Tuesday, December 26, 2006
When we left America on November 30th we had close to $8000.00 in our automobile fund, all of which had been raised in 3 short months. We now have nearly $9000 so our goal is becoming reachable. We want to ask you to pray with us for that goal to be met and consider a possible gift to the fund if the Lord should speak to you.
Thanks for all you do to help keep us serving in Russia.
Mike and Karen
Sunday, December 24, 2006
We pray that this season will be full of Joy, Hope and Peace as you celebrate the birth of our Savior and the New Year.
We will be celebrating the holidays here in Russia. This will be the first Christmas that we have not shared with our families in our 31 years of marriage. We miss our family especially at this time of year. But we are happy to be serving the people of Russia.
We do have a Christmas tree and are enjoying listening to some Christmas music. One side note is that in almost every retail store we have been in recently we have heard American Christmas music playing!
Below, you will find several new posts telling about life here.
God Bless you during the holiday season
Michael & Karen McDonald
The clothing is being distributed to Christian families, non-believers and orphanages.
Thank you to all individuals and churches who have sent clothing. We still have 6-8 packages in process and will distribute them as they arrive.
We especially want to thank Ginger and David Wheat who headed up a clothing drive from Harvest Christian Fellowship, Manchester, and who paid for much of the postage for over 25 boxes of clothing! Thanks Ginger and David.
The nights are really long here now. On December 22 daylight was at 8:30 AM and it was dark by 4:00 PM
Yesterday we took a 30 minute bus ride outside of town to the new MegaMall. It’s true, we now have a large western style shopping mall right outside of town. There is a food court, an IKEA furniture store, an OBI which is similar to a Home Depot, and a supermarket called Ashan, which is similar to a Super Wal-Mart. Along with this there are the usual clothing, and shoes stores, etc. The mall even has a small indoor ice skating rink!
Russia is changing rapidly. New malls and other western conveniences are popping up around the country. Yet within ½ a mile of this new mall with it’s several thousand parking spaces, you will find small Russian villages with no indoor bathrooms, and perhaps being heated by wood. We are amazed that Russians can afford to shop at the mall as the prices in general were higher than prices for the same type items in America. We have been shocked at the continuing high prices for clothing and other consumer goods here. In general here we pay less rent and utilities but almost everything else is more expensive than in America. This obviously leaves many families scraping to make ends meet.
We hope to get a few photos of the mall soon to post on this blog.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
While Karen and I were in America the Fall Foursquare Leadership Conference was held near Sochi, Russia. Nick Tsaryov and his wife Ira, our church planters in Nizhny Novgorod were able to attend. Here is a report from Jeff Roper:
At the annual Foursquare Russia conference, held at the end of October in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea, leaders from across Russia gathered representing the 15 Foursquare Churches in Russia.
Key note speakers at this conference were Ap and Anita Verwayen of Holland, Jeff and Debbie Roper, Regional Coordinators for Eastern Europe, and Slava Naniyants, national leader of Foursquare Russia.
The three day event was marked by powerful ministry times and wonderful fellowship. Even though Russia is a vast country comprising 9 time zones, the unity and fellowship of the Foursquare church is vibrant and growing.
The Foursquare Church of Russia is now developing resources and strategies to further equip local pastors and leaders, effectively evangelize and disciple converts, plant churches, reach out to those in bondage to drugs and alcohol through rehabilitation centers, and starting a training center for the purpose of equipping future leaders.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Prayer Request!Mike broke a tooth this week and will need to visit a dentist soon. Pray that we will find a competent dentist that can take care of the problem without a lot of hassle, pain or cost.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
This week we will speak at 3 home groups and next Sunday, November 19 we will be at the Charlestown NH Foursquare church.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Here is what the MSNBC article said:
The link to read the full article is http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15320729/
Here is another article describing the pollution in Dzerzhinsk and the surrounding area:
and this is from an article at:
"Dzerzhinsk leads the Nizhny oblast in problematic pregnancies, with more miscarriages and anemia, and complications during childbirth. The infant mortality rate stands at 20.3 per thousand, and that the death rate is 2.4 times the birthrate. The WHO has found human milk in Dzerzhinsk mothers to be highly toxic, with high levels of PCBs. It's so bad that they even called for the reduction of breast feeding.
A few steps have even been taken to improve peoples' health. Up until the mid-90s, two villages in the shadow of one of Dzerzhinsk's largest factories -- plastic producing Kaprolaktan -- drank from wells, despite the toxic sludge within a stone's throw. Now their water is piped in. But even today, some locals will go fishing in the shadow of the factory, a few hundred feet from a canal filled with red-brown sludge that carries ethyl-benzene, phenantrene, isomeric acid and other goodies from the Sintez factory into the Oka river.
Cows graze right next to the 50 hectare White Sea, so called because of the huge amounts of polyvinyl chloride and ammonia left over from cyanide production at Kaprolaktan that give the water a white glow. In the same area, levels of mercury and PCBs -- highly toxic compounds believed to be carcinogenic and now banned in the US -- multiplied standard levels by hundreds to thousands of times. DDT has been found exceeding acceptable limits by up to 21,000 times. Here the stench is also unbearable. And Levashov estimates there are up to 60 such waste dumps, although not all as dramatic."
Mike and Karen
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
A view from our car, Route 91 North heading toward South Royalton, Vermont
Foursquare Church, South Royalton Vermont
The Kennebeck River runs through Skowhegan and the entire area was beautiful as the fall foliage was near it's peak.
Kennebeck River Skowhegan Maine
Skowhegan Maine Foursquare Church
Central Maine Christian Center
The following week we visted Charlestown, New Hampshire where we attended and participated in a missions conference Friday night and all day Saturday. On Sunday morning we left Charlestown, New Hampshire for South Royalton Vermont were we spoke in the morning service at the South Royalton Foursquare Church.
On our way to Charlestown, New Hampshire we passed through Walpole, New Hampshire. This is the building where the Walpole Foursquare Church meets.
We saw this sign in a yard on a side street in Charlestown, New Hampshire
We stayed in this beautiful home while in Charlestown, New Hampshire
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
This is from a web cam located on the fourth floor of a bank in Nizhny Novgorod. It is live 24/7. The view is of Gorky Square. We live about 15 minutes walk from here. Timewise Nizhny Novgorod is 8 hours ahead of New England, except for a brief period when daylight savings time starts before it does in New England.
While you are watching please take a moment and pray for Nizhny Novgorod and the surrounding area. Pray for:
- Hearts open to the Gospel
- Supernatural encounters with Christ among the people of Russia
- Laborers for the work in the area
- Sufficient funds for the work of church planting
- Health and safety for the missionaries serving in Nizhny Novgorod
- Complete political freedom for the church in Russia
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
As many of our readers know we have been praying for finances to purchase a 4 wheel drive vehicle for more than a year. When we arrived in the U.S. we had no money set aside for a vehicle. Since we have been in America we have received over $4500.00 toward the purchase of a vehicle! We are thankful for this, and continue to pray for the rest of the needed funds.
Our goal is $20,000 With this we can purchase a reasonably good quality Russian made vehicle large enough to carry 5-6 people and equipment, and pay for the registration and insurance for one year. We can purchase a smaller Russian made vehicle for about $15,000 Car prices in Russia have risen about 12% to 15% over the last year due to inflation and a drop in the exchange rate for the dollar.
We will make our final decision on the purchased based upon timing and money available. We could also possibly purchase a used imported vehicle such as a Nissan or Honda. They are more reliable than Russian made but expensive, starting in the $15,000 range. The new imported vehicles are prohibitively expensive due to high import taxes in Russia. For example a Nissan X Terra which would work well for us, lists for about $21,000 in America and $35,000 in Russia.
This is an UAZ Patriot a Russian made 4 wheel drive SUV that sells for about $18,500. It seats six and has a lot of storage space for equipment.
To the right is an UAZ Hunter which sell for about $15,000. Not as comfortable as the Patriot but has the same seating and storage capacity.
This is a Chevy/Niva which seats four and sells for about $15,000. It is smaller than either UAZ model but probably more comfortable than the UAZ Hunter. It is nor as heavy duty as either of the UAZ models. It is the only vehicle of the three that has air conditioning. Few Russian made vehicles feature air conditioning. Despite being so far north, Russian summer can be brutally hot.
Pray with us as we seek the rest of the needed finances. A vehicle will help us in ministry in Russia as our opportunities have increased and we need to travel more.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I just finished a really good book called, Barbed Wire & Babushkas, A River Odyssey Across Siberia. The book is written by Paul Grogan and published by Virgin Books. You can easily purchase it at www.Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble
The book details the kyak trip taken by Grogan and his friend down the length of the Amur River, a journey of nearly 4.400 KM and the first source to sea descent of the river.
The book offers a really interesting view of Russian life and culture from a Westerners point of view. Having lived in Russia for four years now I was entertained by the hilarious descriptions this British author offered of his near 4 month trip. The encounters with Russian people were so much like our day to day life. Stern officialdom and harshness, but once you are past that and get to know people you find that Russians are warm, funny, generous and helpful. Grogan was often surprised and sometimes overwhelmed by his encounters with a myriad of peoples on this trip.
I recommend this book for anyone wanting to gain a bit of insight into Russian life and culture.
Monday, September 04, 2006
Good News! Our son is home from his 1 year deployment doing convoy duty from Kuwait into Iraq.
Before we left for America on September 1 we met with Vadim and Eduard, our church planters in Zavolzha. We made plans for future evangelism, were able to help them with some finances for materials, gave them all of our remaining tracts, and spent time just having some fun. Pray for these guys as they work to plant a church in a city of 50,000 needy people.
Vadim and Eduard introduced us to a friend of theirs named Sardis. He is an Armenian national living in Russia. He is a fun guy, excited and eager to share his faith. He seems to be a natural evangelist and has a great burden to see churches planted in the hundreds of small villages which don't have a single church. We spent some time getting to know him and we are praying about the direction our relationship might go. Please pray for us to have wisdom as we seek God's will for the future.
This is Nick and I sitting by the fire one evening. We were heating water for showers, Unfortunatly I forgot to get a picture of the outdoor shower stall.
Here are the girls playing after breakfast. We brought along an Uno card game and taught the girsl how to play. They loved it!
This is little Anya, walking with Karen to the forest to gather mushrooms.
Here is Anya sitting on the porch with her grandfather
These two photos show lunch preparations lunch one day.
Mushroom picking and gathering berries in the forest is a summer pastime and tradition. It also provides many Russian families with needed foods for the winter. Here are a few photos showing mushroom and berry gathering.
The first photo shows Nick and the girls headed for the forest.
Here are the girls gathering mushrooms.
Here is Nick, resting after picking mushrooms for an hour.
Nicks 83 year old father would gather a huge basket of mushrooms everyday. This photo shows him vleaning the mushrooms in preparation for canning them.
Here is a photo of Karen mashing wild blueberries and sugar together in a large bowl. The blueberries are for homemade blueberry jam.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
As part of our language studies we are trying to spend more time in an all Russian language environment without a translator. We just returned from a week in a Russian village were we lspent the week speaking as much Russian as possible, and getting a deeper appreciation of Russian life and culture.
Here are a few photos to show you a bit about Russian village life in the summer.
This is the Garden: Full of potatoes and other vegetables. A garden is the main source of food for many Russian villagers.
This is Anya, and her cat and the next picture is Karen and a new freind
As mentioned there was no running water in the home. This is the well from which much of our water came from.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
We really enjoyed our brief visit and appreciated gaining some more cultural insight. We thought that you might enjoy a few photos from the trip.
Here are some Silver and Gold covered New Testaments
These are beautiful, but our thought was that if the Church had invested their time and money into teaching people to read, instead of making God's Word into an expensive piece of art then the whole history of Russia may have been different.
Cathedral inside of a Monastary