Tuesday, March 31, 2009

the everything for 40 Rubles Store

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Tom and I went out to the Mega Mall today to pick up some energysaving lightbulbs. As we were walking around the mall we spotted a 40 Ruble store. At today's exchange rate it would be the Everything for One Dollar and Twenty One Cents Store. We found ear plugs, an elbow brace, a pill box... just to name a few.

When Tom teaches he likes to use props. He had already found a compass he needed for a teaching he will be doing next month. And while we were at the 40 Ruble store he found his second prop... a pregnancy test. Now neither one of us looks like a spring chicken anymore, so can you imagine the look on the cashier's face when I paid for the pregnancy test??!! She looked me up and down, smirked and keyed in the item. As soon as we got out of the store I explained to Tom what she had done.

I would love to hear the version of the story that she told her friends after we left the store!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

More of Tom in Yakutsk

Pastors and Church leaders from the Republic of Yakutsk at Tom's seminar

Lenin and Tom

Fish drying in the window

Roman and Tom

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Tom's Yakutsk Photos

View from Tom's Room

Tom and Igor, his translator

water dripping from pipe that created a beautiful sculpture under apartment building.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thought for Today

Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon. ~Doug Larson

Monday, March 23, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

Seedless Grapes and Sushi

At our local supermarket, Tabris, I found sushi that was very fresh... it had just been set out 15 minutes before I got there. The wasabi was just what I needed to help clear my sinuses!

The grapes that I found were actually the normal sized grapes you see in the states. Normally the seedless grapes that we find in our outdoor market are small.

The supermarket shelves were not all as full as they have been in the past. It looks as if they are ordering less. However, the number of people in the store has not changed they must be like me... simply buying a bit less!

Tom update:
Tom will be speaking to the youth group on Saturday and he has been asked to speak during the morning service on Sunday. He has also been scheduled to return to Yakutsk in December to speak on Boundaries.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Update on Tom

So if any of you were taking bets on whether or not Tom would be able to shake things up at a seminar for pastors...today's text message says:

Small scandal with topic masturbation because church never talks about it.

yep, Tom has the gift of stirring things up!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thought for Today

If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.
Thomas Edison

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tom is in Yakutsk!

Tom is in Yakutsk to teach a seminar on Healthy Sexuality. As he updates me I will keep you updated on how things are going!

Here are some excerpts from his email:

I made it ok. Flight was non-eventful...only 6 hours. It was weird to fly for hours over total darkness with no lights down below or anything. It looked like we were flying above the moon...eerie!

We have 20 men who are church leaders in the area who are in evangelical churches.

I'm excited about this opportunity & already committed to return in Dec when it's 'cold!' It was a balmy -23 when I arrived at 6am.

Please keep Tom in your prayers!

Monday, March 16, 2009

one of us is back in Krasnodar!

I spent Friday and Saturday on the train from Kiev to Krasnodar. I am so happy to be able to say it was a completely uneventful ride! It was my first time traveling that route alone. But, like Spencer said if he could do it at 18 then I could handle it at 45!

Tom left Krasnodar as I was returning home. He sent me a text message from the airport... I had just hopped into a taxi leaving the train station. He went from Krasnodar to Moscow and then got stuck. He had a problem with his ticket and was not able to take his orginal flight to Yakutsk, (click here to read about this city) affectionately known as the coldest city on earth!

Tom was able to get a ticket for today and should arrive there early tomorrow morning. He sent me a text message as he was waiting to board the plane so that is the most current info available on him! Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Kiev DTS 2008-2009

Spencer and me!

What some of them got out of the program...

Spencer and Igor

The whole gang!!
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

thought for today

You rise, you fall, your down, then you rise again
What don't kill you make you more strong
from the song: Broken, Beat & Scarred, by Metallica

Today Tom and I were able to hear Spencer's DTS team share their stories about their time during the practical phase of their training. They traveled to Lugansk, Ukraine and then on to Chisinau, Moldova.

Each team member took around ten minutes to share from their personal experiences of being abroad. The quote above came from Spencer's talk. He used it to illustrate the point that all of the experiences he survived were not able to kill him... they made him stronger and caused him to grow.

Tom and I had the privilege of meeting Spencer's teammates before their time in the field. He and I were able to see first hand growth in each one of those young people. And as the only mother in the room, I took pictures, cheered them on and shed tears of pride and joy as each one of them shared their stories!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We have our new visas!

When we arrived at the Embassy today they were very apologetic for what happened yesterday. Even though it was a holiday two of the employees came in to make sure that we would be able to get our visas... the cranky guard out front was the one who got in our way!!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Foiled Again!

Tom was scheduled to leave Kiev today so that he could get back to Krasnodar and get ready for the seminar he is scheduled to teach in Yakustk next week.

We went over to the Russian Embassy to pick up our visas only to discover that they are closed today for a holiday. I showed the security guard that we were scheduled for a pick up today and he politely informed me that whatever was written on that paper had no meaning! No one but him was working so there was no one to give us our documents.

Ah, the joy of visa renewal!! And we chose to laugh about it with our taxi driver instead of getting angry. Everyone we dealt with last week assured us that Monday was our pick up day. Obviously, it just didn't click in their minds that today was a holiday.

So there you have it... Tom will be here until Wednesday with plenty of time to make his connecting flight on Sunday.

Friday, March 06, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Chernobyl Museum…

Alida & I were headed to a small museum dedicated to the victims of the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986. Of course there is an interesting day tour of Chernobyl, with only minimal amounts of radiation exposure to the participants – according to the website - however it’s a very expensive excursion. The former town is only 100km from Kiev, & a few people have actually moved back into their small homes to live out their remaining years. Anyway, on the way to the Museum we decided that it might be a depressing outing & changed our plans, opting for an Art Gallery instead. Once we arrived at the address of the Art Gallery…there was no Art Gallery! Instead we found the U.S. Aid Agency, an American governmental organization. (Insert your own joke here…) After passing thru the Marine Corp security, we were redirected next door. Still no Art Gallery…so we ended up wandering thru the markets instead. Although it was an uneventful time, it was probably less depressing than our original idea!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Indoor Market

This an indoor market that Tom and I stumbled upon today.

Here are a few of the shots that I was able to take as we strolled about inside:

Meat, flowers, fruits, veggies and more are sold here...

a bird found his way in and took a seat to watch all the action...

close up on one of the butcher's blocks...

We decided to go to the supermarket for our meat... all we purchased at the indoor market were a few pairs of warm jeans for Tom to take to Siberia!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Thought for Today

The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land. ~G.K. Chesterton

views from the balcony

We are staying in a 2 bedroom apartment in downtown Kiev. Not far from the main street of Khreshatik. Today is kind of a dreary day, but the snow has melted and the sun has peeked through the clouds a time or two.

The night time photo reminded me of the times when my parents would load us kids into the car late at night and we would drive around whatever city we were staying in and look at the lights!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Blessed by a priest on the train...

Saturday as Alida & I were sleeping on the train from Krasnodar to Kiev, Ukraine - the door of our coupe opened & in walked a Ukrainian Orthodox Priest in full gold garb & costume, chanting some words in Russian, splashing us with holy water, while an altar boy behind him carried the chalice filled with holy water.

The Priest said, "I am waking you up this morning to bless you & your travel." He then held out the gold cross icon to my lips, & when I kissed the air in front of the cross he said, "I see you are a believer." By this time I was sitting up, had put my glasses on so I could see, & wondering why we were being 'punked' on the train? Then the priest set a wooden collection box with a padlock on our little table, saying, "You are free to give anything to God...any amount of money - large or small..." Then like a great salesperson...he just stood there as Alida & I rubbed sleep out of our eyes. If I had been awake & thinking better I don't think I would have reached into my jeans pocket & slipped some rubles in to the wooden box!

For me, sometimes God DOES surprise me like a 'thief in the night' who busts into my life when I am sleepy or not paying attention. But unlike the Priest, he's not intrusive & much more patient. If I hadn't been asleep when the Priest came in, it probably wouldn't have seemed to be one of the most bizarre things that I have encountered!