What a day to be in Karaganda!

What an interesting day I had today! I had to go to the immigration police office to get my visa renewed. It’s great that the Baptist Union has a great relationship with several of the workers there, and so I didn’t have to wait in a long line once I found out where I needed to go.

Nurlan works in the office and he took my paperwork. He noticed that my visa was expired, so I had to explain why. He went to see his supervisor and soon returned and told me that I would need to go to the bank and pay the fee for the visa and to get a passport photo.

I returned to the center and went to the bank to pay the fee. Most money transactions are handled through the bank or the post office. It makes it convenient to be able to pay all your bills in one spot! I paid the fee and got my passport photo made.

I came home and ate soup for lunch. While I was at home my door bell rang and there were two young children at my door. I asked them what they wanted and they told me they were looking for food. I got some food out of my refrigerator, but I didn’t have much since I am planning to leave for Almaty on Sunday and hadn’t bought much food. I told them that I had to go to a meeting but if they would come back at 5 p.m. I would help them some more.

I returned to the office and Nurlan’s supervisor did the paperwork for my visa and now I am legal for the next year and I couldn’t be happier! I was ready to celebrate!

I rode the bus back to the center where I live and at 5 p.m. the two kids showed up. While I was getting ready, his sister disappeared. I took Zhenya to the corner market in my building and bought all kinds of food stuff needed at home. Zhenya is a young man who is around 9 or 10.

We walked back to my house since I wanted to give him some tea that I had in the cupboard and I dug out some other stuff to give him. I started walking with him and he said that he would take the food home.

They had told me earlier that their parents had left them with one of their grandmothers. They have a younger brother who is 3 years old. I walked with him to the bus stop, but due to the military practicing for Victory Day celebrations, buses weren’t running. So, he decided to walk home with the stuff but as we parted I couldn’t help that he was going to have a little difficulty getting the stuff home.

He told me he would come back to see me on Friday. I hope he does. I wouldn’t mind meeting his grandmother to see how she is doing. I walked home and heard the military band so I decided to get my camera and walk through the center on my way to the gym.

I walked to the place where they were practicing, and I started taking pictures. It was very interesting to see them practice. This is the 60th anniversary of Victory Day and celebrations will be all over the country.

I was taking pictures and noticed that one of the TV stations was filming me. I looked at him and the journalist walked over to me and asked if she could interview me. I asked her why, and she said, of all the people there watching the practice, I was the only one taking pictures.

I was a little nervous, but finally agreed once she told me it would be quick. She asked me about Victory Day in America and whether or not we had a big celebration in the US. I told her that we usually only celebrate it on big anniversaries, but since the war was fought on the land here, it was more meaningful here.

It has always been a bigger celebration in the former Soviet republics. They celebrate it every year. However, I am interested in stories from the war since my dad served during WWII. It was an interesting interview. She asked me why I was here in Karaganda and so I was able to share a little of my testimony of being here, but I’m sure that part will be edited and not shown.

As I walked to the gym, I saw the men playing chess in the courtyards like I wrote about earlier. Since I had my camera I took some pictures and hope to post them soon. It was incredibly warm today, in the 80’s. As I write this I am in awe of how God used this day to bless me in many ways, from the visa issue, to the kids coming to my apartment, the parade practice, the men playing chess and then playing basketball with some great guys! God is awesome and I am blessed to be in Kazakhstan!