We enjoyed a couple of important meetings on Friday. The first was a chicken and mashed potatoes lunch with an update from AB. We postponed the afternoon tour of Astana for a short retreat to the King Hotel to repair some jet-lag. And we met later with B., the local director of the organization.
AB picked us up again at 6pm to drive along Astana's unlined roads to B's house. En-route we met a a young, on-fire Occupational Therapist from Amsterdam who is considering a move from the outreaches of Kazakhstan to join the good work of Green Pastures. When asked, this guy (sorry, my jet-lagged brain is losing names) expressed displeasure with some compromises of the "church" in his home country of the Netherlands. This guy seemed to be the real deal, though, giving it all up to serve God and others in a very foreign country.
AB dropped us at the newer home of B. and A. and their 4 children. B. is the director here. We got acquainted over snacks of nuts and dried fruit before we hustled off to a Kazakhstan Philharmonic Orchestra performance. We found some cool pyramid-shaped building called something like The Center for Peace and Understanding.
The performers, outfitted in classy, fur-lined native dress, performed on dombras and an entire string section. As they played, I thought that the music would provide a fantastic soundtrack for a movie. It really was very professionally done and, surprisingly, pleasing to the ear.
We stepped out of the concert early and headed back for a great meal prepared for us at B.'s. I tried to sit on the floor cushions surrounding a short dinner table. I found that I can still cross my legs! However, by dessert time my right leg was asleep. And by the time I stood up to leave, you couldn't convince me I had a right foot. It took me three tries to slip on my right shoe.
By the way, what's with the painful tingling when a limb "wakes up"? Why can't it just wake up in a painless way instead of shouting, "Hey, dummy, NEVER do that to me again!?"
I don't think my grimaced smile convinced our hosts that I really did have a good time.