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August - September 2006
South of the Border
Years ago, when we lived in Ukraine for language school, we made friends with several missionaries there. I heard that they were going to have a youth camp in August, so my kids and I made arrangements to be there for the week. What a blessing it was to cross the southern border of Russia again and see what God is doing in Ukraine! They had about 115 young people from all over Ukraine. Most of them are serious about serving the Lord with their lives. The special speaker was a pastor from Mexico, and the missionary who directed the camp grew up in Mexico, so it really was a “south of the border” youth camp! I am so encouraged about the future of Ukraine, and I pray that God will do a similar work here in Russia.
It was great to see several missionaries that we used to work with. One of them invited me to preach in his church in Kharkov. My wife and I went there in September and had a great time of fellowship. I had a good time preaching for them.
My kids and I went back to Ukraine again in September to help out with some evangelistic meetings. Alan played his accordion and April was a big help, too.
August 5 is a big holiday here - Oryol Day, the anniversary of the liberation of Oryol from the Germans in World War 2. Thousands of people walk in the park celebrating and having a good time. We spent the afternoon in the park and gave out about 4000 tracts with our new church property address and the time of the service, so we hope to see a few visitors from this.
We put up a volleyball net on the new property! Alan and April organized a few “youth activities” for the students who come to our Bible lessons. They played volleyball, ate watermelon, and had a sing-along.
With the new school year, we started a Thursday evening Bible study in English. Some of the university students come to practice their English and learn the Bible. We have new visitors almost every week. We made a special tract-invitation that says, (in Russian) “Do you speak English? The best way to learn is to talk with native speakers. You are very lucky! There are Americans here in Oryol who want to talk with you.” There is a picture of our family, an invitation to the Bible study, a map to the property, and a plan of Salvation. We gave out 1200 of these around some of the local universities. We made 50 posters with the same invitation and put them around town at bus stops and on bulletin boards of the universities and dormitories.
We took about 150 pounds of apples from the trees at the church property! Ruth made apple jam, apple sauce, apple preserves, apple pies, and apple juice.
You can see pictures of our church 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”.
Pray for 16 year old Ksenya. She has been coming regularly for a few months. We almost convinced her to come to youth camp in Ukraine. She is shy and decided not to come. Ksenya is a good girl, but she knows she needs to be saved.
Vlad continues to grow as a Christian. He helped us a lot with the posters for English lessons. He went to Italy for the summer to work in a tourist hotel and make some extra money. He didn’t like it there. He was so glad to come home to Russia. We had a coming home party for him with grilled chickens.
Irina is Vlad's girlfriend. I thought she was just coming to our services because Vlad came, but while he was gone, she kept coming by herself. After one of the services, she told me that my sermon on the 10 commandments bothered her all week. I had talked about how we have broken all God’s commandments - even if we hate, we are guilty of murder in the heart. She said that she knows she needs to be saved, but her faith is so weak, she is not ready to take the step of faith yet. I reminded her of another previous sermon, "I believe, help my unbelief". We prayed that God would help her believe, but she has not yet trusted Christ.
Yulia, our college professor friend, comes almost every Sunday. We visited her in the hospital when she had her gall bladder removed. We gave her a Bible and a Russian translation of "Treasures of the Snow" by Patricia St. John. A few days later, she had read all of Romans and most of 1 Corinthians. When she read "Treasures of the Snow" it made her cry all the way through. An elderly lady in the next bed asked her why in the world she was crying so much. Yulia said, "It's because of this children's book I am reading!" She needs to be saved, but conviction of sin is slow in coming.
In the service of the King,