Liz Hulley is based in St. Petersburg, Russia. Here is her latest update. You can keep up with her at her great blog.

Hello and Happy New Year!

I returned in September and, as usual, “hit the ground running.” I started attending classes within a few days, while attending to related paperwork at the same time. In December, I was able to extend my student visa for another 6 months, so that I can be here through June!


untitled1At orphanage #8, they have decided that I’m now a “starving student,” and feed me hot meals! I actually have a lunch break at the university, but I have still managed to lose a significant amount of weight! Sometimes it feels like people are trying to fatten me up.

I spend several hours during my visits tutoring the kids. They are fairly comfortable with me and sometimes we talk about life in addition to homework. Some of the orphanage employees came to our outreach concert in November, and heard the Gospel there.

untitled2At orphanage #27 I have moved on to a younger group, which happens every few years. The older kids are too unruly and stressed after school to concentrate on an English lesson.

I recently found out that one of my friends from church is doing her practicum there as a psychologist, so it’s good to know that the kids will have contact with another Christian.

My mother visited in early December and we saw a lot of friends and visited the orphanages together, as well as visited the adult facility in Peterhoff.

Church Life

untitled3Church plans have been ambitious, as usual! We had a retreat in October, a concert in November, a month of Advent, a Christmas Eve service on December 24th, and a Christmas concert this past weekend.

The women’s ministry has had a flood of creative ideas, many of which came to fruition, and others which will have to wait until next year. ☺

We had our first church baby shower in December. It was fun because very few people (including the mom-to-be) had no idea what to expect. It was truly a surprise!

About my Student Visa

I am enrolled at Herzen University in their exchange program for foreigners. This includes undergraduate students, grad students, and independents like me who need student visas. I know of several missionaries who are currently in this program.

The rules for student visas have changed even in the past few months, so I don’t intend to rely on this plan in the future, even though it is meeting a need at the moment.

It’s actually fun to be studying Russian taught by native speakers, and I like the structure that the classes lend to my day. In the mornings I have class and in the afternoons I teach private lessons or visit orphanages.

In the evenings I also sometimes teach, or have church activities. I remember having a problem in the past finding something to do in the mornings. Now, I have to admit that I wouldn’t mind having my mornings back!

New Endeavors

As 2010 gets underway, I am about to attempt applying for temporary residency. I’m trying to get in line at the Federal Migration Services within the next week. Despite having done quite a bit of research, I feel quite clueless as the process begins. I don’t really want to do this, but I don’t want to wait another year either. I can imagine how nice it would feel to not have to worry about my next visa.

Interestingly, I have received a few unsolicited job offers in the past few weeks, one in translation and one in teaching! It would be nice to get a work permit and be officially employed by a Russian company. However, it isn’t my priority right now. We will see what happens with the temporary residency and then I will be able to reevaluate my daily activities.


-For the provision of a student visa through June!
-For smooth transitions and many opportunities for ministry
-For protection from health issues

Prayer concerns:
-The temporary residency process (look for updates on my blog)
-Orphanage and other teaching relationships
-Church activities as we head into the pre-Lent season

With love from St. Petersburg,