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May - July 2003

There are so many colleges and universities here in Oryol, Russia. We handed out Gospel tracts in front of the "Institute of Art and Culture" several times. Later, I went in and asked if I could rent a room to show some videos about creation science and to "give lectures". They sent me first to the director of the science department, but then I was sent to the department of philosophy. The professor there agreed to let me show the videos. He wanted to announce it to the students, so he took me to a classroom where a lesson was in progress. He interrupted the class and told the students that there was an announcement. Then he turned to me and said, "Go ahead and make your announcement!" I was surprised, but quickly gathered up all my Russian knowledge and told the students, “I am a missionary from America. I invite you to come to an interesting video seminar about science, evolution, and dinosaurs. As a Christian believer, I believe that God created the world. This is not a fairy tale, but a scientific fact. Scientists have studied this question for many years and the evidence shows that God indeed created everything. Please come and see the proof for yourself.” The professor took me to about 15 different classrooms around the college where I made the same announcement. A few days later I found out that the professor got into a bit of trouble for doing all this without going through the director of the college. I met the director and he said that we will not be able to show the seminar. The philosophy professor is still open to the idea, but the door seems to be closed there at this time. Please pray that we will find a way to reach these students.

We are trying to find a place to hold services. I check with real estate agents and watch the newspapers for places suitable to rent. Some places are too expensive, and some people don’t want to rent to Baptists. In the meantime, we are using our home to reach people.

Irina has visited us several more times. She watched some creation science videos with us, and really enjoyed them. She said, “Science completely destroys the theory of evolution!” We have urged her to get saved, but she is holding back. A men's choir from Germany came to Oryol for a week of revival meetings, and Irina went with us to the final service. She enjoyed the music and preaching, and was obviously under conviction during the invitation, but she wouldn't go forward. She told us that she was "just feeling ill". Please pray for her.

We have had lots of visitors this summer. Victor is the director of a Christian camp for children. He and his family came for supper. Vlad is a young man who speaks English very well. We met him downtown - he was skateboarding on Lenin square. We are witnessing to him, but he does not yet see his need for salvation. A Russian pastor named Victor visited us with his wife and told us stories of their life and ministry. Artune, our favorite shish kabob chef, came over with his wife and daughter. He sells great tasting grilled meat at an outdoor stand near our home. I have spoken to him about Christ, and he agrees with me, but hasn’t made a commitment yet. We invited one family for tea, and they came and brought another family with them - six visitors in all. It was a Russian holiday and some of them had been drinking, especially two of the ladies, who were very talkative! It was very interesting, but we managed to witness to them. A few other unsaved neighbors have visited, and some Christian friends from Kazakhstan. We have tea with sandwiches or cake, then we play some kind of game or show photo albums. We sing Gospel songs for them and tell them about the Lord. We have been visiting in several Russian homes, too.

We started a Sunday school in our home. The kids spent many hours cutting out flannelgraph pieces! Only one neighbor girl came the first day. It seems that almost all of the kids go to their dacha on Sunday (a place in the country where they grow their food). We tried having it at different times during the week, but so far only two or three kids have come at a time. I teach a lesson in Russian with the flannelgraph, and Cindy plays her guitar for song time. We have a snack after the lesson. Some kids would like to come, but the parents won’t allow it. We are trying to make friends with the parents, too.

Ruth and the children started Russian language lessons again. The kids take lessons at the Oryol State University, and Ruth studies at the home of a private tutor. The kids have also been playing tennis, and April started taking piano lessons.

We took a day trip to Moscow for our 21st wedding anniversary. The whole family went and we did some shopping and sightseeing. On the 4th of July we went into the woods by our home and had a cookout over an open fire. Another time, we went on a weekend camp-out in the woods with some Christian young people.

Thank you for all your prayers and support. We need God’s power to open hearts here.

In the service of the King,
Don Ossewaarde