Friday, October 28, 2011

In His Time - Part 3

It has been over three months since my last blog post about Slavik (In His Time - Part 2).  It is always interesting watching as God works things out in His time.

In August, we brought Slavik to Kiev with us so he could enjoy part of our family vacation.  He had only been in Kiev one time for one day before that.  He was so excited that he could hardly sleep on the train.  During our vacation, we stayed at the home of some missionary friends who were out of town for the week.  We enjoyed visiting with several other missionary families while we were in Kiev.  We walked around to see some sites on Monday.  On Tuesday, we went to the zoo with our area director and his family.  Slavik was so thrilled to see the many different animals, most of which our family had seen many times.  On Wednesday, we all had a great time at the new Dream Town water park with our friend Sasha.  Needless to say, Slavik had a blast and loved every minute of our time there.  We had so much fun being a "family" during those days.

While we were in Kiev, Slavik and I had a great talk late one night.  It led to him praying a prayer of repentance, because he felt that he had done some things to jeopardize his walk with God.  The next day at lunch, he shared that with the family.  God is good.

Since that time, Slavik has not stayed with us overnight, but we still see him on a regular basis.  Most of the time his girlfriend, Tanya, is with him.  She is also an orphan and is harder to get to know because she has a lot of hurt and bitterness in her life.  She needs to know Jesus and we are praying for her to come to that realization.  Slavik goes to the gym with me once in a while.  I cherish the times when we can have some Father-Son time together.

Early in September, Slavik's older brother, Maxim, was released from prison.  Needless to say, when he first came over for supper, I was a bit nervous.  But he has proven to be a great young man who wants to stay away from the life of crime and his bad friends.  He accepted Christ as his Saviour shortly after getting out of prison and it has been fun to watch him grow in his young faith.  He has been here many times by himself to watch movies or to visit.  He loves coming here for supper and thinks everything Denise cooks is wonderful!  He enjoys going to the gym with me and goes as often as he can.

Maxim's birthday was early in September.  A couple of weeks ago we decided that since we did not know him on his birthday and we would not be here on his next birthday, we would go ahead and made a birthday cake for him and give him a small gift.  We sent some of the cake home with him.  He just beamed with gratefulness.

Recently, Maxim started dating a girl, Yulia, who has been here a few times already.  She is very sweet and seems to really enjoy spending time with us.  Denise showed her a lot of family pictures the other day, and she really seemed to like that.  Maxim wants Denise to teach Yulia how to make pizza.

Another young man, Yura, lived at the same orphanage with Slavik and then they both lived with our friend Max Fetisov for several years as well.  He and Slavik's brother Maxim have become pretty good friends and he has started joining us for supper quite often, too.  We love having him here because he aspires to make people laugh.  He is a student at the technical school but, like most orphans going to technical school, he does not like it.  He would rather go to the gym with me three times a week.  He makes himself at home more easily than the others did.  He is trying to live for God and we are glad to have him as part of our lives!

The first evening he was here, we talked about how Denise's pizza is so much better than the pizza at the local restaurant, Chilentano's.  He immediately started asking for pizza the next day.  The next morning, we were at the gym, and he was asking if "Mama" was making pizza for lunch.  After lunch, he sat on our living room and said "Mama" several times to get Denise's attention, and then asked "Pizza?"  Needless to say, he got homemade pizza a few days later.

God spoke to my heart before the end of August to start a Bible study for Slavik and some of his friends.  It has been a bit challenging to meet every week because of various conflicts, but I am working to be flexible.  We do everyting in Russian, so I keep reminding them to speak slower for me.  Our first time was just Slavik and Maxim, but it was good and they both enjoyed it.  Last time, we had Slavik, Tanya, Maxim, and Yura.  It was great time and Tanya spoke up quite a bit, which really surprised me.  We are going to keep at it, trying to plant the Word of God into their hearts.  I have grown to love Maxim and Yura as sons (though not quite in the same way as Slavik), and want to see all of our young friends live wholeheartedly for God.

When Denise was making supper the other day, I reminded her that baking cookies every Thursday for Men's Bible Study the last few years before we moved was just practice for living here.  Denise made a double batch of chocolate chip cookies (about 4 dozen) on Monday.  By Tuesday evening, there were only two cookies left.  They really like our homemade cookies.

It has been interesting watching how God has caused our "family" to grow.  Sometimes it can be frustrating because you see them making mistakes and they are unwilling to listen to your advice.  One day after I did something for Slavik, he commented that I was "just like a real Dad."  I commented in return, "You are just like a real son, too.  You do not do what I want you to do."  He knew what I was talking about and, while it was true, I still love him.

From left to right:  Yura, Maxim, me, Slavik

We look forward to what the future brings.  God truly does make all things beautiful in His time.

How about you?  Are you seeing the beauty of what God is doing in your life?  Or are you still waiting?


Susan A. Reed said...

So so sweet! God is so good!!

Jeff A said...

Awesome update on your "family" - Continuing to pray God will continue to open doors and that will continue to see spiritual fruit from your faithfulness! Continue on our friends!

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