Some Me Time
This week, I learned a lot about personal uplifting. Growing up as a Christian I always heard people say “you will only get from God as much as you are willing to give to God,” and that never rang truer for me than it did this week. Originally going to Odessa was not part of the plan; it was more of a detour if you will. But it was good for us, it taught us how we should use our free time for spiritual growth once we return home.
Everyday we made sure to have devotional time: reading and praying together every morning (or evening). But after the first two or three days it became evident that that was not enough. I began to seek God a lot more on my personal time. And honestly, that is when he spoke to me the most! In the heat of the day, listening to the waves on the beach, waiting for the next stop on the bus (or train), walking home under the stars, or just laying in the living room, that’s when God really touched me. It was just me and God having a moment.
As each day passed, I felt the desire and hunger to be with God grow more and more.
You might think, “Well, you’re on a MISSIONARY TRIP, how much more with God can you be?!” But I think that I’ve been spiritually tested here far more than I ever was going through Bible School or any other time in my life. Trust me, it’s when you start doing things for God that the devil really starts to attack! Satan isn’t trying to win over anyone who isn’t a Christian because he has already won them over. He wants to attack the people who seek God! He gives the people who love God a hard time. And it’s always a constant battle here… a battle with yourself.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has to make myself read the Bible, and put in an effort to pray. Because let’s be honest, you’d never say it out loud, but you’d rather sleep! Or who would want to step outside of their comfort zone and talk to the old lady on the bench at the park or evangelize to the man sitting next to you on the bus? I’d rather sit there with my earphones in, minding my own business, listening to my music! But this week, that’s what I learned to do!
I just can’t stress enough, the importance of personal one-on-one time with God! Trust me, there’s just nothing else like it.
So this was my first time taking a train anywhere, and it happened to be an overnight train- which means that we get the cool, little, tightly spaced rooms with 4 bunks that you may or may not have to share with 3 other complete strangers.
Alright, so now might be a good time to mention that I’m an introvert (I took the test and everything- and I apparently like to be alone more than I like to be with others). When I found out that I had to make friends with strangers, I wasn’t exactly happy about it, but I also knew it wasn’t a coincidence.
Stranger number one, was a girl. I didn’t get to know her so much because she came in, undressed and went straight to bed (*sigh of relief*).
Stranger number two was a man; Vitaly. After a short introduction Aliona and I learned that he was a drummer for a secular band (“Lazy Days”, I tried to find them online, but after several searches, I threw in the towel), and of course the topic of religion came up. He is an Orthodox. (I’m thinking, “Oh boy, this is gonna be good!”)
Vitaly doesn’t go to church, but he has no doubt that there is a God who will ultimately judge mankind by their deeds. In other words, if you have succeeded in living a life that you consider to be “morally correct”, you will probably be saved.
That’s when I whipped out the gospel, and how none of us can be saved through our deeds, because all of us are sinners and will be sinners no matter what, and the only way to God is through Christ who has already paid the price for our sins and all we have to do is believe in Him and we will be saved! (It was even more powerful with my Oh-So-Amazing Russian speaking skills). Vitaly was speechless. Jesus won! So BAM!
I Miss My Car #PriusForLife
Alright, now for the fun part. The venting! Pubic Transportation has never been so bad!
The first bus ride. This, we had to take as a backup plan for when the train was delayed. We bought front row bus seats, which I ended up switching for a lovely back of the bus seat. Somehow, I ended up losing that seat too and I was stuck standing in the lovely 12 inch aisle between a man who kept “accidentally” touching my butt and 2 women who probably had the same pipe issue we had last week because they smelled horrific! And since they were standing too, they used the bar up at the top to keep their balance, which means that they had their hands up, which means that allllllll that body odor filled the whole bus! (By the way, the only type of air ventilation was provided by the hot air that came in through the windows when the bus was moving #noAC). So pretty much, my first bus experience here was me standing for at least half an hour rubbing on a bunch of sweaty people! Can you feel the love?
Hey, but whatever gets you from point A to point B, right?
* * * * * * *
Appreciate what you have people, odds are, if you’re reading this, you probably have it a lot better than the people here. I can adapt to this lifestyle for half a year, maybe a year, or even two if I have to, but knowing that I have a nice home with AC, running water, and a car waiting for me back in California is such a blessing. These people here- this is their life. Most of them can’t escape this. The economy doesn’t allow them to. That’s what breaks my heart. (The other day I saw a little girl, maybe 8 years old, running around wearing nothing but her underwear, simply because she didn’t have anything else). All I can offer them is the good news, prayer, and my company (which isn’t the greatest either). The rest of the week we are spending helping the locals farm again. 🙂 ! actually can’t wait! Love that farmers life! 😉 ‘Till next week!
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Romans 5:1 (NIV)