Q’s and A’s

I have a couple free hours today, everything else important can be put on hold for the moment, and I’m feeling good enough to make coherent sentences… it time to FINALLY update!

It’s amazing how life moves and it’s so easy to get caught up in the moment. You forget the “why’s” of what you do at times. Really, I think you also forget about the “how’s” and “where’s” and “when’s” too; you just ‘Do’. And it’s necessary. When you believe in excelling in your education after you’ve thought about it thoroughly, the “why” starts to fade away into the back of your mind. It never disappears, but it’s just…not as important anymore, until there is a reason for it to be important again.

This I think is something that everyone does. The questions they have about their own present and future actions are either answered or sufficient, so the questions take a back seat to the accomplishment of goals or completion of tasks.

And it’s true that this can turn out badly too. Perhaps the answers you gave yourself and that you took for granted were NOT good enough answers…or not good at all. It’s easy to lie to yourself. Perhaps, you really joined some Committee or Board so that you be seen as important. Did you stay after school so many times to study like you thought, or were you always secretly hoping to get a chance to talk to that guy who doesn’t know you exist (yet)? Maybe you didn’t leave your job so much because of the “employer, employees, and bad atmosphere,” although they might not help, as much as you really can never find satisfaction in your work.

The “why’s” matter. They just don’t need to matter to you all the time. I think they matter the most at the beginning. Your “why’s” for your actions become the rocks or the sand that you build on. Maybe you’ve got hard sand and you don’t have nice rocks nearby? It’s still sand. And by tears or by rain, the hardest sand can wash away in a day. ——————-

Although my biggest questions are already spending most of their time in the “back seat,” it’s the small, short term questions that have needed good answers recently. Let me elaborate. My commitments to God, “family”, family, friends, work, and personal care are very cemented and require little care or thought anymore. I know why I made these commitments, to the level I have committed to them, but I do not need to constantly think about it. On the other hand, finding which specific tasks take precedent in the coarse of a day or a week in the face of constantly changing circumstances is still a challenge. You have expectations for yourself. Others have expectations for you. You must consider long term consequences and short term benefits. Not everything fits together perfectly and one must make choices and decisions starting with the question “why?”

Somewhere along the way, I find a balance and move on with life. Matthew 11 is one of the verses in the back of my head as I’m going through all of this from verse 28 to 30, the words of Jesus. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. [Jeremiah 6:16] For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” For me, at the end of the day, I have a basic care for myself and a care for other people, but my expectations for myself and others expectations for me give way to God, who has His own expectations for me and his own concern for me. And then I can receive some rest, knowing that I must do what I can and allowing Him to take care of the rest. Mis-communication, conflict of interest, stress, and failure are never problems anymore once you know what you must do next. Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

May each of you learn to walk humbly with God and may you experience His grace today as so many other people do around the world!


On a more serious note,  this is one of the best days of the year as I’m sure most of you already know. Yes, avast me hearties! We are all celebrating International Talk Like a Pirate Day, garrrrrrrrr. —SEPTEMBARRR 19TH!— I feel so …blessed?? to be able to actually celebrate it this yearrr intarrrnationally. I know! Shiver me timbers, right? We not be loaded to the Gunwales today as we be havin church in the evenin. But me hearty and I be celebrat’n arrr own way. Ye can feel free to send yer doubloons to the ITLPD education fund thar in Russia, garrrr, as they not be knowin of the holiday.

It will take me too long to type e’erything in Pirate speak so I be ease’n up on it until the end of me post. But be sure to know that me facebook is in Pirish language when I look at it. You can go on yer facebook to account settings in the drop down menu of the top right corner and choose it under language (English (Pirate)).

O’er this past month I have been getting into a sort of weekly routine. The school yearr has started and so everything is a little more on a schedule, even though it makes it more difficult for me to meet with students at times. At the end of August, the church went to the campgrounds to fellowship together for a couple days and receive some teaching from a German-Russian minister who formarrrly ministered at the church. The German interns and myself ran the sports and games activities for the camp and I tried my best to understand everything goin on as everything was in Russian. For the evenings, we bought 300kg of watermelons (arrbusa). When we were buying them, we found out that the man’s scale was 2kg inaccurate per watermelon so he could cheat his customers (Proverbs 11:1), so we got some from another man too. I also got cheated out of some basic change on a bus one day. These things happen here a lot. I hate being cheated.

The rest of the week now looks something like this as the structure:

Sunday is Russian lessons and Church in the evening. Monday is Russian homework and lessons and doing church bathroom remodeling. Tuesday mornings are KontaktMission Bible Study and meeting and in the evenings I teach a Bible Study in English for about 15 college students.

Wednesdays have Russian homework and lessons. Thursdays are for assorted communications and a relaxed setting bible study in the evening. Fridays are for helping students with homework and we have a highschool/university level youth group at the mission in the evening which the Germans and I led this week. Saturday holds special events and acts as a catch-all. And everything else is flexible.

This last weekend, I was able to visit a village about 350km outside of the city to attend a Pastoral Training Focused Class and Meeting for two days. We finished our first day at 1am and then went to our host house that reminded me of an ol’ Mennonite couple. They wanted to talk with us for a couple more hours and I enjoyed goofing around with their pigs. (yes, they had pigs! A couple hundred, I think) One of the pigs was definitely Russian because he was also talking without taking a breath and he was very loud! 🙂

After a short night in the cold, star covered village, we finished the Training Seminar (starting at 7am that day) and later went home. The trip was beautiful; filled with miles and miles of untouched land and rolling hills and fields. That evening, I finished preparing for me sermon at the mission the next day which I spent a lot of time on. It went well and I hope that God was able to use it to make a practical difference for some people. I was able to continue the conversation latarrr with some students.

I missed me last few Russian lessons because of time issues so please pray for me continued growth in the language. Also, we bought some bad mushrooms and I cooked with them twice this week. I noticed I wasn’t 100% this week, maybe runnin about 90%, but I’m pretty resilient. However, the second time did me in and I felt poorly off and on yesterday. Last night, I couldn’t sleep and just praying I could throw up, but alas I didn’t and got a bit ‘o’ sleep. Today, I feel better mostly but I know my stomach is week, so pray that I can get some rest and eat up all o’ them poisons! I was running outside the other day a bit longer than usual, and that didn’t help considering the mushrooms, so I know I’m fine, but I just need to recoup after a bad mixture of internal and external circumstances.  I hope you all are well and I hope to connect with some of you so I can put you in here as a “shoutout.”

Grace and Peace,       -Ryan

SHOUTOUT: This one goes to Whitney who has, fittingly, one of the funniest kids around…

…Let the boy sleep in the closet; he only has one life to live. And if he can’t even be free to sleep where he wants in his own room, what kind of man will he be? I’ll tell you, a boring one! Every grown man dreams of sleeping in the closet, but not every one gets to. Think about that for awhile. The Bieber addiction has to go though, it will stunt his psychological growth. I’m sure he would like Nirvana and Metallica just as much if he listened to it…


About thesiberianexpress

I am a Christian minister currently serving the people in Orenberg, Russia. This is a record of my encounters and thoughts while living cross-culturally.
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4 Responses to Q’s and A’s

  1. Mom and Dad says:

    Just checking in…you write so interestingly and so far over my head sometimes ( my problem, not yours 🙂 ) Hope to talk to you soon. Hope you feel better. I just got over something weird too. Love you aaaaarrrrr!

  2. brittany2e says:

    I’m certain your mom told you never to eat the mushrooms! feel better my brother. I enjoy reading your posts because they are so long and informative and long….just kidding, i really do like reading them. miss you

  3. Manthasam says:

    hey brudder. bruddarrr? sure. anywho, i miss you dearly and love to see that you’ve had the time to write quite a lengthy post. the entire first half about “why” means a lot to me right now, so thank you. “i hope you’re making friends.” haha, that’s what mom and dad forgot to add. dont forget big al’s birthday on the 27th. he’ll be 20!! i know him and his men are in your prayers. they should only be staying a month longer until the trainees back home get done with “hell week.” ok well if i keep going i’ll end up writing as much as you. let’s spare the people. i love you very much and i can’t wait to hear from you and hopefully SEE you!!

    Manthasam, the younger yet taller sister.


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