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April - May 2001

Finishing up language school... 

It's springtime in Kiev, and the weather is breaking. Winter was a bit colder this year, but it still turned out to be a mild one. Now it's much warmer, with quite a bit of rain. Our winter coats have been put away. The city is already turning off the hot water several times a week for a few hours at a time. Our kids have been playing basketball, football, and tennis with the other missionary kids. Ruth went out to play with them one day, and while trying to catch the football, she dislocated her little finger! We took her to a clinic where they took x-rays, put the bone back in place, and applied a plaster cast. She is trying to keep the cast dry for two weeks until it can come off.

I am almost finished with my language studies. Last year, I took the "preparatory" course, which is designed to teach the basics of Russian language to people who don't know anything about it. This year I took the "first-year" (freshman) course, majoring in language and literature. Each class is a language lesson, although we studied literature, history, and basic law, along with grammar and phonetics. I really increased my vocabulary this year and became much more fluent in speaking. I feel that I am now ready to begin a church planting ministry without having to rely on any interpreter. Most of the class lectures will be completed early in June, and final exams will continue until the end of June. For the last few months I have been taking one of the family members to class with me every Friday. It's an interesting break for them from the homeschool routine, and we go out to eat and have a good talk after school. My wife and each of the kids have been to school with me a few times already.

The rest of the family will continue Russian lessons at home with their tutor until the end of June. They have only been able to study a few hours a week since September, but they are beginning to understand Russian speech, and they can speak somewhat, too.

We tried something different in family devotions. For several weeks, we did a "survey" of the entire Bible. With lots of repetition, we memorized the major divisions of the Bible, the major characters in each division, and a word or two about each of the 66 books. It was fun and helpful.

Last summer, I met Brother Peter, a pastor from Russia who offered to help us get missionary visas. I recently found out that he was coming to Kiev for a pastor's conference, so we offered to let him stay overnight with us. We stayed up late discussing the details of getting visas. He showed me on a map where there are several towns in his area that have no Baptist church. He promised to go to Moscow and get us the paperwork we need to obtain visas. Please pray about this.

A dear "granny" of the church here in Kiev has gone to the hospital. She has a severe stomach ailment that causes literally gallons of fluid to collect in her abdomen. The doctors expected her to die a few years ago, but God is keeping her alive. She is one of the most faithful members of the church, and she has such a great attitude and a good testimony. We visited her a few times in the hospital, and were able to be a witness to her roommates as well. Please pray for "babushka Katya". 

In the service of the King,
Don Ossewaarde