Once again, the blog community has surprised me. Blessed me. Left me feeling overwhelmed, but not alone.
I didn’t know I would meet a family of refugees (Part I) from The Persecuted Church at the local swimming pool. I never planned to eat dinner with them and listen to their amazing story of survival (Part 2). Part 4 is here.
Thank you. Thank you for your comments, your emails, your suggestions, your invitations to have this family come speak at your church and mostly, your prayers for them. They are not in vain.
A few days ago, Igor and Katerina called and invited us to their home. They wanted to serve us Russian food and fellowship more.
You cannot imagine my excitement as I put away the spaghetti noodles.
I told my kids what we were going to do and explained that they had to like the food, or at least pretend to like it. I knew this couple would give us their best and I wanted our response to be great.
Only one word describes the look on their faces as they greeted us at the door of their modest, rented home: pride.
“Look what God has given us. He has blessed us with this and this…” Igor said as he pointed out the sofa, dining table in their simple, beautiful home.
We arranged ourselves around the table and joined hands to pray. The food on the table was colorful and it smelled wonderful. Igor explained that the main dish, called Plov, was a meal only served for celebrations. Tradition states that only the men of Uzbekistan are allowed to prepare the delicious meal of rice and meat. (I knew Katerina had been cooking all day, but so had Igor. They were giving us their best and I felt very unworthy).
It was delicious and my kids ate every bite! There was also a cucumber-tomato salad that was incredible and it was accompanied by an eggplant appetizer. Just between us, I could have seriously devoured the whole eggplant dish, because yummy doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Katerina was kind enough to translate and share these recipes:
1-2 pieces of garlic
2-3 tbl. spoon of mayonnaise
some green onion
loaf of french bread
Slice eggplant like a wheel. Sprinkle salt and fry in oil in frying pan. Lay eggplant out on paper towel.
In small bowl put mayonnaise, add pressed garlic, add some black pepper. Mix everything.
Put sauce on eggplant, then put tomatoes on top of eggplants. Sprinkle salt and green onion. And place on piece of bread.
< span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(102, 51, 0);">olive oil
lotus flower (asian section of grocery store) I think this is the secret that makes it taste so good!
Cut tomatoes and cucumber in salad bowl. Then small chop green onion and cilantr o. Add olive oil, black pepper, salt and lotus flower. Mix all ingredients.
The Strawberry Shortcake I brought paled in comparison to the ‘Nest of Birds’ cookies Katerina brought to the table, served with Russian hot tea. And my kids, yeah, it was embarrassing how many cookies they ate. In her broken English, she explained how to make these incredible cookies, but she lost me after the 14th step which involved thinly rolling the dough. Ya’ll know cooking is not my gift.
After dinner, we sat around and talked. We learned more of their story and about their current ministry to the former Soviet Union and how they use the avenue of sports to reach people for Christ. If you can read Russian, you will enjoy their website, if not, you will think that it is pretty, like me.
I’m still very deep.
Before we left, my hubby asked if they had any immediate needs. I know this was hard for them to answer. They feel so blessed by what God has done for them. “We have everything we need,” they replied.
My hubby pressed further.
“Well. We could use another pair of shoes. We have only sports shoes,” Igor said as he pointed to his tennis shoes.
And Katerina, hesitated and said something to her husband in Russian, “Katerina, would love to have curtains some day, but it is not a priority,” he said has he pointed to the uncovered window.
I looked around at their modest dwelling. I couldn’t help but notice a 5 gallon bucket serving as their trash can and that they shared one English Bible between them. Their 4 and 2 year olds were happy with their small collection of toys and they considered one pair of shoes, enough.
And they felt rich, like kings.
And thinking of the hours I had spent decorating my own home and my closet full of shoes, I felt like a pauper.
So, yes they have needs, but I don’t think they are huge priorities for them. They have raised 17% of their budget for next year. And while I would be freaking out with worry, Igor shook his head and said, “We don’t worry about that. We just do exactly what God wants us to do. Look at the miracles He has provided all ready.”
I asked Igor to prepare a list of needs that we as a blogging community could meet and I hope to share them with you soon.
In the meantime, I opened a Paypal account for them. If you would like to donate $1 or $100, please let God lead you. If you or your church would like to support this beautiful family every month, please email me directly and I will give you more information.
100% of the donations will go directly to this family!
I found out that today is Katerina’s birthday. I can’t wait to take her shopping for new curtains!
*Update* Thank you for the donations today: $117.00! The amount you donated will appear to be ‘unclaimed’ until the account is verified which I’m told takes about a week.