PICTURES FROM MINISTRY DAY 1
After we left the morning site, we went to lunch, and then went on a tour of Suzdal, and got to do some shopping at a little market. Right near the market was where we got to see our first spare dog.
Here's the story behind the whole spare dog thing. (If this was mentioned in another post, please forgive me) Megan saw this scruggy looking dog in the street near the little market. Sacha, who had been in Russia a little bit longer, was saying how she had seen quite a few dogs just walking around on the sidewalks and streets. Megan then turned to Andrew and said "Do you have many spare dogs in Russia?" We all stood silent for a minute, then we laughed. We knew she meant stray, she just had a mind blank for a minute. So, it became a joke the rest of the trip anytime we saw a stray dog to tease Megan about another spare dog. We did come to find out spare dogs are quite common over there. They were all nice, so we never were fearful of attacks.
Anyway, all that said, we had a great afternoon touring. We then went back to the hotel and got our afternoon ministry site details. Mom and I were offered to go with Olya to to a Baby Rescue home visit. I quickly and enthusiastically said "Yes!", selfishly not even asking mom. But she was more than okay with it.
We walked to a bus stop, rode the bus, got off and walked a fair distance to an apartment complex. It was falling apart to say the least. The elevator was broken, so we took the stairs up 7 floors (I think it was.) When we entered the stairway we were almost followed by a guy, seemingly intoxicated. But then a lady grabbed him and began yelling at him. Couldn't understand her, but at least we wouldn't be followed.
We walked down the dark, deteriorating, hall to a tiny room. It may have been about the size of the ladies' bathroom at church, but was so full of furniture there was little room to walk. The only seating was a sofa and twin sized bed. I took the bed, Mom and Olya sat next to Tanya, a young girl, 17 years old, with a two month old baby boy, on the sofa. He is honestly one of the cutest babies I have ever seen, and I have seen many cute babies. I was blessed to be able to hold him for a minute before he was put in the crib to sleep.
We then were able to talk more to Tanya. She has a sweet, quiet personality, and I was surprised she opened up so well. I am very thankful for Olya. She asked us questions so we could get to know each other. I, too, am quiet, so it was nice for her to ask us questions to make it easy for us to open up, keep our conversation from being too shallow, etc. It was so good, and I can't thank God enough for bringing Tanya and Max into my life. Mom has some more details on these sweet Russians, so I'll end about them now.
That night, which seems forever ago, is giving me trouble as to what we did, but I believe we just had dinner at the hotel, had a debriefing meeting, talked, some of us played games, and then went to bed. We were still adjusting to the time change, so I am sure I didn't stay up that late.
That concludes ministry day one. It was such a surreal experience, far exceeding any expectations I ever had. Even now as I write this, I am having a hard, hard time posting this because I am reliving these moments in my mind, but reality is I am sitting in a chair in my American home, Russia is 5000 miles away. I don't know that I've ever felt so connected and disconnected from something at the same time. It's a strange feeling to describe.