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May - June 2014

New Phone Number

For over 17 years, we used AT&T voice mail service to give ourselves a US phone number. Modern technology offers better options at a lower cost. AT&T would not allow us to transfer our old number to our new service, so now we have a new number: (224) 653-0830. Please update your records. The old number with area code 815 does not work any more. Also note that we have disconnected our Russian “land line” phone with area code 4862.

Having taken Crimea, Russia is covertly supporting rebels who are taking over areas in eastern Ukraine. They take over government buildings and proclaim that these parts of Ukraine are now “independent republics”. Newly elected Ukrainian president Poroshenko is sending forces to put down the rebel uprising, but Putin insists that Ukraine must not use force against the rebels. Putin’s goal is to destabilize the new government and keep Ukraine under Russian influence, even though most Ukrainians would rather have closer ties to western Europe. These eastern parts of Ukraine may even be taken by Russia, as Crimea was. Relations between Russia and the United States are strained as the US imposes sanctions on Russia. We are watching developments closely, but for now we feel that we are safe.

Ruth made some homemade cookies, and brought them to the ladies who work at the hardware store near our home. They were glad to receive the treats, as well as Gospel tracts with an invitation to our services.

We hired a crew of men to install a pipe to link our church building to the city sewer system. They started digging, using special instruments to identify buried pipes and cables. They discovered that a major gas line is in a position that will be very difficult to dig around. They have stopped work for now to plan a better way to dig safely.

For several months, a man named Sergei attended our services. He claimed to be a doctor, but I was suspicious, especially when I found out that he had been borrowing money from our people and not paying it back. I had a long talk with him and asked him for information that I could use to verify his identity. When I checked him out, it all proved to be false, and he never came back to our services again. A shepherd always needs to keep an eye out for the wolves.

Random notes: The weather was unusually hot in May, but then it turned cooler than usual in June. I have been doing some drywall work as I remodel a corner of our apartment. We found Doritos for sale in the store for the first time since we came to the mission field! Our African friend, Sugnabe, who attends the state university here, has gone back to Africa for the summer months. He has a sweet Christian spirit, and we are looking forward to his return in the fall.

In the service of the King,
Don Ossewaarde