The gray stone, rectangular building off the city square contains the U.S. Consular Office of an East European country. Two secretaries in their thirties rush to finish their afternoon paperwork at adjoining desks. Cyndi's space lies adjacent to the plain frame window which simply overlooks the outside masonry wall of the adjoining government building. The room appears quite sparse without much décor other than a few official portraits arranged on the walls to add a touch of officialdom.
For quiet, a full patterned braided rug covers the floor, and a few official gray filing cabinets stand in opposite corners. Tanya's desk supports a leafy fern offering friendly atmosphere. Office paraphernalia, pen and pencil holders, in-out boxes, books, and manila folder sectional holders line both wooden desks. Off one side of the room descends the polished banister leading down the stairs.
“Have you considered attending the consulars reception for the new Russian envoy at five?” asks Cyndi, the brunette with the American short cut, a rather new member of the staff.
“Da,” answers the other secretary, Tanya, a Russian with more traditional braided gold hair. “But these official parties prove so empty. I should fit right in. I heard Mr. Zakovski invite you.” Tanya, trained at the St. Petersburg Polytechnic Institute, speaks English with educated flair. Cyndi understands basic Russian, but does not consider herself otherwise fluent.
“I'm a Christian. Like you, I don't appreciate those official office parties,” said Cyndi. “I don't drink, actually, and I hate the plastic facades. Why don't you want to attend?”
“You usually express yourself so happy!” said Tanya. “I'm surprised you don't want to participate. I confess I don't always understand your American ways. Please pardon my embarrassement.”
“Keeping my reserve saves me a whole lot of trouble by not catering to the party drinking syndrome,” answers Cyndi.
“Ya znayu chto vy znachite.” (I know what you mean.) says Tanya. “Mr. Zakovski usually pushes me slishkom mnogo (too many) drinks, and then he or someone confronts me too possessively. Why are you a Christian? People here rarely go to church, at least not in the city.”
“Let me ask you a few questions,” says Cyndi. “Do you consider yourself a good person?”
“Da, I hope so,” answers Tanya.
“Do you feel you live the ten commandments?” asks Cyndi.
“I know God gave Moses the ten commandments, but I could not begin to list them. I never attend church, other than my friends' weddings, or maybe a few baptisms,” said Tanya.
Cyndi specifically reviews the ten commandments with her.
Tonya listens to every word with amazing attention.
“Jesus chose to die for us on the cross,” explains Cyndi, “because God wanted to ransom all our sins and give us eternal life. Nothing we do wins real life.
“ 'I am the way, the truth, and the life,' said Jesus. We only have to accept him and repent for our sins.”
“ 'Ya i-est' vash put' tuda. Ya—istina. Ya—zhizn',” repeats Tanya slowly (I am the way, the truth, and the life.) “What will this mean?”
“For the rest of your life, you will be a follower of Jesus Christ. He will always walk with you and help you spiritually. You will live for God in body, mind, heart, and strength.
“He will fill you with God's Holy Spirit to empower you. That's why I smile! Would you like to pray for a moment right now, to surrender your life to Jesus, and to repent of your sins?”
Tanya yields and prays heartfully with Cyndi's help.
“Now you can live life as a follower of Jesus. He will fill your heart with love. Believe in him and call upon him for your needs,” said Cyndi.
“What about this party? Pora idti. (It's time to go.) The glasses will be filled with vodka!”
“Ya pomogayu vam.” (I will help you.) said Cyndi. “Did you ever hear of living water?”
“Net vodka, a vody!” (Not vodka, but some water!)
Both girls laugh and start down the stairs arm in arm, together.
“And what about Mr. Zakovski?” asks Tanya.
“I will help you with him, too.” said Cyndi. “Just say, No, thank you.”
“Nyet, spasibo!” laughs Tanya.
“Just tell him, God has invited us to another party!”
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