The wifi has been down in our apartment building since late Monday night. (I know that’s actually early Monday morning to you all. I am writing on Wednesday morning KZ time, but Tuesday evening USA time. It's confusing.)
Going without wifi has further added to the “roughing it” feeling for us all, though our bags did finally arrive, and I ceased having to lend my toothbrush to a friend.
But no wifi meant no blog post yesterday. And though it is still out today, and we remain unsure of when it will be fixed, Pastor Bruce has said I can tie into his phone’s hot spot long enough to post an update. YAY.
It’s impossible to explain how it is here. The first two days at the school, I was swallowing the choking lump in my throat all day long. Little girls climbed into my lap and wrapped my arms around themselves. Little boys blushed when I winked at them, and cheered when I helped them win a see-saw tug of war, and laughed at me when I tried to pass a soccer ball and missed my intended target.
Women work all day to prepare meals for us. Every time I sit down, I am humbled almost to tears. All they want is to serve us, though we are strangers they can’t understand, westerners who take life for granted and whine about a lack of wifi.
I’ve started a list of words I am trying to master in Russian. And while I am a sad, pitiful student, the people are so helpful. They try hard not to giggle as I butcher their language, and they repeat simple words like “hello” and “good job” and “delicious” over and over until I sort of get it right.
Our first youth church service was last night, and the heart-squeezing continued. They were all so eager for us to pray for them. US, these proud, complaining Americans, who never want to ask for prayer because it shows weakness, who are miserable without access to Facebook and Instagram, who struggle not to snap at each other every day. It is HARD to not flush the toilet paper down the toilet, and to not shiver because the air conditioner is running to the temperature someone else sets, and to not snarl at the person who finished the coffee before you got any.
We are broken, selfish, regular people, and they still come up, expectation in their eyes, and ask us to lift them up before the Lord, as if our prayers are somehow precious.
It’s impossible to explain…that’s all I’m saying. And so I will leave you with more prayers from our hearts, more pleas to the Creator to come and use what He has created in order to point to Himself.
Please continue to lift us up to the throne room. We continue to need it.
It’s a floodgate of too many feelings. My heart may ACTUALLY burst.
I can see You in the smiles of the children. As they pull my hands into theirs, and squeeze tight, I am undone. I literally ache, praying that Your love will seep out of me and be absorbed into them. Because I have known unconditional love, and I even take advantage of it sometimes, but many of them have never felt it. How I long to give them some of what has been given so freely to me.
Thank you for standing beside us, for flowing through us, for sending Your Spirit to cover our mistakes and failings, so that Your fame continues to spread.
For our present struggles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18