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June - August 2007

American Visitors and Russian Picnics

We very seldom see Americans here in Oryol, Russia, but this summer was an exception!

When we heard the disappointing news that the Travis Decker family was expelled from Belarus for their missionary activities, we invited them to come visit us and see the opportunities in Russia. They came for a month and then they decided to stay here and serve the Lord near us! We were very happy about that! It is great to have them here. They will be working together with us until they decide to start a work of their own in a nearby town.

We wanted to do something special with the Deckers, so we planned a cookout picnic at the church property. Then we invited a few church folks, then a few more, and before we knew it we had a great event with twelve Russians and nine Americans. We had barbecued vegetables and meat, along with lots of great salads and desserts. We set up benches and had a singing time, then Brother Decker preached. Then we played volleyball for a long time. The fellowship was great, and it was a good step forward in the life of our church.

Then we were blessed by a visit from Maribeth, a Bible college student who came from Atlanta, Georgia to spend two weeks with us. She has been corresponding with us for a few years, because she would like to come to Russia as a missionary someday. It was great to finally meet her! We showed her the sights and let her get involved in our ministry here. She was a blessing to us, and I hope we were a blessing to her.

We had a second picnic when Maribeth was here. It was a holiday (Russia day), but it was also our 25th wedding anniversary! The weather was perfect, and we had another good time of fellowship, food, singing, preaching, and volleyball. 21 Russians came, which is the biggest crowd we have ever had so far.

Then, our daughter Cindy came from America for a visit. She lived here until two years ago, when she left to go to Bible college. It was great to have her “back home” in Russia for a few weeks.

In August, my pastor Terry Anglea came here with a group of 6 people from our church in Illinois. We first visited our friend, missionary Matthew Hudson, and his ministry in Kiev, Ukraine, then we went all the way to Moscow for a day of sightseeing. From there we came to Oryol to see our ministry here. We had another church picnic and Bible study with the American group and our Russian church folks. The group passed out tracts on the main squares of Oryol on Saturday. Pastor Anglea preached in our church on Sunday, with me as the interpreter. After services on Sunday, we took the group to Ukraine for a youth conference in Crimea. Pastor Anglea was the featured speaker for the week, and he was a great blessing to about 140 young people who came from all over Ukraine, as well as from Belarus, Moldova, Russia, and America. There were 6 young people saved, with many more decisions made at the altars each day. We sent our group back to America after 10 very busy and blessed days.

Back here in Oryol, we started a new Russian language Wednesday night Bible study, going through a series of new convert lessons. Three Russians came the first night who have been saved and seem to have a real desire to grow spiritually. Now we have three services: Sunday morning and Wednesday evening are Russian services, and Thursday evening is in English.

We have paid $21,550 for our church building, which is about 41% of the loan. You may want to help by sending a gift to: BIMI, P.O. Box 9215, Chattanooga, TN 37412. Designate it for “Ossewaarde - Project Russian Church Building”.

In the service of the King,
Don Ossewaarde