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July - August 2010

A Long, Hot Summer

We had a picnic with the church people on Sunday, the 4th of July. Usually, we do not make much of American holidays, but they really enjoyed this one. We made some delicious “sloppy Joe” sandwiches, which they had never heard of before. We also had some other American treats, like Coca-cola and Lays potato chips.

The big story this summer in Russia was the record breaking heat. The temperature was nearly 100 degrees almost every day for two months. The “old timers” tell us that it has never been this hot in Russia - ever! Usually we get a week or two of hot weather in the summer, but this was far beyond the normal. It was also the worst drought in many years. Without rain, the crops failed to grow. Fires in the fields and forests got out of control in many areas, burning hundreds of homes. We are grateful that there were not many fires in Oryol, but a few times, thick smoke hung over our town. Moscow was covered by a dense blanket of smoke for many days. It was too smoky to go outside, and too hot to stay inside. Very few people here have air conditioners. We almost bought one, but we waited too long. The stores sold out their entire stock very quickly. We survived with fans and cold lemonade!

Our friends, missionary Travis Decker and family, serve in the nearby town of Mtsensk. He built a new church building, and we were invited to attend on grand opening day. Eleven of us from Oryol went there for the evening service. There was a total attendance of about 30 people. It was a blessing, not only for our people to see what they are doing, but for them to see that there are others of like faith, not far away.

We finished a 59-week series of Wednesday night Bible studies on the book of Romans. Now we are starting a new series on Revelation. I plan to post the Russian worksheets from these lessons on my website.

Dmitri is a new visitor to our services. Vlad invited him to come. They are business acquaintances. They are both ping pong fans, so they play at the church after the services are over. Dmitri is also interested in learning some English, so he comes to our English service, too. Pray that he will be convicted of his need for Salvation.

Please pray for Victor. I have said a lot about him in recent prayer letters. It has been exciting for the whole church to see how he was growing spiritually. All of a sudden, he quit coming. When I talked to him, he explained that he has found a new girlfriend, who is Orthodox. Victor’s unsaved father is putting a lot of pressure on him to find someone to marry, since he is already 35 years old. His father does not want him to scare the girl away by being “too spiritual”. I do not doubt that his salvation is real, but he is backsliding, and we pray that he will come back.

We have paid $48,152 for our church building, which is about 93% 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