Our First Christmas in Russia

Ann ? January 2006


?America celebrates Christmas on December 25th and because of the Roman calendar, the Orthodox celebrate Christmas on January 7th.  The Fuqua?s began our celebration of Christmas this year on December 29th.  That was the date that our sons, Aaron and Ben, arrived in Moscow to spend 2 weeks with us in Russia.  What a gift from God - to celebrate the birth of His Son with our sons. 


Even though we have only been separated for 6 months it has been a

l-o-n-g six months and we are so grateful for the Lord?s provision to get them here.  They came bearing goodies from friends and family.  Some of those luxuries that are fun to have every once in awhile like zip-lock baggies, magazines you can actually read and understand,  Christmas CD?s, even one that was made by a friend of ours personally, Karo syrup (for a real pecan pie), certain spices that I can?t get here, and of course Starbucks' Coffee beans (as cold as it's been, we went through them pretty quickly).  I now have enough Cumin to last a lifetime!  I am thinking that I could set up my own little kiosk and sell with the other little babushkas at the market and make some extra spending money!


Also included were many Christmas cards that people had sent to our Garland address.  I have always loved getting Christmas cards but this year was especially wonderful.  You don?t realize how you miss the little things until you don?t have them any more.


The other day a package from the ladies in my office arrived.  It came after Christmas but it didn?t matter.  What a treat to have worship music, spiced tea bags, hot chocolate, colored socks and hand cream all lovingly chosen and a card with photo signed by all.  Simple but profound ways to say, ?I love you.?


Ann with her sons in Moscow Ann with her sons in Moscow

But I must say the best gift I received this year were our 2 guys being here.  There is always laughter whenever those 2 are around and especially when they are in the same place at the same time!  We spent a day in Moscow and stayed at the famous Roccia Hotel for the last time.  This use to be the world?s largest hotel and it sits right on the edge of Red Square.  Over the past 10 years we have brought many teams here while on our way coming or going to visit an orphanage.  As of December 31, 2005 the Roccia closed.  They are going to tear it down to build a newer, better hotel.  It was very nostalgic to be there one last time.


Ben lived in Moscow the year after high school (2001) so he took us back to his Metro stop and we walked, or really slipped (lots of snow and ice) to his old apartment.  He walked ahead and reminisced in his mind and heart of all that God did in his life during that time and it was a very emotional time for all of us.  Unfortunately none of his former roommates were home (they were all in the States visiting) but a friend was staying there so he got to visit with him for a short while.


Aaron and Ben were quite surprised that the main place their parents wanted to eat while in Moscow was McDonalds!  It?s usually the other way around isn?t it?  But you can?t get a real hamburger in Krasnodar and so McDonald?s is a real treat.  Robert even buys fried pies to bring back to the students at school and he is the class favorite for the day.


Our time in Krasnodar with the boys was mainly just hanging out at our apartment, playing cards, watching lots of movies, talking, laughing and lots of eating.  I did lots of cooking and I loved having the guys be so appreciative of a home-cooked meal.  (It takes me moving thousands of miles away to get them to appreciate my cooking!)  I am surrounded by a lot of creative cooks in my friends here and so I am picking up the habit and find I really love making soup from scratch and homemade pies.  (Yes, even the crust.) and all sorts of other neat things, some Russian, some American. 


Rather than inundate you with words I thought I would share some photo highlights of our holidays.  Again we are so grateful to God and our supporters for the provision of being in this country and the privilege of going to language school.  The extra bonus of having our sons here has helped us both to start the New Year fresh, rested and eager to learn.  Thank you so much!


May God?s richest blessings be on each of you as you enter 2006.  May you seek Him with all your heart.  Our prayer for you comes from Ephesians 1:17-18 ?I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.  I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints..?


Please write us an email when you can.  Just one or two lines are such a blessing.  And let us know how we can pray for you.  Remember:  we are in this together!