Our last two weeks in Magadan slowed down quite a bit. We continued to visit elderly homes and did some work around the church. We also undertook the chore of eating approximately 5 pounds of sunflower seeds and becoming experts at the Russian card game “durak” of which we became huge fans. Magadan's 75th Anniversary was celebrated our second-to-last week and we were blessed to see the city's ceremony that showed Magadan's history through dance and music. There was some quality time spent with Father Michael and we made sure to make him some American pie before leaving because surprisingly it's hard to come by in Eastern Siberia.
It was surreal as we packed our bags and walked away from three empty rooms that had become home for us these last two months. As we prepared for leaving Magadan, all we could say was, “what just happened?”. We could not believe that we had just spent our summer in Magadan, and were in awe of all the blessings that were poured out upon us. As we said our goodbyes to the parishioners, the sisters, our friends we had made, and lastly Fr. Micheal, it was hard. This summer Magadan became a part of us and we hold Magadan and all the people we met in our hearts even after leaving. Looking back on the summer, we still cannot comprehend what we experienced or what the Lord did in our lives and in the lives of all those we met.
As difficult as it is to say goodbye after such beautiful experiences, our consolation is that the Lord is the one who we encountered along the way. He was in every beautiful sunset, He was in our conversations, He was in every meal cooked with love from the Babushkas, He was in the man who sold us our fruits and vegetables at the market, He was playing durak with us, He was who we climbed towards as we hiked up a mountain, He was in Fr. Micheal, He was who we sat before in each holy hour, He is the one who touched our hearts with such beauty. So during the times we might miss Magadan, or our friends there, or, yes, even the immeasurable amount of hotdogs we ate, we still have hope. We still have the Lord. He has not left us, and we are confident that He has not left our loved ones in Magadan either.
With this last blog of the Russian Mission, 2014, we ask you above all, what we have asked of you from the very beginning of this mission. Pray. Please pray for Magadan, all the people there, especially all those we encountered. Pray for their hearts, their conversions, and the conversion of all of Russia. Pray that they may know the Lord, fall in love with Him, and build a relationship with Him. After all, we did not just spend two months in Russia to spread an idea to people, we went to bring Christ to people- a real person who desires a relationship with all of His children. We want to thank you for all of your support before, during, and now after this mission. We could not have done any of this without your support and prayers. Be assured that we will continue to pray for you, and God Bless.
Love, your Russian Mission Team,
Катя, Тереза и Аня