This is Love

*Updated List of Needs*
I asked my Russian friends from The Persecuted Church to give me an updated list of some items they need. They live entirely on the support of Christian families, while they lead and teach leaders still in Uzbekistan and other Russian countries via Skype.

If you’d like to donate money, that’s always needed. But here are some items you can send (They don’t have to be new). With the holidays approaching, this is a great way to teach children about giving.

1. Bath Towels
2. warm blankets for children
3. Big Plastic bowls(for mixing)
4. Salad bowls (or anythings for kitchen will make me happy)

5. Sizes of clothes:
Husband
L
pants-34*30
shoes-9
Wife
XS or S
pants-4 medium
shoes-6,5-7

5 yr daughter
4T-5T
shoes-9-10

3 yr son
3T
shoes-8-9
If you can donate any of these items, please email me (kristenwrites@yahoo.com)
Also, when my friend lived in Uzbekistan, she made their clothes and was very good at sewing. I’d love to buy her a sewing machine. If you want to help me, let me know!

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Many of you have emailed and tweeted and left comments asking about my Russian friends from The Persecuted Church.
First, thank you for caring, secondly, if you are new to their story, please follow the link above. It might just change your life.
I know watching their story unfold has changed mine.
Our dear friends had an amazing three month trip to the Ukraine, the nearest place they were safely allowed to enter. Even twelve hours and hundreds of miles from their former home, caused their families left behind in Uzbekistan a visit and interrogation from the police.
While they were there, they traveled thousands of miles within the country teaching and encouraging pastors and Christian workers. They shared the gifts you sent.
Their story is still unfolding. But I will tell you of one miraculous event. They wished to see their parents, whom they hadn’t seen face-t0-face in the three years since they were forcefully deported from their county. It was a prayer whispered a thousand times, but it would take a miracle for these precious parents to travel across unsafe borders with papers and funds.
The day before they were to meet, our sweet brother called my hubby via Skype. He was very discouraged and said that everyone had received their travel documents to visit them in the Ukraine, except for his mother. She would have to stay behind.
Her heart was broken. I remembered ‘meeting’ her on Skype a few months before, this jovial woman whose children had been ripped from her life, thanking me, for caring for her children. 
My heart was broken for her. My hubby and I prayed for a miracle. Our friends prayed for a miracle.
Just hours before they were to depart to see their children, the documents arrived. We rejoiced with them. And I cried as if it was my own mother.
Our Russian friends returned to the United States a few weeks ago. They returned home. They do not have a physical home, and are believing for yet another miracle. A local pastor has been kind enough to let them stay in his unsold home in another city, over an hour from us. They remind me and teach me daily that home is not a place, it is people.
We traveled to the home that is not theirs on Labor Day to fellowship with them. Our families are starved for each other. We laughed and talked and ate. It felt like home.
I watched my dear heart-sister create a meal from nothing. She lovingly rolled dough thin and taught me as she worked. I marveled at her skill and asked so many questions. She told me of the special steaming pans her mother passed down to her from Uzbekistan. 
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“When we were forced to leave, we filled our suitcases with our special pots and books in our language, not clothes and unimportant things,” she explained as she rolled the dough thinner and thinner.
I asked several questions about the unusual pans that allow you to stack the unique dumpling-type dish 4 or 5 deep and she explained that America did not have anything like it.
She turned and looked at me with so much love, I couldn’t bare it, “Would you like my steaming pots? I would like to give them to you.”
Just like that, she offered me one of her most valuable possessions, one of her only links to her home and her mother. 
“No. No, please, I do not want them or need them. I just think they are unique.”
She turned and carried on her act of love, rolling dough, as if it were nothing.
This is love.
I am a student. 
Oh, how they teach me.


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