It is just about 9 a.m. on Saturday morning and snow is covering the ground. The sun is trying to break through the clouds but so far the clouds are winning. I’m tired from the previous night’s long visit with the brothers and can only think of one thing I really want to do. Can you guess what it is? Yup, that’s right. I want to get inside a Lada and ride for three hours sitting in the front passenger seat while in the fetal position. No, I am not sick and no I am not having a nervous breakdown. It is simply the only position any sane person can put themselves in to somehow feel comfortable in that car. Now, while I was in the front enjoying flashbacks from my mother’s womb Genry and Mark were in the back in fetal trances of their own.
Now, to give some perspective our driver, Marat who is also the head of youth ministry in Bashkortostan and a good brother (think Freddy Mercury), told us that the cheapest watch you can buy at the airport costs more than his car. Of course, we were all surprised at such outlandish possibilities, but we had to believe him. Think about it…the choice between a watch and a Lada…it is a hard one, really.
Well, after three hours and a brief stop at Marat’s apartment midway for some tea we arrived in Koumertou where we visited with Velodia (which is short for Vladimir) whom Genry’s church, Grace Community Bible Church of Burney, supports. So it was especially important for Genry to come face to face with Velodia and some of his church family. As usual, when we arrived we were greeted with a table spread with extremely appetizing food. When we sat to eat I made the biggest mistake one can make in these situations…I was the first to finish my plate! What that meant is that as I turned to ask Velodia a question one of the sisters filled it up again and I was now stuck having to have two helpings. Now honestly, food is the language of love wherever you go, and this lady hovered over us ready to pounce when our plates seemed depleted so we had to come up with a strategy of eating slowly and resting a piece of bread strategically on the plate go give the appearance of fullness and to keep her at bay. The problem was, she saw right through it and more was on the way.
We were asked to share some songs so I pointed to Genry and when he was given a guitar he began to play many of the songs that he wrote. They really enjoyed his singing and then eventually we all sang songs together. We took time to look at pictures of the first service in that church that took place when there was just a small village there. Now there is a city of 70,000 people.
Well, we eventually had to say goodbye and Marat (aka Freddy) drove us two hours to get to Sergei Loshak’s home in Sterlatimak. There we visited with his family in their new home and celebrated God’s goodness to him. He has six children, two girls and four boys. One of their boys is a special needs child who is blind and can’t talk. We fellowshipped late into the evening and I had a good night’s rest.
So, in just a few minutes we will be leaving to go to the church in Ishembay where Sergei is the pastor. Later Marat will come and we will all ride with him back to Ufa. Getting back in that Lad will be like the chicken getting back into the egg. The problem is that there are four chickens…fattened by the feedings…