Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

It finally felt like Christmas today. This week it has been hard to get into the Christmas spirit. Everywhere we went we were being wished "Happy New Year" in Russian. It was starting to feel like 'where did Christmas go?'

At church we sang Silent Night. That did it! The church was all decorated for Christmas. Valodya and Klaus bought a tree. Tom helped wash the windows. Nathan had made snowmen with some of the other singles and they adorned the windows. I got together with the ladies last week and helped crochet snowflakes for the tree. Singing a familiar tune and seeing the decorations really helped it to feel like home.

Joyce and Hannah were there. Mary the new student from Germany was there. Several of the kids did special numbers. Klaus & Franzie's kids all played their instruments. Tobias on the guitar, Phillipe on the accordion and little Manuel had a bongo drum! Ruth sang a duet with Olya (the worship leader not Vova's wife!) And Hannah played the piano. Oksanna, Olya and Sonja did Angels We Have Heard On High and it was beautifully done. It was the first time I had heard it in Russian.

I got excited and was singing the worship songs a little louder than normal. Alexei has heard me sing before but not in Russian. Only in English. I'm sure when I sang in English it must have sounded like "bla-ah blah, bla-ah blah!"
When he heard me singing in Russian he wanted it louder and louder!

When Valodya got up to speak he said that it was Jesus' birthday. He also said it was not important that we be precise about the date. "Neh vazhnee toachnah" (not important to be exact/precise!)

His question for the day was "what gift are you giving to Christ?"
I had to stop and think beyond the obvious. I thought "I'm here in Russia isn't that enough!" My gift is trust and obedience. It's the best I can do. And I am sure it will be a challenge!

After church we went to the movies to see The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Stas's son Dima came with us. I was glad that Spencer chose to invite him. He had a hard time saying yes. He wanted to be able to pay for himself and couldn't. We paid for his transportation, food and the movie. I found out from Tom that one of Stas's teachers from the BLTC had given Dima a copy of the book and that it was one of Dima's favorites. He was so excited to have seen the movie! He will be able to go to school tomorrow and tell his friends all about it. Dima is the best English speaker in his family. When he didn't know a word in English he would use a Russian word but for most of the day he spoke English with us.

This was our first Christmas in Russia. We went to church, the movies and spoke to Mom and Dad on the phone. Just like we would do any other Christmas only this year instead of Kansas to California... the phone call came from New Mexico to Russia!

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