Friday, October 21, 2005

Pastoral Care & Pastoral Scenes

October 21, 2005

Warm smells of pizza waft into the room as we chat about light topics ranging from my first (and last) experience drinking Vodka in my ignorant innocence on my first trip to Russia, to the strange way YWAM has of sending people off on trains into the unknown with someone to meet them on the other end who has never set eyes on them before. In this case a family coming to St. Petersburg from Moscow and being met by a girl who has no idea as to which train they are on let alone the wagon they are in and she has never seen them before – the only info, a 5 am train arriving from Moscow. I laugh as I remember my own YWAM experience of getting placed on a train with two drunken men in my compartment on an 18 hour ride to the Ukraine from southern Russia. The man who was supposed to meet me thought I was coming the next day and I sat for several anxious hours until some passing students helped me contact him.

We are meeting with the YWAM staff of St Petersburg, praying with them and sharing our vision for the new pastoral care ministry we have taken on for the base. Our hearts are to see this base covered in prayer, to see an unusual unity among the staff, and to see the churches in the city become more involved in missions. There is so much fear in the hearts of many pastors here. They believe that to send someone out means that the church will loose their potential talents for themselves, when in truth the church should be eagerly sending out missionaries to fulfill the great commission! Many of these churches were planted by people called by God to cross oceans to preach the good news of the gospel, how can they not desire to continue that commission? If only they could see the immense blessing the Lord pours out on churches that are active in sending others. My heart breaks to see this spirit of fear and control so active in the churches here.

So with hearts full of God’s calling and purpose we have become intercessors for this city, for the base, and for individuals God has brought into our lives.

A praise report! The wife of the YWAM base leader was having complications with her pregnancy and ended up in the hospital with her placenta separating from the wall of the womb. Doctors feared she was close to miscarrying and placed her on medication to stop the uterus from contracting as well as bed rest. We began to pray intensely upon receiving the call from her husband. Two days after being released home on bed rest she came in for a follow up ultrasound and the placenta had reattached itself to the wall and was almost completely healed. The doctors were amazed at this miraculous recovery. I was not. Some of the prayers I prayed were “Lord, You are the Healer, Creator, take this placenta and stitch it back into the womb.” Although she is still on bed rest for another two weeks, we are looking for a complete recovery and the birth of a lovely child in six months time.

I glance around at the beautiful chaos that surrounds me, children laughing, five or more conversations going on in different parts of the room. I study faces I have not seen for years, my mind trying to memorize features of children now on the brim of adulthood. Where has the time gone? Not long ago, I was one of these laughing dancing children, wondering when the adults would be done eating so I could go outside and play. Now I’m an aunt many times over and even a great aunt to a child of my oldest niece. Personally I don’t think you should be allowed the title “great” anything until you are over the age of 40. Aye aye aye!

The time home with my family was lovely. Not only the faces, but the surroundings ministered to my soul. The peace of Silver Star Ranch and the surrounding mountains and valleys called out the name of my Creator. Crisp nights where a myriad stars shone as only they can shine miles from any city or town. The haunting call of the coyotes put me to bed at night and the sweet sound of birdsong woke me in the morning, that or my son bouncing on the bed shouting “Getupgetupgetup”.

Midway through the trip I came down with pneumonia which, as a typical nurse, I did not have checked out for close to a weak. We are renowned for self treatment therapy (i.e. Cough syrup and 1000mg of Tylenol every 4hrs). I also did not sleep for that week as I was up coughing all night and ended up sleeping in a lounge chair to help me breathe. After temps ranging from 102 to 104.2 F for more than a week, I decided it would be best to get a second opinion (the first doctor said I had a viral infection). I was promptly diagnosed with pneumonia and placed on antibiotics which lo and behold actually worked. Strange that. What hit me the hardest, once I returned home to St. Petersburg, was the fact that during almost half of my 26 days in the States, I was miserably sick and unable to function properly or even visit with others without feeling miserable. I had a good cry and let God know my disappointment and things were suddenly better with my heart. I cherish the memories there and look foreword to returning to my family in a better state of health next time around.

To all you at home and abroad we send our love and blessings.

Aaron, Ramona, Timothy and Abigail

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