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Monday, June 30, 2008

Pastor in Ekaterinburg

"We flew to ekat. this morning.  an easy uneventful flight, although the ten-year old girl sitting next to me almost puked.
We were met by Pastor Sergei Glushkov at the airport.  We had been warned several times that Glushkov doesn't speak English well and we should speak slowly,  but he's doing great and we are having a good visit.
He said once, "Bishop Lytkin has told me that you have only only had a sandwich and coffee today, so you must be hungry."
"No," we said, "we're fine they gave us lunch on the plane."
A couple of hours later he said, "Konstantin Komarov tells me that maybe you will not be opposed to tasting the local beer."
I said, "that's true."
It is rainy here so we didn't get in the walking tour of the city yet.  but tomorrow will be another day. But at this point in the trip, sight seeing is not the main objective. "

Pastor Koch and Rev. Arp in Lithuania

Here's a picture of Pastor Koch and Pastor Arp on a beach in Lithuania.  Don't you love how Pastor is dressed for the beach??


Surprising Photo from Siberia

OK, this is NOT what I pictured Siberia would look like!  But Pastor said he (or Erik?) took this photo while out on a walk the other day.   Where is all the snow?!?!


Pastor in Tomsk, Russia

Sunday June 29, 2008, the festival of Sts Peter and Paul at St Mary Lutheran Church in Tomsk, Russia. Father Daniel, Bishop Vsevolod Lytkin of the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church and me.

Pastor in Novosibirsk

We are back in Novosibirsk after a long road trip to Novokutznetsk and Tomsk.  Small church in the first just getting started and a beautiful newly rebuild church in Tomsk with a fascinating story.  It is apparently the jewel of the Siberian Lutehran Church and son the Bishop was anxious to show us it. 

Looks as though I understand what needs to happen for now in distribution in Siberia.  After Monday and Tuesday I should have things moving better in Western/ European Russia too.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pastor in Russia - Update

Here are some excerpts from some emails from Pastor in the last 24 hours.

"Today we ate at McDonalds.

The Menu was in Russian, but you could tell that they just borrowed English words, like this BigMaK and Macflurry.

We also saw the Kremlin and some old Russian churches.

Yesterday we did eat at a Russian restaurant that's called MY MY, but in Russian it is pronounced Moo Moo, like the cow says.  It was very good, I had borscht, which is Russian beat soup and salmon. yum."

"We spent today, Wednesday at the warehouse for LHF (Lutheran Heritage Foundation) and GN  (Good News) Then we toured the Kremlin.  We get around by subway.  It is a humongous Metro system with people everywhere.  Sometimes when we go through underground tunnels from one train to another, I would not be surprised to see Sydney Bristol run by.  I do not know how we would do this without Konstantin showing us around and keeping us out of trouble. 

We leave for Novosbirsk tomorrow morning early."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pastor in Russia

How cool is this? 

"Pictured here is me and Konstantin Komorov, Russian translator for GOOD NEWS.  We are in Red Square."


Excerpts from other of Pastor's emails are :

"I'm in Moscow....  We came by train overnight last night."

"Sunny in Moscow.   feels like, maybe 75.  I had KFC for lunch."

"Yesterday I went to church in the Dome Cathedral in Riga.  You can see the picture of it on the front cover of this website:"

"everyone is watching soccer here. they call it futball.  It is
European Cup tournament.  Russia won an important game Saturday night when we were in Riga, Latvia.  There are many Russians living in Latvia.  They were all in the streets yelling and going crazy."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Few Photos

While Pastor went to a Latvian Worship service, our friend Erik sent the following.

"Here are some pictures for you. Ron is at the Dom Cathedral in Riga right now, sitting as an honored guest at the liturgy.

We both went to an earlier worship service in English (led by the LCMS area missionary...), then Ron decided to stay for the Latvian service. As I already co-presided at a Latvian Eucharist with Bishop Bruvers several days ago, I decided to find an internet cafe instead.

Today we leave on the train for Moscow. We might be able to find further opportunities for email, but the farther East we go, the tougher it will likely get."

Here are a couple of photos that he sent along with that email.  I don't know exactly where they are, or who the others are that are with them, but I'm sure we'll find out those details later!

Baltics and Russia 2008 009

Baltics and Russia 2008 016

Baltics and Russia 2008 051

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pastor is in Leipaja, Latvia

Here are some excerpts from an email that I just got from Pastor. 

"Itš a beautiful Saturday morning in Liepaja a city on the Baltic Sea in Latvia.  Not so long ago, it was a very important naval base for the Soviets.  No one could get in unless you had a good reason to visit.  The churches here (we have visited 3) are big and old and beautiful. But they are suffering from many years of lack of upkeep during the Soviet times. 

Latvia has always been a traditionally Lutheran country, ever since 1522 when the first Lutheran sermon was preached here.  (Remember the 95 theses were 1519)  One Latvaian pastor described the situation to us now as this:  In Latvia there are 70% Lutherans, 30% Catholics and 90% agnostics.  That is to say, many will say they are Lutherans but have never been in church or even been baptized.  It seems that GOOD NEWS is providing a needed role to help pastors here.

Itš Saturday at 7:00 am.  and it is very quiet in this city on a Saturday morning.  Erik is still sleeping. And I have been up for an hour or so and taken a walk around the city.  Now I should get some breakfast soon.

We are guests of the Bishop of Leipaja, Pavils Bruvers.  Today we will visit some more, discuss distribution and then he will drive us into the capital city, Riga.  We will try to send some pictures but I can't promise it before Sunday.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pastor is in Kaunas, Lithuania

I received an email from Pastor this morning.  Here is some of what he has to say.

"I am in Kaunas, sort of in the center of Lithuania at an Internet cafe.  Our coordinator in Lithuania for Good News is pastor of the church in Kaunas.  We are waiting for him to arrive.  We are with his daughter who is driving us around.  She attended school for a year at St. Philip, Chicago.  (I, Sandy, taught at St. Philip in Chicago, right before Caleb was born.)

I'm fine.  Things here are so much like America, compared to Africa.  It is so easy to get around and do things.  Except of course for the language thing.  We took a four lane highway to get here.  Fast and smooth.

Erik and I need to have a meeting with this coordinator here and sort of encourage him to get busy and get the translations going for new [Good News] issues and do more for distribution.  So far it is going smoothly and we have the other pastors saying encouraging words about Good News.  We'll see in a few months if it does get going better."

Thanks, everyone for your prayers for safe travel!  So far, all seems to be going well!  Keep praying!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Please Pray for Russell's Family

Russell H. passed away on Tuesday. His funeral will be held at St. Paul's on Friday at 11:00 am.

Pastor's European Adventures have begun


Pastor departed from Cedar Rapids airport on Sunday afternoon, after one delayed flight.  He called me at around 10 pm from Chicago, just as he was boarding his plane to Copenhagen, where he would have an 8 hour layover, before taking his final flight of the day to Kleipeda, Lithuania.  He arrived there at around midnight (their time) on Monday.  Pastor Arp, our District President is also there, and fortunately, he has cell phone service that allows free text messaging.  Pastor Arp texted me to let me know that Pastor had arrived safe and sound.  Our friend Erik missed a few flights getting out of the US, so he didn't arrive until 24 hours later, but we have heard that he is there now as well, and all seems to be going very well!  Continue to keep them in your prayers!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dairy Day Float

Fun in the Son Preschool and Daycare again had a float in the Dairy Day Parade!  It looked GREAT! Thanks to all who helped get it put together, and thanks to David and Kyle for driving the float in the parades!


Funnel Cake Madness

The funnel cake stand at Dairy Days was a HUGE success again this year!  A tremendous thanks goes to all who spent time helping by mixing, pouring, flipping, sugaring and serving the cakes!  Here are a few pictures!

For those of you unfamiliar with the process, here's what we do all day!


First you have to pour the mix (mixed to just the right consistency, which Pastor has become a PRO at!) into the pitcher with the funnel on it.  You pour batter from the pitcher into the round form in a pretty pattern.


Let it sit in the form for a few seconds to firm up just a bit, and then carefully remove the form.


Let the cake fry in the 350* oil for about 45 seconds or so.


Carefully flip the funnel cake over, and cook for another 30-45 seconds.


Cover generously with powdered sugar! mmmmmmm

We had lots of great volunteers helping, and I didn't get pictures of everyone, but here are a few that I did get.





This is about the shortest the line was from 5:00 until 11!  We made a LOT of funnel cakes!!


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wednesday night VBS

It isn't EVERY day that kids get to sing Happy Birthday to the Pastor!  We even had birthday cake, complete with candles!  What a FUN way to start the evening!



Tonight's craft was bead bracelets! 




And tonight, it was nice enough to have recess time OUTSIDE!  YAY!





Vacation Bible School FUN!

Boy are we having fun at St. Paul's this week!  It's Vacation Bible School week, and we are going on a "Friendship Trek".  Here are some photos of how our week is going.


We have some great helpers!  Cheryl and Jenna are ironing on the transfers to the t-shirts.  Thanks for helping, ladies!


Each group wears a different color of bandana for the week.  The first night, everyone got to decorate one, and they will wear it the rest of the week.


They also got to color magnets that will be a picture frame AND a buddy list for phone numbers!  Cool!



Candace helps each group learn a Bible verse each night.


The kitchen help has been quite...helpful...when they aren't squishing mashed potatoes all over the counter.  David!  Next time, use a bigger container!


Thanks for ironing, Grandma Marge!


IMG_4639  IMG_4642


Of course, recess time is always lots of fun...even when it isn't nice enough to play outside! 

Ping Pong Tournament Fun

We have a ping pong tournament going on at church.  Did you know that?  It is going great.  Win 2 out of 3 matches and advance to the next round.  I think perhaps the spectators are having as much fun as the players!





IMG_4606  And while not officially IN the tournament, our former Vicar, Pastor Hale got in on some ping pong fun while visiting last weekend!