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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Women Keep Silent! and Graduation

On Friday the 27th of April we again visited the drug rehab center which is operated by Cornerstone Church.

On our previous visit we had a question from one of the young men, who asked, “What does the Bible mean when Paul tells women that they must keep silent in church?" We promised to deal with the topic on our next visit. So this week Karen gave a teaching about the subject of women, submission, and ministry. She encouraged the women to enjoy their freedom in Christ and to minister in the gifts that God has given them. We believe that the totality of Scripture teaches the equality of women and men both in life and in ministry.

Speaking of the women at the rehab, these two young women in the center of the photo below who’s lives had been devastated by drug addictions are graduating from the first phase of the program this week! They are wonderful examples of the power and grace of God working through this ministry to addicts. We have been blessed by having a part in their discipleship. They will take a week away to visit their families and then begin the second three months of the rehab course, living in a group apartment in the city and re-establishing a more normal lifestyle. One of the women is considering the possibility of ministry as a vocation in the future.

Two Graduates with Karen and Sveta, our Friend and Translator
The House at the Rehab Center
A Shed with Bedding Being Aired
There is no washing machine at the center
The Woodpile
All heating and cooking is down with wood

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Christian Leaders Marytered in Turkey

Many of you have probably read or heard about the three Christian leaders who were martyred in Malatya, Turkey. Here is information which has been sent to the global Body of Christ from the Protestant church in Turkey.

As you read this remember the families of those who were murdered and please pray for Christians around the world who are being persecuted.

WARNING! The story is graphic and disturbing!

Friday May 11, 2007

I have deleted the story which was posted here previously. It has been shown that some of the details of these murders were incorrect. This does not lessen the tragedy nor the fact that these brothers died as martyrs for their beliefs

Michael McDonald

Saturday, April 21, 2007

New Rehab Center for the Homeless!

As we have mentioned in several entries, we are working with an indigenous church planting movement called "Cornerstone". In Nizhny Novgorod they have a new church that ministers to many drug addicts. We have been teaching at this rehab center every week We really enjoying doing so and watching the lives of these young men and women change.

Pastor Dmitry and his team have a big vision. They have been talking about opening a center for homeless men. The center will house them, teach them the Good News, rehabilitate them and get them back on their feet working as productive citizens. One of the things we really like about Dmitry and the church is that they are doers, and not just talkers. This last week they opened the new center! It is only in it's infancy but we believe that many men and women will come to know Christ through this center.

We had the privilege of being asked to go to the center for a visit and pray a prayer of blessing over it. The Lord spoke to us and said it will be a house of refuge and healing. This week Karen and I will be purchasing some dishes and other kitchen items for this new center.

In America when we hear about a "rehab center" we probably have a mental picture of a reasonably decent place to live with a well trained staff and nice facility. In Russia, a rehab center is typically a village style house with an outhouse and few other amenities. Here are a few photos of the new "Social Rehabilitation Center for Homeless People".

These Two Guys
live at and will help operate the center
The Outhouse
Walking up to the House
Inside the Small Home
Ten people will eventually live here

The Living and Sleeping Area
We will Teach Bible Studies Here
The Entryway

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Here Is A Fun Article

I just read a funny article about Russia on It is written by a guy while he is traveling on the Trans-Siberian railroad. It sounds so familiar to us. Read it and get another picture of what life is like for us here.

The link is


Monday, April 16, 2007

2 Anniversaries

On the 12th of April we celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary. The Lord has been good to us. We still love each other. We have faced no major tragedies. We have 3 wonderful adult children and 6 beautiful grandkids. We are doing what we want with our lives and love being in Russia. How could we ask for more than that?

We celebrated by going to the ballet! Friends of ours, a Russian couple who are a part of our couple's Bible Study, bought tickets for us, themselves and their daughter and we all went to see "Esmeralda". It was a lot of fun. The Opera/Ballet House is only 3 blocks from our apartment. Afterwards we treated the group to cappuccino and desert at a local coffee shop.

The other anniversary was on the 30 of March when we celebrated our 3rd year here in Nizhny Novgorod! It hardly seems possible that we have been here that long. We have built many solid relationships, seen 1 small church birthed and another one hoped for. We have begun a relationship with an indigenous church planting movement that we believe will lead to greatly increased fruitfulness over the next few years.

Thank You to all our supporters. We couldn't be here without your faithful prayers and sacrificial giving.

School Outing

On the 11th of April we took a 2 hour bus ride to the town of Zavolzha. We had been invited there to give a brief presentation about life in America to several classes of Jr. High students.

After the presentation and a quick lunch we and a select group of the students boarded a small bus and rode to Gorodets, about 20 minutes away. In Gorodets we picked up a few more students and adults and rode into the countryside where we visited a “Holy Spring”, which was located in an area near were an ancient Russian Saint, Nickolai had lived.

The Entrance to the Spring

The Spring

Water has an interesting place within the Russian spiritual and secular culture. We don’t quite understand it but Russians have a reverence and somewhat superstitious belief in the power of water to heal and to cleanse. Russia abounds in “Holy Springs”, sites were natural springs are places of pilgrimage forOrthodox believers. They drink the water, bathe in the water and carry away vessels of water to their homes. Often the locations are related to a “saint” who lived in the area. Presumably the springs were originally places were the saint came for drinking water and over the years they acquired a reputation of being “holy places”. During our visit dozens of people came to drink water and to take water home in jars or jugs.
You Can Bathe Here

We took a quick hike to see the spring, and then came back to the parking area were we had the treat of seeing water for tea heated in an authentic Russian Samovar, a tea kettle which is heated by placing small burning embers and charcoal into a central pipe. The pipe heats the water which is surrounding it in the samovar. You can see the samovar in the 3rd picture below, sitting on the table.

Sharing the Easter Story

Traditional Russian Easter Food
Notice the "Orthodox" Cross

The children and adults had also prepared some traditional Russian Easter food for us. As we stood in the cold wind drinking our tea and eating our snacks several students gave a presentation about Easter, and an woman who is an Orthodox believer told the story of Easter using a Bible and picture book. Unfortunately the presentation was a bit boring and the young teens hardly listened. There probably are better ways to present the Gospel, but this woman was at least trying to do so. Because Karen and I are not “Orthodox” we are forbidden to speak to children about the Gospel in a school setting. Our hope is to build strong relationships and then be able to share about our faith in a natural way, outside of the school setting.


We celebrated Easter with the Cornerstone Church family. The service was loud and joyful as this 1 ½ year old church rejoiced in their Risen Savior. We only took a couple of photos due to a camera malfunction. Michael was asked to receive the offering. When he spoke before the offering he asked those attending “How many of you have had your lives directly affected by this new church?” Nearly the entire group of over 60 people responded with raised hands! This is the power of a new church preaching the Gospel to the Russian people in a relevant way.

These two mothers are reciting poetry, something which is very common in Russian churches. Their lives have been changed by the power of the Gospel.

Sunday’s worship leader singing a special song for the Easter service.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Almost Easter Dinner

It’s Friday evening and we just ended a busy day. This afternoon we hosted 9 first year university students for a pre-Easter dinner. We had turkey with all the trimmings, and apple and pumpkin pie for desert. After eating we played Uno with the girls while the guys talked and played guitars.

The only overtly “Christian” thing we did was to ask a blessing before we ate. We talked a little bit about Easter and asked if any of the teens were going to an Orthodox Church service for Easter. They all answered no, and seemed surprised that we had asked. This is all pre-evangelism as we seek to build relationships with the students and ask the Lord to continue to work in their lives. If nothing else, this at least showed us how they viewed “church and religion”.

Pray with us as we seek creative ways to show the real presence of Christ to these young men and women. We hope to have another dinner with them soon and we have invited them to feel free to drop by and see us when the can. Pray that the Holy Spirit will convict them of sin and drive them to Christ.

Addicts Study God's Word

Studying the Word at the rehab center

We are continuing our weekly teaching at the drug rehab center. Mike began a series of teaching about “Power”:
  • The Power of God’s Word
  • The Power of Prayer
  • The Power of The Blood of Christ
  • The Power of a Consecrated Life
  • The Power of the Holy Spirit

We are also asked a lot of interesting questions when we are with the clients of the rehab. It has been stretching us to keep up with their eagerness to learn, understand and apply God’s Word.

Pray with us that these young men and women will be completely set free from their addictions and go on to live a victorious Christian life. Pray that many of them will become the future Pastors, Teachers and Evangelists that Russia needs