Monday, May 31, 2010

Go to go to a Josh Garrels concert with Brandy. Very enjoyable, thanks to Ruth Janda & her fiance Caleb for monkey-sitting for us while we traipsed about town.

I don't recall the last time I've been at a concert, and in a very short conversation with Josh Garrels I mentioned that we don't really go to concerts. He replied that he doesn't either, unless they're his own concerts. He usually just listens to music on headphones.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ruslan, a friend of mine at SPU invited me to teach at his church this past Thursday. Ruslan's been a good friend during my time here, he's a younger guy I met in Biology class during my first quarter. He was the only one to support me when I questioned the idea of common descent we were being taught in class. Since then he's always sought me out at the collegium or wherever he happens to see me and we have some good conversation. He's a refreshingly excited believer and usually by the end of our conversation I end up praying silently for a portion of his zeal.

Anyway, over many conversations he found out that I believe I'm called to eventually be a pastor, and so he invited me to come teach at his youth group.

It was a youth service for Ukranians, (Ruslan, as you may have guessed from the name, is Ukranian too. I looked it up and found that it's actually of Turkish derivation, and is another way of saying "Aslan" - lion) mostly second generation kids from not just Ukraine, but Kyrgystan, Romania, and that night some from Germany. A good friend from SPU invited me, since it's his church and he's very active in it. When I arrived the Youth leader expressed surprise because he had thought that Ruslan (my friend) had invited a Ukranian. I hope I didn't put him out too much, and let him know that according to my Y-Chromosome, I share a male line descent mostly with Eastern Europeans. Got to use the extent of my Russian, (dobri diyn=good evening)and taught out of Philippians Chapter 2.
It went really well. I had many people praying for me during my preparation and during the sermon (primarily Brandy) and I felt really at home with the people I was sharing with. Most of them had thick accents but spoke English fluently.

The service was very interesting. If it weren't for every other song being sung in Russian, I could have been in an Assemblies of God church for much of the service. Even the songs in Russian were ones I recognized by the tunes (i.e. Lord I Lift Your Name on High).

The only part that got really confusing was whenever the person currently leading the service would say "Let us pray", they meant it literally. Everyone broke out in their own prayers, I heard russian, english, tongues, and sometimes the Leader praying over the microphone at the same time. I'm used to a person with a microphone saying "Let's Pray" and then they pray, while we wait for them to finish (hopefully assenting in our minds) and then we all say "Amen" when they do. I actually liked their Ukranian way better, but I entirely forgot about it when I got up to teach, and so when I said "look, I haven't done this in a while and I'm going to pray for God's blessing on it and help" I expected that I was going to pray and they would say "Amen". Not so. The room erupted with sympathetic tongues and for a moment I was so surprised I forgot to pray myself. I think by the end of the service I had the hang of it though.

I loved being around people from the other half of the world. Well, believing people. A bunch of the younger guys came up and introduced themselves to me after service, they were all very respectful, and during the service/worship even their goofing off wasn't bad (I caught conversations where they were lamenting the wasted intelligence of poorly behaved guys in their high school, etc..., where normally I'd expect conversation about girls or why so and so is so stupid and hated by all.) It was really a blessing and I'd love to go back. Some of the girls wore headscarves, like E. Orthodox women do.

Halfway through the message, my throat got so dry I was in danger of a coughing fit, and Michael the youth leader ran and got me a cup of water. May the Lord remember him on the last day! Despite what seemed to be initial disappointment at my non-Ukranianness, he was very graceful and friendly and we had some good edifying conversation before and after the service. (so much so before the service I began to worry that I wouldn't have a chance to visit the urinals - my teeth were swimming! But I think he saw it in my face because he told me where to find them when our conversation finished.)

They also prayed for the world at large during the service, things like the N/S Korean conflict. I was really impressed by that as well.

Michael said they'd like to have me there again, and said next time they'd feed me too. Now that's Christian love.

Then I went to my cousin DeLynn's place, where Brandy and the kids were (it's only 5 minutes from the Church I was at, but both are about an hour's drive from our house.) There we talked about documentaries and DeLynn and her husband Moses warned us about air travel in S. Africa and DeLynn made us coffee before we headed home.