Just hanging this afternoon. Finding strange and unusal things to share.
- FlashFace: Here is another place to while away a few minutes with some amazing flash software.
- Things you can do with sand. I am always amazed at this kind of stuff.
- Some very creative pictures. More fun pics here – click the links unders some of them for more.
- Readers – this site might be helpful or just quirky.
- This guy has way too much time on his hands.
- If you feel you are spiraling out of control…
- The colors on this blog are pretty amazing.
- The Brits really are unusual.
I really enjoyed getting to know the Russian church leaders at the conference in Moscow a couple weeks ago. Their stories are varied, often amazing, unique, and always a testament of God’s grace. Linda found ways to draw them out and she has begun to record them (without names) on her blog.
It really helped that we had such great personal translators. These two young women were kept quite busy with all the story-telling, counseling, and encouraging going on throughout the week. Of course their stories were pretty interesting too.
Thanks to Challies for pointing men to this very helpful “how-to” video.
Mrs. Random and I are visiting our daughter in Glasgow, Scotland for a few days on our way home from Russia. It is always nice to see her and enjoy her humor and her friends. On previous visits we have lamented with Jenny over the dearth of good burgers. No more! We ate at Louis’ Grill tonight at 18 Gibson Street. Great burger on one of the best buns I’ve ever tasted. Definitely the best in Glasgow. Followed with excellent Sticky Toffee Pudding. I’m not sure that the wait person knew what to do with three Americans (ok, two-and-a-half … Jenny is acclimating!) – especially with my promise to tell everyone about the place. Which I now have done. She’ll never know, but I have now fulfilled my promise and 56 people know where to get a good burger when visiting the University district in Glasgow. Cheers!
If you are interested in feeding your soul, you might check out St. Silas Evangelical Espiscopal church just down the street. Or Re:Hope in the same area.
February 2010 update: Sadly Louie’s is no longer in business. I did my part!
Teaching through an interpreter is quite an experience. I’ve done it a few times in my ministry and it is always interesting to see what happens to some of the words. It is frustrating sometimes for me and the one charged with representing my words. There is so much nuance in our languages, and so many different meanings. I’m told that Pasha did a good job translating my messages. I’d say something is hard and he had to discern from my context and other words if I meant “solid” or “difficult”; even though I tried to be careful, sometimes a metaphor or idiom that is second nature to us would bring laughter as it was translated literally – “brain freeze” doesn’t seem to make sense in Russian. The best thing about teaching Scripture through an interpreter is that it reminds us that our best words, our oratorical skill (should we have any), our powerful communication techniques will not carry the day. I am reminded with almost every sentence that the message will only be clear and usable if the Holy Spirit is working among us. Linda and I also grew to appreciate the two young women who came along to help us in casual (and not so casual) conversations. They took their jobs seriously. They were concerned if we were left alone, that we might need assistance, and they quickly stepped forward to translate smoothly. If our ministry was successful in any way, Masha, Natasha, and Pascha must be given great credit. What a reminder that the ministry depends on each one exercising his or her spiritual giftedness.
So what does an a pastor from Bellevue, Washington serving in an affluent church with an abundance of resources have to offer to a mostly young and struggling group of pastors and ministry leaders from Russia and other former soviet states? Probably a lot less than we might think. These men and women are committed. They are intelligent. They are spiritual. They have hearts as that are wide open to all. And they are mostly under stress all the time. If not from some government harassment, then from a burdensome bureaucracy. They have to be committed because few can live on the support they receive. The issues they deal with are the heartbreaks of any pastor – broken lives, shattered dreams, the ravages of sin, illness and death. They do so much with so little in the way of physical resources, yet their attitude is good, and strong, and spiritual. Their trials would crush many of us in western ministry yet they engage in the lonely battle for souls with a certain joy.
I chose to develop thoughts from the Epistle of 1 Peter – teaching expositionally from the word. I did so with some fear. First, because the concepts are deep and rich and might not be communicated well through an interpreter. Secondly, these are men and women who have lived through trials I have only imagined. Third, and I almost always feel this way, why should these folks listen to me? Yet, I have to trust that the Holy Spirit brought us together for a purpose beyond what I can see and that he works in ways that will remain unknown. I can only hope that my words wrapped around the text might be encouraging.
These are good men and women of God. And they represent only one small Bible College in Moscow. I trust that soon they will be serving one another and no longer need or want someone from the West to teach them awkwardly through an interpreter. It is my privilege to speak from God’s Word to them.