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Friday, February 08, 2008

Here Comes Santa Claus!

I know…it’s a strange title for an article in February, but recently when we visited one of the drug rehab centers to teach, a young guy said something that was both funny and a blessing at the same time. He said, “Michael, you remind us of Santa Claus and here is why. When you come to visit we are always happy, you always bring us the gift of God’s Word and share it with us, and…you have a long white beard."

SO, I guess I am Santa Claus from America. Really though, Karen and I consider it a huge blessing and responsibility to teach these young men and women. It is so encouraging to watch them come into the rehab, give their lives to Christ and begin the process of becoming His disciples. Every week we see changes happening in peoples lives. Every week we see someone graduate from the program and another 2-3 enter the program. What a joy it is to be able to share the riches of God’s Word with them.

The financial support and prayers that we receive allow us to live and work here in Russia. You are truly partners in this work when you support us in any way. Thank you for allowing us to be here helping to bring new life in Christ Jesus to so many desperate and hurting people.

Here are a few things that are happening and a few pictures from our work here

Water Baptism

On Sunday February 3, 12 new believers were water baptized in obedience to Christ’s command. They are all graduates of the Cornerstone Church new members’ class and most are less than 6 months old in the Lord. Here is a photo of those who were water baptized as they receive a baptismal certificate.

New Birth

During the last two Sundays a total of twenty people have responded to the challenge to become a follower of Christ at the end of the church service! Every Sunday, Pastor Dmitry gives an “altar call” and there is almost always a response. The last two weeks were unusual in the numbers responding.

The church continues to grow every week and now averages 150 people in attendance on Sunday morning. This is compared to an average attendance of 40 people per Sunday one year ago. The church will either have to go to 2 services soon or try to rent a larger hall, which is not an easy task in Russia.

We are blessed to have a 4WD vehicle!

We travel down this one lane, rutted dirt road leading to one of the rehab centers

And the we cross this narrow, one lane ice covered wooden bridge. The river below is about 40 yards across, 30 feet deep and 10 feet below the bridge!

We covet your prayers for our safety

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