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News from Russia

September 21, 2002

Dear Sisters In Christ,

It has been about a month now since we have been in Moscow and we are finally beginning to understand "how and when to write and send an e-mail", as nothing here is simple to do, and the simplest chores/tasks take much time. There is so much to tell, every day is full of surprises, not a boring moment, and not a day without tears.

I think one of my hardest areas is my thought life-maybe you all could pray for me about that, as there are times when I yearn for my past life. Oh, it was so easy and comfortable. I knew that then and that was one of the reasons I looked forward to this new "missionary life". In reality, though, well, maybe I can walk you through a day here and you will get a glimpse.

5:00-Rise dress personal devotions.

6:00-Kathryn, Luke, Rachel, Isaiah wake and do the same,
Lisa has already awoken and begun to prod on the two orphans she is "assigned to" (she shares a room with them). Their names are Tanya (12) and Nastya (11). Tanya is a very tough girl: lived in orphanages since age 4. She has a history of severe physical abuse and has six siblings (two brothers are here with another orphan family, though. One brother actually was beaten to death by parent, another is mentally and physically disabled (from the abuse) and in an institution here in Moscow. Tanya does many things to get attention (pulling hair, lying, stealing, irritating anyone she is near, sneaking out of the apartment every moment she gets). She goes home on week-ends to be with several of her siblings and her grandmother (who is very abusive). Please lift Lisa up in your prayers as Tanya's needs are to have firm, loving, consistent guidance, which she responds to well. Nastya is much easier-she is very little, thin, and dresses in "business suits". She is very joyful, but sometimes falls prey to the foolishness and silliness and secretiveness of some of the other girls. In the room attached to Lisa's room, are Masha (12), Veronica (6), and Kristina (5). Masha stays with us all the time-she has no home to go to on week-ends. Her mother is an alcoholic and lives like what we would consider a "bum". She is all scarred from being beaten up by Masha's older brother. Here in Russia, it is legal and common for an orphan to sign papers which takes away parental rights. This is what has happened recently in Masha's case. Masha feels guilt because she does not have any feelings for her mother. I am encouraged by the Institute to try and visit Masha's mother with her, but the mother won't ever open the door for us. Masha is very loving and thrilled to call us Mommy and Daddy. She was the first to run and hug me when I got my "hand Burns", and is very helpful with the two little ones in her room. Please pray for this situation with Masha as she is extremely hopeful that God has sent us to adopt her and take her "home"with us-which is a most remote possibility. Pray that Masha would turn to Her heavenly father to meet all of her needs and come to term with her mother and her past. Masha helps me dress Veronica and Kristina to be ready for our family devotions)I will tell more about these two little ones another time)

6:45-All of the other girls and our 5 "family assistant come in and gather round our living/dining room-all 34 of us:). They are divided up into apartments in our hall (which we visit many times during the day, They are also in and out of our apartment all through the day, along with many other people. We had been told that life here is like living in an aquarium-you will see as I go on.

Tol leads this Rhema search time. There is much sharing from the children and such a precious time. We then pass out hymnals (Russian/English) and sing in both languages.

7:15-All line up in hall, and we go down one flight to the dining room for breakfast. We go in lines to be served by the Russian cooks and some American apprenticeship students. There is always Kasha (which most of he Russian children don't like; it is just a cooked cereal such as oatmeal, cream of rice or wheat. There will also be some eggs, granola, juices, biscuits.

The Butler Family has three tables, about 11 at each. The meal is closed with a devotional by one of the men (rotating)and prayer (with the entire dining room) and announcements. We then come back up to gather coats, school books.

8:00-All go the school building (outside and a very short walk) to Character Class. There are two other Orphan families-The Sullivan Family and The Bolger family. The Sullivan family is here for the fifth year; the Bolger family just arrived. They are both considered "boy families", meaning Mainly boys, and their assistants are American males in their 20's and 30's. We are "Mainly girls. We have 22 girsl and 2 boys. This is our FAMILY

Our "family Assistants are:

Maria (23) Russian, and our translator-I will tell much more about Maria, (another time) as she has a rich testimony of how God brought her here, and how He is using her

Saha (24) French/Swiss

Jackie (22) Canadian

Vanessa (21) Nebraska

Angela (21) Georgia-

Our children are:

Kristina 5           Leanna 12             Olya 13
Veronika 6           Valya 12
Masha S. 16          Masha 0 16
Vika K. 10           Ira 12                    
Nastya O. 11         Dasha 12
Masha 12             Natasha 12
Tanya 12             Nastya L. 13
Valya 12             Katya L. 13
Anna 12              Vika S.  15
The boys are Alosha 7 and Simone 8.

The Family Assistants for the other 2 families have are all American males in 20's and 30's.

Character Class is led by the Orphan Family fathers on a rotating basis.

Us Mom's usually skip breakfast and Character Class and stay in our apartment (the only time in day to catch up on domestic things). Although some days our youngest boy, Alosha7, is brought back to me for disrupting and disobedience. He is the other big challenge in our home. Much prayer is needed for him.

9:00 -12:00: Tol, Lisa, Kathryn, Luke, Rachel and Isaiah return to the apartment. The Russian orphans stay in the school building for their school day. Our family has just begun to settle into some time or singing, school work, etc. Monday's at 2 are Parents Meetings, of orphan families). Tuesday's at 10 are meeting with Moms and Dads and All family assistants, lasting a couple hours (discussion and prayer). The Dads also have prayer time together one morning a week (5:00am).

Well, that is our morning. I hope you are not bored yet. The day is just beginning. As the children begin to come "home," the "real Fun" begins (challenges:).

Serving Him,

Linda

Oh, just a picture of (all) who live here: The Bair Family, the MTC director-who is spending much time this year between here and visiting pastors in Romania.

Orphan Families-Sullivan's-a son22 in Alert, daughter-14, son10 (adopted Russian boy-Andre is in a wheelchair, has Muscular Distrophy)

Bolger's-three daughters 20, 16, 8-this family just arrived last week

The Cheney's -Orphan Family Director's

All of these families are our closest daily contacts. We are all walking this walk together, they are a great source of encouragement to our family


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