‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This Is What I Breathe In Every Day

This is typical Kemerovo --this particular tract of factories is directly behind the building across the street. I can see those chimneys from my kitchen window. Nastia and I have constant runny noses and burning eyes. I cough up mucus at least once a day, and rinse off black junk from my face every morning and evening.

The lung cancer rate here is astronomical, but no one equates it with this pollution. Heads in the sand. I can smell the horrific stench emanating from the rubber factories every night.  (Well, someone told me that is what I am smelling.) And I have had to close the window more than once to keep from gagging.

I will never take clean air for granted again. God knows how much we are shortening our lives by breathing this in every day. I hope my otherwise healthy lungs will hold out till December 1st!


  1. Ugh. That is just adding insult to injury. (Or would that be injury to insult?)

    The picture you have been painting of this region is so depressing. Not despairing, but really makes me wonder how I would fare if I lived there, with no hope of leaving, and never having known anything else.

    For example, you mentioned you hated the indoor smoking--so, if people are smoking indoors, and then this is what they are breathing out of doors. . . what are the lung issues like for the population? And the affects on the babies?

    I was thinking too that much of Siberia may have been populated by the Russians who sent convicts and other unwanted peoples out there--is my limited understanding right? If so, then you have an area of the country largely made up of (originally) displaced people, people from the low end of society, people without much education or chance for betterment. Take them away from their families, stick them into a new place, leave them there without hope of prosperity for a few generations. . . no wonder drinking may be a huge past-time, for the escape it affords. But then you have to add in the Fetal-Alcohol-Spectrum-Disorder that ends up spreading throughout the culture, which leads to more violence, more promiscuity, probably more drinking--and the cycle goes on.

    No wonder you have been yelled at so much. Is this a culture--for all its beauty and strength of heritage--that has much to be happy about?

    Well, no more so than any people group, if we believe that the redeeming power of the Holy Spirit can work in any people, in any time. If people can worship and praise God in the middle of the Holocaust, then anyone can. God can raise up the human spirit, and will, when He is asked by someone who trusts He can and will.

    I realize a lot of what I say in my comments to you, Keri, make me sound very two-dimensional--like I am just parrotting religious platitudes, or that I am a thoughtless zealot. I can't help it--God is so clearly at work in your life right now, He is the only one who can help you all, and He is the only source for true contentment and peace. I believe you believe all this too, which is why I am letting my God-talk run so freely. I hope hearing the prayers of your readers is encouraging.



  2. Keri, my heart is heavy for you. I read you r more curent posts and Ithought I would comment here instead. When you mentioned the whole hanging situation it made me think of one of my daughter's mothers. Can Anya move to a different country like Ukraine or Bulgaria where visiting her would be so much easier without the need for visas? Ukraine I found to be much more friendly and a better environment altogether. Can you ever imagine yourself living in Ukraine as a family of three? Just a thought. Blessings.


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