Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Crazy Day at the Metro

Beth and I got up this morning to meet some friends. We had to meet up at 9:30, but because of the morning rush hour we tried to get to the metro by 8:30 a.m.

Once we got to the metro, everything seemed relatively normal.  Things weren't too busy, but the train itself was completely full and oddly was not moving.  The doors remained open for about five minutes before closing and taking off.

The next train to come a few minutes later was once again completely full, but instead of it stopping, letting people in (if anyone could possibly fit), and taking off again, the people on the train were told to get off, and then the train moved backwards.  The same thing happened to the next train that was again completely full.

So eventually the metro was completely full.  Beth and I of course had given up by this point but I managed to snap a picture or two before walking out.

It was like nothing I had seen before.  Granted, rush hour is typically busy, and trains are usually packed like this metro was during those busy times.  But I've never seen a station quite like this!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's Cold Over Here

Last week was an intensely cold week.  But it was one of the brightest weeks we've had in over a couple months.

During the winter season, the sun hardly ever shows its face here in Moscow.  Not only are the days shorter (the sun rises at around 8 or so and it sets around 4), but also the skies are usually very cloudy.

But oddly enough, when the sun decided to come out (as it did for the entire week), the temperatures plummet.  I believe the coldest temperatures here were -20ish below zero.  And it was painful at times.

But otherwise it's been a beautiful winter season so far.  Here are some pictures of our day-to-day commutes:

Monday, December 21, 2009

Spanish Christmas Program!

I never thought that in Moscow, Russia, we would be attending a Spanish Christmas program.  I never thought that I would be singing "Silent Night" in Spanish with fellow Russians.

Several of our friends take part in a Spanish Club, where at the end of the Fall semester their whole program is culminated into a program with different Spanish-themed performances:  Christmas music in Spanish, Tango dances, and so on.  It was a great program and one of the many highlights of the Christmas season so far!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Let the Christmas Festivities Begin!

Well, the Christmas events and celebrations have begun!

I help out with an English Cafe that takes place every two or so weeks, and this past Saturday the topic dealt with Christmas and specifically on "Gifts."  We played games, discussed why we give gifts, what a gift can be, and so on.  Finally one of the leaders was able to share the reasoning behind giving gifts during Christmas because of what God gave to us through Jesus.

We look forward to the next 9+ days!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christians and Their Approach to Non-Believers

Found this fantastic video from a good friend Almost an M. The video is a non-believer who has something to say for Christians trying to convert non-Christians.

Christians Trying to Convert Non-Christians from Rethink Mission on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Decorating For Christmas

Well, the lights and decorations are coming up all around Moscow in celebration of the holidays.  "C новым годом!" (Happy New Year!) is read all over the city.  While the new year is celebrated here more than Christmas itself, the decorations are still prominent.

A tree being set up at a nearby mall.

Red Square lit up in the evening.

Beth and I spent some time this weekend decorating around our flat:

Although we're going to miss friends and family back in the States, we're looking forward to celebrating Christmas all this month here in Moscow.  We're planning on showing various Christmas movies every English Movie Night, and several friends have talked to us about celebrating Christmas together.  We're excited to share our culture and traditions with our friends, and explain the meaning behind why we celebrate Christmas every year.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Our Response to Ransom Video

With the audacity of the Ransom Video we received, we clearly had to retaliate and respond:

If you cannot see the video, click HERE.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

"Tallinn, Tallinn, Take Me In...."

As you probably know, Beth and I had the great opportunity to visit friends in Estonia for Thanksgiving!  We hadn't taken a vacation since being in Moscow, so we figured this would be a good chance for a mini-trip to a nearby country. So last Tuesday, Beth and I boarded the train for an 18-hour ride to Tallinn. The trip itself went really well (Beth and I got a room all to ourselves, which was a surprise), except for the 4:00 a.m. wake up call from customs.

Here was the first thing we saw when we left the train in Tallinn:

At the train station we were greeted by our good friends Andrea and Shera!  They gave us a tour of Old Town in Tallinn.

After some sightseeing we went with Andrea and Shera to pick up Josh and Megan at the airport (they had been in Budapest for medical reasons--please keep them in your prayers).  We spent the evening catching up and hanging out with them as well as the Thompson family.

Thanksgiving was celebrated at Andrea and Shera's flat, and was a blast.

Over the next few days we toured a castle an hour outside of Tallinn, the Christmas Market in Old Town, and so on.

We were also able to visit the President's house.  According to Josh, every birthday Estonia's president invites everyone over for tea.  And by everyone, I mean every Estonian who wants to come.  Pretty cool if you ask me.

What an incredible trip.  Here are some pictures from Josh and Megan's BALCONY.