Our last blog ended by telling you about our mad dash around the city to help our new teammate Bruce with documents for his visa. Please pray for Bruce as the government has filled their quota for the year in this area so his documents were denied and he must do that circuit again after the New Year. Hopefully he won’t have the same time pressure he had the first round. One of the reasons we were trying to complete it all in a week was because of the team conference planned for the following week.
Each fall our team meets to evaluate and plan ministries for the year both for individual and team involvement. Leadership from SEND North America joins us to be part of the discussions so that as a whole we are striving towards the same goals. Our team brainstormed old and new ideas of intentional ways we could reach our 5 main goals for Buryatia. Of course they all fall under the main vision of evangelizing the unreached people group called Buryats and encouraging the Russian churches. After the initial business days in the city, we traveled together to the banks of Lake Baikal for some team building time through discussions on trust building and prayer. Great fellowship ensued around the fire, swimming in the cool waters, sunning on the beach, and playing games. The missionary “kids” especially loved the climbing trees nearby and playing with Ebony, our dog. No, it wasn’t just the big kid.
Art had his own trust/team building project of significant importance.
Step 1: the hole, an appropriate distance from the camp
Step 2: constructing a sturdy and steady seat.
Step 3: it works! I’m sure you can all guess what modern convenience he and his team engineered.
After our fun in the sun and sand, it was time to return to the city where more sand, sun and even fun could be found. Art and I had one week left to finish basic preparations for our school term, another short one due to travel and home service plans. The first month was going to be crucial for reviewing and laying down some solid groundwork before the students and their family went away for several weeks to a conference specifically for missionary families with children to provide educational consultation, evaluation, and relationships with other missionary kids.
We mentioned previously that we moved the location of the educational program which meant also unpacking resources, assembling furniture, and arranging our materials before actually writing lesson plans.
The new location affords Art and me an hour long bus ride each direction which modern technology makes into usable time. When the batteries are not fully charged or car sickness limits reading or listening, praying is not in the least hindered.
My current classroom is such a contrast from the first room I had at the old location—a long table in the dining room with no windows and no air flow plus having to carry two boxes with all my books and materials down every morning before the students arrived. Some days, I felt like I never saw the sun. This year up on the 7th floor, the view is spectacular, the lighting radiant, and a window provides fresh air. A cabinet and shelves help to organize everything. We do have to be careful not to be distracted by the airplane repair factory. The sound of plane engines revving is even more exciting than that of a race car! One day we were startled by a thundering sound which we amazingly realized was the aftershock of an explosion, miles away. Art had seen the puff of dirt rising before we felt the percussion. Sorry the picture is not very clear but we also experience the black haze from all the factories including the ones that provide our heat which was just turned on recently.