Monday, July 14, 2008

Even More reflections....

Yet another email I found from Russia, when I was there by myself:

Dear family & friends: Tomorrow morning I go to the notary's office (much like an attorney) and fill out paperwork to prepare the petition for adoption. Then I will go back to the orphanage at 11 a.m. for another visit with the child.

I saw another group of children this afternoon - children about 3 years of age coming in from being outside. There is no playground here - only dirt and weeds. They have a few tires stuck in the ground, but the swings are gone and there is no equipment to play on. I had to stop walking and pray for those children. I cried a little, but then had to go on. My heart just goes out to them. The weather here is much like our spring, complete with pollen. So my allergies are acting up! I'm glad I brought some Claritin.

I will be glad to get to Moscow - the food here is horrible; very greasy with sauces & boiled meat. I guess I'd make a lousy missionary! I leave for Moscow early Friday morning, and will be in Moscow until Sunday morning. I will then catch a plane from Moscow to Paris, then Paris to Atlanta and should be home around 3:30 p.m. or so on Sunday. With clearing customs, etc., I should be home around 6 p.m. or so.

Stephen and I practiced saying "Goooo Dawgs!!!" I think he will get the hang of it. He's built like a linebacker!

The final day in Murmansk went something like this:

Subject: Murmansk, Day Three

Dear friends & family: I have had a full time here. On Wednesday, I visited the Ministry of Education, then went to the orphanage for a 2 hour visit. Then again yesterday afternoon, I went back to the orphanage again for a 1-1/2 hour visit. I was unable to sleep at all last night. It is still very light here until about 1 a.m., and begins to get light again at about 5 a.m. In the winter, the daylight hours here get as short as 1-1/2 hours of daylight per day! Today, we went to the notary's office to have some paperwork notarized (yes, Donna, there has been MORE paperwork). The notary didn't like the way it was worded, so she demanded changes to be made. So, we went back to my guide's apartment and he made the changes. Then back to the notary to wait in line to get the documents notarized.

It was funny, some people came in while I was sitting by myself and started talking to me. I was able to tell them IN RUSSIAN, that I was an American and didn't understand Russian! At least I can tell people I can't understand them! Then they look at me funny (which is not unusual either here or at home!).

Anyway, after the paperwork adventure, back to the orphanage for a 1-1/2 hour visit. The little boy has a bad cold with chest congestion, so he was a little droopy this morning. I came back to the hotel for a delightful lunch of boiled potatoes, boiled vegetables, and rice. I would like to go back into the kitchen with a little bit a cornmeal and teach them how to make cornbread and salmon patties! (with turnip greens, of course) Then, I decided to blow a bunch of money and call home. I was able to talk with Larry and the kids briefly while he was trying to get the kids ready for school. Somehow, I've got the feeling that he will be VERY glad to see me!

Then, back to the orphanage for the final visit. He recognized me the moment I came into the room and had a big, toothy grin on his face. We played for a little over an hour, then it was time for his supper. When the worker offered to take him from me, he didn't want to go to her - he wanted to stay with me.

My guide is a professor at a University here that trains interpreters. He had previously asked me if I would consent to be interviewed on tape so that he could use it as a training exercise. It was an interesting experience, especially knowing that my Southern-fried, Kentucky-twanged voice will be heard and scrutinized by many Russian students in the future. He asked me lots of questions, mainly dealing with the perceptions of Russia in America, the differences between the peoples, etc. He opened the door, and I was able to talk freely about my faith and beliefs. Who knows but that it may make a difference! He asked me if I was used to public speaking, because he said that I seemed comfortable expressing myself and my opinions. He also wants to interview Larry on the next trip, and I told him that he would get a good interview, because Larry is so much smarter than me. He seemed genuinely surprised that I would say such a thing in all sincerity. But, it's true!!!

Well, now I will get up tomorrow (Friday) morning at 4:30 to leave the hotel by 5:30 to get to the airport by 6:30 to check in for an 8 am flight to Moscow. I will be met at the airport by an interpreter, and I will have a free afternoon, evening and all day Saturday in Moscow.

I look forward to an American breakfast with real bacon and eggs and also to a meal at TGIF in Moscow! Bring on the french fries - I'm tired of boiled potatoes! I'll have time to shop in Moscow, and I need to bring our adoption worker some Russian items as well as a friend some Russian stamps. Oh well, what I won't sacrifice (shopping) for friendship!! C

ontinue to pray for me and for my safety. I've got a lot of photos and video from which the doctors will examine and assist Larry and I in making a final decision on the child. We desire your prayers for wisdom and discernment as we make this very important decision. I can already see God's hand all over this trip - in a city of 350,000 people, He arranged for me to meet a Christian to guide me and interpret for me! There are not many Protestant churches here - his church has a membership of about 700, and there are three small Baptist churches here that total about 300 in membership, plus a Lutheran church. And he only began as an interpreter for the adoption agency in June! Right before we realized we would not be traveling to St. Petersburg, God prepared a man, just at the right time, for such a time as this. God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!

You'll hear from me next in Moscow! Love and Blessings -- JUDY


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