Dzve Zhen’shini Choo’dnee*

Laura cropped.jpg

This is my friend Laura. Laura is called by many names, by many people. Her real name is Larisa, but she goes by Laura, Lara, Lottie, Lola, Lolly, Bunnygirl and Laura the Russian Princess. Mostly I just call her my friend. She is a pastry chef trying to start her own business making wedding cakes and desserts for events. She is also one of the sweetest people I will ever know. If you need something, and it is in her power to help you, she will. Now she is in need of help, and it is my turn to do what I can for her. In the last two months her family has been hit with one blow after another, and it is really hard to sit by and watch it happen.
Laura turned 25 on July 29th. That weekend her parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. Her mother is a homemaker, who works part time in a quilt shop (but mostly that money gets used to pay for her quilting habit). All of Laura’s friends adore her mom. Her dad was a retired pastor at a Russian church, and a freelance architect.
On July 30th, her father died suddenly of a massive heart attack. He was the breadwinner in the family; his death left Laura and her mom in a very precarious financial situation. The family has lived modestly for as long as I have known them. I obviously am not privy to the details, but I know it was looking for a while like they might lose their house.
Our church (the one Laura and I attend, where she works part time) coordinated people to bring dinners to them for two weeks after her father’s death, which Laura said helped them out immensely. Once the two weeks were up, they weren’t doing too badly, but I know it has been a struggle for them.
If that wasn’t enough, on Saturday she had stomach pains so bad her mom took her to the emergency room, where she was diagnosed with appendicitis and rushed into surgery. Thankfully she does have medical insurance, or that would have devastated them. She has had to take time off of work to heal, obviously, and her mom has taken time off as well to care for her, since she can’t get out of bed herself yet.
Then on top of everything else, the other day she noticed that their refrigerator was making an odd noise, like there was a short and the motor starting and stopping repeatedly. I heard it when I was over there helping to prepare a dinner for them, but didn’t think much of it at the time. She sent me an email today updating me on how she was doing, and in it she said this:
“Today while my mom was fixing dinner, I went to the freezer and noticed that the ice cubes had melted….wait, nothing was frozen! no wonder it smelled like chicken and fish in there all of a sudden. (ick) Opened the fridge and nothing was cold either. Our refrigerator had died! What was worse was that my mom had just gone shopping, so here we were, throwing out things that were still new but now bad, including the leftovers from the dinner you and Rachel made us… I felt so bad for her. I wanted to cry.
We had to immediately drive to Sears and buy a fridge. I’m trusting that God will help us pay for that… What’s sucks is that they can’t deliver the thing until Sunday, so we will be eating mostly out of our pantry. We are SURVIVORS!
I am asking for your partnership in prayer mostly for my mom. It’s so easy to feel like giving up and wondering if you’ve done something to deserve all the craziness that happens in your life. I am praying my mom stays encouraged, however tough that is. She even commented today that all of these things are just too hard to handle sometimes.”
And really, that last part sums up the way Laura is. She is not the type to ask for anything from anyone. She struggles through as best she can and trusts that God will provide. She asks her friends to pray for her, but it wouldn’t even occur to her to ask us for money, which we’d all give gladly if we could. Her mom is the same way.
Once, way back when, I had a cushy job and could have afforded to write a big check myself. I can’t do that anymore. But I still want to help Laura and her mom.
So I set up a fund.
I’ve seen the blogosphere come together to help others. I know it’s not cancer or a premature baby or a lifesaving surgery, but what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t at least try? I promise that anyone who donates and trusts me with their snail mail address will receive a handwritten thank you card from me. I’ll use whatever is given to buy them a grocery gift card, and maybe one of those prepaid Visa cards for miscellaneous expenses. (and please, if you know Laura or me in real life, she does not know I’m doing this, so please do not tell her)
*this says “Two Wonderful Ladies” in Russian.