Friday, May 29, 2009


This past weekend we had a great chance to get outside of the city and have a retreat. I go to a Bible study on Tuesday nights with the 'young adults' from the church I used to attend here in Moscow. This group if full of people from 18 to their mid-late 30's. It can't be called the singles group because there are several married couples in it. And it can't be called a college group because there are only a handful of college students in it studying abroad for the year. So we call it the young adults group.

We got to stay at this dacha for the weekend. It was about an hour electric train ride outside of the city. We did a study over a C.S. Lewis book. We also had a great time in fellowship over tea, yummy smores, a great meeting with some guys from Tajikistan, a skimpy-dip in the pond and tons of fun. I was unfortunately sick the whole time. So I ended up spending our Saturday free time asleep in bed but I still did everything else, just heavily medicated.

Well all the fun stories begin with the need for smores. You cannot have a weekend in the woods without smores. Doug was able to go to the American Embassy store and get Hershey's chocolate, Jet Puffed marshmallows and real graham crackers. But it had rained all day and we couldn't find any dry wood for the fire. Well some of the guys in our group started to walk around looking for some. They ran into two guys from Tajikistan who said they had some left over roofing wood we could have. Well they ended up inviting them to have smores with us. They loved it. It was a real treat for them.

We had already planned on jumping in the pond when the Tajiks invited our group over. So about 10 of us went to their 1 room home. It wasn't any bigger than my office here at school. It was a father and his 5 oldest sons. He had 5 other sons, a daughter and a wife still back in Tajikistan. They were working and sending their money back for them. Well they cooked us up some lamb fat and onions and did some traditional Tajik dances for us. It was the best time. Great memories. They kept going on about how it is such an honor for them to have guests in their home. Their home by the way had no bathroom and an outdoor sink. It had 2 benches and a table with one set of cabiniets. They also had a little 2 stove gas set to cook on. Their hospitality was truely amazing. Before we left they wanted to pray for us. So one of the sons sang a beautiful prayer in Arabic to their god Allah. Then one of our girls asked if we could pray for them. She prayed to the one true God (in Russian). They continued talking about what a blessing this was for them. Here in Russia they are like beyond scum to the Russians. It is quite sad. But I know that Jesus loves them just as much as he loves me.

Then we went for a skibby-dip in the pond. You can't call it a skinny dip because we were still in our skibbies. It was great fun. Though Lydia and I both got cuts on our foot and it probably only made me more sick. But hey, it was a great way to end the weekend!!

This is the house (dacha) we stayed in for the weekend. It was so wonderful!

A view down the street of the village.

I think this house doesn't have much longer to be standing.

Another house in the village

Emily out on a walk.

One of our neighbors houses.

Attempting to get a fire started with roofing wood and copybooks after it had been raining all day.

The girls about to enjoy some smores!

About to eat my first smore of the night

Betty and her head torch. She had never had a smore before (poor British girl) and just though you were supposed to eat the marshmellow melted. She was all happy about it too. Then we had to show her the good stuff.

Emily had the great idea to just put the chocolate right on the marshmellow and melt them into a tasty treat. Those Brits are clever.

Getting smore number 2 ready.

Me and Kat enjoying the campfire.

Roomates for a few more weeks!

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