him, instead of always relying on people.
 
One of the main things I learned that summer was that emotions are fickle. If you rely on feelings to always guide you, than your thoughts and beliefs will be shaped by that. One should base everything on God's Word and His promises to us, not on fickle feelings. I also became aware of how important community is in my life. God's word became so alive to me, because I saw it alive in others. I was challenged by their faith and encouraged. I began to sing Psalms with my friend Erin. She showed me how God calls us to follow Him like children: “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:1-4). We were silly! We jumped around on the beach like crazy ladies singing Psalms, but it was so freeing. I felt like a child again, because I was reading God's Word with new eyes. I was humbled by God's sovereignty.

I began writing verses that dealt with my struggles on slips of paper. I would pull it out of my pocket and read it when I needed a reminder. A woman named, Lynn, showed me how easy it is to believe lies, but God has given us the truth in His Word. Today, I still struggle with believing lies and I think that just comes with being human. But I pray that I do not stop seeking out the Lord. I do not want to follow my voice. I want to follow God's voice. I hope my heart during the worst of times and the best of times, resonates with joy and thankfulness instead of pride. If anyone out there is reading this, please pray that I would thirst for the Lord everyday. We all struggle with sin, and I am no exception. I want to be beautiful in the sight of my King, and not in the sight of man. Through that, I hope that others will be able to see what joy I have in the Lord.

I am looking forward to this semester abroad, because it won't all be in a classroom. We will be sharing our lives with others and sharing the hope we have found in Christ. What a privilege to share my faith with the Russian people! Also, what a privilege I have to attend this university and be a part of this program.
 
I promise the rest of my posts will be more about life in Russia and my study abroad program, so keep checking in if you're curious about either one!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Praise Him!

Praise the Lord! My finances for my ICS trip have been fully met as of today! The amount that was met in such a short period of time is astounding. The joy people have had in giving to this ministry has been so encouraging. God calls us to support one another through our needs, and the love of God's people has become even brighter to me. Through this process I have learned many things. I learned that often my lack of trust in people, shows my lack of trust in God. God has shown me through this that I can be courageous! I can trust that God will move people's hearts to give at the right time. Thank you all for supporting me through prayer, words of encouragement, and finances.

I have a prayer request for this month leading up to our departure.

Obtaining our Russian visas is proving to be more difficult than expected. Could you please pray that all who are involved in the process of securing our visas would work swiftly and communicate well.  

God has a plan in all this. I'm walking with Him in all of this day by day. Thank you for your prayers!

Matthew 6:30-34
"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Welcome Friends!

Welcome to my blog! In less then two months, myself and my two friends will be starting a journey that we feel prayerfully led to by our Father. We will jump on a plane and travel to a place within Russia. This blog is for my friends, family, and anyone else interested in supporting or learning about our travel experiences. 

We will study language at university, teach English, and make new friends. Through it all there will be exciting stories to tell, days of utter exhaustion, and unimaginable blessings. I want to share with you all our joy, our faith, and our hardships. We three girls desire to live pure lives and honor the Father. We are looking forward to butchering the language, getting lost, and seizing everyday as an adventure to learn more.

I'm excited and I hope you are as well. At this time we are still raising funds, applying for visas, and getting connected with people in our new home. I still need to raise $6, 750. My cost recently went up, because of reasons I was previously unaware of. We are asking for Financial gifts at this time. If you would like to give to my funds, you can email me at alissabyerly1990@gmail.com.
 
Prayer Needs:
* Finances and Visas
* Personal preparation
* People of Russia (students)
* Peace and Faith in the process

Happy Easter! He has risen. He is alive! Thank you, Father. Спасибо, отец!