Sunday, November 23, 2003

Thank You

November 24, 2003

Winter has come in with a vengeance. Temperatures in the teens to low twenties with strong winds and blowing snow have hit St. Petersburg. Our kitchen continues to be unheated so Aaron wakes early in the morning to brave the icy room and light the gas stove so we can venture in to have our breakfast. I love this stormy weather and bounce from window to window to see different views of the drifting snow. When we take Timothy out we bundle him up in so many layers his arms stick straight out. He looks a bit like a stuffed snowman with only his rosy cheeks and big blue eyes peering out from the scarf wound around his hat. He gets so excited when we get him ready to go outside that he begins to sing. Our son has a little song he sings in baby language when he is very happy. He hums his tune to us as we stuff him into his back pack carrier and lift him on to papa's back. Down the elevator and into the freezing weather he bounces and sings his joy much to our enjoyment and entertainment. His hat is a bit too big so as he turns his head from side to side to see the sights of this wide world, it stays in one position while his head turns. He peers at me with one eye showing sending me into peals of laughter at his comical appearance. Poor papa has to be content with a word by word account of what is going on.

This birthday was such a blessing for me. Messages mysteriously began to appear on my cell phone a few days before my birthday. As words of blessing came pouring out of that little piece of electronics, my confusion grew.
"How does she/he know my cell phone number", I asked Aaron several times.
Then when a message came in from my sister Ruth, I knew something fishy was going on. Except for a few exceptions, my family is not known as the most computer savvy group of people and cell phones are almost unheard of amongst us. I finally cornered Aaron and forced a confession out of him. What a wonderful gift that was from him and all of you. I was so blessed to receive your blessings from around the world. THANK YOU!

The night before my birthday Aaron called me from work, as he often does, and explained that he had more business to attend to in town and would be an hour late in getting home. I sighed and put his dinner aside to warm later.
Eight PM rolled around and our doorbell rang. I raced Timothy to the door and opened it to find a huge box sitting on our doorstep with Aaron peering around the side. My mouth fell open as I read the lettering on the side "Korg, SP-500 electric piano". "How did you get it home," I gulped then helped him in the door with it. "The salesman took me home in his own car as the store was closing soon" he explained. As soon as we got the box into the living room I gave him a huge teary eyed bear hug. As many of you know, I was a worship leader in two different churches for four years before coming to Russia. I laid my music down when coming here, not knowing when I would be able to pick it up again. That night Aaron and I worshiped for 3 solid hours, him on his guitar, and me on the piano. I didn't realize how much my soul longed to worship in music until I spent two years without a piano. There is something about pounding the praise out and entering into the presence of the Lord with soft worship on a piano that is hard to replace when that has been your instrument of worship an entire lifetime.
So I am pounding and worshiping to my hearts content, disturbing my neighbors at all hours of the day, and delighting Timothy as he sits and rocks in time to the music. And the presence of the Lord continues to be in our home and ministers to us in a new and delightful way.

I have a special prayer request for our pastor, Joel Kurtly and his wife Heather. For the past two years they have been trying to adopt two Russian children, ages 12 and 14. Both children at the age of 16 will be turned out of the Russian social system to make it as best as they can on their own, which often means living on the street. The children have been allowed to live with Joel and Heather for the past 8 months as the orphanage felt the adoption was a sure thing. Two weeks ago the judge threw a huge wrench in the process, forcing Joel and Heather to leave Russia and return to the U.S. to live and work before considering their adoption case. They have two months to return home, find a job, a home and do a home study in the U.S. before they return for one last try to adopt Sergey and Ira. When the judge gave her ultimatum, she also told Joel that he had the option to stop trying. He promptly stood, and very strongly declared that he would do anything she told him to adopt these two children, "Whatever it takes to bring my children home, I'll do it". These two beautiful children have become a part of the Kurtly family, calling Joel and Heather, papa and mama.
They were all planning to come to the States to celebrate Christmas with their new grandparents and other relatives. Imagine Joel's painful task as they waited outside the courtroom all dressed up and ready to be made an official part of this family, when he had to tell them that not only was the adoption refused, but they could not go to America for Christmas and had to return to the orphanage for several months while Mama and Papa went to the States without them. Please pray for them as a family, this has been a huge change in their plans and an emotional testing for all of them. Joel and Heather have lived and ministered here for close to eleven years raising two boys ages 3 and 5 in this city. They now have to leave the church they have lead for ten years, and suddenly return to the States to live and work.
It was a very emotional service this Sunday as Joel prepared the congregation for their leaving and informed us of Boris' confirmation as the new pastor. Aaron and I have offered to take Sergey and Ira for the four days around Christmas. If the orphanage will release them, we want them to be in a family setting for this time while their other family is away.

Thank you for your continued love and support!

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