Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving in “First of May”

The Fourth graders!

This Thanksgiving Sophia and I made a trip to Pirvaya Mayskaya/”First of May”, Russia.
This was our second trip to visit Russian missionaries, Yuri and Ira Yefimov, and their English students.  (you can read about our first trip here.)

The Second Graders!
I admire Yuri and Ira so much.  They are both highly educated young people and could live in a city and make lots of money.  Instead, they believe God has called them to the small town (3,000 people) of Pervaya Mayskaya.  People leave this dying town.  Yura and Ira have come and made it their home.  
The glass factory has been the main source of income for the town.  It is rumored that in May the government will close it.  
Yuri and Ira are not financially supported by any missionary sending organization.  They don’t have a salary or health insurance.  There are no retirement funds in their names.  They aren’t invited to or sent to any special missions conferences in beautiful locations.  
It breaks my heart because I was a well-cared for missionary.  We begged God to raise up leaders in Russia - people ready and willing to go with His Good News into the villages.  Here we have such a couple and we Russian Baptists don’t take care of them.  There is something very very wrong.
Where we have failed, God has provided.  Yuri and Ira make the money they live on by teaching English.     

Working on a Thanksgiving word search!
Ira speaks perfect English and she shares her knowledge and skill with the children of Pervaya Mayska.  Yuri told me that every 5th student in the Public School is also Ira’s student.  She helps them with their English school work, teaches them songs and games, and is their friend.  
They meet in one room of the two room church house.  The classroom is warm and comfortable.  Yuri made a special stand for the white board.
Sophia helps to tell the story of the first Thanksgiving.
Sophia and I had prepared a special Thanksgiving lesson for all four of Ira’s classes.  We told the story of the first Thanksgiving (in what was to become the United States), we shared a little about the Pilgrims/Puritans, I read Sophia’s book “On To Plymouth Rock” and the children learned that phrase from the book, we played Thanksgiving Bingo, and worked on a word search.

The Sixth-Graders!
The children had a few things planned for us as well.  They sang songs and read poems.
But, most of all, they shared themselves and tried their hardest to speak our language.  I touched me, has it had the first time.

The Ninth-Graders!
I am thankful for many things this Thanksgiving.  I’m thankful for this special holiday that reminds us and teaches our children to be grateful.  
I thank God for Yuri and Ira!  How grateful I am for their service in God’s Kingdom.  Please join me in praying for them and the students of Pervaya Mayskaya.  May God bless them with everything they need . . . and more!

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