This is Olga. She is a young woman, 30 years old and was addicted to hard drugs for three years. A little over four months ago she entered the rehab program in the new church plant and rehab center in Balakhna. This new church has about 10 people in rehab at this time. Karen and I visit there almost every week. Olga was overcome by emotion and stage fright, so her testimony was short, but she thanked her pastor for reaching out to her and starting a new center were she could hear the gospel, come to Christ and be set free.
This is Pastor Oleg, he is the lead pastor on the new church plant in the tri-city region of Gorodets / Balakhna / Zavolzha.
Oleg was one of the people celebrating a birthday today. 3 years ago he was a drug addict with no hope and no future but death by overdose. He entered the rehab program in Nizhny Novgorod, graduated successfully and then came on staff at the center. Last winter he and a small team went to Novosibirsk to attend missionary training school for three months. Upon graduation he returned to his hometown and opened a rehabilitation center. This church has not yet established Sunday services, but they serve God in a bigger way by reaching the hopeless and the outcasts of society and giving them hope and a reason to live.
Afterward we had dinner at home with a young couple who are facing the challenges of marriage. We were able to share with them some of the principles that we have learned over 35 years of marriage and give them hope for a lasting relationship.
Tomorrow night we will take the overnight train to Moscow to meet some American friends who will be visiting us and teaching a seminar for women. It will be a busy but time for the next 12 days.
We love the young men and women that we work alongside and have the privilege of discipling. It is such a joy to work here and support the young Russian leaders God has called us to. Every day we thank God for allowing us to be here and serve in this way.