Tuesday, July 22, 2008

On Saturday we had an all church work day. We are preparing the church for the long winter months by chopping a lot of wood. We ripped out an old fence to put up a new one. The church building is a two story log-cabin type building with doors only five feet tall to keep the heat in during the winter. It’s a really cute little church. The people are great and I love the pastors. The pastors are husband and wife and they have done an excellent job planting a church here. When they first came there were no Protestant churches in Syktyvkar.

Pastor Olga with the special-needs daughter of a church member

On Sunday we went to church. The average age of the church in Syktyvkar is around 30. The pastors are the 3rd and 4th oldest members of the church! We are staying at the home of one of the families. Ksusha speaks English and her mother and grandmother are at their summer cottage ... so it's essentially a college dorm set up. It's been great. Ksusha was the second youth to come to the church and after 8 years almost her entire class is active at the church. Amazing story. Ksusha made me share my testimony in Russia again, this time with an audience of more than 20 people. I was so nervous, but I made it through it.

On Monday we went to the village. We visited a Komi church. It was a wonderful experience. We prayed and sang hymns in English, Russian, and Komi (and Lauren sang a song in Spanish!) The pastors made me share my testimony in Russian for the third time this week. After church was over we walked to the river. Three Americans and a gaggle of old Komi women played and splashed in the river for over an hour. It was so funny. The pastor of the church is a niece of the first Komi Christian. He spent 30 years translating the Bible into Komi. She held up the Bible and said, "We are so proud to have the Bible in our own language." We had tea and the Komi women tried to teach us some of the Komi language. It was worth a try!

(This woman is 78 and she does all of the work around the church.)

(Pastor Olga made sure to get a picture of me sharing my testimony.)

(This is the pastor of the Komi church holding up the Komi Bible.)

Well, time is flying by here in Syktyvkar. It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is our last full day here. We will have a 26 hour train ride to Moscow leaving at 7AM on Thursday!

On Tuesday we went to the art gallery and then had another all church work day. The church is almost ready for the winter ... and I'm almost ready for bed.

With Love, Michael.

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