While in Magadan, the Lord continues to call each of us out of our comfort zones. Two weeks ago it started off with being told that we would be in a play with the kids from the VBS (Vacation Bible School), which we were hesitant to agree to. The play ended up being fun for us and especially for the kids as we reenacted the Good Samaritan. The boys particularly enjoyed pretending to beat up and rob Hannah, the“rich man”in the play. That same week we realized that all kids, but especially those here in Magadan, simply need to be loved. They just wanted to be near us, to be loved by us, hugged by us, to be acknowledged. Many kids do not receive this attention and love from home. As they started to act out and get frustrated towards the end of the week, Father Michael reminded us that it was because they did not want VBS to end. As we would be tempted to get impatient with the kids we were reminded that the Lord brought us here to love them. It was truly humbling to be His instruments as we might have been one of the only loving interactions they had each day.
After Sunday Mass two weeks ago, we had a picnic and bonfire at Fr. Michael's dacha, which is a small house where he goes for Poustinia (a Russia practice of prayer). We spent the day with some parishioners and made lunch over the fire, played some volleyball and a Russian version of dodge-ball (which was very intimidating and painful at times), and sang some songs around the bonfire. It was such a joy to spend time with some of the parishioners and grow closer to them in friendship. We are constantly amazed at the how welcoming, loving, and passionate they are. Their love for the Lord is so beautiful and humbling. As they sang praise and worship songs around the bonfire, although we didn't know what all the words meant, we could see their passion and love for the Lord radiating from their song. We are incredibly blessed to have such models of faith surrounding us and have already learned so much from them.
Please pray that we may be faithful to the Lord as He pulls us out of our comfort zones throughout the rest of the summer and that we may continually turn to Him as our source of strength and love so that we may love the people of Magadan. Be assured of our daily prayers for you and God Bless.
Your Russian Mission Team