Wednesday, June 29, 2011
The Russian Gathering and Yuliya
Tonight, I attended a small group gathering in Perm. It was a church much like mine back home: they rent out a facility on Sunday evenings at 5pm, and they meet in a house during the week to share a meal together, pray, sing and worship, and go through scripture. When I arrived, I was put right to work chopping apples, oranges, and slicing bread. Some of the people spoke English, and it seemed like these people truly knew one another. There was a big sense of family there.
When we were in the living room, apparently my friend Dasha had informed the pastor, Peter, that I played guitar and sang. So he had me lead the group in worship tonight, playing a few songs. It was one of the most humbling experiences I've ever had...that God would allow me to use such a gift to lead a foreign people in worship of Him. I sang in English, and they sang in Russian, and it made me think of what heaven must be like...people lifting up praises to the Lord in all tongues, languages, noises, sounds! I felt so much joy in those moments playing on the couch. I can't describe it...the Holy Spirit was surging within me.
The awesome part though was when we were in the Word. These people were so enthusiastic, excited, and on fire for Jesus. Their zeal while we were in the word-- 1 Samuel, nonetheless!- was so encouraging and invigorating. We were there for about 3 hours total, and it amazed me how much they tasted the Word and saw that it is good. Having a passion for God's word, like Psalm 19 says, that it is more fine that gold, more sweet than the drippings of the honeycomb...these people lived and spoke like they believe that.
Last night I led a small gathering of Russians in the basement of a local church as well. There were 7 of us in all, and we drank tea, had snacks and sat around talking and sharing stories. It's awesome how God allows himself to slip into conversation. My key necklace and tattoo continue to be topics of interest, and I praise him for allowing those things to bring glory to himself. I was nervous going into the evening, in that usually the night is led by Brad and his American team of missionaries there...but they are all out of the country until Friday, so I was the lone American. It went super well, though, and I was thankful that God was faithful in the evening there.
Last but not least, the picture above is of the sweet 5 year old girl who is living in my flat right now. She and I don't speak the same language and can hardly communicate, but we are crazy about one another. We have so much fun together, and I'm blessed by the joy God allows me to have with her around. It's weird, because I have been missing my students so much, and God has given me this little girl to bring that life back into my life.