"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Splendor in the Grass

On Tuesday my Mom, Isla and I were invited to picnic out on the property of our friends Anya and Alexey.  It is absolutely beautiful there, it is on a hillside with a view of the mountains and a vineyard just across the road.

The guest of honor was their friend, Julie, who was visiting from our church’s sponsor church in Spokane, Washington. They have known each other for years, and it was Julie’s birthday.  Julie travels to Russia at least twice a year, more if she can afford it!  She has a passion for sharing the Good News, and specifically sharing the Good News in Russia Smile.  She loves everything about this country!  She is also the way that Nick and I learned about our church, Calvary Chapel Novorossiysk. 

Nick and I had just found out that he had been selected for the position in Russia, and we had been praying about it.  One thing we knew for certain was that we had to find a church in Russia!  We didn’t want just any church or an English speaking church inside Russia or a home church with only other expats.  We felt so strongly that if God wanted us IN Russia, than we were here to SERVE Russia in some way.  We wanted a place where we could have fellowship with other members of His church, we wanted a community, and we wanted to be able to directly impact unchurched Russians. It would have been very easy to get here and say “Oh well, there is no English church here… I guess we cannot attend church for the next X number of years! We have an extra day to sleep in, hooray.” But most importantly… how could we move to a country where so few people know Jesus and not try to help spread his Good News among the lost in some small way?  Obviously, staying at home with our noses in our Bibles was not the the purpose that God had for us here.

And then I clicked on the Facebook Novorossiysk page and saw a tag “Headed off to Calvary Chapel Novorossiysk, please pray for me!”  Nick and I were so excited!!! There was a protestant church in Novo!!!  It was an answer to our prayer. Even better… Americans visited there!

And the lady who posted that little message… here she is folks! The birthday girl. Smile

Julie 2

I guess Facebook is good for some things!

It is just so amazing to look back on how God works.  Nick and I took the Perspectives class back in 2007, and if you are a Christian (any denomination) and you have not taken it, then you absolutely MUST.  It is the most life changing class that I have ever had.  Let me tell you if I have to sit in on another Bible Study on how to be a better (wife, mother, friend, person, fill in the blank) then I just might scream (although I cannot seem to tear myself away from books on the same subjects)!  This class is NOT about looking inward (me, me, me), this class is about  the Heart of God, about knowing His heart, and learning what breaks His heart, and learning what His passion is… which is drawing all people back to Him!

So I set out to write a straight forward picnic post, and instead I got off on a tangent, oh well, that happens some times!  The truth is that Nick and I have wanted to help out with His passion for a long time, and we have even alluded to it a couple of times.  I don’t fully know what purpose God has for us here, and I have a tendency to focus on BIG things, but it might be something very small and simple.  I don’t know… and sometimes I am worried that a girl whose happiness seems to be directly correlated to the availability and speed of her internet and who is also hard hearted and hot headed will be totally unusable to Him here… I don’t know.  I guess I will just have to wait and see.

Ok, ok, this post was about a PICNIC… so without further ado… our picnic!

Almost Everyone

Everyone singing the Birthday song!

Happy Birthday SongHappy Birthday

Isla and little Liosha… I could just eat him up!  He is such a cutie pie.

I & L

More Liosha! Seriously… can I take him home with me?

liosha 2liosha 3liosha

This is Masha.  She is a missionary who helps out at the church.  We have not had much chance to get to know one another, but hopefully we will once my Russian gets better!


Matthew! He is four and is such a sweet heart.


The mighty hunters, Liosha and his mommy, Anya!  She is just about the nicest person I have ever met.

mighty hunters

My mom and I.

My Mom and I

Ugh! Pick me up, pick me up!

Pick Me Up

I love both of these pictures of Isla and my mom!

so cute 2

so cute

Our pastor, Ilya.  He speaks English like a native speaker with only a slight accent.  6 months in the states, and I bet he would have no accent at all.

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Umm… I think he would fit in at a Texas church… don’t you?

Texas Pastor

Alexey and his older son, Vanya.

Vanya and Dad

Isla is such a wriggle worm these days.  She is always on the move! I am not looking forward to our St. Petersburg flight tomorrow.

wiggle worm

The pint sized explosion herself… Ira, holding Matthew! She is so wonderful. I wish that I had a better picture of her too.

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Busy Timothy! I did not get a good picture of him, but he is just about the sweetest little boy in the world… he has my permission to court Isla one day… when she is 25!

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Some more random pictures from that day!

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Anyway, I have to go and pack now!  Blogging takes forever sometimes.  I don’t know how people who get out a post a day do it!

Tomorrow we leave for St. Petersburg… I am super excited!!!


  1. a) great post. it's your blog, tangent away!
    b) picnic looks like it was really great
    c) anya and alexey . . . of course they are russian. :) too cute.
    d) your mother is adorable and looks like she is about 30! must be fun to have her there with you!

  2. Oh Melissa... you have earned my mother's love forever!


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