Sunday, May 6, 2007

An Adventure in Russia

About 2 summers ago we rode single track in the Lake Arrowhead Area. About 10 minutes before this photo was taken I zipped along a trail that suddenly widened into a giant mud puddle. I tried to go up on a bank to skirt around it, but my wheel slipped and I fell flat. I was pretty muddy and wet...wet like the morning, many Easters ago, as we prepared to sing in Red Square—Moscow.

Two hours before the performance, it had started to rain. We worried about all the electronics, wires, mikes, sound board, etc. etc. But then, after much prayer, the clouds disappeared, the rain stopped, the equipment survived, and our Easter praises echoed through the square.

How did we find ourselves in Russia?

I'll never forget when the plane descended into Russia. I couldn't believe I was landing in the country that I had feared for years. But now things had changed.

After many long years of communism, Moscow prepared to celebrate its first Easter/Resurrection day morning! Campus Crusade for Christ sent a choir over to sing in Red Square. Tom was asked to make a recording of this event, and I tagged along for the adventure of it all. (No way was he going without me!!!) I ended up joining the choir—which was very exciting because they combined us with a Russian choir.

I sat next to Ludmila, a kind woman of about 63. Later in the week, she invited Tom and I to visit her flat on the outskirts of Moscow. After a crowded bus ride (standing up and holding on to a pole) we were transported to the outskirts of the city. We walked many more blocks and caught another bus. We walked more blocks, passing tall drab buildings. No landscaping or grass—just a cement paths leading toward doors, or stairways. Finally we climbed the stairs to Ludmila’s flat. There we met her family including her 2-year-old granddaughter. Quick ending: We had a nice time with a warm family. It was pretty funny because we couldn’t communicate very well. Although they are a religious family, it is their custom to drink at meals. I was poured a shot of Vodka in a tiny cup. Tom can’t drink for medical reasons, and I didn’t want to be impolite so I took a swallow. Wow! They were chuckling at me.

We gave them some cans of meat we had with us. At that time, meat was very expensive—and hard to get—in Moscow. We had brought several cans of tuna and chicken with us, for Tom’s special diet (diabetic). So we gave them our cans. (as it turned out we were well fed at our hotel).

We also were able to distribute Russian language Bibles on the street and in the subway, and it touched my heart as I watched very old men and women reach for the Bible and hold it to their heart, with tears in their eyes. They still remembered the days when they owned a Bible—before the days of communism. The younger people were less emotional, and more curious. They would quickly open the cover and start reading—from the beginning.

We exchanged New Year’s cards for several years, and about 5 years ago, I failed to get a card from Ludmila.

So now….this letter sits on my desk. It seems the letter is from her daughter. I’m wondering if Ludmila passed away. In her last letter, about 5 years ago, she mentioned she was going to the hospital on a regular basis for dialysis. The letter includes 2 pictures. One is a picture of our family (that I sent many years ago) and the other is a picture of a middle-aged woman and a young woman (a teen) standing in the city of Moscow. I think it must be Ludmila’s daughter and grand-daughter. On the last page of the letter someone has drawn a big heart.

Final thoughts…I hope to get the letter translated soon, but other things are pressing. Our oldest son is leaving home today. Please pray that God will work in his life…and keep him safe from evil.


Beach Girl said...

Just checking in to let you know I'm still praying.


Becky Wolfe said...

I have yet to take a spill in the my quad is still in a million parts.

Amazing story about Russian, I can tell it has left a warm & wonderful impression on you!

So sorry to hear about your son. But remember we have a mighty God. I will pray for him and for you, as you let go. In my thoughts my friend.

Betty said...

Sharon Lynne,

How perplexing not to know the contents of the letter. I hope you can get it translated very soon.

What an adventure you had going to Russia and seeing the people once again having the opportunity to worship openly the God we serve...

Thank you for coming by to visit with me.......

Susan Kelly Skitt said...

Sharon, what an amazing trip to Russia. And I can't even imagine what it must have been like to hand someone the Word of God who had longed for it for so long! Oh how we can take the precious Word of God for granted.

I am praying for you and your family. "Father God, help Sharon through this time. Help her and her family to lean on You in complete abandon. Help her to see Your glory and power and love. I pray for her son. Lord, bring him back to Yourself. Remind him of Yourself wherever he may go. May he learn to long for You and You alone. Sweet Jesus... sweet Jesus... what a wonder you are... you're brighter than the morning star..."

JAM said...

Wow, what a great story. I'm sure those are memories that are etched in your mind.

I wouldn't know how to get a letter translated. You can probably scan it and pay a small price to someone on the internet.

I know a young lady who is a russian translator in the Army, and if you can't find someone, I could email her and ask her to do it. I don't know if she would do so, but I would ask. She grew up in our church and recently returned from a tour in Iraq and is stationed in Texas. (Her husband served in Iraq at the same time, in a different part of the courntry!)