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September - October 2010

Autumn Events

We had a nice little harvest from the fruit trees and the garden in the church yard. This year, we picked green beans, cherries, apricots, apples, and some raspberries. The church people took as much as they wanted, but there was enough left over for us to make plenty of pies, jam, and preserves.

On one recent Sunday, the weather was especially beautiful, so we went outside to the church backyard for our fellowship time after the service. It was like a final taste of summer.

To prepare for colder weather, I decided to update the church heating system. We have a gas boiler that supplies hot water to radiator pipes, but there is no pump to circulate the water. The hot water circulates “naturally”, but on very cold winter nights, it is not warm enough. I installed an electric pump in the system, and it seems to be working much better already. We will see how much difference it makes when the cold weather comes. Forecasters here tell us that this will be “the coldest winter in Europe in a thousand years”. We laugh at that, because they can’t even accurately predict the weather for the day after tomorrow. Ruth and I painted the church house before the weather started to turn cold. It looks good!

Our American washing machine was over 10 years old, and it was showing its age. I have repaired it many times since we have been here. Recently, it started making strange noises, and then, with a shower of sparks and a puff of smoke, it was gone. Fixing it would have cost more than it was worth, so we went shopping for a new one. We decided on a nice German Bosch machine, and we are very happy with it.

I celebrated my 50th birthday in October with a party at the church. We decided to play “pin the tail on the donkey”. The people had never seen that game before, and it was funny to see how excited they got when they played. I am thankful to God for health, strength, and a sound mind at age 50, and for the opportunity to serve Him here in Russia.

Ruth and I recently gave out hundreds of Gospel tracts on the main square of town, right in front of our statue of Lenin. A businessman named Roman received a tract, and came to church as a first time visitor. He said he is interested in what we teach, and he plans to come back. A few weeks later, Ruth and I put tracts in hundreds of mailboxes. When we had about twenty tracts left, we decided to go home. On the way, I gave a tract to a young man on the street. A few minutes later, he came back to us and grabbed the tracts out of Ruth’s hand. I tried to wrestle them away from him, but he managed to get mine, too, and he ripped them up. He didn’t say a word, but he obviously didn’t approve of our ministry. Thankfully, such opposition has been very rare in the years we have been here.

We have a university student from Africa, named Kevin, who attends our services regularly. Now that it gets dark earlier, he has to walk home in the dark after evening services. He was attacked by a small gang of racist youths, but they did not manage to hurt him much. A week later, a car of young thugs drove by him as he was walking home and pointed a gun at him. They had hoods covering their heads. I advised him not to walk after dark any more, and we give him a few dollars a week so he can come in a taxi.

We have paid $49,552 for our church building, which is about 95% 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