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December 2006 – January 2007
Alex is a businessman and truck driver that has been coming to our services for a few months. He has visited America a few times and speaks English quite well, so he comes to our English Bible studies and our Sunday Russian services. He likes to wear western style clothing, so we call him “cowboy Alex”. He is a very interested student of the Bible. He told us that he has started reading the Bible in his truck during loading and waiting times. He read a large section of the Old Testament already. In our Thursday night Bible studies, we are going through the Bible chronologically, showing how the Old Testament prepared the way for the Gospel. Alex asks a lot of questions and really participates in the lessons. On January 18, he told me after the service that he wanted to talk to me. He told me that he had finally come to the point where he realized that he was a sinner, and that only Jesus could save him. He told how he had prayed at home and trusted Christ for Salvation! Praise the Lord! As you can imagine, we are all rejoicing with him! He is already starting to be a witness to his friends. We can really see that he has a desire to grow in grace and live for God. Please pray for him. His wife Polline is coming regularly on Sundays, and we pray she will soon be saved, too.
Before Alex left that night, I said, "Now we can call you ‘Brother Alex’." He blushed and said, "I'm not worthy, you shouldn't." We told him the Bible says he is now part of God’s family, and he finally said, "Well, Ok. Thank you for accepting me.”
On Christmas day we had a special opportunity to visit a children’s hospital. One of the surgeons has visited our services, and he “pulled some strings” so we could get in there. We gave the children coloring books that we had made, with Bible verses and pictures telling of the birth of Jesus. We also gave them markers and colored pencils, fruit, candy, and stuffed animals. About 25 children were brought to one room where we distributed the presents and sang for them. It was a sweet time.
We also opened gifts on Christmas day and dined at Jolly Roger’s restaurant for our Christmas dinner this year. It was a wonderful day! Thank you so much for all the special gifts and packages that were sent to us. We put them under our tree and saved them to open on Christmas day. It means so much to know that people “back home” love us and are thinking about us.
We went to two private English schools just before New Year’s Day and helped them with their exams. We worked with dozens of students, and gave each of them a Christian DVD film as a gift, and an invitation to our services. This is a great opportunity for us to meet people and make contacts.
New Year’s Eve is the biggest holiday of the year for Russians. We usually celebrate it quietly at home. This year we invited Vlad and his friend Irina to celebrate with us. They are university students who come regularly to our services. Both of them have been saved since we came to Russia. We had a good time playing a game of “Risk” that lasted several hours. Vlad won! He pointed out that Risk will never be a popular game in Russia because the map on the game board shows the whole world, but it does not include Russia! At midnight we opened the windows and blew horns for a few minutes. We could hear celebrating and fireworks all over town. Pray that 2007 will be a year when more people come to know Jesus Christ in Oryol, Russia.
One of the best blessings we had in 2006 was the new church property that the Lord gave to us. You can see pictures of it 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 already been able to pay $14,800, which is about 28% of the loan.
In the service of the King,