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April - May 2006
Planting seed, watching for growth
We are so excited about our new church building! It was ready to use for services the first Sunday, but it needed a few improvements here and there. I put some new fluorescent light fixtures in the room where we have our meetings. We built a coat rack in the foyer, and hung some curtains on the windows. Then we turned our attention to the yard. We spent a few days just hauling out the junk that had accumulated around the yard.
The whole back yard had been a big vegetable garden. Most people who have a yard here don't grow grass. They cover the yard with vegetables. I wanted to get some nice grass growing back there, so we would have room for fellowships, volleyball, barbeques, and outdoor services. We have a few apple trees, some grapes, two blueberry bushes, a plum tree, and lots of tulips and roses. We needed to dig up the entire yard to level it and prepare it for planting grass. Three of the trees were in the way, so we dug around them and chopped the roots until the trees came out. We dug the entire yard about one foot deep and turned the soil over. Then we raked it all level and planted good grass seed. After that, it rained almost every day for a month. Now we have a beautiful green lawn!
You can see pictures of the property in an online photo album we have set up on our website. Go to www.donossewaarde.com and look for the link to “Russia property photos”. If you would like to have a part in helping us pay off the building loan, please send your gift to:
Baptist International Missions, Inc.
P.O. Box 9215
Chattanooga, TN 37412
and designate it for “Ossewaarde - Project Russian Church Building”.
We have about 10 college students who are coming during the week for Bible lessons in English. A few of them come on Sunday for our service in Russian.
We printed several thousand invitation tracts that look like advertising brochures. The cover page has a picture of a man with wires in his hands, apparently receiving an electric shock! His eyes are bulging and his hair is standing on end. The title says, “Does your life need repairs?” When you open it, there are pictures of various tools, and a business card that says, “Jesus Christ, the Master of all forms of repair for your life. Thousands of years of experience. Quality guaranteed. Millions of satisfied customers.” Then there is an invitation to learn more about Jesus by studying the Bible. Our address is given, and directions to our building. The back page has a Gospel presentation. We put thousands of these tracts in mailboxes near our new building. There are several high rise apartment buildings nearby. We also went to an outdoor market in the neighborhood and gave out 600 invitations. Vladimir, a young man who has been coming faithfully and growing in the Lord, helped us distribute several hundred tracts.
We had two visitors come to church because of a gospel tract that our daughter April put in a mailbox. Ksenya, a teenage girl, came with her mom. We were so pleased! The lady talked to me for a long time after church, and had a lot of questions about the Bible. She thinks that God could just forgive sins without requiring the sacrifice of Christ. I showed her that Jesus was the only way of Salvation. If there were any other way, Jesus would not have had to die. Ksenya has been coming back for almost every service and Bible study we have had since then. Pray that she and her mother will be saved.
Another first time visitor came after we met him on Saturday visiting door-to-door. His name is Valya. He is about 60 years old, and a professional musician. His wife died two years ago - he is very lonely. When we rang his apartment doorbell, he invited us to come in. He had been drinking, but we talked to him for quite a while and witnessed to him. We really didn’t think he was listening much, and when we left, we wondered if we had wasted our time. Then he surprised us by coming to church on Sunday! He was sober, and all dressed up in a suit and tie! He stayed to talk and have tea for two hours after church. He even played on our piano a little - he's really good! He really listened to the sermon, but he is very evasive when talking one-on-one about spiritual things. Pray that Valya will be saved.
Our children, Alan and April, are playing all the congregational and special music for our services now. Alan plays accordion and April plays piano. I am very pleased with the happy evangelistic sound they make!
April and I were able to go to Ukraine to attend a “homeschool graduation”
for some missionary friends of ours. Five different missionary families came for
the ceremony, and I was honored to be one of the guest speakers. It had been a
while since we had been able to fellowship with other missionaries, so this was
a welcome treat.
In the service of the King,