Saturday, December 25, 2004

December 25, 2004 – Merry Christmas

Gina and I will always remember this Christmas for its highest of highs and lowest of lows. Spencer has brought such joy into our lives, and that joy will last us a lifetime. We became a full time family on Thanksgiving, and the rewards and progress can be seen almost daily. On Thanksgiving, Spencer….:

• ….could not crawl, or hold his own bottle, or talk baby talk.
He can now.
• ….could not stand on his own, or sit without some help, or play by himself. He can now.
• ….was barely on the growth charts for kids his age.
He is now.
• ….could not stick his hand in his armpit and make a fart sound, or belch speak, or leave the toilet set up.

He can now.

I snuck out last night and went to church. Lena, our translator, babysat for me. There are a number of missionaries in town. Through one of our adoption e-mail buddies, I was able to meet up with them, and they invited me to church on Christmas eve. Since I consider myself a Christian “Specialist” (meaning I go to church on Christmas and Easter) I could hardly say no.

The service was amazingly similar to those in the States. Their were about 120 people crammed into a small storefront that was converted to a hall for church services and events. There was a praise band, and singing, and a very good sermon that hit home.

Most of the service was in Russian. I requested an English bible so I could follow along. One of the missionary’s children translated most of the important parts of the service for me. The service started with the usual welcome and a reading. Then a trio of Kazak folks got up and sang a song in Kazak. That was followed by a series of Christmas songs that the whole congregation sang in Russian. It started with “Joy to the World” and continued with other songs I didn’t understand. I tried to sing along in English, but it’s kind of hard when everyone else is singing in a different language, so…I hummed the tunes.

The kids got up and did a play about the importance of Christmas, then the band did a praise song that was very moving to those who understood the words. Of course there was the reading of Luke Chapter 2 about the birth of Jesus along with a re-enactment of Mary, Joseph and Jesus in the manger. I offered Spencer the chance to play the role of baby Jesus, but he said it was too cold out, and didn’t want to go.

The Kazak singers got up again, and did another song. This time they asked the congregation to come up and dance with them. It was pretty neat. About one quarter of the congregation was dancing in the aisles and in front of the congregation. Most of the Americans kind of stood around and clapped to the music.

The sermon was actually presented by the missionary who invited me. His sermon was based on the fact that we always look for god in great miracles, when he is here everyday. That was shown in how Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and no one in the town took notice. He further went on to say that it is truly up to us to look for God, and to show others that he is with us. This hit home, and truly helped me see that God is with us. Sometimes it takes a little while to find him, but he’s there.

Our Christmas day got started a little early. Spencer was up at 12:54 am. I think he was excited about Christmas and wanted to play with his new toys, or it could have been that he needed his diaper changed. I did buy Spencer some new toys to play with. I took some photos, and will post on the website.

This will be my last post for a while. We are leaving tomorrow for Almaty, and won’t have an internet connection. We have our Doctor’s appointment on Monday, Embassy appointment on Tuesday, shopping on Wednesday, and home on Thursday. We’ll be staying at a hotel that has room service, a laundry, a crib, and a real bed. Heaven compared to the apartment. I’ll be writing everyday, and will post them all when we get home.

We thank you all for your prayers and kind words throughout the highs and lows of our adventure. Spencer is a lucky boy in that he has two parents, family, and friends that love him and will support him as he grows.

Merry Christmas


At December 25, 2004 at 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the best Bob--not too much longer. Merry Christmas, and safe travels. Steve (& Amy)


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