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May - June 2004
Church services in our home!
As I wrote in a recent "special report" I spent most of the month of May in a hospital in Germany. The doctors in Russia didn't know what was wrong with me - I had swollen ankles, could barely walk, and had a high fever. It was apparently an infection, but it didn't respond to antibiotics. The German doctors finally determined that it was sarcoidosis - a rheumatological condition that has no known cause, and no known cure. The good news is that it goes away by itself after several weeks! I returned home to Russia in late May feeling much better.
The entire story of my illness can be found on our website.
People often ask me if I send out our prayer letters to a list of e-mail addresses. I have worked on this question for some time now, and have decided that it would be almost impossible for me to try to keep up with several hundred constantly changing e-mail addresses. Most people already get more e-mail than they want, and most bulk e-mailings are now blocked by anti-spam filters. All of our prayer letters are posted on our website if you would like to read them. I invite you to take a look at our site. Every prayer letter that I have ever written can be found in the "ministry" section. I will continue, of course, to send out regular "hard copy" prayer letters by mail to our friends and supporters.
Soon after I returned from Germany, a young man named Vlad came to our house for "tea". He lived in America for 5 years and traveled to many places, including Chicago, New York, Florida, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. We got out a map and shared memories of places we had both seen. Then, as we often do with our guests, we played a table game together. After that, I shared the plan of salvation with him. It is frustrating sometimes to see how false religion and this world's philosophy has confused the people here. I really thought that Vlad would "get it" and trust Christ. He simply responded politely that it is all very interesting, but he needs to give it more thought. Please pray that God's Holy Spirit would convict his heart and show him his need for salvation. I reminded him that life is short and we have no guarantee for tomorrow. I also told him that I would pray for God to trouble his heart until he gets saved.
Our most exciting news is that we have begun church services in our home! One couple, Jason and Marina, came to us and asked if we would consider meeting on Sundays. June 13 was our first service. We all sat in our living room and sang several songs, our daughter Cindy played her guitar for the special, and I preached in Russian for about 45 minutes. My previous Russian sermons usually lasted no more than 20-25 minutes, but I felt so comfortable preaching in familiar surroundings that I was able to communicate much more freely from my heart. Since that first service, a few other visitors have come, including Irina, for whom we have been praying.
Please pray that more visitors will come and that we will find a better place to meet. We would like to buy or rent some space - like a storefront, an apartment, or a house. So far we have not found a suitable place at a reasonable price. We know that God will provide a place when we need one!
Thank you for all the kind wishes you sent while I was sick. We really appreciate you!
In the service of the King,