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Monday, November 24, 2008

Skowhegan Maine

We spent our weekend in beautiful Skowhegan Maine, a town of about 9000 people situated on the Kennebec river in central Maine.

We were the guests of the Central Maine Christian Center pastored by Jeff and Laura Gurney. This church is always fun to visit. They are also very special to us as they were the first church to invite us to speak as intinerating missionaries, and the first to commit monthly support to our work.

Karen Speaking in the Service

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Counting the Cost

Karen and our youngest grandchild
Kenzie Mariah McDonald

Karen and I love being missionaries!

We love Russia. We love the Russian people and we feel very much at home in Russia. We miss our friends and our apartment and our daily life in Russia whenever we are in the U.S.

With that said there are some costs to being a missionary:

  • Cultural Stress
  • Loneliness at times
  • Feeling different almost all the time
  • Being misunderstood in a foreign culture
  • Being misunderstood at times by those who support you and send you
  • Felling inadequate for the task
For us, however, it is a big thing to leave our families behind. We see our children and grandchildren at best once a year. I have family in Indiana that I haven't seen in four years. We have one grandson that we have not seen in two years.

We are not complaining. We would not trade our work for anything. We don't want to be living in America at this point in our lives. We have counted the cost and we think IT IS WORTH THE PRICE!

The Bible says in Luke 18:29-30

So He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life."

We see people come to Christ nearly every week. We see lives changed by the power of the Gospel. We see people who make good decisions when we give them counsel. We are enjoying being spiritual parents to so many young, new believers.

We believe that the best thing we can do for our children and grandchildren is to wholeheartedly serve the Lord in the ministry that He has called us to. We are leaving them a rich spiritual heritage by our obedience to the call of God on our lives. The price is small compared to the rewards we reap now and we will continue to reap for generations and into eternity.

We want to say thank you to all of you who pray for us and support us as we live and minister in Russia. we couldn't do it without you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Visit to Charlestown New Hampshire Foursquare Church

Karen and I drove to Charlestown, New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon to be the guests of Life Fellowship, the Foursquare Church of Charlestown. . We love driving through the northern New England countryside. On Saturday evening we had dinner with several couples from the church, including Mike and Carol Gibson who lead the Missions ministry of the church. We then spent the night at the "Dutch Treat" bed and breakfast.

On Sunday we spoke at both the 8:30 and 10:30 morning services of Life Fellowship. We love visiting this congregation. They are a fun, friendly church and they have a great vision for reaching their community and for being involved in world missions. Pastors Dave and Cindy Grasso have a great team of people and the church has experienced significant growth in the last several years.

After the morning services we had lunch and a question and answer time with the missions fellowship of the church. Later we dropped by the home of our new friends Moe and Faya. Faya was a Russian immigrant who has lived in America for 8 years and has her American citizenship now. They were wonderful hosts and Faya treated us to a wonderful snack of Blini (Russian pancakes). As the sun began to set we got into our car and began the two hour drive back to Massachusetts. All in all in was a great weekend. Next weekend we will be in Skowhegan, Maine.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Foursquare Church Leadership Conference - Northern New England

Karen and I attended the Northern New England Foursquare Leaders Conference last weekend. The conference was held at Grace Capital Church in Concord, NH. We had a great time of friendship, fun seminars and worship.

Karen and I shared in the Missions Track seminar on the topic of "The Power of Patience - Acclimating To a New Culture". We also had a display table to inform people about our work in Russia. Time was spent re-connecting with many friends as well as meeting new friends.

We came away from the conference energized, spiritually uplifted and with a full calendar of speaking engagements. We will be in a different church every Sunday for the next four months as we travel in New England, Colorado and Pennsylvania.

Pastor Peter Bonanno Opening the Conference
Karen as she receives her
5 Years of Licensed Ministry Award
Excellent Worship by the nearly all girl band
from Charlestown NH Foursquare Church

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Books for Russia

One of the ministries that Karen are are involved in is helping resource good books for the Russian Church.

Recently we worked with Agape Books of Nizhny Novgorod and Foursquare media to produce a Russian translation of Doing What Jesus Did By John and Sondra Decker. We also introduced Pastor Daniel Brown to Agape Books. Agape worked with Daniel to produce a Russian edition of his book Enjoying Your Journey With God.

While we were in Sochi Russia last month it was a joy to see these books as well as another book we produced, Effective Prayer for Non-believers distributed to Russian pastors and leaders.

Jeff Roper FMI European Supervisor with new books

Books to be Distributed

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Church Last Sunday

Karen and I are visiting America now and will be in the U.S. for 5 months. The last Sunday of October we attended our home church in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. The service was great. Pastor Dima preached a really good, Biblical sermon about pressing on toward spiritual maturity.

The church after plateauing during the summer is growing again. Sunday's attendance was 175, a new high. We had testimonies from two brothers who were graduating from rehab. Our children's group has nearly doubled and 8 people came froward at the end of the service to repent publicly and pray. Here are several photos.

Children in Church
most of these kids
have parents who are now former drug addicts.

Two New Graduates

Yuri, on the left entered rehab 6 months ago. Karen and I drove him to the center. He was high, sick and could hardly walk or speak. Today his is a new, radiant believer, re-united with his wife and young daughter
Those who repented publicly in the service on Sunday