Greetings and Happy Summer!

Andrei has his last faculty meeting here on Monday, and then we can officially say that it’s summer vacation. There are lots of budget cuts being made at the university, and though Andrei has “immunity” due to having a small child, he doesn’t actually have many teaching hours there. There are always opportunities to teach, preach, and deliver presentations, but for his further work and research it would be preferable to have a more steady position. So we are just waiting for new opportunities and trusting in the Lord’s leading.

In the first week of July we’re off to Massachusetts for time with friends and family. But before we go, here’s what we’ve been up to:

I was finally able to get out to the adult neuro-psych facility where Nastia’s mother Lena lives on the ward, along with her roommates. It took me over 2 hours to travel there and I practically had to turn right around and go back because Andrei needed to get to a meeting that evening.

I’ve been in touch with a volunteer from the Orthodox church who also visits this facility. It was interesting to hear her mention that Lena’s ward seems the warmest and friendliest. She praised the head nurse, as well-our friend Henrietta Sergeevna, who is over 70 and cares very much for her “brood” of patients. I don’t know if it makes me sad or happy that their ward is the cheeriest. I certainly want to believe that God is doing a work in hearts and providing them with meaning in life. But it hurts that their seemingly dismal daily life (trapped in a hospital in the middle of nowhere-though to someone it may seem pastoral?) is privileged compared to someone on another floor who might be sicker physically or struggling with severe trauma.

I think I’ve also heard comments to the effect that Lena gets “more visitors,” which is sobering because we don’t visit her often at all and I don’t suppose her remaining relatives do either. But just the fact that I might visit once a year or so is more than others are granted?

Anyway, enough about that. We managed to get a few photos before my camera sadly ran out of batteries…

liz1(L-R : Inna, Lena, Galya, Yulia)

The news this time around is that Lena has a new little friend, Galya. Perhaps one of the orphanages closed and the children live in the facility now, too. I doubt she is 18 yet, but I didn’t catch her exact age. Lena seems to dote on Galya, and I’m happy for that. She yearns for her daughter in the U.S. and the granddaughter she’s never seen, but here is a child to love. I didn’t completely understand their relationship, but she brought me over to introduce me to Galya, and Galya jumped right into my lap to hug me, too! Then Lena made Galya put on her shoes and push her wheelchair. I really enjoy the family-like atmosphere there, even with the sorrows.

liz2(Lena holding Galya)

We would like to do something for Lena and her roommates, but that story will have to be continued in September. The group likes to go on excursions, and we may sponsor something like that. We are also looking for a way to tend to their continual needs in a way beyond the hospital’s means. Perhaps some massage therapy or other ways to provide physical comfort. Maybe something special for their room.

Meanwhile, at the children’s hospital…

The saga of the burn ward (where David was treated) has come to a close. Earlier this month, Andrei and a friend delivered some special high chairs and volumes of Chronicles of Narnia for the patients and their caregivers. We pray that they will be delivered into the right hands and be put to good use. The high chairs have wheels and can double as a stroller to roll the babies up and down the corridor during those long hours. Though the rooms are equipped with cribs, it’s nice to have another place to plop the baby down.