Monday, September 17, 2007
Miss Medlock offers weekly update from Russia
In some ways this has been a very momentous week. In others, it has felt very normal.
Major events this week:
* I started work. Right now I have 6 classes spread out through the week. Each class is two hours. Teaching, as always, is frustrating and fun and exciting and annoying and very, very familiar. It has been nice to be doing something again that I know. However, the students here have something that the students in America didn't. They can all speak a language that I can't. They have enjoyed this, and I'm fairly certain have been using this to their advantage. But as a whole, they are motivated. I have learned teenagers are teenagers everywhere.
* I met with Masha. Masha is a Russian college student at the Christian university. She is going to be tutoring me this year. It was good to begin this study. It was also good to begin to develop a friendship.
Struggles this week
* The first week of school has had many frustrations. I didn't find out my classes until the night before I started teaching. I still don't have my materials yet. One night I was told I was teaching two classes. I had begun walking home when the director called me and told me I had another class. I quickly came back and had to teach a third class until 10. I had only made copies for two classes. I survived all of this, but it has been frustrating.
Victories this week:
* Despite all the frustrations, I have survived my first week of teaching. It is nice to have a schedule and begin a daily routine.
* This week I have ventured more out on my own, exploring the neighborhood that I am living in.
* I am still memorizing 1 Peter.
* I am also reading a book entitled Devotional Classics. Tomorrow several friends from America will call me and we will discuss a chapter. These "meetings" are a wonderful blessing.
Ahead this week:
* Tomorrow Masha is going to show me around the city. We are going to use this as an opportunity for me to practice the language.
* If John is able to make it to the bible study on Sunday, we will discuss starting the English Club
* Pray that I will be able to establish good relationships with my students. Pray that I will be an effective teacher and an effective witness of Christ's love.
* Pray for John and me as we establish this English Club. I'm not sure what God has in store for this.
* Pray for the church. Pray that the believers will be encouraged daily in their faith.
* Pray that I won't allow myself to become discouraged by not knowing the language, health problems, are anything else that comes my way. I know better than to be discouraged, but it is still a fight that I have to face. I think I can say honestly, it is a fight I have winning this week. This morning as I was praying I asked God "Why am I here?" I read a quote in a book by Richard Foster about the church. He referred to not the establishments but to communities of comfort, fellowships of faith and liberation, places where people grew in faith and love. It was clear to me as I read this that this is not only why I am here in Russia, but why you are where you are. We are all "here" to establish such communities.
Grace and peace.