We as moms on the team have come to realize that though our children may not grow up enjoying all the same things kids in the USA do, they are blessed with so many experiences! God has gifted our children with quality schools, good friends, and the ability to live in and love a new country that they call home. Though some days they may miss Goldfish crackers or Fruit Roll Ups, these kids get to adventure to ancient ruins, or ski in the beautiful mountains (which we can afford because it only costs about $5-$7 for 2 hours including renting the ski equip-
ment!) So when we catch ourselves feeling “bad” about the things they may be missing out on—we quickly remember all the ways He has blessed them with more life experiences than we could have ever dreamed for them
He is risen! He is risen indeed! Many people of the local religion have stood through the night in churches like this one symbolically waiting. Today, as they exchange these words in their own language, may they know the freedom that Christ’s death and resurrection has made available to them.
A group of men from our team went out for dinner with some local friends. When these men first came over to serenade us, I was laughing inside. The first song began with a long recorder-like instrument solo. Then these men really started to let loose, and the music was incredible. Enjoy a glimpse of a local, three man band.
As women enter churches of the national religion, they are required to cover their heads. To accommodate foreigners, or others without the proper covering, most churches have extra scarves on hand. While traditions can be a good thing, they can sometimes become the main thing. Please pray with us that during this Easter season, Jesus would reveal himself to the leaders of the national religion. Pray that their eyes would be opened to the main thing–the Living Christ.
Our team has a student that is a very devout Orthodox man. If it is fasting season, he is fasting. If there are celebrations at the church, he is at the church. If there are ways that he can elevate the church, he does. One way that he feels compelled to share is by bringing people different symbols and icons of the Saints. Sometimes he brings us holy oil, sometimes he’ll bring a necklace with Mary on it, etc. A couple of weeks ago, we had a lot of students to our home for a dessert night, and he brought all six family units a small, standing icon with a candle holder. By placing a small (.05 cent) candle and burning it, prayers are expected to be heard by the Saint of choice. Would you pray for our conversations with people that believe that praying to the Saints is the way to Jesus?
One of our city’s largest markets recently experienced a devastating fire. A building that housed tons of jewelry shops, furniture stores, as well as an entire floor of textiles went up in flames. These small business owners lost everything! Many of the ladies on our team would frequent Nana’s shop and purchase an array of fabrics for all of our crafts, or bring our treasures like sea glass to Shota, a man who polishes stones and makes them into beautiful jewelry for us to give as gifts to others. Please pray for them as they try recover from their losses, and seek to begin again.
Orthodox Easter is celebrated mid-month, and we look forward to hearing locals greet each other with the familiar refrain, “He is risen! His is risen indeed!” In fact, the direct translation in this language would be, “He is risen! He is risen truly.” Yet, in this place, Truth is often hindered or hidden by tradition, politics, and mistrust. Please join us in praying for the leaders of the national religion–that they would encounter Truth and proclaim it boldly!