Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Ivan Petrash, the director of camp ministries here, told us about this article. We thought those of you who read Russian might be interested.

The reason that this is particularly interesting is that it's a clear example of the power that one person can wield here if he has the right contacts. One person, acting on the basis of a personal grudge, can get away with outright slander and harm the reputation of a local church, a regional ministry, and a nation wide denomination!

This person has given interviews in local papers, on local radio stations, and culminated with an interview on the government-sponsored regional news channel. The interesting thing here is that if something is in print, on the radio, or especially on the news, very few people will question the truthfulness of the content. Pray that the local pastor involved and the regional Baptist church union would be protected from true harm, and that God would make the truth of this matter known to the whole region.

(Note from Phyllis: In looking for an online translator to recommend here, I just discovered that our friend Evelina wrote about this same article a while ago. She also has a very funny post about an electronic translator. I'll translate the Russian back into English: "My (male) cat gave birth to four kittens, two yellow, one white, and one African-American." )

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Last few Sudogda photos

Jaan wading at Sudogda
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Jaan enjoyed the river, too. He was just a bit more cautious than his little sister.

Yum Yum
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Remember I wrote that he was insisting he wasn't tired on the way home? As he was talking, he was twisting around in his seat, until he was asleep like this.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Back in the world of computers!

Thanks to my parents and the generosity of friends at Circle Community Church, we have a new computer! In fact, this is my first post using it. We've been able to recover our address book, so our communication difficulties are over. Almost everything else is gone, though. We're in a lot worse shape in the photo department than I had thought. The last backup I can find is from 2004. I'm having a hard time with that. Photos are my main earthly treasure; I have to keep reminding myself that that's all they were: an earthly treasure. Earlier I quoted a hymn. Today in my Bible reading I saw the verse that is the basis for the chorus of that hymn: "Yet will I rejoice in the Lord. . . " (Habakkuk 3:18). How well that applies!

I also have great news! I had asked for prayer for the Egorov family a while ago. Nadya Egorova is finally out of the hospital. Their unborn baby survived, and Nadya herself is healed from her head injuries. Volodya is walking again, and they're getting back into their busy ministry. Praise the Lord! Thank you for praying.

Nadya Egorova
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

I have a few more Sudogda photos that I want to post, with help from my parents. Then I hope to give some glimpses of the day camp we had here and the congress we went to in July, and after that I hope I'll get back to sharing regular photos and stories from our daily life.

Here's a sweet moment: as I was writing this, Jaan and Raia were eating a snack. I had given Jaan blueberries, one of his absolute favorites. They were just for him; Raia had something else. Well, she started pointing at his berries, so he sweetly prompted her to "say please." Then he started feeding her blueberries, one by one, making her say (sign) "please" for each one.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A photo and a question

Visiting Papa
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

That day in Sudogda was Jaan's first experience with tents. He was fascinated! Later, at the congress in Bryansk, he became much more familiar with tent life. There were enough tents at the congress to house over 3,000 people, and Jaan still pointed them out everywhere. As we walked, it was almost always to the accompaniment of "Look! A tent! Another tent! Another. . . !"

And my question is totally unrelated to tents: does anyone know about growing cauliflower? What would keep big, healthy plants from developing heads? Tanya and I have different varieties of cauliflower growing; she bought her plants already started, I grew mine from seeds. Both of us have just one plant developing a head, all the rest are empty. What's wrong?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Monday, August 21, 2006

Sudogda photos and puddles

Remember our wonderful visit with Will on June 30 when he was at camp in Sudogda? The CD that includes photos from that day has made its way to my parents in Florida, so Mom is going to post some photos for me. When you see photos start popping up here, that's what they're from. Thanks, Mom!

Also, remember how I said that Raia thinks puddles are heaven? Today I let her loose in the puddles outside our apartment. Everyone who walked by expressed concern that she would catch cold, but no one really fussed at me, so I was happy. And Raia was more than happy! She got so filthy, that when it was time to bring her in, I had to yell for Will to throw down a rag for me to wrap her in, before I could even pick her up. One of the grandmothers I talk to often saw Raia playing and her comment was that this was "kaif," which is a kind of slang word that means a drug high, among other things. (Yes, she's young grandmother. )

Sunday, August 20, 2006

"Showers of blessing"

Last night there was a big thunderstorm. Rain is still falling now.
And. . .
(drum roll please)
We don't have any wet spots!

Thank you, Lord!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A happy birthday

I definitely had a happy birthday! Since we've been married, my birthday has gone by every year, usually with some little notice. This year Will went all out in making it special. He bought presents when he was in Moscow, and he's been giving them to me all week. Then, yesterday he topped it all off with a picnic in the woods. He bought and prepared everything. The food was wonderful, and we had a great time together.

Somehow I feel really old. Doesn't twenty-six seem like a big jump forward?

Oh, the city of Kovrov also gave me a birthday present. The hot water came on yesterday! Of course, that was more likely in honor of the 90th birthday of The Factory, but I certainly appreciate it, too.

Thank you for all the birthday wishes yesterday, and thank you to Will for giving me a birthday to remember!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Staying dry

After over twelve hours up on the roof, they're done. Thank you for praying. The weather was beautiful, and our workers were safe. Will said that toward the end of the day, they gave up on melting the tar and started just putting in down in the holes and setting it on fire. We'll have to wait for the next rain to see how it works, but I'm sure it will hold at least until the whole building can decide to do a real, professional fix.

In the evening, I put Raia to bed, and then told Jaan that I would take him up on the roof to see Papa. He was so excited! He bounced all the way down the stairs (we have to go outside first to get to the roof entrance) and told everyone that he saw, "I'm going to the roof!" We climbed almost to the top of the ladder, and then he looked up and saw the open trapdoor above his head. He said, "Mama-ka, that's a big hole. I'm scared. I'm NOT going to the roof." And so we climbed back down and went home, with him telling everyone, "I did NOT go to the roof!" (It really is a pity that I can't type in Russian. It was so much cuter the way he really said it.)

Jaan is going to have to grow out of his fears, if he is going to live up to his new ambition: he wants to be a roofer.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Rain and shine

The rain wasn't too bad yesterday, and there were patches of sunshine to dry it up in between showers. Today looks sunny, so they should be able to finish. Please keep praying: for good weather, safety (three men, five stories up, with blow torches and melted tar sounds a little scary to me), and success.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The roof

Our next door neighbors decided to go ahead and fix the roof, just us and them, over our apartment and theirs. They've been trying all summer to find a time that would work with the weather and schedules, and today it has finally worked out. Please pray for Will, Alyosha and Viktor as they're up there. Pray that what they do will be effective to stop the leaks!

Update: They worked for a few hours before the rain really picked up. Will says that they got everything opened up. Actually, our bedroom is finished, and now it is being tested right away. Please pray for the rain to stop!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Theology 101

I hope no one thinks this is disrespectful. Jaan's sincerely trying to understand, and the things he comes up with are just so cute. And if you think I quote him too often, you can just stop reading here.

I've been teaching Jaan his full name. Yesterday, out of the blue, he announced
"I'm Jaan Hunsucker."
"That's right!"
"Are you Mama-ka Hunsucker?"
(Points to Raia.) "And this is Baby Hunsucker?"
"Is Papa also a Hunsucker?"
"And God? God Hunsucker?"

I was telling Jaan how happy I was that he had been so obedient in the
store. He asked,
"Is Raia obedient?"
"Is Mama obedient?"
"Yes. I obey Papa."
"Is Papa obedient?"
"Yes. Papa obeys God."
"Ah, so that's why Papa went to Moscow." (What an interesting connection for him to make!)
He was obviously thinking this over, because all day he kept repeating, "Where's Papa?" and "Does Papa obey God?" Then--here's the funny part--when we went outside, someone asked him were his Papa was. Jaan replied, "He went on a train to God."

Of course, I've also been answering more conventional questions, such as "Where is God?" and "Can I touch Him?" Jaan is at such a wonderful age!

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Computers! Grr! I just lost a bunch of emails before I could read them, so if you've written to us today or yesterday, please resend.

A conversation with Jaan last night at dinner:
We were eating (green) pesto pizza, and Will put red pepper all over his.
"Is Papa's pizza spicy?"
"Does Papa like spicy?"
"Well, I like green."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Harvest time in Russia

This is the time of year when everyone is walking around with buckets, baskets and bags full of produce from their gardens or mushrooms and berries from the woods. We have gone out several times in the past few days to get raspberries. Raia explained in no uncertain terms that she likes garden berry picking better than forest berry picking, though. In the forest, we pick berries at one patch, then move on to another, while Raia protests long and loud about the interruption of her snack. She only calms down when we find another good spot. And we tend not to come back with full buckets like our neighbors do; our two helpers are too efficient when it comes to eating!

Last night we pleased Raia and joined everyone else coming home with arms full. We went over to check on our garden for the first time since before the congress in Bryansk. We brought back a huge squash, our first few heads of broccoli, a bag of apples and bunches of basil. The tomato plants were falling over, they're so full of fruit, and our pumpkins are big enough (and numerous enough!) that Jaan was able to recognize them and get very excited. Raia was very happy to sit under "her" berry bush and eat berries uninterrupted, until her face was red with juice and black with dirt stuck to it. She's finally figured out how to pick berries for herself, and she only ends up eating a leaf or stick every once in a while.

We spent this morning making applesauce and pesto. I froze my first batch of pesto last night, too. Now we've processed what we had, and we'll be going back for more when the children get up from their naps.

It's a good thing that the congress was so wonderful, because we're still paying the price. I'm very glad that Will and Raia are back to normal with their stomachs and that Jaan and I never got that, but these colds are still dragging on. Blah!

In case anyone was wondering about Jaan's imagination: while he was helping me wash the basil this morning, he was telling me all about the dog who lives--with his owner--in the drain of our kitchen sink. I just nodded and occasionally said something like "Really?" Later I noticed that he was stuffing garlic cloves down the drain. I quickly asked what he was doing, and he replied, "The dog is hungry. She wants garlic, and if I don't give it to her, she'll bite me!"

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


All we've heard so far is a quick message: "Praise God! The surgery went well."

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Wedding photos

While we're recovering from sickness and travel and also still unable to post pictures easily, you might enjoy Nathan and Masha's wedding photos. Also, Masha sent me a few more. You can go to the first one and then move on to the rest from there.

We did lose the photos that were on our computer. However, Dad probably backed up for us when he was here in December, so hopefully we only lost six month's worth. Still, that seems like a lot, when I think about the fact that it's half of Raia's lifetime. If you have any photos of our children from that period, I would love to get copies from you. Pictures are special to me, and I'm sad to lose these, but I keep thinking of a verse from a hymn. My quick translation is "If you lose something, remember the words of Jesus: Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. That means it was no great loss."