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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Another Rehab Success Story

With My Friend Oleg,

Oleg is another rehab center success story. Oleg is from Moscow. His brother became a believer there and began attending church. He became concerned about Oleg and his drug addiction problems, shared the Gospel with him and told him about the rehab center here in Nizhny Novgorod. Oleg came to the Center last winter, graduated from both three month programs and then served several months on staff.

Karen and I were privileged to be a small part of those who taught, discipled and mentored this young man. Oleg is now moving back to Moscow to join his family. He has a wife and a young son. He has hopes to enter Bible school and eventually enter the ministry.

This is another wonderful testimony of the grace and mercy of God. A family was rescued and reunited. The power of the Gospel has changed another life. The ministry of the rehab center is changing peoples lives on a daily basis. Please pray with us for the needed funds to open another center and provide a permanent location for this ministry.

Ministry and Pollution - Dzerzhinsk Russia

Outside of the "Chemical Palace"
Dzerzhinsk, Russia
The city auditorium, so named because of the
chemical plants of the Dzerzhinsk region

Our family lived in the city of Dzerzhinsk, Russia for 19 months in 1994-96. We knew then that the city was considered highly polluted. The city is nicknamed "The Chemical City" because of the local chemical manufacturing plants in the area. We noticed a lot of unusual illnesses and even most of the pigeons had birth defects! It still surprises us, however, when we see that the city is still listed as one of the ten top polluted cites in the world.

Here are a couple of interesting links about the city and it's pollution problems.

Even today we live only about 30 miles away and Nizhny Novgorod draws most of it's drinking water from the Oka river, which contains pollutants from the city of Dzerzhinsk. The drug rehab that we teach at is actually located within the territory of Dzerzhinsk and they use local well water for all of their drinking and bathing needs.

So, when you think of us and those we minister to, pray for our health and protection from the pollution in this area. Also pray for us as Karen and I have actually been talking about the possibility of moving back to Dzerzhinsk and opening a rehab center. We have friends in the city administration and we will be asking them to consider donating a building to be repaired and used as a rehab center. Obviously we will need to take into account the pollution issues as we consider this possible move.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Rehab Center Growth Crisis

This week I taught at the rehab center operated by Cornerstone Church. I am in the middle of teaching a series on “New Life in Christ”. It is gratifying to teach at the center. Every week we see the dramatic changes that are happening in these young men and women as they come to Christ and begin the walk of discipleship.

It is always interesting to me when I hear about the impact that our teaching and relationships have in these brother’s and sister’s lives. Two of the staff told how our friendship had impacted them and how they appreciate the time we spend with them discussing personal issues and helping to mentor them as they serve the Lord. It is important to remember that the simple things we do and the little things we say can have such a large and enduring impact upon people.

The center is going through a crisis. The drug addiction problem in Russia is immense and Nizhny Novgorod has a large drug sub-culture. As news of the center and its’ success in helping addicts gain their freedom becomes known more and more people want to enter the program. Last week more than 25 people asked to be placed in the center.

This is a good problem but unfortunately the center just doesn’t have any more available space. The center is housed in a small village house on the edge of the city. The house consists of 4 small rooms and has no indoor plumbing or running water. The largest of the four rooms is about 15’ x 15’ and the other three rooms are about 7’ x 10’. The church decided that 20 people was the maximum number of people who could live at the center, but recently the staff said that they would all be willing to sleep on the floor if 25 people would be allowed!

The Rehab Center
A small house with no indoor plumbing

So now, there are 25 people living together in this small house! Another issue is that this house, which is currently being used rent free, is for sale. When the house is sold the center will need a new location.

Dinner at the Center
8 People sleep in this small room
the largest room at the center

Karen and I are praying for the provision of $15,000. With this amount we could purchase another village house and do some basic furnishing. We would then open a separate center which could house some of the overflow as well as new rehabilitants who are entering the program. Please pray with us for the following:

  • Continued success for the center as it effectively works with the addicted
  • A new location – rent free – which will meet the needs of the current center
  • Finances to purchase another location to open an additional center - $10,000 - $15,000 needed
  • Plans to open a regional center in the city of Kristalny Goose, about 300 miles from Nizhny Novgorod.

If you or your church would be interested giving a financial gift toward the opening of a new center please contact us via email at

Rehab Success Story!

Below is a photo of our friends Alexei and Olga with their son. Eight months ago Alexei was a drug addict who had made a real mess of his life. He and Olga were not married but had been living together for several years and had one child together. Alexei was tired of the drug life and when he heard about the rehab center he decided to give it a try.

Over the next few months he gave his life to Christ and began the road to recovery. His mother and father also became believers. Alexei is now drug free, a radiant believer and back to work.

When I first met Alexei he had questions about his relationship with Olga. She was not a believer. I encouraged Alexei to begin praying about the situation. I suggested that the Lord would probably want him to legally marry Olga and provide a family and home for his son. He seemed torn by this but agreed to pray.

About six weeks later Alexei came to me and said that the Lord clearly spoke to him that he was to marry Olga! Olga began attending our home group and in a short while, on a Sunday morning at church, she made a public confession of faith. The next month Olga was water baptized and shortly thereafter the couple married. They will be attending our home group for married couples this fall.

Alexei, Olga and their son
at church after a prayer for the new marriage