We’ve been here a week. I’m not sure if it feels like a lifetime or a moment in time. But I’m not sure I want it to end. Granted, I do miss my family, my friends terribly – and have a craving for a salad, turkey burger and sweet potato fries from Village Burger Bar (I’ve had my fill of meat dumplings, potatoes, mayonnaise, and bread) – but I feel I’m just now gaining my footing here in Russia. The streets are recognizable, the design of the orphanages is familiar (up two flights of stairs, music room, art room, bedrooms with three to four beds in each, wood floors, chipped paint, and the faint smell of food and sewage in the stairwells). And now we’re at the end of our journey, with only one more day to go. God, let me not miss a second.
I’m not sure if you believe in specifically answered prayer, but I do. And today, I received two answers to very personal prayers. The first was snow. We have seen flurries since we’ve been here, and in the country a good amount of snow has already fallen. But I really wanted to see a wonderfully full, fat snowfall – the kind of snowfall that blurs the skies and covers everything in a blanket of white. And today, while we were visiting Hospital 15, the snow came at a rate of around 2” an hour. It was heavenly! While it wasn’t a lofty prayer with divine impact, it was a precious gift from a most kind God.
The second prayer was answered in the form of a divine appointment. After seeing the need for love and care with these orphanages, I prayed that the Lord would raise up individuals and churches that would be passionate about this country. And I wondered if any European or Scandinavian countries would feel that passion. Today at the hospital, I met three staff members with Sviakoslov Foundation, a Christ-centered nonprofit based in Holland that cares for orphans and at-risk children in St Petersburg. They had come to the hospital to visit a young gypsy boy named Anya, who is in the last stage of AIDS. Their focus is hospitals and crisis centers, and these fine folks even minister love to the children living under the streets of the city and in the most remote parts of the country surrounding St Petersburg. And a unique thing about the organization is that its workers are youth under the age of 25. To provide opportunity for teens and young adults to pour out their hearts is simply beautiful. And to know they are here throughout the year (actually working with Buckner at the hospital) is also a precious gift.
Thank you, Lord, for both. I’m humbled. And now I pray for Anya, that you will comfort him and reveal Your love to him in a most powerful way. You give snow – and you give life.