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September - October 2009

Bibles, and more Bibles

I needed some new Russian Bibles. So did Travis Decker, my friend and fellow missionary. We decided to take a day trip to Moscow to visit the Russian Bible Society bookstore. We had a good time of fellowship and bought as many Bibles as we could carry. We were pleased to find new shops in the train station when we arrived in Moscow - Subway sandwiches and Cinnabon sweet rolls. We had to test them both to make sure the quality was the same as in America.

I also needed some King James English Bibles to use in our Thursday night Bible studies. The only ones I could find in Moscow had small print and were too expensive. I shopped on the internet and found a great deal on some nice gift/award type Bibles. It would cost less to order them from America and ship them here. I ordered a case of 32 Bibles. When the package arrived, the Russian customs inspectors took possession of it and claimed that it was commercial merchandise, subject to an expensive import tax. I met with them almost every business day for two weeks. The Lord helped me to convince them not to charge me too much. When we finally got our Bibles, the cost of shipping and customs was more than twice as much as the cost of the books themselves, but it was still a reasonable deal.

At the same time we ordered Bibles from America, we ordered a set of 19 classic Moody Science films on DVDs. The customs inspectors seized this package, too. It only took a few days to convince them to give us our videos, and it didn’t cost very much. The customs rules have changed recently. I have been receiving large packages like this for years with very few problems. I will have to try to ship smaller packages in the future.

We started a series of Wednesday night lessons on Romans. This verse-by-verse study is giving the people a good foundation of Bible doctrine. I am preaching a series of Sunday sermons from the book of Galatians that fits together with what we are learning from Romans. We are continuing our study of Israel (in English) on Thursday nights. I plan to post the worksheets from these lessons on our website. Feel free to use them in your church or Sunday school.

We had a great church picnic while the weather was still warm and sunny. Some university students came and enjoyed pizza, volleyball, and of course, singing and preaching. One of them, Kevin, is an exchange student from Congo, Africa. He has been back to our services several times since then.

I was invited to speak at the state university again. The history teacher asked me to help explain the different religious groups of the English Reformation. I was able to share some Baptist history and the Gospel with about 50 students.

Please be in prayer about a proposed law that would restrict religious freedom in Russia. The law would restrict foreign missionary activity. Most ministry with children would be against the law. Preaching about Hell or giving a Gospel invitation would be considered illegal “psychological manipulation”. Witnessing in public buildings would be a crime. This same law has been proposed in many different forms for the past several years. Russian Baptists and Muslims are protesting against it, but the Orthodox Church generally supports it. Pray that this unconstitutional law will fail to pass.

We have paid $41,400 for our church building, which is about 80% of the loan amount. 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