Friday, May 31, 2013

Who's the Boss?

Well, in every church, or seminary*, or every family, or with every person, God should be the boss.

But who's the human boss? (Which in Christian circles that should be, "Who's the servant/leader?")

Well, here are the servant/leaders of this St. Petersburg Theological Seminary...
From left, Alexander (who is in charge of many things, including the online classes starting); Alex (who runs the building and is a Bible teacher in the church); Dr. Sergie Nikolaev, (the President and founder); and Tatiana (who does basically everything else -and is mainly the main administrator.)

(These people are so friendly, though Alexander must not like having his picture taken.)

Dr. Nikolaev started the seminary and church here, and is a fantastic leader, with a passion and a vision for bringing Russians (and the rest of the world) to Christ.

He was the translator for Billy Graham when Graham preached in Moscow years ago.

I really need to interview Dr. Nikolaev so you (and I) could know more about him...

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Different note:
Sam took this picture in the lunch room today of most of his students....
They are all so wonderful.  We can hardly communicate with them (without a translator) - but oh there IS a strong love between us.  Mmm.
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There's more to tell, but I'm getting tired and though it's just 8:28 PM here in St. Petersburg, Sam and I both have our pajamas on and may be in slumberland soon.

Before I go, though, I want to show you two pictures I found from February (in Texas).
They make me smile.



(You didn't think I was just going to show you pictures from Russia, did you?!)
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*We are in St. Petersburg, Russia (May 23- June 10) where my husband is a visiting lecturer at the St. Petersburg Theological Seminary.  He is teaching Hermenuetics (Principles for Interpreting the Bible) the first week and "The Problem of Suffering in Six World Religions (including Christianity)" the second week.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

No darkness and dreariness here....

I thought things would be dark and dreary here in Russia.  Well, as you can tell by the colors of the different walls in this place, it is NOT a dark and dreary place.
(Click HERE for the lunchroom pictures (in case you missed them).

Here's our apartment from the hallway and door into it....




(That's Sam's doctoral robe hanging there. June 9th is graduation, in which he'll take part.)


I really like the floors...


And here's the calendar on the wall that I like...



So can you see that vibrant colors are enjoyed here.

'Course the people will be quick to tell you that communism made it a dark and dreary country.
Now love, and life, and joy are shining through!

(Click HERE to see pictures of Sam's class and his students - in case you missed it.)

When I get a better picture of the man in charge here (Dr. Sergei Nikolaev) I will tell you about him.
(I like good visual aids.)

Thanks for reading.
Now you know we're for sure not suffering over here!

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I just put up yet another exciting poll (upper right).
Thanks for voting!!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I love to eat...

... this Russian* food...
(That was a two course meal. - Yum. 
(That is not parsley. That is cilantro.... super yum.)


Here are more pictures...


 





When we get home from our trip, Sam and I will both need to go on diets...
... but not until then.
:) 
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We won't be sightseeing in St. Petersburg until next week.
(Can't wait.)
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Here are some interesting old Russian proverbs I found:

Without rest even the horse doesn't gallop.

A chatterbox is a treasure for a spy.

A beard doesn't make a philosopher.

Teeth are all friends among each other.

All cats are grey in the dark.
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A new poll is up (upper right).
Thanks for voting!
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*We are in St. Petersburg, Russia (May 23- June 10) where my husband is a visiting lecturer at the St. Petersburg Theological Institute.  He is teaching Hermenuetics (Principles for Interpreting the Bible) the first week and "The Problem of Suffering in Six World Religions (including Christianity)" the second week.

It's a great life.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

We're getting acclimated!

... quite literally... to this most beautiful Russian city.
The high today is 72 degrees. The low 58. And it's sunny.
That is making for perfect weather!

(If you have no idea what (where) I'm talking about and you want to know, click HERE for my previous post.)  
(If you think our house is empty while we're gone - well, click HERE to find out about that.)
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For today I want to introduce to some new friends/brothers and sisters in Christ.
But first, here are two pictures of him introducing himself to his class.


Now here are his students, with a bit of info on most of them.
(By the way, we have permission from them to tell you who they are.)
(The captions will be UNDER each picture this time.)

Here's Igor, a pastor of an evangelical Lutheran church in Novgorad, Russia.



This is Alena, who works with the youth at the church here, called Temple of the Gospel.



Here's Lena, from Estonia, who does evangelical work with all ages in Estonia.



 This is Laresa, a pastor from the Ural region.




Here's Jura (pronounced Yura), a music minister
from Volgograd (known as Stalingrad from 1925 -1961).


Here's Kate (pronounced Katcha), an Apostle of a Pentecostal church in Dmitrov.


Here's Oleg, a pastor from Siberia, making us feel at home.



This is Jura (pronounced Yura), an associate pastor at a church in Vologda.



Here's Natalia, originally from the Ukraine,
but now a United Methodist Minister who pastors in Novgorad .



This is Vladislav. (I failed to get any more info, as he came the second day.)



And here is Igor (I failed to get his info, also, because he couldn't come until the second day either.)
(I need to make their info a priority, clearly.)


All of the above people are staying here at the St. Petersburg Evangelical Theological Institute in apartments like we are staying in -  for these two weeks to study under Dr. Sam Carmack.
What an honor for him (and me).


Last but not least, here is Sam's translator extraordinaire...
That's Paulina.
She teaches Theological English here in the seminary,
and Physics and English at a high school nearby.

(I think Paulina looks (and acts) a little like somebody who used to go to Bear Valley Church, 
and whose husband plays some mean bagpipes.
Can anyone guess of whom I'm thinking?)
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Soon I will blog about the founder of the seminary, and tell his story.
It's very sobering.

Thanks for reading my blog.



Monday, May 27, 2013

We made it!

We made it to Russia!
Just writing that sentence seems incredible.   Well, until we walk outside our apartment door, then it seems pretty real (in a good way).

When we found we were coming I should have bought a Rosetta Stone Russian language program.  You can't have long conversations with just "Thank you" and "Hello."
Ah, but everyone is gracious... and a (very) few speak English.

The building we're at is the seminary, the church, the apartment building, kitchen, dining room.... everything.   That makes it very convenient.
(Some of you got this picture already from Sam through email.)

Here are some pictures I took yesterday morning (Sunday) from the church service...
That's Sam with the pastor and head of the seminary.
Pastor Sergey speaks fluent English, as he studied at Southwestern Baptist Theological in Fort worth years ago. 

Here is the music team of the church accompanied by the choir....
The music was very good, and very lively.
I didn't recognize any tunes, but when Sam had me play later for a few people I played "What A Friend We Have in Jesus" and they recognized it, some singing along.

The church service was three hours long, but we stood a lot (not too much) which helped.

Now we're ready to go to Sam's first class.  I'll take pictures and give commentary about that later.

For now let me just say I'm having to use my acting skills.
People inside buildings are jovial and laughing (at least here they are).
Once they get outside they look pretty somber and serious.
So I need to look somber and serious, AND I need to not open my mouth outside, so as to not broadcast I'm an American.

Imagine that: me looking somber and serious, and keeping my mouth shut.
Ha.
I'm acting as if I'm a mute Hillary Clinton.
and/or Queen Victoria.

Or any other suggestions on who(m) I should mimic?
I'd love some suggestions.
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That's all for now.
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I have a new poll up (upper right).
Thanks for voting.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I'm almost ready....

... to leave for Russia.
(Sam will be guest-lecturing at a seminary in St. Petersburg for 2 1/2 weeks - and I get to go, too.  After that we'll meet Will and Bailey in London for a few days.  (Yes, it's a great life.))


 Shiloh-pup (and our house) will be in good hands....


That's Joel, Elizabeth's brother-in-law.

He's a Marine and was in the Middle East and Afghanistan (and soon to be a TCU student).

I think our house and dog will be in the best hands of anybody in Colleyville, or the whole Metroplex, for that matter. 

Yes.




















Last night we had dinner at the Huffmans. Little Caroline made us a big going-away card...
Isn't that precious?

Andrew and Anna made us a big sticker card! Mmm. I'm feeling like eating a cupcake right about now. Mmm.

Perhaps the major thing about last night (besides the delicious meal, and well, everything else) was being read to by Andrew!!!
He read that book, without missing a word, or even hesitating for a word. 
Amazing!!
(He won't be five until August.)
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Well, I can't blog today without mentioning Moore, Oklahoma being decimated by that tornado. It really is amazing that there have been no more deaths reported.

Here's a picture my brother-in-law emailed us, that was taken across the street from the TriCity branch of Legacy Bank. (TriCity is near Newcastle, Oklahoma, which is near Moore.)

Our nephew, Rob, wrote a wonderful blog post yesterday about that tragedy. 
Click HERE for that.
(I shared it on Facebook yesterday, so you may have already read it.)

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I put up a new random poll (upper left).
Thanks for voting!

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Oh, and I should be blogging from Russia: our apartment will have wireless internet.
:) 


Sunday, May 19, 2013

I like...

... these pictures....

Here's my dear daughter-in-law when she was little...
I saw this picture on Facebook and had to blog it.
Isn't she darling?

Here she is several years later (2010)...
... right after she became Mrs. Carmack!
(And she's expecting my first grandchild in November!)
(I case you didn't know yet.)
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Different note...
Here's a picture of Sam's brother, Steve, and his wife, Lorie,  and four of their sons....
Steve was being honored for 50 years in the banking industry in Oklahoma. 
(He started working at the bank in Hinton, Oklahoma when he was 15 years old.)
 
Oh, here is their fifth son wanting to get in the picture....
 
... that's little Mac (4 1/2 years old). He is really cute, and lovable, I must say. 
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Different note...
Here is my great niece, little mommy Anna with her two babies....
She was getting ready to take them to 'Circle Market' (which she calls Central Market).

Here's her big sister...
... going to school on her last Friday as a kindergartner.
(Times flies too fast.)


And here's Anna's big brother ...
He's swinging in a tire swing that his mom got at a garage sale - because it was just like what she used to swing on at White Haven, her grandparents' country home in east Texas.

And here's Anna's mom....
Her caption on Facebook, "This is ridiculous! How do little people create so much laundry?! It's crazy."

Elizabeth was who I thought of when I posted this quote on Facebook recently...
“If evolution really worked, mothers would have more than two hands."
- Milton Berle
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Finally...
... here's a picture I took Friday of dear daughter Laura, with dear dog Shiloh... 
I put this on Facebook, so you may have seen it.
But you can see it again.
(I like to see it again and again and again,  and then again.)