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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunday In Nizhny Novgorod

It's Sunday evening and I wanted to do a quick post.

Church was a lot of fun today. Because of my travels I haven't been to a Sunday service in three weeks. I was warmly greeted by many people and everyone asked how Karen was and when she would be back.

One interesting side effect of being a little bit better in the language is that a lot of people think that I understand more than I do. They then feel freer to try and speak to me, and assume that I understand them. This forces me to listen really closely and to speak much more than before. All in all it's a good thing.

There were about 90 people in church today, an all time high. The church continues to grow and the attendance shows it. This is unusual in the summer in Russia, as so many people often spend the entire summer away from the city.

The church is also growing by conversion. Today eight people prayed a prayer of repentance at the close of the service. The drug rehab work is flourishing also. More than a dozen people have graduated this summer from the first three months of the program. Today 3 people entered the program, and all of them will probably become followers and disciples of Jesus over the next 3 months. Karen and I will have the privilege of teaching them over those months.

The rehab work here is having a big impact for the Kingdom of God. We have a need for $10,000 to $15,000 to purchase a small village home for a permanent center. If you would be interested in helping with this please email us at

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Two Weddings and a Conference

I recently returned from an extended trip visiting Kristalny Goose and then on to Novorossiysk, a city in southern Russia on the coast of the Black Sea. In Kristalny Goose I attended the wedding of Sasha and Ksusha Lukmanov, friends of ours, whom we walked through pre-marital counseling this summer. The wedding was a lot of fun and Ksusha was a very beautiful bride.

Here is a picture of the newlyweds

The day after the wedding I made my way to Moscow and then went by train, for 36 hours to Novorossiysk. The purpose of the Novorossiysk trip was to attend a conference of indigenous Russian leaders gathering for fellowship and teaching, and to visit several brothers from Nizhny Novgorod who are now staffing a rehabilitation center outside of Novorossiysk.

Me, with Pastor Sergei
Sergei is the Apostolic leader of the
Cornerstone Churchplanting movement
and a good friend

Here is another good friend!

The conference was good, featuring the teaching of several Russian church leaders. We also had free time to swim and sight-see every day. There was a conference picnic where we had a cookout and played volleyball. The time was both beneficial and fun for all involved. Pastors and leaders from as far away as Siberia attended.

One of the conference meetings
The conference was held in a tent on the grounds
of the local drug rehab center

A conference picnic was held here
on the shore of the Black Sea
It was close to 100 degrees outside every day of the conference

We swam in the warm waters of the Black Sea every day

I also attended the wedding of the pastor's daughter while in Novorossiysk. It was well over 100 degrees the day of the wedding
Ira and Dmitry

After 10 days in Novorossiysk I took a very hot and tiring 45 hour train ride back to Nizhny Novgorod. I am happy to say that I traveled over 2000 miles for 15 days without the help of a translator. I stayed with Russian families, road trains and buses, was shaken down for a bribe (which I didn't pay) and crossed an international border. It was a good and fun experience and I made a number of new friends and contacts. This trip was an experience I will treasure for a long time.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Leaving On a Slow Train...

It is Saturday afternoon August 4, and in about two hours I leave for an extended trip. The first leg of the journey will be by train and bus as I travel to the town of Crystal Goose, about 300 kilometers south of Nizhny Novgorod. I will be attending the wedding of Sasha Lukmanov and his beautiful bride Ksusha. Karen and I had the privilege of leading them through pre-marital counseling this spring.

After the wedding I will take another bus to the city of Vladimir. I will overnight in Vladimir and from there I will take a train to Moscow. From Moscow I take a 36 hour train trip to Novorossiysk.

I will be attending a conference of pastor and drug rehab leaders for several days and then I will visit the church and rehab center in Novorossiysk. There will also be some time just to hang out with some young Russian pastors and have fun together. Several of us will return to Nizhny Novgorod on a hot, slow train in August. Despite that the relationship opportunities are great and I am looking forward to much language practice as I will be without a translator for most of the trip.

I will post several stories and some photos when I return on August 18. As you read this post I would ask that you pray for our safety on this trip. Traveling in Russia without a translator and by myself is intimidating.

If you have Skype phone service on your computer, you can send me an text message at +79601794984 . I won’t be able to respond to Skype but it’s worth a try.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Theology Book Printed and Delivered

We have finally taken delivery of 1000 copies of the book, Foundations of Pentecostal Theology. The pastors who have received copies so far are thrilled with the book. They say it is a much needed resource for the Russian church. At the Russian national Foursquare Conference this fall we will distribute these books to churches and pastors. Thank you to Foursquare Missions and all who helped with this project. It was a great team effort which will bear fruit far into the future.

Foundations of Pentecostal Theology
Russian Edition
Copies of the book awaiting distribution

Russian Missionaries Commissioned

On Sunday the 29th of July, Cornerstone Church commissioned two young brothers to go to the city of Novorossiysk, where they will begin a drug rehab with another church. We were able to present these guys with a guitar for leading worship at the new center. The guitar was a gift from a brother at Grace Capital Church, Concord NH, one of our supporting churches. A house group from GCC took the responsibility to send the guitar to Russia…thanks everyone! The guitar is a blessing to the people of Russia.

Yury (with the glasses) and Ivan are former addicts themselves, having come to Christ less than a year ago. Karen and I have had the privilege of being a part of teaching and discipling these guys for the last seven months. They graduated from the local rehab center and have been working as staff members there, helping others find Christ and gain victory over their addictions. They are both friends and really great guys who are radically committed to serving Christ.

This is an amazing story of God’s grace as these guys have gone from a life of crime and addiction to new believers then leaders and missionaries in less than one year! Pray for them as they begin this new work. Over the next year we will see dozens of people come to faith through the work these brothers do.

Yury - Me - Ivan

With their new Guitar

Pastor Dmitry praying for these new missionaries

Drug Rehab Center - Siberia - Achinsk, Russia

Drug Addiction Rehab Center
Located outside of Achinsk, Russia
Standing with a several pastors
and brothers who are currently in the program

The Game Room
This center is large and they have a lot of space
notice the ongoing remodeling work
The Women's Dorm
The Dining Hall
The Kitchen
The large garden
In an effort to be as self-supporting as possible
The center grows much of it's own food

My Siberian Girlfriend :-)

Center for Homeless People - Siberia - Achinsk, Russia

The Center for Homeless People
This building was gutted, without a roof, plumbing
or floor when it was purchased
Repair work underway
New Bathroom
Men's Dorm
Four Russian Pastor, my friends

Prison Rehab Center - Siberia - Achinsk, Russia

Rehab Center for former prisoners
Pastor of the Center (middle)
One of the dorms
A New Arrival - just released from prison
Dining Hall