Russia Trip Day 4

I think it’s Thursday, and that means this must be our fourth day.  Had a great sleep last night – nice bed, quiet room, no airplane noise and no bouncing from the train on its tracks.  Got up early this morning and even went on a morning walk, first time in four days.  Now some of you know how easy it is for me to get lost in a strange place, but I went out on my own to walk the streets of Kirov.  I even made it all the way down to the river (see picture).  When I started on my way back, I thought I had memorized all the turns and while I was still waiting to make my last right turn, I ended up back at the hotel.  I don’t know if you could say I got lost or not.  I actually didn’t know where I was, but I ended up right where I was supposed to be.  I’m sure there’s a lesson in there somewhere, but I think I’m a little too tired to figure it out.  After getting back to the hotel and a quick shower, I met Drew and Nadia in the hotel dining room and we had a great breakfast.  I had some cottage cheese pancake thingys, a blintz filled with yummy stuff, yogurt, pastry, pasta, and a sausage that looked more like a hotdog.  It was a great breakfast.  We met up with Alexi at 10:00 and headed over to the cafe next door to sip coffee and talk about pastor-kinds-of-things.  I am so proud of Alexi and and quite excited about what could be up ahead for him and his church.  We stayed at the cafe for lunch, and then went back to the hotel to get ready for the afternoon event – a baseball outreach.  Alexi and Laurin Harrison had already begun to work with a group of teenagers, starting them on the basics of American baseball.  The kids were kind of amazing.  I was thinking we’d need to have them hitting off of a tee, but instead they were hitting pitches over the back wall.  I think the Angels should send a scout or two to Kirovochepetsk.  Even Alexi’s little son Illya was crushing the ball.  Somebody send Mike Scoscia a note.  Laurin Harrison is an American missionary working in St. Petersburg, and he is amazing with the kids.  We spent a couple of hours playing ball, giving catching tips, hitting tips, and reviewing rules like when to run on a hit and when to stay on your base.  After the game we had a chance to let the kids know why we had come from America to play baseball with them – because we have seen God change our lives, and we wanted to share God’s love with them.

After going back to the hotel to freshen up a bit, we headed back to the Baptist family center where we had a chance to meet with some of the folks from Alexi’s church.  I taught on 1Corinthians 13, and the importance of learning how to love others – in fact Jesus told us that if we would learn how to love each other like He loves us, the world would know that we are HIS disciples.  By about 8:00pm Drew, Nadia, and I were getting a bit hungry, so we headed back to the cafe next to the hotel where we had a great dinner.  I had this chicken and mushroom Americanski dish thing, while Drew and Nadia had shalishkivi (sp?) kind of like shish-kabob. All very yummy.

Our plans for tomorrow include more time with Alexi, a picnic, and maybe some kind of an outreach concert.  I’ll let you know what we actually do tomorrow…

Keep us in your prayers!  Here are some of the pictures from today…

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Spiderman is the key to getting Illya to smile …
Down by the old river in Kirovochepetsk
Down by the old river in Kirovochepetsk
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Laurin pitches to Nikita
Some of the kids who came to play baseball.
Some of the kids who came to play baseball.

 

Drew shows Illya how to catch with a mit.
Drew shows Illya how to catch with a mit.