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This is a recent newsletter sent from the Siegel's in Russia.

Summer 1999

Dear Friends,

It's once again time to catch you up a bit on our lives here in Russia. We've had an unseasonably hot summer but haven't complained too much because we know the dark days of winter will approach soon enough. And, we've had plenty to keep us busy.

We've once again taken up the role of hospitality, which we thoroughly enjoy. Having people for meals and staying in the apartment gives us a chance to make new friends as well as catch up with the old ones. We're also serving on the Field Training Program staff this summer which means we've been helping orient and train the new translation teams who have arrived in St. Pete. Thus far, it's been a very enjoyable and culturally-rich experience. The group is made up of 2 Australians, 2 Koreans, 1 Finn, 1 'former' East German, 1 West German, 2 Dutch, 2 Canadians, and 2 Americans.

Our other duties lie with the International Christian School. Most of the staff and board members vacation and furlough in the summer, so John's been picking up the mail and corresponding with teachers via letters and e-mail. It's been a perfect job for me since I can do it from home. We are still lacking a kindergarten-first grade teacher for Jake's class next year; so, please join us in praying that someone will be found to meet that need.

And, nestled in-between the other responsibilities, we're sneaking in some Russian language classes a couple afternoons a week. John's working mainly on grammar and Bible vocabulary; I'm working on expanding my comfort zone conversationally. Jake and Kurt have learned a few words and phrases. Jake has to work hard at rolling his "r's" while Kurt's lack of the "th" sound in English serves him well since Russian doesn't have that sound.

Thanks for the care packages which have begun to arrive. Our friend, Volya, is still working at the Post Office and was excited to see us again. We'll look forward to visiting her. Here's a "wish list" update for those of you who like to keep us stocked: CANCELLATIONS: 1) The Glad Man has arrived at a store nearby, so we can get wraps and ziplock bags; 2) Jake's night-time bladder control has improved, decreasing our need for pull-ups. ADDITIONS: 1) Every summer, each region loses its hot water for 3 weeks. We found ourselves lacking an abundance of washcloths during that time, so they would be good gifts; 2) More pant hangers and thing metal hangers would also come in handy; they mostly have the thick plastic ones here-- expensive and take up lots of closet space; 3) Our supply of favorite deodorants is dwindling: Arrid Extra Dry Cream and Right Guard Sport Gel; and 4) Peanut Butter is still eluding us-- no new shipments came this summer.

Hope your summer has been as enjoyable as ours. We love and appreciate you all!

In His Service,
Debbie for all the Siegels.