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Thursday, October 29, 2009

First Nations Team - Orphanage Visit

Yesterday, October 29, we took two members of the First Nations Team to visit a local orphanage. This orphanage is a special needs orphanage. The children here have been removed from other schools or orphanages because of behavioral issues or handicaps.

Cheryl Bear and Tawnia Carrier shared native songs, dance and stories with the children

The staff treats these children as if they are their own and the kids are very well behaved and seem to be reasonably well adjusted.

The orphanage is always underfunded and can use clothing and other items such as yarns, and embroidery threads. If you have any interest in helping, send us an email to

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Russian Women - Drug Addicts Set Free by the Power of the Gospel

Here are a few photos of some of the young women who are in the local drug rehabilitation centers operated by Cornerstone church. These young women range in age from 18 to 27 and all were addicted to heroin. They entered the rehab with little hope of ever being free from drug addiction, but through the power of the Gospel they have been set free.
'Pastor Michael,' surrogate dad

The rehab program consists of two 4 month sessions. During the first four months the rehabilitant is not allowed to leave the facility. If they do so they are out of the program. During this four months they are in a daily program of Bible reading, prayer, group study, work and character development.

When they graduate from the first four months they then continue the program living outside the rehab, in a group home for one week where they continue group learning and work in the outreach program to those who are addicted. The opposite week they live at the center acting as mentors and small group leaders for the people in the first four month program. In doing so, they learn to apply basic discipleship principles and become pastors of a small group.

After graduating from the second four months there is an optional third course of four months. Those who enter this step become senior leaders. They run the day to day operations of the center and report to the supervising pastor. Upon graduation from the third step of rehabilitation, often a small group of leaders decide to attend missionary training school together.

At the school they learn the basic skills needed to church plant and to start a new rehab center. Upon graduation from school they will then move to a new city, open a rehab center, evangelize drug addicts and plant a new church. The Cornerstone Association of Churches has done this now about 60 times. They are one of the fastest growing association of churches in Russia.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cheryl Bear & First Nations Team in Russia

The Barnestson Family
ministering in a local church called "The Vine"

For the last week we have had the privilege of hosting a team of Indigenous, First Nations people from North America. Randy and Cheryl Barnetson, their three sons and two other women have joined us and are ministering in local churches, rehab centers and will be presenting several evangelistic outreaches.

The team has already spoken at two churches, a drug rehabilitation center and done one evangelistic outreach with a team of Russian church planters.

For the next 10 days we will all be busy sharing the Gospel through First Nations culture, meeting new friends and learning about Russian life and culture.

Cheryl Speaking at the local Messianic Congregation

The Barnetson Family ministering in Song

Pastor Evgeny Blinov local Messianic Pastor

Cheryl and her boys rocking out at an evangelistic outreach

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Foursquare Leaders from Holland Visit Russia

Ministering in Song

Ap and Anita Verwayen, Foursquare leaders from Holland, recently visited us in Nizhny Novgorod. Karen and I helped to facilitate the publishing of their book, The Art of Marriage, into the Russian language and Ap and Anita decided to present a marriage seminar in conjunction with the release of the book.

While they here we also had the opportunity to take them to several of the ministries of Cornerstone church where they taught and ministered.

Ministering at the Seminar with our friend Anya

Teaching at the Homeless Center

with our Co-worker Sveta

Praying with a Young Woman as she repents and comes to Christ

This homeless man, now living at the Social Center also repented and submitted to Christ

Karen, Sveta and Anita praying for a sister

Teaching at a rehab center

Praying with a former drug addict

Praying for one of the leaders, Dima, a great young guy

Group photo at the rehab center

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Another Russian Adventure.

Today while showing Dutch friends a bit of our city we seemed to have parked in a no parking zone and as a result our car was towed away by the police! This was distressing as we had friends whom we needed to be with, it was raining, and we needed to take our friends to teach at a marriage seminar in just a few hours.

Having never had our car towed before we had to call several Russian friends and ask what to do. We were told that first we needed figure out which lot our car had been towed to, go to the storage lot (by bus), identify our car, prove that it was ours with multiple documents and then we would receive a piece of paper from them. We would then have to cross the city to take this paper to the central police department, show them all our identification, passport, drivers license, car documents, etc. and they would complete some more paperwork, stamp it with an official stamp, we would of course pay a fine, and only then could we return to the storage lot and present this paper and retrieve our car. We apologized to our friends and showed them how to walk back to their hotel and off we went to find our car.

We had an idea where it may have been taken so we took a local bus to the general location, but had to walk for a while trying to find it. It was amusing when I stopped one young man and said, "excuse me, I am a foreigner and I don't speak Russian very well, can you help me?" He laughed and said, "I don't speak Russian very well either." He was from one of the southern provinces himself and wasn't a native Russian. We asked several people on the street to help us and finally found someone who knew where we needed to go and so off we went again by foot.

We found our car, received the necessary paperwork and then had to find a way across town to the central police station. It was evening rush hour so we decided for the sake of expediency to hire a taxi. The driver was a nice guy and interested that we were Americans. He drove us across town and when we arrived he said to us that he would wait for us and then drive us back to get our car.

At the police station I asked one young police man to help me and he just laughed and asked for my documents when he realized my Russian was terrible. After reading everything and asking me where I was from, he took us into the station, gave our papers to someone else and said, "wait here." In about 10 minutes another guy came out, handed us the completed paperwork and told us we could go. No fine, no payment, no trouble. We were surprised.

So, back in the taxi and an amazingly quick trip across town during rush hour we got to the storage lot and the taxi driver says, much to our surprise, that he would wait to make sure we got our car. The reason we were so surprised is because in this culture strangers simply do not help each other. The storage lot manager was another nice guy helping us to fill out all the forms (Russia loves paperwork) and then asked me to sign my name and we were free to go.

We were astonished. In a country that thrives in bureaucracy and making life unpleasant for its inhabitants we were able to retrieve our car in a little over two hours and didn't have to pay any fine for the towing. Life in Russia is always challenging, sometimes stressful and then you get some really interesting breaks as you see the favor of God working for you. So, happily, ended another Russian adventure.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Teams, Books and Baptisms

Tonight Karen and I will take an overnight train to Moscow. Tomorrow morning we will meet some friends, Ap and Anita Verwayen who are Foursquare leaders from Holland. They have authored a book, "the Art of Marriage," which we helped to get published in Russia.

Ap and Anita are coming to Nizhny Novgorod and this weekend they will teach a seminar for believers based upon their book. We are looking forward to this time.

On Sunday at church we had 15 people receive certificates of baptism upon completion of a course, and then obeying the Lord by being water baptized. Most of these believers are brand new in the faith. It is exciting to watch the church continue to grow.

On the 15th of this month we will meet another team in Moscow, Randy and Cheryl Barnetson, their boys plus two other ladies. The Barnetsons are coming to Nizhny Novgorod to evangelize using native Indian culture and music. It promises to be an interesting time.