The theme of our fifth and sixth weeks was as Fr. Micheal put it, intentional community. It is beautiful to see how much joy there is in the communities we've built here. At both the kid's and adult's English club, there is a real sense of family and no one wants to leave at the end of our time together. This joy is so clearly from the Lord and the relationships He is building, especially considering He is blessing us from the tabernacle in the room right next door. Our hope with all of this is that those who are falling in love with our community will fall in love with the Lord as well, since He truly is at the heart of it all.
With this blessing of community, we are able to go deeper with the people who come and ask questions that really get to the heart of who they are and hopefully lead to Who their heart is truly longing for. We see their love for us ultimately as a love for the Lord who they have encountered through us, His hands and feet on this mission. We said goodbye to two of our friends the last two weeks, both of whom are named Nastia. It is amazing how much the Lord has blessed our friendships and how quickly. He has made deep bonds between us and our friends here. After only knowing them for a mere month it was hard to say goodbye and tears were shed at their leaving.
We also have built up our own little mission community these last couple weeks. We went on two different fishing trips with Fr. Michael- first just the boys, then the girls. It was refreshing to just spend time together and to be in each other's company. The grand total of the trips was 157 fish. These are then given to the babushka's of the parish others in need of food. Through this experience we also learned the art of gutting fish (and a little about the art of playing catch with fish. This is truly an art because fish are slippery). Other than cleaning the fish, we also had some good team bonding when we had a team hike. We hiked over huge rocks on the beach and then trekked up the mountain where we celebrated Mass that day. It was a beautiful day to spend in the Lord's creation and to have quality time as a team.
This week we enjoyed an Anniversary dinner celebrating the marriage of Olga and Misha, the “mom and dad” of the parish. Misha treated us to some delicious pizza, compot (a Russian fruit drink), pineapple, chocolates, and New York Cheesecake. It was quite the feast. The real treat, however, has been to see the marriage of this beautiful couple. They are an example of faithfulness, of true love that makes sacrifices, and of joy. At dinner Misha shared with us that, “marriage is simple, all you have to do is love each other”, and secondly, “a man becomes a man when he finds his wife”. Olga and Misha are an example of leading your spouse to heaven. They, along with the sisters and Fr. Micheal have been incredible witnesses of faithfulness to our little community here.
And so once again we ask for your prayers for our team and for all those who we serve. We ask that you especially pray that our community here may lead others into communion with Christ. God Bless you.
Your Russia Mission Team, 2015