The Lord has reminded us again and again that this mission is about Him. From the very beginning it has been very clear to us that the Lord is the one in charge. First of all, the Lord’s timing is absolutely impeccable. Truly “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away”. During our short time in Magadan we have experienced this. Yet the Lord in His mercy has also given back some of those that He had removed from our lives for a short time. As we look at each person and each experience, it is clear that they have been guided into our lives by the Lord. This only makes us that much more grateful for the time that we have had with each person we have met. It is shocking to see the bonds we have made this summer. Whether it is Fr. Michael, the sisters, parishioners, people form our English classes, or other deep friendships we have made, the Lord has truly been generous with the relationships He has placed in our lives.
As we seek to surrender our own wills to the Lord’s will this summer, He reminds us that these people that we encounter, we love, we are touched deeply by, are His. They belong to Him. Our Heavenly Father not only reminds us that He is using us to love His children, but that He is the one who changes their hearts, not us. Simply put, all of this has been very humbling. We have also been thrown many curve balls that were unexpected this summer. The Lord constantly keeps us on our toes to say the least. This entire mission has truly been all His timing. Not only has He given and taken people in His own time, but each of our outreaches ended exactly when the Lord wanted them to. They have all ended sooner than we thought, but it was evident that it was the Lord’s will to close those doors in order to open up new ones.
This past week we were incredibly blessed to visit a home for veterans. We spent only an hour there singing songs and briefly introducing ourselves to each of the residents, yet we were blown away by the amount of love we were shown during our short visit. Some of them actually told us that they loved us. It was an incredible experience to receive such sincere, deep love from these beautiful souls, a love that we had in no way earned. Yet it was God’s gift to us and to them to share in this exchange of love. Our hearts ached as we left them, but the Lord again reminded us that these were His children who were already in His care. He has intricately created each of them and knows their hearts intimately. We were just blessed to share in a glimpse of that love that He has with each of the people we met that day.
At the end of the week we had a different kind of adventure with Fr. Michael. We woke up bright and early to leave the church at 4:00 am for an all-day fishing trip. Can I get a whoot-whoot? Luckily we live in Eastern Siberia so 4:00 am looks a lot like mid-day for us. It made it a little easier to wake up considering the sun was already greeting us with its rays as we left for the day. The day was absolutely beautiful as we were serenaded by 4-foot crashing waves and a crackling fire. We also experienced the satisfaction of cooking our food over an open flame and enjoyed plenty of bonding and laughter as we sat on the beach soaking up the sun and good company. What made the day so beautiful was not only the people we were with, but how beautifully simple it was. From the outside it probably didn’t look like much, but the day was so rich for each of us. During this excursion we also came to the realization that we have unknowingly become more like mountain women than ever expected. We now have become accustomed to a “community cup” whenever we need something to drink, have no problem with being grimy and constantly smelling like a campfire, as well as not thinking twice about eating anything and everything off the ground. So for those of you back home, don’t be surprised if you see us acting a little different when we return.
As the summer moves forward, we realize that our time here in Magadan is quickly coming to an end. Please pray that the Lord may accomplish His will perfectly in each of us for the rest of the summer and that He may multiply our time here for His greater purpose and glory. Be assured of our prayers as well and God Bless.
Katia, Teresa, and Anya