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January 26, 2017 - Back in Russia again
When I arrived back in Moscow after a month in America, I was met at the airport by the missionary who is working with me on the transition to a future ministry in Oryol. We traveled together to Oryol on an overnight train. We spent the weekend visiting in the homes of the people from the ministry here. We spent many hours drinking tea and listening to their concerns, their hopes and fears, and their ideas about the future of ministry in Oryol. Some of them were more optimistic than others. It is a harmful strain on all of us to have to wait so many months for the court to reach a decision. The court's ruling will determine the form of ministry that will be possible here. It is detrimental to the unity of our people that we are not having regular services every week. Please pray that our people will stay encouraged and will not give up on the idea of serving God together.
I am taking further steps to sell our apartment. My missionary friend has a lot of experience buying and selling real estate in Russia, and he gave me some tips. I now have the property listed on a few popular websites. My real estate agent says that the local market is extremely slow right now, but we may expect things to pick up soon. Please pray that the apartment will sell soon for a good price. I know that God is in control, and I trust Him to bring a buyer at just the right time. He even knows how to put the money in that buyer's pocket!
The Supreme Court accepted my case for consideration two months ago, but they still have not assigned a calendar date for a hearing. My attorney tells me that they are required to render a decision within two months unless they need to call for more documents from the lower courts. The silent delay may indicate that the court is waiting to see which way the political winds are blowing in this new year. The Russians expect that the new presidential administration in America will have better relations with Russia, but nobody really knows how that will develop. Pray that a quick and favorable decision will come from the court.
BIMI sent a letter to churches asking for donations to cover the legal costs of our appeal process. The response was very generous, and I am grateful to all who gave. The lawyers in Moscow are working hard for religious freedom in Russia, and I am glad that we can help them financially.