Monday, December 31, 2012

2012...Looking Back To The Way It Was

I honestly can't believe it's the last day of 2012. With this thought in mind, I'd like to take a few moments to reflect back on this year.
Looking back to January 2012....what happened...Well, probably one of my greatest discoveries was coming across my bible study that I currently go to called Platform. One of my friends out of the blue invited me one night, and it's just been so wonderful ever since. My bible study is part of this ministry called Steiger International ( which is a worldwide ministry that ministers to the secular global youth culture through many forms, wither it be music, art, dance etc....It was definitely a God coincidence to come across this bible study. God simply has a perfect timing for everything. Because of the discovery of this bible study, they have inspired me to go to Steiger International's Radical Missions School in Krogis, Germany this summer. Seriously one of the greatest unexpected blessings of my life so far.
Another amazing blessing this past 2012 was having the privledge of attending North Central for the spring semester. God grew me in so many ways, and the lifelong friends that I made, it's so priceless. Every genuine experience. Then in May 2012 I had yet another blessing of going on a month long missions trip to Macedonia. This experience radically shook my life up. Macedonia changed the course of everything. I'll never forget walking the streets of one of the poorest villages (Shutka) and God simply whispered ONE word to my whole being my eyes walked by this road of garbage....the mid day sun shining on my face....I knew this moment was coming, but I didn't expect it so soon. I could remember the tears that filled my Lietuve eyes and just stopped walking and stood frozen on this Macedonian road in shock that it took God bringing me ALL the way to southeastern Europe for me to listen to his voice...Lithuania had been His heart for me all along.....

I remember my flight from Macedonia to the United States was so dreadfully painful. I was crying my eyes out on my flight from Skopje to Vienna. Leaving Europe is like leaving my heart behind EVERY.SINGLE. TIME. I look forward to the day where I will buy a one way ticket to Europe and NEVER have to leave my heart behind again. Things were honestly rough my first couple weeks back in the U.S. It was my first summer living in the cities by myself and working. Definitely one of the hardest summers of my life, but God helped me get through it. Looking back, ever since I got back from Macedonia, I noticed that culturally I never really adjusted back. My heart was SO strong with simply living European culturally. Mid summer things were really at a standstill. God was either going to have to break through or else....I don't know what would have happened. It was honestly a miracle. I remember within 72 hours God blessed me with a place to live in the fall AND a full time job. I remember praying, "Jesus, if it's your will for this Lietuva 2013 fundraising year to be, you make it happen!" and HE.DID......

So August 2012 was when my Lithuanian fundraising year began (and my first date, but that's for another time, another blog, another story)  I was so stupidly naiive to think taking a year off to work was a FREAKIN.FREAKIN. hellishly LONG.TIME. One of the hardest things I had to do in August was leave North Central University.  My dear God, I'll never forget filling out that dark pink form in the Student Life office....kissing my worship arts major (at the time) goodbye. This was probably the greatest step of faith I EVER took. Trusting that God believe it or not had something even BETTER in mind for me. Worship leading means EVERYTHING to me. If I didn't have such a strong relationship with God I honestly would have not had the guts to do this. So for the past 5 months working full time has been a very interesting perspective of life. I still can't believe I'm alive, if it wasn't for my Jesus, I would have died in the middle of this fundraising a LONG time ago. God has taught me so much through this non-traditional year....

#1 Money will either be your God or Jesus will.
#2 The most important things in life are priceless
#3 Don't disown the dear souls in your life who live in America, and helped you get to where you are today.
# 4 Must pursue your passion even when your heart is "dried out" and the exciting feelings have left and you "feel" no inspiration.
#5 We can't define our God given passion by feelings, if we do, we're going to lose it QUICKLY.
#6 NEVER let your music passion be silenced. SCREAM.IT.LOUD.

2013 honestly, I can't even begin to IMAGINE what lies ahead. So many changes in my life are going to take place. Hopefully having the chance to go to a music missions school in Germany, than onto finishing my college education in Lithuania. This path of life I have chose will NOT be easy, it's honestly probably the HARDEST way to go about life...but seriously, who EVER said following Jesus was going to be a walk through the fluffy pink clouds?....excuse the following expression, but I'm HELLISHLY TERRIFIED at what lies ahead, but I chose to take my step of faith and trust God. I decided to FORGET what society thinks, and chose to follow my God given passion in 2012 and carry this on through 2013 and the years to come. It was the hardest decision of my life, but in the end I know it will be the MOST.WORTH.IT. I still can't believe I have the guts to actually do this year. Is this even real life? Am I seriously that freakin crazy?....Looks like I am.... I pray that wherever 2013 takes you, that you would have the boldness to always be true to yourself and your God given passions, visions, and dreams.

Until next year,
~Ruslana Evelyn.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Tragedy of the 100 Percents

This morning I was having a lovely conversation with my dear Ukrainian friend, and we were discussing how we feel about being literally "100%" of our nationality. For me, it's such a blessing. Since there are roughly only 3.4 million Lithuanians in the world, I feel so honored to be part of this Eastern euro craziness.
 As I got older, I started thinking  about the question that I'm sure most of us "100%'s" eventually face the reality of. Would we marry someone who isn't "100%" of our nationality?  Since we are very rare in today's society, would it be worth marrying "outside" our cultural boundaries?

How I would go about answering this struggle...that's not an easy question. I think it depends where you culturally stand. For me personally, living life thus far, American men honestly don't seem to understand culturally where I'm coming from. I can say I'm Lithuanian, make them some Lithuanian food, show them various traditions, music, movies and the overall essence of the culture, but at the end of the day, they don't seem to fully grasp the concept of how much my culture is engraved in my blood and what it means to me. This goes both ways, take for example, American men who like football. I can't stand football or sports in general (besides Euro futbol) so I won't fully culturally understand them, just like they don't fully culturally understand me, if that makes sense.  Also, I would prefer to marry someone who shares the same cultural background when it comes to historical events of the past. Most American men don't understand what its like to grow up with parents who went through communism.

If you want my honest view of young American men in general...they are very indirect. I'm not God, I really have no idea what you're thinking! I can make all these assumptions about you wither they be beautiful or ugly, but unless you communicate how you actually feel, I have NO FREAKIN IDEA. You are also quite shy. Don't be afraid of us Eastern Euro women, we are really not that scary. We might walk around with a haunting serious poetic death stare on our face...but behind our "death in our eyes" look lies a sweet smile of a young girl in a pink dress, skipping around in the daisies...well at least cough cough some of us....=P Obviously there are also those certain individual American men who are just a little too direct, you know...ask for your number in 10 seconds....but whatever...

As for European men, culturally I feel like we are alot closer. When we greet each other we're practically making out! Just kidding, more like a hug or a kiss on the cheek...(or if you're French...3 kisses on the cheek =P) I personally, like this cultural style. I laugh at these cultural differences, NONE of my American guy friends would be caught dead greeting me with a kiss on the cheek....its just not EVER going to happen. (If it does, it's probably cause you just read this blog post and were simply just curious lol) Also, when a  young European gentleman ( I say gentleman meaning a Euro man of high standards and good quality) says that he LOVES you, dang.....he's being seriously serious. They will make themselves VERY clear.

At the end of the day, we can endlessly laugh at the cute foolishness of young American and European men, but on a more serious note, I honestly wonder how the world will look nationality wise 100 years from now. The following thought I'm about to describe is a perspective of life that came across my mind while I was ridding a bus through the mountains of Montenegro (strange place for such thoughts, lol right?)  There seems to be a trend in which people are marrying outside their cultural boundaries. If this trend continues, and I assume it obviously will, we could one day live in a world where there literally are no "100%'s" left. I feel like God could use this to show the world that He truly does exist, and that we are all connected somehow. We as creation started out as "100%'s" but then in the end we will be so mixed with all of each others blood, every country in one person....

Monday, December 3, 2012

If Communism Never Happened

Lately so many things have been on my mind. As this Lietuva Passion 2013 year continues, slowly, but steadily moving forward, I have lots of questions about life that I pray one day there will be an answer too. If not in this beautiful life, then one soon day in heaven with my dearest Jesus.

One question that haunts my soul to no other is what my life would have been like if I would have grown up in Lithuania and if my parents never came to America due to Russian communism. That thought just kills me....

 The.Lithuanian.Lithuanian.Me. I think about it, and I know that I would have not had a relationship with Jesus. I would have this view of God like the majority of the world has, some historical figure, who is irrelevant in today's society.  I also would be speaking Lithuanian and Russian, and learning to speak English. The passion for Christian music would have not even existed. I would have been like, "So, what exactly is Christian music?" I probably would have discovered some other genre of music. I don't think I would have been outgoing, since the seriousness of a European lifestyle would have got in the way. I might have had a little artistic side, but I don't think I'd be bold enough to dress colorful like I do here in America. I wouldn't have had such a passion to love my dear brothers, sisters, and friends. I probably would be loving, but not to the extend as I do now with loving Jesus. The nightmare in the back of my mind, which would have been reality, I wouldn't have met YOU, yes you my dearest brother or sister, and I can't even begin to imagine my life without having met such a beautiful soul as yourself. It's always been a struggle wondering what the "Lost 20 Lietuva Years" could have been like.

I'm so thankful to have grown up here for a while, this is where I accepted Jesus as my savior. My passions for European/Russian music missions and my dearest brothers, sisters, and friends, dressing very colorfully, being artistic, and having quite the outgoing American influenced personality....It's been such a blessing. Everyday, God reveals more and more to me, why He desired for me to grow up in America for part of my life. So it is slowly starting to make sense...kind of. I question why He chose me out of all my Lithuanian relatives. Like honestly, this whole life I have now, came SO CLOSE to not even being, dearest friend, you'll never even begin to know....

So if you ever wonder why I'm so passionate for reaching my dearest European/Russian generation for Christ, it's BECAUSE, I could have been one of them!  I know there is at least a handful if not more dear souls in my generation who have this situation in which there parents fled from their home country, and started a new life in America, but had to leave their relatives behind. I honestly think that it's a unique situation to have grown up in, but most of society really doesn't understand what it means to be in these circumstances.
 I feel in my heart its at least part of my responsibility to tell my dearest brothers and sisters about Jesus love for them and what He did on the Cross, so they can become all that God has called them to be and fufill their passions, visions and dreams that God has placed on their heart. It agonizes my heart to see my European/Russian generation searching for truth, for a hope in their heart, for purpose, for meaning as to what this beautiful life is all about. I can't just sit and not share what Jesus has put on my heart....

So as these last 6 1/2 months of my life in America come to a close, I am SO FREAKIN EXCITED to begin this new Lithuanian chapter of my life, it's seriously LONG overdue, like I left my heart in Macedonia, and I physically came back to the U.S., but I need to find my heart once again, cause it's somewhere lost in will be sad to leave my American life behind, but I can't be in two worlds at once unfortunately.

It will always be this beautiful war of two worlds, that somehow I'll just have to learn to embrace....

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Forgetting You

There came a time,
where I simply had to draw that line,
once and for all,
I loved you,
but in my heart,
I have disowned this country,
and with this,
I chose to leave the last 2 decades of my life in America,
completely behind,
it was so hard,
ever so painful,
but it had to be done,
It's time to forget the old,
 what was in the past,
step on that plane,
as I sweetly toss you red rose petals,
and disappear off into the golden sunset,
so you can have a bittersweet memory of my tears for you,
A new beginning awaits,
a fresh start,
without you,
but forever in my heart,
like the eyes of a blonde hair blue eyed boy,
I once remembered...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Embracing "Poorness"

Ever since I started this financial raising year for my Lietuva 2013 passion, in my heart I feel like God has taught me so many beautiful expressions of life I would have probably not learned if I wouldn't have gone through this non-traditional year. Growing up, I seriously thought that when it came to life after high school, I would simply go through 4 years of college, double major, and travel the world after that. We my friends, serve a God who has this way of taking what we thought we were going to do, and loves turning our plans upside down, even the opposite direction, and blessing our lives in ways we never imagined.

I honestly never thought I would be that young Lithuanian lady who would take a year off from college to raise funds for a passion God placed in my heart. Not in a million years. I only do this year because I'm completely trusting the vision/dream God inspired me with this past summer. Even if people might judge me, or look at me like I'm completely crazy, I've come to peace and the realization of what it means to REALLY embrace YOUR OWN God given calling in life, and not compare myself to others and their God given callings. and honestly, that  IS really hard for me to do most days.

This year has taught me what it means to "Embrace Poorness". Obviously I will never even begin to taste the essence of what being poor means compared to other parts of the world. By poorness, I mean literally starting from nothing, and making something. This is my first year living in an apartment and setting money aside for basic essentials. It's been a very interesting learning how to balance paying bills and raising money for Lithuania. I really feel like my financial eyes have been opened this year. I'm honestly glad I realized this when I was 19 rather than 10 years from now. I've also realized, very soon in my life, transitioning into full time music missions, It's not the highest paying job for sure. I'm completely at peace with that. I just think that if I don't follow this music missions passion on my heart for Lietuva, Eastern Europe and Russia, who's going to do it? Honestly I look at society, and I feel like most people would not be willing to give up their lives to love people throughout the world doing radical music missions. This might sound harsh, but in some aspects it's reality. I also understand that people obviously can have different callings in life other than music missions which is great as well! I want to make a living and be able to pay for the basic essentials, and support those around me when I can, but other than that, I don't want money to be my main motivation in life. I've been blessed to travel to 14 European countries over my life time, and I've gotten to witness first hand how my dear brothers and sisters around the world live.

Reality is, we can live off of so little...let me repeat this....Reality is...we can live off of so little....

So this year, especially after getting back from Macedonia this past May, I've tried my best to live off as little as I can to support my dearest European/Russian brothers and sisters. It's not easy, and it's definitely more of a heart thing for me as well.

At the end of the day.....

If I only get the chance to live this beautiful life once, I want to be caught dead singing about Jesus love to my European/Russian generation.   <3 <3 <3

P.S. ...............................and especially for all you lovely young men out there who don't respect this, and think I'm some cute young Lithuanian skipping around in the pink wildflowers, you honestly really don't know who I am, and I  am NEVER going to change myself for you, so you can take your acoustic guitar, and just walk out  my door....seriously.....