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January-February 2000

Sasha

In our last prayer letter, I mentioned our neighbor, Sasha. He is a journalist who was sent to Chernobyl several years ago during the nuclear disaster to report the news. He saw and experienced many horrible things. As many others did, he turned to drink to try to forget. Sasha became an alcoholic.

The beginning of the year, with the big Christmas and New Yearís holidays, offers many opportunities for parties and drinking. Sasha went on a drinking binge and didnít come home for several days. We would see him stumbling around in the street near our home. His wife, Luda, was broken-hearted and humiliated.

One Sunday morning, as my family and I were waiting at the tram stop to go to church, we saw Sasha stumble across the street and go into a shop that sells liquor. He had been begging for money in front of our apartment building. I followed him over there and found him standing at the counter finishing a drink. I told him he needed to come with me to church, and he agreed. He told me that he was having a very hard time, and was afraid that he would lose his job. He enjoyed the church service, and talked to pastor Hudson for quite a while afterwards, but just didnít seem to be able to grasp the concept of salvation.

He continued to drink, and after a few weeks, he did lose his job. On a Wednesday night in January, he came to church and talked to the pastor for a long time after the service. Finally, he understood, and trusted Christ as his Savior! He was baptized at the end of February. Pray for Sasha. He is obviously a changed man, but he has a lot of things to struggle with. Pray for Luda as well. She enjoys coming to church, but she does not yet see her need for salvation. She claims to be saved, but she is trusting in her religious background in the Orthodox Church.

I am thrilled to report another great blessing. Our 11-year-old son, Alan, made a profession of faith several years ago, but recently began having doubts about his salvation. He came to us with his doubts, reviewed the scriptures, and trusted Christ. He was also baptized at the end of February. I am grateful to Pastor Matt Hudson for allowing me to baptize Alan, as well as my neighbor Sasha.

I continue to make progress in my study of Russian language. There is a ton of information to remember, but I seem to be keeping up with the pace of the classes. I am understanding more and more all the time. Thank you for your prayers.

In the service of the King,
Don Ossewaarde