Sunday, February 24, 2008

For you kids' homework

I got this note from a friend, and Dad suggested I post my answer.

This is Ethan. I needed to get some info for school on what it is like being a missionary.
Here is what I need:

I need to know about what your family's goals are as missionaries,
and how your family's lives are different from other families.
Also about your travels.

My family's goals are to help with the orphans and raise leaders. Raising leaders, from my point of view is supposed to be my Dad. He is raising them, as in, he is teaching them to help them to teach the class over again and so on and so on and the leaders part is when people are raising each other up in Christ.
There are about 10,000 orphans in St. Petersburg, and a lot more in the rest of the country. I want to teach the orphans English with the Russian I know, which is a good amount. Other than that, I am not really sure what we are going to do with them yet. We aren't sure, because God hasn't told us yet.

Our lives are different from other families because
  • it's hard being away
  • it's yucky
  • we don't have a car
  • it's cold
  • we go to a Russian church
  • we live in an apartment
  • I feel very much adapted in my new home
  • we live in a totally different country
It's really difficult at first. You feel really down that you are here. You feel like giving up 15 weeks of dessert just for a plane ticket back. You forget about it during the day, but at night, lying in bed, it's really hard. Once you get used to it, though, it's really not so bad. If you ever read my blog, you can find out about how I feel now. Read carefully!

Life here is terribly dirty. In the street cars, there are cakes of wet mud on a rainy day. Litter litters the streets. Cigarettes and beer bottles litter every step.

We don't have a car. We have to walk to the subway, and it takes about 20 minutes to do that. To get to church, we take a very short train with stops. We use un-private taxis called marshrutkas. We use buses that are so cram-jam packed that you get bumped and pushed and shoved when you get out, no matter how many times you say, "excuse me, I'm sorry," they still push and shove even if they see you coming out, they still come. The Russians have a very sad background from the Soviet Union, and they feel they have to push and shove to get their way. It's all about, "get me in! I don't care if you are still coming. I still have to get my way!"

It's really cold here. It sometimes get to -14 Celcius. In America we would be shivering. Over here, we play outside without scarves, gloves, and hats in this weather. It's snowing, actually, right now. A normal winter temperature for us is 0 or below.

Most of my Sunday School I don't understand. Most of the teachers cannot speak enough English to be able to explain what is going on. I have to wait until the end, which is, it seems, forever.

We have no backyard. The only place we have to play is a little courtyard in-between our apartment buildings. The only things pretty are painted tires, dead plants, and dead trees, sawdust, cigarettes, and beer bottles. There are trash cans in the courtyard, but no one ever bothers to use them. They just throw them anywhere. Lots and lots of construction is always going on, and it is deafening when you go outside.

Please be praying for the Russians, because they have a very sad background, and most of Russia is not Christian.

When we got here in Russia, about a month later, we needed to turn around and go to Hungary, but we also stayed in Austria before and after we went into Hungary for a missionary conference. Then about a month ago, we just returned from being in Finland for a couple of days. We travel here by bus or by plane. I like traveling in Europe because most of Europe is very pretty. Next time we go to renew our visas (which is why we went to Finland), it will either be to Estonia or Latvia. Please pray for us as we do our traveling so that we will always stay safe.