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August - October 2002

Renewed Visas, Lost Sheep

In August we received our visas to live in Russia for another year. It still amazes me that we are able to openly and legally serve as Baptist missionaries in the heartland of the former Soviet Union.

The new crew that we hired to finish our apartment started work in August. They are much better than the old crew, but progress is still slower than I would have liked. They told me that there was “about two months worth of work” to do before we could move in. Now they are saying that we will be able to move in before Christmas. Some of the delay is caused by difficulty in finding the supplies we want. As soon as they run out of anything, they go home for the day. I have been in Russia with one of my sons supervising the job almost every day since they started. I have only been in Kiev with the rest of the family for a few days each month. I spend a lot of time getting supplies so the men won’t quit working. I also re-wired the entire electrical system myself because it was so mixed up. When you turned on the lights in one room, they would go out in another room.

Pavel is the foreman of a crew of welders that built and installed our stairs. Late one night after the installation work was finished, he and his men asked me a question that I have heard many times before: “Why would you move from America to live here in Russia? Any of us would love to leave Russia and move to America.” I had a good opportunity to explain the Gospel to them. We talked about it for about an hour. Pavel is a very intelligent man and he asked a lot of sincere questions. He believes there is a God, but he has never seen anything of Christianity other than the empty religious ritual of the Orthodox church. He listened as I explained the plan of Salvation very clearly, but he does not comprehend it yet. He promised to discuss it again sometime. Please pray that the Holy Spirit of God will convict and show him his need for salvation.

I visited the services of a Russian Baptist church, and they invited me to speak. I preached (in Russian) about the lost sheep and the Good Shepherd. I asked this question: “What did the sheep have to do, so that the Shepherd would seek him and take him home?” He didn’t have to be a good sheep or a pretty sheep or a valuable sheep, he just had to BE LOST! It is often said that you can’t get someone saved until you can first get him lost. Most Russians do not see themselves as being lost. They may quickly agree that they are sinners, but they don’t see that they are on the way to hell. I told them that Jesus will not accept them if they come to Him as good people, but He will take them if they come to Him as lost people.

This church does not always give an invitation like they should, but the Pastor felt led to give an altar call after I preached. Two people responded for salvation. One was a young man, and the other was an older man. The older man was the cousin of an old Russian preacher from Bryansk, who brought him to church that night as a visitor. There were tears of rejoicing as the preacher told how he had prayed for years that his cousin would be saved. What a blessing to see two lost sheep come home!

Ruth went with me to Moscow to consult a specialist about some health problems. The reports were good, but she will need to see the doctor again. We would appreciate your prayers for her health.

We wish all of you a very happy holiday season as you prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. You mean so much to us. Your faithful prayers and financial support make it possible for us to serve here in Russia. Thank you for writing and e-mailing us from time to time.

In the service of the King,
Don Ossewaarde