The last Sunday of March was our turn to do Sunday school. We were asked to plan gifts the kids could make for Easter (May 1st here) to give to patients in an invalid hospital where our church has ministered. Since a large group of the children and some parents were also participating in an annual regional S.S. weekend program held in Chita, a city several hours from UU, we weren’t sure how many students to expect. We also weren’t sure how many gifts were needed. Flexibility and alternative options are necessary for survival here while trusting the Lord for peace that things can work out. With only one older child, about 3-4 middle group kids, and a few of the younger ones, it was decided that all would be combined and do the craft I had prepared. Several adults stayed to help the younger ones including a woman who has started attending with her grandson. Even with the wide age range, I felt led by the Lord to share His Word not just to do the craft. The children read I Cor. 15:3-4, John 3:16-17, I John 4:14-15, verses printed out in Russian for them to glue to the craft, and I explained the gospel, our hope of salvation through Jesus’ work on the cross and life eternal because of His resurrection. The passage Romans 5:6,8,10 (we were still without strength) especially in Russian connects the desire to give the patients hope and encouragement through God’s Word. Sharing how the lesson went with a friend, she informed me that the young grandmother who had stayed to help was an unbeliever who had recently been asking questions. Please pray for the Spirit to open her understanding and for the opposition she is receiving from family members.
As we have mentioned, Mr. Art and Mrs. Lisa try to make school interesting, but last week we were outdone when a surprise guest secretly slipped into a lunch box. Our students began pulling their sandwiches and apples out when Anneka screamed, “It’s a rat!” We were all, of course, shocked to see her pull the tiny, live rodent out of her box instead of food.
Anneka’s version: At math time, I really wanted it to be lunch time because I knew that my dad would be bringing my pretend lunch which was my new pet rat in my usual lunchbox. My real lunch was in my backpack, but no one knew. Then, at lunch time, I pretended to scream, “It’s a rat!” when I opened my pretend lunchbox. Everyone stood back and was super scared. It was so funny to see their surprise!
Not limited by verbal parameters, music is a language that communicates uniquely and internationally. Our choir director offered to cancel practice Monday so that those who wanted could attend the philharmonic’s season opener. Ulan-Ude isn’t necessarily much of a tourist attraction, but the opportunities to enjoy the Fine Arts are numerous and of high quality. We enjoyed the musical talent of two young men, the same age as our two oldest children, as they expressed through the piano and cello the meaning intended by the composers.
Life doesn’t always go according to plans. It sometimes has its little surprises and hopefully has its times of sweet melody, but we know that it always is under the control of our loving Lord.