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We wish you a merry CHRISTmas and a happy New Year!
Dear family and friends,
Instead of a card, we are sending this special holiday letter to our family members and friends to wish you all the best of God's blessings for this Christmas season and for all of 2005. We hope you will have many opportunities to gather with loved ones and celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ to our world that was lost in the darkness of sin. He brought us light, hope, and the plan of Salvation; and He will come again quickly, maybe in 2005!
We mail our regular prayer letters through a letter service in the United States , but this one comes to you directly from Oryol, Russia . We are hopeful that it will reach you in time for the holidays. Enclosed you will find a copy of our latest family picture. The kids have grown a lot this year!
This has been an incredible year for all of us. It's amazing just to look back and consider some of the major events that affected us in 2004:
This year we received 25,000 New Testaments from BIMI's "Bibles to Europe " project. We have already distributed about 14,000 of them on the streets, in the parks, at bus stops, on the city squares, and from door to door. Each one has a Gospel presentation and our contact information.
Don came down with a mysterious illness and had to fly to Germany in May to be treated at a hospital for 3 weeks. The story is on our website! He is now completely recovered and feeling fine.
In June we started Sunday services in our home. About 15 different people have attended. Cindy and Alan have both learned the accordion well enough to play for our services.
In July we attended 2 summer youth camps in Ukraine . Our kids were blessed, and I was able to preach at both camps.
A misunderstanding about visas left us "stranded in Ukraine " for 2 weeks in August! The full story is on our website. www.orl.ru/~donossewaarde
We all stayed active with skiing, tennis, baseball, ice skating, and hiking in the woods. We are grateful for the opportunities for exercise and fresh air here in Oryol , Russia .
We have presented the Gospel to many people who are hesitating to receive Christ. Please pray that Pavel, Olga, 2 Ninas, Alexander, 3 Vladimirs, Dasha, Yulia, Yura, Alexei, and 2 Irinas will take that step of faith soon.
Probably the most amazing event of this year was the approval of our 3-year residency permits. We are praising the Lord for this open door to serve Him at a time when visas are harder to get.
News headlines that affected us - the falling value of the dollar, the presidential election, the passing of Ronald Reagan, several terrorist attacks in Russia, including 2 plane crashes, a school takeover, and bombings in Moscow.
In September we were back in Ukraine for 2 weeks to participate in an evangelistic campaign to some villages near Kiev. About 70 people were saved!
We sincerely appreciate all your prayers, letters, and financial support this year. We are planning a short furlough for June through September 2005. May God bless you in a special way this holiday season. You are very special to us!
In the service of the King,
Don and Ruth Ossewaarde, David, Cindy,
Alan, and April