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The Balloonatic in Russia - I've Arrived

Tim Thurmond

Hi Folks!

This is your friendly balloon guy Tim. It is official. I am in Russia where the weather is beautiful and so are the people. I arrived at my destination at midnight on Wednesday so the whole time of travel was about twenty hours. Not bad considering I am nearly on the other side of the world. So, as promised, here is an up to date day by day of what has been going on.

Thursday 12:30 am I arrived in Tyumen. Just getting to the airport (which is very small) brought back many good memories. I did not sleep the whole flight. I just kept thinking about how strange it was to know you were going someplace that no other Americans would be. I have a new respect for full time missionaries. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion when in the Moscow airport. I saw all the people interacting, and it seemed they were busy, yet looking for something--and I don’t mean the next flight. I did not get too much time to watch because I was late for my connecting flight. Fortunately, they held the plane for me, otherwise I would have missed it entirely.

When I got to Tyumen I saw my old interpreter Alexy. It was good to see a friendly face after so many years. I then went to the place I will be staying for the next six weeks with the three girls I stayed with last time. When I got there at about 1 in the morning they were wide-awake ready to greet me. It felt like I had never left. Things seem good. I was worried because I had not written to them in the longest time. I went to bed about an hour after getting there and, may I say sleep has never felt so good.

Thursday I woke up at 11 am and I am tired but I am glad to be here. Today is the first day of a national holiday--something like American Labor Day. I spent some time in the park near the apartment where I am staying and I saw a welcome sight. I saw some local balloon twisters. The reason this is noteworthy is that last time I was here I taught them how to make a teddy bear. I always wondered if they ever used it. Well, I saw one of the teddy bears floating around and it was most definitely the style that I taught them last time. That just started a great day.

About 4 p.m. I met 3 of my 5 interpreters. They will work 8 days each. I was quite anxious to see what type of students they found to interpret for me. After talking with them and playing a little Ping-Pong, I am confident that at least these three will work quiet well. After the introduction, I walked and talked with them for a couple of hours. I think this will work real well. One of them is already asking questions about religion.

Thursday night I went to bed around 8 p.m. and slept the whole night through. I am tired.

Friday I woke up at about 8 a.m. I feel good. The smile still has not gone away. Life looks and feels good. It helps to know people are back home praying for me.

Friday I spent most of the day walking and talking with my new interpreters--Still just the three. They showed me all over town. I saw many buildings that brought back memories and some old buildings that have been redesigned.

I went back to the apartment. I stayed up for a little bit then fell into a deep, deep sleep. I hope jet lag ends soon.

Saturday morning I woke up refreshed and ready to go--and a good thing. I was expecting my interpreter over in an hour and, as I was getting ready to do some work with her to help me work out my language problems, I got a call. It was Alexy. He had arranged a performance for me in a couple of hours at a orphanage and—oh, by the way some important people that I had to impress would be there. So I worked with the interpreter Anna and, after a couple hours, we seemed to be ready. We went at it. It was interesting. Up to the half way part of the program, I had no idea if they would allow me to speak about Christ. I was praying they would, but their government has made some pretty strong rules that it is not suppose to happen. Even so, they allowed it so I was able to share my faith. That was good. I guess they were impressed because, among other things, one group has now booked me and this group will have about a thousand kids. I am excited.

Sunday I went to the girls’ church. Once I was there, I was asked to do something for the kids. It went well and I had fun. I also was invited to participate in a Russian wedding. I think that will be interesting. It happens next Saturday so I will let you all know how it goes.

Besides working with the kids, they asked me to talk with the teens about how to work with kids at the camp. I did, and that was great--until after when they asked me to stay for a time of fellowship with cake and tea. I thought it was going to be a gentle question and answer time, but after ten minuets or so the question came up about Iraq and how I feel America acted. I have been asked this, and many other questions like it since arriving because I am really the first American that they feel they could ask. I feel I answered the questions o.k., but it is hard to answer their questions--but they really wanted an answer.

I want to thank all of you for your prayers and for the strength I am getting from you. Please write. If you want send a letter that says “encouragement”, I will wait to open it until I need it. My praises are many. The Lord has given me good health and traveling safety. I have good interpreters, and no one seems to be looking for a American target. That is all good. Also, my jet lag is almost gone thanks to melatonin.

Prayers: The wisdom to answer the hard questions--both political when appropriate, and spiritual always. The ability to roll with the punches. Things change all the time and that make being a planner hard.

Well, that’s it for now. I hope to write again with some pictures in a couple of days.

Bye from Russia,

Tim Thurmond


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