Hello from Russia!

The Happenings of a Missionary Teacher

Hey, everybody! (Or more appropriately, privyet!)

Frankly, I’m not quite sure where to begin; so much has happened during my first month in St. Petersburg! Thanks for being patient with me as I am just now sending out an update, and thank you all for your prayers while I have settled in to my new city. Your prayers have been much appreciated!

After a few trips to IKEA, I think I am comfortably settled into my apartment! The view from my room is beautiful; I live on the tenth floor, and the sunrises/sunsets perfectly touch the skyline. I can also see some trees from my view! Yes, real-life trees! I’m living with two fellow teachers, and they have been so helpful and encouraging during this time of transitioning. This past Saturday, eight teachers from IA (both Russian and American) came to our place for pizza, cards, and the Russia-Sweden soccer game (and Russia won! Woohoo!).

From our apartment, it only takes about 35 minutes (by metro) to get to school. It’s hard to believe that we are already into our second week of school here at IA! I am teaching four different language arts classes, plus a study hall. Due to the nature of an international school, my students come from Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Sweden, and the States. With over half of my students being English Language Learners (ELLs), grading and lesson planning can be challenging, frustrating, and overwhelming. As a first-year teacher with so many ELLs, please pray that God would give me wisdom. And although I’m still working on pronouncing some of their names correctly, I am so grateful for each one of my students because they all contribute something unique to class. Plus, I think it’s so cool that on any given day I might hear up to eight different languages being spoken!

Over half of my students are not only ELLs, but are also the children of business men and women. These students are being exposed to the Gospel for the very first time through International Academy! The Christian foundation of IA enables me to speak freely of Christ and the Gospel in my classroom; be praying that the Spirit would open the hearts of my students! Also be praying that I would not only teach Truth, but also live Truth.

As of last week, I am now tutoring a 3rd-grader from IA on Thursdays. Ayame is from Japan, and she is the sweetest girl. Her father works for Toyota, so her family moved to St. Petersburg for business purposes. I tutor Ayame at her family’s apartment, so pray for opportunities to share the Gospel with them.

Before I left for Russia, I asked you to pray that I would find solid community within a church in St. Petersburg. Thank you so much for praying; I am plugged into an international church (Hope Church), and I was able to get involved very quickly. In fact, I will be attending the church-wide retreat on October 2-4. It is a bilingual church (English and Russian), so hopefully I can learn some Russian this way! If you would like more information about the church, feel free to visit hopechurchstpetersburg.com. Once again, Hope Church is an answered prayer. Thank you!

I could go on and on about the various experiences I've had so far. I could tell you about the medical exams that are mandatory for all teachers in Russia (*shudder*), or about the stressful times at the grocery store, or about my Russian lessons that have begun, or about my darling 6th-grade students who asked if we could start class early so they'd have extra time in the school library.

However, I'll wrap things up here, and just say THANK YOU for all your support and prayers through these may changes and new experiences. Stay tuned for next month's update. Do svidaniya!

In Him,