Oct 26, 2007

Pastor Roman and Elena Uglev

I am tired and exhausted. It's been a great few days with Pastor Roman and his wife Elena from Russia.

They are such a breath of fresh air. I always enjoy traveling and being with people from other countries because they provide such a different lens through which to look at life.

I am reminded again how blessed we are in the United States. Pastor Roman and Elena would be considered one of the fortunate and wealthy ones in Russia. They own their own home. They've traveled to Germany and France, and now to the United States. They own their own car. They are both well educated. And yet, our standard of living compared to the Russians is night and day.

We are so incredibly blessed.

I've been taking them shopping to get gifts and items for their friends and family back home. What is amazing is that the prices in Russia are not that much different than they are here. Everything here costs as much as they do back in Russia. And to top it off, their cars cost more. Their homes cost more. Their computer and electronics cost more. However, their salaries are a tenth of what an American earns at even $36,000 year.

I just don't understand how they are able to do it.

When I asked how they manage, their answer again reminded me how we take so much for granted.

They are amazed at how much we eat out. They are amazed that how much we pay for things like sodas and drinks and Starbucks. They told me that they eat out maybe once or twice a year for special occasions. The rest of the time they eat at home and they celebrate at home. They make do because they don't spend money on things like a Caramel Machiato or a Hazelnut Latte.

If you manage to drink just two of these drinks a week, that's close to $500 a year just on two drinks a week at Starbucks. That's more than what a typical Russian worker makes in one month.

We take so much for granted.

It is only right we remember how blessed we are. And secondly, it is only right that we become better stewards and managers of God's finances. All this material and financial inequality that have cannot be for only our consumption. We must get smarter and better at reinvesting it back to God's people.

That's enough for today. It's late and we have another big day tomorrow.

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