I am SOOOOO sorry that I have not sent this sooner – this is the first access we have had to the internet. I think the young woman whose computer I am using for this report understands that I need to send a report twice a week and that that will be possible.
The team arrived here with our Russian counterparts on Monday, July 11 around 8 pm after a 45+ hour train ride. The train ride was a highlight for all of us – watching the Russian countryside out the windows. Many team members took advantage of the time and got some of the Russian team members to help them learn some Russian phrases – others just rested (except for devotions, library time, meals and such, of course). As fun as the trip was, it was long and we were glad to get to our destination.
That night, we came to the team location at the Bible League building by bus, had a light snack they had prepared, got duffels divided up to owners, and got sleeping arrangements assigned. I think we were bedded down by 11 – 11:30 pm.
The first day here was a get acquainted day – and a day to attempt to work some things out – such as cooking for the kids. The kitchen is nice, but too small for two teams to prepare meals separately, so Rachel and I are doing the cooking for both teams. We have kp from both teams to help us and it seems to be working pretty well. We are doing out utmost to accomodate the Russian palate by including bread at every meal, and tea as well. Thus far, American and Russian team members seem satisfied with the food.
Weather along the way was rainy at first, but then cleared as we journeyed east, and since arriving in Irkutsk, weather has been hot and sunny in the day and cool at night – but not too cool.
Outstanding experiences: both the train ride here as well as now working together with the Russian team in work, sports, and evangelism. Both teams have been divided into three groups, and one group does one of the three each day and rotates. Oh, yeah, the banya here is REALLY nice and the kids are really happy about that.