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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Barbed Wire & Babushkas

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 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

Ministry Update

We are currently in the United States. We are home to visit our supporting churches and to make some new friends. We will also enjoy spending time with Karen's parents and our children and grandchildren. We will be in Northern New England for 3 months, returning to Russia on December 1.

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.

Here is a picture of Sardis and me in our apartment

More Photos

Here are a few more photos from the village
This picture, which looks almost like an Indian Teepee is actually a new A framed outhouse, which we helped complete while we were in the village. The A frame design helps shed ice and snow during the long Russian winter. It will be pretty cold though!

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

More photos II

Here are some more photos of our week in the village:

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.