Monday, July 6, 2009

Return to Russia- part 2: St. Petersburg

IMG_4336The retracing of my steps continued up north to St. Pete- where I got to enjoy 3 evenings of 11:30 pm sunsets! Talk about spectacular!!  I spent the month of August in ‘03 living in St. Pete with my team from SPU and serving with the ministry Sunergos- which had then just been started by a young SPU grad, Tanya.  During our time with Tanya we served in 2 orphanages and studied the culture and history in which we were living.  Tanya and I have kept in touch since that time, so it was a privilege to get to return to St. Pete and see her still working in the same awesome ministry to orphans and now happily married and the mama to a beautiful baby girl!

IMG_4244Tanya and her husband Misha facilitate a variety of different ministries with orphanages and transitional centers in St. Pete and host summer ministry teams wanting to serve orphans, widows and the poor.  It felt very ‘full circle’ being back in the very same apartment where my team stayed 6 years ago, this timeIMG_4381 sitting around the table with Tanya’s family and speaking about our ministries and goals—in Russian no less!  Something I never anticipated for my future when I was there that first time!   Funny what time will do.

IMG_4311Since I’d seen pretty much all the major sites of Petersburg before, there wasn’t as great a need to be a “tourist” on this trip- but Tanya and I did have the opportunity to stroll the beautiful streets and canals as we caught up on one another’s lives. And a beautiful city it is! St. Pete is known as being the “Venice of the North” with the way it was designed around a canal system. Though I can’t say it compares to Venice on many other levels- it does have it’s own unique Russian charm!  IMG_4303We also did the brief blitz through the Hermitage and just so happened to be there on the first Thursday of the month—which is free- go figure! It makes you feel better about quickly running through a museum when you know you didn’t pay anything to be there!

IMG_4283Like I mentioned in my post about Moscow- it was really just a gift to be back in the places where God first placed on my heart a burden for the fatherless.  I don’t think we always take the time to really sit down and reflect on the roads which we have traveled between different seasons of our lives- but suddenly when we are given the opportunity to retrace our steps and see things in a new light, we’re given new perspective and also just an appreciation for the past. 

Perhaps I can go back in another 6 years!  :)IMG_4440

St. Isaac's Cathedral


Church of our Savior on the Spilled Blood


Heidi and Felix said...

Part Two! We got a part two??!! NICE! Can't wait to see more pics and hear more stories. I'm glad that you are there for the fatherless, in both countries! Keep up God's good work! See you soon.


Natasha said...

Absolutely amazing - I'd love to go there some day (maybe you could be our tour guide in 6 years! :) )
Can you even believe that you're speaking another language so well and it hasn't been very long at all?
I really need to call you soon. We've been pretty busy but things are going well. :)

Stephanie said...

Beautiful sights, Karen! Any chance you'll be coming through Atlanta any time soon? Love you friend! Thanks for continuing to share your stories!

Amy said...

Ooh, small world, I didn't know you knew Tatiana too? I mean, it makes sense... just never occurred to me :) Great pics!

Montgomery said...

Hey karen, thanks for your post from June. I just uploaded the Cardens adoption story on my blog for June (maybe still in July). thought you would enjoy it. What a journey of the heart adoption is! Thanks for all your love for the orphan!

Elizabeth Joy said...

This is fairly random but I found your blog from a link on a friend's page and I like to read it when I have a chance. I worked in an orphanage the summer of '07 with a group from SPU and have had my heartbroken for those children ever since. I am currently living in St. Pete and teaching English at a local university. I would LOVE to hear more about the ministry you've done with orphans in St. Petersburg and any contacts you might have. Thank you!!