Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Go Go Batmobile...

I sink lower in my seat trying not to be seen by the passing people or cars. “Go go bat mobile smoke screen”. Aaron yells as we take off in a cloud of billowing black smoke. The car behind us sits for a second or so in stunned immobility as our lovely diesel van leaves no visibility for the next 100 yards or so. The traffic policeman in the intersection rotates to watch us pass his mouth open, a look of astonishment on his face. “You know we are the reason Russia cannot pass its clean air act”, Aaron continues to crack jokes. I slide lower in my seat. “Oh man, look at that guy.” A poor smoker frantically roles up his window as we pull even, our smoke catching up with us as the wind blows it foreword and rolls it into the crowd crossing the street in front of us.

“Dear God” I pray, “please perform a miracle on our poor car and heal it of this disease”. Pedestrians cover their noses with scarves or sleeves as they pass and stare at me, sitting in what should be the driver’s seat because our car is a right sided steering model from Japan. ‘This must be God’s answer to keep us humble’, I think as I turn to fiddle with something, anything. “Let’s take public transport next time” I suggest helpfully. Aaron nods his head abstractedly, glancing in the rear view mirror.

“Well no one will rear end us in this vehicle” he comments “they have to stay so far back just to be able to see the road.” I peer back through our smoke cloud and see the cars trailing far behind, an almost unseen event in Russia. Suddenly the humor of the situation hits us and we start laughing.

Our car, the thorn in our flesh, has spent more times in the shop than out, giving us one trial after the other. Bills continue to mount as we and our mechanic try one thing after the other to find the problem and fix it. To date we have probably spent over half of what we bought it for in trying to repair it. It currently sits on a road on the way to Aaron’s work where it broke down once again. Our desire is to get it in running condition and then sell it to someone who loves to fix cars for a very low price, just to get it off our hands. But we can’t even get it running, so it sits, deserted, lonely, cold, and we continue to pack up the two kids, with all our stuff and go by public transport to various destinations. Every time I think about it, my heart aches for Aaron because he has to deal with the situations that arise. But God is faithful, His ways are not our own. He can even use a car to teach us.

I have started back at work at the International Clinic and Hospital MEDEM. I spoke with the Director and he has agreed to start a fund for needy people instead of paying a salary to me. I decided that whatever money I might make at this job would be used to bless and benefit others in need. He was so shocked by my suggestion of starting this fund that he asked if others could donate to it. Smiling, I quickly agreed. My hope is to find individuals who cannot pay for an operation, or medical treatment, and use the clinic to treat them, paying their way using money from the fund. As MEDEM is one of the best clinics/hospitals in the city I want to see it used to bless and serve those who are less fortunate than others.

I start a medical terminology class next week with a group of 11 doctors and nurses. That is all I can allow in the class at this time as it is difficult to teach a larger group. There are over 300 staff working at MEDEM with 150 of them being medical, all in sore need of English language training. Another nurse from the States is joining me in teaching these classes (also a missionary). Please pray for us as we work in this secular field that God can use us to touch and minister to the lives of many.

We had a lovely New Year’s party with the YWAM staff. I found the last turkey in our local grocery store, almost had to fight off another shopper for it, and we had roast turkey and stuffing for dinner that night. Several of the Russian staff had never eaten turkey in their life, so it was a culinary experience for them. I made fudge and the rest brought Russian salads. We ate from 8 in the evening until close to midnight, a very Russian tradition, and then everyone (except for us and the base leaders) went out walking until morning. Fireworks from the neighborhood parties stopped around 4 am when Aaron and I went to bed. It’s amazing the kinds of fireworks you can buy here. Some of them should only be lit by professionals, but you have groups of drunk men lighting these massive four feet rockets from the streets below our balcony. I’m surprised more people aren’t seriously injured by the amount of explosive material being lit on New Years morn. Our windows were rattling from the blasts as one group after another made their way out onto the street to set off their noisemakers and rockets. Fun fun fun !

Blessings to all of you in this coming year.

Aaron, Ramona, Timothy, and Abigail