Ring those bells!
Originally uploaded by fylliska.
From Day 6 of advent.
Here's the fall newsletter that I wrote a few days ago:
November 30, 2006
Dear friends and family,
Now it’s my turn to write! I’ll say first of all that we really love to hear from you. Please let us know how you’re doing, and if you’re sending out a Christmas letter, you can add us to your mailing list.
This is officially our fall update, but it seems like autumn turned into winter here a long time ago already. I’ll just summarize:
We are doing very well. Jaan and Raia are growing like weeds. Jaan’s full of questions and busyness, and he’s a really good helper these days. Raia is suffering from four molars coming through at once, but that hasn’t slowed her down much. She’s just starting to say a few words, like “tee,” for смотри which is ‘look’ in Russian.* Right now, as I write, both Jaan and Raia are running full speed around our apartment and yelling for joy, one of their favorite things to do.
September marked the beginning of the school year and the regular round of activities here. We’ve been enjoying Bible lessons at the orphanage. Two girls from church teach them; Will helps and leads music. Jaan, Raia and I go off and on, just to be with the children there. This year two of the classes are completely new, and neither is easy to work with. The energy and emotion levels are always at the point of boiling over, and eruptions are a frequent occurrence, i.e. songs with hand motions are almost sure to turn into a pile of kids fighting, among other difficulties.
Gospelink work keeps Will quite busy at times. That ministry is growing little by little in Russia. Keeping up with the organization and coordinating is always a challenge. Will is responsible to collect quarterly reports, translate many of them, and distribute the support money to the men here. We enjoy the opportunity to get to know Russian pastors and missionaries and help them in some way, but we sometimes feel like we’re in over our heads.
Will is also still the youth leader for our local church. Right now the “youth group” is mostly young families, and we find it hard to get together, because some little one is always sick or there are schedule conflicts or. . . . Still, when we are able to pull something off, it is wonderful. Just this last Saturday, we had most of the group over for an evening of fellowship, and we’re hoping to see that become a more regular event.
The place where our church has rented for over a year is no longer available, so we had our last service there in October and moved on. The oldest member of the church went to be with the Lord and left her apartment to the church. Will and Pavel worked full-time for several weeks getting it cleared out and fixed up. It’s a very tight squeeze to fit 20-30 people into a one-room apartment, but it’s working for now. Some of the girls from the summer day camp had been coming to Sunday school, and their parents are continuing to allow them to come to the apartment for that, which is pretty remarkable here.
We really appreciate your prayers and support. Here are a few specific prayer requests, related to what I’ve written about:
1. For the Bible lessons at the orphanage: Praise the Lord that we’re able to be back in there! Please pray especially for wisdom and love in working with the challenging new fourth grade classes.
2. That we would be able to keep up with Gospelink work and that we would be able to continue to help more Russian pastors through this ministry.
3. Pray with us that we would be able to have regular youth meetings for the young people in our church.
4. We are all praying for a better, long-term place for the church to meet.
Like I said, this was just a summary of what our fall was like. Please write if you have questions.
Thank you again for your prayers, your gifts, notes and letters! We thank and praise God that we have friends and family who love us, and through whom we can clearly see the love and provision of our Heavenly Father. Again, let us know how we can be praying for you!
Because of Christ,
Phyllis for the whole family
*Today Raia started saying "bird" in Russian. So far, her first words are almost all the same as Jaan's were.