Summer Camp Team Report July 18, 2009 Edition

Well, we’re back. The Summer Camp Team has been away at the remote campsite on Sim River since July 4th and returned yesterday July 17th. I’ve been gone a week on my trip seeing as many pastors and churches as possible with Pastor Zhuck. We’ve been away from our home base for a while and needed some relaxation.

We have spent this Saturday catching up on sleep, junk food or ice cream, and relationships. The Usmanovas, Emiliya and Indira’s parents, invited us over for brunch. Stephen was right with his comment; Momma Usmanova could open up a gourmet restaurant. Then after a lot of discussion we went shopping at Kenny’s Mall. It’s not really his, but he had been there and wanted to return. We made a few purchases and decided to go home for the pizza party tonight. Yes, Natalia from Moldova has invited the team over for pizza. We met her at camp. She was another English speaker who was here for the summer on a Missions trip like us. They are looking forward to getting together with everyone. I have to stay back to study for tomorrow. Pastor Zhuck gave me some direction about what he would like for tomorrow. He’s learning that Americans don’t do well at the last minute. They may have other plans for their messages. I have the privilege to take part in the blessing of those who will be baptized tomorrow. This will require some preparation, and frankly I’ve had enough parties and being a guest for now.

I would like to finish this edition of this report by summarizing what we have done this past week. I am going to let the young people tell you about their time at camp. I would like to tell you about one event that they will report in more detail later. Every year government officials visually inspect the camp to check on the safety and welfare of the children. They are to search for violations of the law. (I saw no violations when I was visiting camp on two occasions for a total of three days.) This year the inspectors came twice. The first day, they found nothing wrong. They were sent back the second day and were told to stay until they found evidence against the Camp. Ken was interviewed as the Team leader about our involvement in the camp program. (He did a great job by the way.) The team got together to pray about this. They saw God answer prayer. As the evening worship time began the inspectors were there, and then they were gone. God is mighty and powerful. We are all praising the Lord or in Russian slava boga! I was traveling in southern Bashkortostan during all of this. Nataliya Slobodyan kept Pastor Zhuck informed during the whole process. He would keep telling me what was happening. Once during all of this Pastor Zhuck allowed me to speak with Ken about the team’s attitude during all of this. He kept praising God over the phone about their answered prayers. It was comforting to me to watch spiritual growth in the Team’s faith. It was a faith building experience.

It was great for me to visit pastors and their churches. I took pictures of them and their buildings for our Prayer Partner Booklet which is out of date. I was entertained and fed so much. Pastor Zhuck and I couldn’t eat everything they put in front of us. It was hot this week, and we traveled in a car that lacked air conditioning. The humidity was quite high for the temperature. We finally asked them not to serve hot tea and hot soup. I hope we didn’t offend the cooks. I think Pastor Piotr smoothed the way concerning this. I traveled 2500 kilometers or 1553 miles visiting over 20 pastors and missionaries. I saw a beautiful countryside. Small and large farm operations are in full swing. Villages have small animal operations of cows, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, ducks, geese, etc. There were also large herds of cows for dairies. I saw many fields of grain—wheat, corn, barley, rye, oats, and buckwheat. Sugar beets and sunflowers round out the crops. We drove through rolling hills, over rivers, and through beautiful forests. Pastor Zhuck and I along with Ivan our translator who pastors the church in Octabrysyia encouraged the pastors and their wives. We saw how they lived, heard their aspirations for their congregations, and empathized with their setbacks in ministry. It is a great privilege to be allowed to join the head of the Baptist Union of Bashkortostan as he visits his churches. I trust that we were successful in our encouragement and exhortation. May God use it as we evaluate what is next for the Coalition as we partner with our brothers here.

I must close for now. My dinner is waiting and I must prepare my heart for ministry tomorrow. Keep praying for us. We are thankful for our time to serve God here but are looking forward to coming home.

Submitted by Bud Haskell

Northern California Coalition Leader

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Summer Camp Team Report July 6, 2009 Edition

I’m sitting in the room rented for visiting pastors at the Office/Hotel and can smell the preparations for lunch. It’s a Monday morning after a rather busy Sunday. I’ve got the window open hoping not to attract too many flies, bees, or mosquitoes (those dreaded blood suckers).

Before I account for my day, let me cover the bit of news I have from camp. Indira was with them Saturday and told me a few things. Emilia will be with me today and give a more detailed report. These two sisters are great translators. They are sweet young ladies who love the Lord.

Indira related the account of the team’s arrival at camp to me. They traveled to the facility on Friday in two vans. The translators were in one and the Team in the other. It’s important to the story to understand one had been rented for only three hours. The gate was locked when they arrived. So, Indira being as petite as she is just hopped the fence and found the buildings were locked as well. The team began to haul their large bags of luggage over the fence. It was quite an ordeal to get it all into the camp. A young man came up while they were grunting and groaning. He had been in the banya. He said that the caretakers were out for a walk and would be back. He had thought they left the main building unlocked for him. Of course, after the rented van was gone and the team was situated in camp, the caretakers arrived. Indira and I laughed. That’s how the ministry goes not always smoothly, but the job gets done.

She also reported that the team seems to be doing well. The first day, they were still feeling the effects of jetlag but now are functioning well. They were busy preparing for the arrival of the children on Monday afternoon, which is today.

Please pray for Ken. He has some allergic reaction to bug bites, and these wonderful created creatures have found him with a vengeance. They seem to do that. Mosquitoes will leave others alone to fall prey on their tasty victim. Mom, please don’t worry. We are taking the steps to take care of him. He’s trying not to scratch the bites. God will sustain and protect him through this trial.

Sunday, Zhenya the Camp Director, led the Worship Time at camp. He’s one of the pastor’s in Ufa with a heart for young people. He’s also a Goodman Heating & Cooling distributer and installer. (He and his friend another Zhenya will install the heater in Uchali.) This was plan A.

Emiliya just arrived and gave me plan B. Ken’s better today. Zhenya stayed in Ufa leading his church. Ken preached twice and led the singing. Another words, God used him as a complete worship leader. He brought messages on James 3 about the tongue and I Cor. 12 concerning how God uses the spiritual gifts in the church. Emiliya said he did a great job. Praise the Lord. That’s so awesome. I can’t wait to see him tonight to encourage him.

She also reported that it has been raining a lot at camp over the weekend. Everyone is cold and wet. It has made it difficult to prepare lessons. However, this bothered Stephen, so he went onto the roof to try to patch it with plastic.

Keep praying for our Team. God is sustaining them through these trials. I can’t wait to see them tonight. I kind of feel like their surrogate dad for these few weeks. I am concerned about them and love them though I don’t know them very well. That’s what is so great about the Body of Christ. We are brothers and sisters in the Lord. What a great relationship that is. We all will spend eternity together with our Heavenly Father. That is a great prospect for us.

It appears that I will be arriving to camp about 9 pm tonight the Lord willing and the car is running. We are waiting for Pastor Zhuck to change the oil in his car. That means I have time for a nap, packing, and writing this report.

I just had lunch with Arkady. His English and my Russian are improving. We understood each other. Of course, we have sign language and a phrase book to help us. Also, he had to call Emiliya for some help in translation. Hey, there’s ice cream in the fridge too.

Now, I would like to report about yesterday. Indira and I had a glorious day serving God in two churches. It is wonderful to depend upon the Holy Spirit to use you ministering to others. God grace covers obstacles and difficulties. It was great to witness this again. Our goal is to be partners not prima donnas and the star attraction. We are to serve and not be served as we follow our Lord’s example. Our role is to help, encourage, and challenge our brothers and sisters in Bashkiria. We aren’t necessarily the experts. We should not have the attitude of being know-it-alls. I also need to tell you that my file of sermons was left in California. All my notes are home. I was planning to have a variety of sermons from which to preach here in the churches. Through my mistake and God great sovereignty I see He had a better plan than I. Oh, I forgot to tell you that I had last Sunday’s sermon with me. It’s a two part message, so I actually have two with me. Also, I remembered another from Romans 6:11-13 that I can do off the top of my head, and I brought Milton Vincent’s book “The Gospel Primer for Christians” that is a great resource besides being a devotional for me.

We started our day being taken with Arkady by taxi to the White River. We crossed the bridge you can see from the window in my room at the Office. There’s an nice beach there we used. They baptized five people today at the White River across the bridge you can see from the Office window and down a ways. There was a grandfather and his grandson along with three women. One of these was a gypsy. (There seems to be a great need for ministry amongst them.) This took place an hour before the morning service. Probably thirty people were on hand to witness this wonderful event in the life of the church. They sang some songs, Arkady read Scripture, and Leonid baptized the five candidates. They were dressed in white and the women had on head coverings. Leonid was dressed in a blue robe.

On the way back Indira and I caught a ride with Daniel Zhuck, Pavel’s son. He lives with his father at the Office. (Some of you don’t know that Pavel is Pastor Piotr’s brother. At the fall of the Soviet Union, he received God’s call to be a business man to support the local church while his brother was called to be a pastor. God has used both men well. Pavel owns the Office. It’s used for ministry and business as a office building and hotel. He has a kitchen staff of a cook and helper to provide meals for those using the building. The meals are tasty (R. kosh-ka) and nourishing. It’s not a restaurant with an elaborate and extensive menu, but it suits it purpose very well.

The service started late. The choir had to practice, the sound system was not prepared, and Leonid had to change. Leonid’s daughter ran the sound board, played piano for the choir, and sang in a trio. This seems to happen to all of us from time to time when you add something to the routine. They received the ones baptized into their church by praying over them (these prayed as well), Leonid preached about the importance of living a holy life before God & serving Him, later honored them with flowers and recognition, and gave them communion before anyone else. After my sermon, they had communion. Arkady and two other deacons assisted Leonid. Leonid prayed for the bread. Arkady prayed for the cup.

While Leonid was speaking, I was trying to figure out how to change last Sunday’s sermon to fit into this situation. I asked the Holy Spirit to fill Indira and I to accomplish this task. God guided me to give the plan of salvation and challenge the unsaved in the congregation to repent. (My title was “The Unpopular Prophet” from Luke 4:16-21.) Indira and I sat down with a sigh of relief. We both were amazed at what God had done. It was God speaking through us not ourselves. She told me later that she had not interpreted since last February and felt a little rusty. She had been focusing on her University studies in St. Petersburg.

After the service Leonid invited me to his new home. They are trying to build it in the American style. It houses he and his wife with apartments for his three sons. I hope I have the privilege to do so before I leave.

I also had the opportunity to talk with Andre Dzuba. He had been the pastor of the Ufa Baptist Church. There had been a split there. He is currently seeking to plant another church in Ufa.

Since Arkady’s wife Galina and there children were at camp, Indira and I went with him to Mado’s restaurant across the street for lunch. It serves Turkish styled food. I was able to order food that fit somewhat into my diet (more vegetables with less carbs and protein). Then, it was nap time. Praise the Lord for Sunday afternoon naps. If you don’t have that habit, you’re missing out on a great refreshing time. It makes it easier to serve God during a long Sunday.

On Saturday, I was told I would have the privilege to go to Ufa Baptist Church where Emiliya, Indira, and their parents attend. I had the impression that I would be preaching their too. I had spent some of my nap time going over the Romans 6 sermon. I was disappointed when I was told that I couldn’t preach but would be able to speak 10 or 15 minutes sharing about the Antioch Initiative. I remembered that it wasn’t about my personal disappointments but encouraging the brothers and sisters in their ministry. With that attitude, I had a great time. I was able to leave them with the challenge of reminding themselves of God’s work of the Gospel in their lives. Some of the congregation came up later to discuss my comments.

Sergei Interesov had a great expository sermon from Galatians 5:26-6:5. He tended to be long winded as we would say, but it was a very biblical message. Through the Holy Spirit’s guidance my talk and his sermon went together nicely. He exhorted them to live biblical, holy lives.

Indira’s mom, Gizelle brought dinner to the office for me. It was great to talk with her. She has influenced her daughters in their pursuit for the English language. She could be my interpreter anytime. She feels her English language skills are waning due to the lack of practice, but given the opportunity, they don’t completely go away.

I must conclude this report now as I pack for camp. I trust you understand these reports are rather first draft in their nature due to my schedule. Thanks for overlooking typos and grammatical errors. Microsoft spell and grammar check are good, but they don’t catch everything. My schedule is demanding and changes often due to the circumstances. Short nights and long days do not help the clarity of the mind. Thanks for praying for us. God is doing a great work here. It’s wonderful to partner with these precious people. I realize I’ve given you a lot of details, but my hope is that it will cause you to pray more accurately for us. Please remember this trip is a shared venture of ministry with you. We as a team are your representatives in Bashkortostan. We have been sent by you and God to do the His work in place of you. We are in this together. Thanks for being our partners with our Bashkiria brothers and sisters.

Submitted by Bud Haskell

Northern California Coalition Leader

Summer Camp Team Report July 4, 2009 Edition

Happy Fourth of July! This is a very significant date to an American. It’s the celebration of the birth of our country, but here it’s a normal day. That leaves me kind of a flat, however, the celebration is in my mind. I am proud to be an American and have the freedom to minister in other countries. When we are obedient to God to obey the Great Commission to go and preach the Gospel, this sometimes trends on our own celebrations. They have to be laid aside to follow God’s will, but that doesn’t keep me from seeing fireworks in my head.

I have not heard from the Camp Team today. This afternoon Emilia told me that the Bible teachers are taking more time preparing for the lessons. Our team has a secondary but very important role due to the language barrier. They are to show affection to these love starved children and serve the camp in any capacity possible. They are in charge of the crafts as well. Today, they have been preparing their craft projects. Matt has been practicing friendship bracelets since he arrived in Ufa. He’s pretty handy with twine and rope as well.

HPIM1663My quick trip over the Ural Mountains into Asia was very profitable. I have more pictures for the Napa construction team of the church building in Uchali. They have come along way from that garage I saw a few years ago. The heating unit is there and will be installed the week we leave Ufa (sometime during July 20-25). The well has been installed, and the water is being used to irrigate Nadir and Lena’s garden. They had to bring in fertile soil for this project. It will serve them for years to come. The wall board has been installed in the sanctuary. They have new front doors, and the yard has a temporary fence. I was reminded again of the Lord’s provision for their paved road. It was installed for the new Orthodox Church and the new Mosque down the street. The Baptist cult had to be included by God’s providence.

I was fighting the effects of jet lag still last night. I had to surrender to its power since I was nodding off to the children’s movie. Just as I closed my eyes for the last time, I heard an unusual sound outside. It was the Muezzin’s final call to prayer for the day from the Mosque. I was reminded again of the great spiritual battle taking place here. So many have had their eyes darkened by religion. They need the Savior to forgive their sins and cleanse them with His righteousness.

By the way, I observed several Bashkir cowboys at work as we traveled to and from Uchali. They use whips and horses to get the job done. Their saddles don’t look to comfortable. For the cowboys in the group it appeared to be a wooden framework with a pad over it. There didn’t seem to have much leather on it. I still prefer the old western saddle any day. I think the horse would too if he or she knew better.

HPIM1666On the way back we stopped at Alexei Bikov’s home for lunch. He’s a quiet sort who intently loves the Lord and desires to serve Him. We talked about their ministry, their goals, and their children. Also, we sampled their honey. One of their son’s is doing this business. We visited David out in the field as we drove to Ufa. It is great honey. I ate a lot of it. Their second son is in the army for his required year of enlistment. The oldest has an embroidery business. Yes, I saw the machine he uses and his finished product. It looked great. All their children are involved in the ministry at Beloresk. They humbly serve the Lord. Alexei is discipling their future church by working with the teenagers. He should me the book they are using.

Another highlight of my trip involves my translator. Mark Slobodyn went with me while Emilia, Indira, Nastia, and Marina were at Camp preparing for the children coming next week. I have watched this young man mature over the six years I’ve been to Ufa. He was an awkward twelve year old the first time. But God has been preparing him for ministry. He has a heart for God. There is still much work to do in his life. God is not finished, but it great to watch the Lord work in his life. Mark is not ready to translate preaching but handled conversation very well. I will have more experienced translators as I preach in the pulpit and when I visit the other pastors. Mark will be at camp working with our young people. He is very excited about this prospect.

Well it’s nearing midnight and I want to be ready for the Baptismal Service at 8 am tomorrow morning. This is bye-bye for now. I hope to write another tomorrow night. I am supposed to have Indira as my translator tomorrow. She will keep me posted on the happenings at Camp.

Submitted by Bud Haskell

Summer Camp Team Report July 2-3, 2009 Edition

6693_1171845612495_1118663356_517159_4418466_nHopefully, this is the first of many reports. I have taken a Summer Camp team of eight young people to minister in the Baptist Union Camp outside Ufa. They represent three churches of the Northern California Coalition three guys and five girls. Four have been here before. Ken and Melissa are leading the team at Camp due to their age and experience. Of course, each one has been recommended by their pastor and supported by their church.

It’s fun going with college students. I have learned how to deal with light on the plane when I try to sleep. Sleep masks cause my face to itch. But if you sleep wearing sun glasses, you beat both problems. Thanks Stephen for that lesson.

I’ve started the team learning how to make balloon animals. They are taking to it very well. Of course, the activity breaks down with shooting the broken balloons at one another. We finally had our first official team meeting with me. That’s not the way we would like, but circumstances dictated this arrangement. I am impressed with these young people and see God’s hand in his choices for this trip. We seem to be jelling well as a group.

At two we’ll have lunch and then tour the city with Nastia. Emiliya, our regular translator, is busy registering us. The government is quite strict in reporting where foreign visitors are in their country. We hope to exchange money for rubles and buy a guitar. Maybe there will be more shopping as well. We will return for dinner at the Office at 7:00 pm.

Tomorrow the Team will head to Camp and will make preparations for the children coming on Monday. Our young people are excited about this prospect. They are ready to serve the Lord.

However, I will go to Uchali to visit Nadir’s church. We’ll stop in Belorisk as well. This trip will take me into Asia over the Ural Mountains. Then, we will return Saturday, to witness a Baptism Service The House of Prayer on Sunday. (This is the largest Baptist Union congregation in Bashkortostan located down the hill from the Office.) On Monday we will arrive with the Children at Camp. I will update you later about my journeys through Bashkortostan.

Now, I am writing Friday morning. We’ve had breakfast, showers, and have packed for traveling today to Uchali for me and Camp for the team. One group has gone to the market to buy water and supplies for camp. Ken will be going to buy a guitar for camp. I have discovered that I left some files at home. I have two expository sermons with me. I will have to do some from scratch. My wife Bonnie, is helping me find the other one at home and will scan and send it via email. Praise the Lord for the use of the internet.

6693_1171846932528_1118663356_517190_2287809_nWe had a great walking tour yesterday. I’m glad I had some days walking three miles every day I was on our Michigan vacation before I came. Ufa is very hilly just like the terrain near my in-laws home. We saw the White River and some parks along one of the banks. Then, we went to two banks to exchange our money. It was quite a sight twelve of us standing in and around these establishments talking in English. After we had some rubles to spend, we went to MacDonald’s. It was too busy, so we walked across the street to Mado’s. It was much quieter. Can you guess what we ordered? Yes, you’re right. It was Pepsi and ice cream. I tried to be good and only water without gaz (carbonated water) but there was an extra Pepsi and chocolate ice cream. Well, you can’t let that go to waste. I passed on the Pepsi but devoured the ice cream.

Ken and Melissa are doing a very good job leading the group. They don’t need me for the day to day function of the team. I’m the emergency outlet and advisor. That suits me just fine.

Some of the team is having difficulty switching their body clocks. They tend to want to sleep when they should be awake and be awake when they should be sleeping. After our walk yesterday and our dinner, most of the team took a nap from 8 pm until 1 am. Then, they were awake. They’ll get it.

Thanks for praying for us. God is blessing and going before us through the Holy Spirit’s power. You our family and friends are in ours.

Submitted by Bud Haskell

Ladies Conference – Part 1

russai-pictures-2009-rod-wednesday-451At first they said, “Maybe about 40 ladies will be coming.”  Next they said, “We should prepare for about 70 ladies.”  Well, the conference hasn’t begun yet and we are all making changes and rearranging rooms for the ladies to stay the night as the latest count is over 100 ladies and more phone calls are coming in.  Praise the Lord that Gini and Renee have already been able to connect with some ladies and built a relationship.  Also, I shortened my teaching from 5 days to 4 so that the men could all return home and be sure that they relieved their wives to attend the conference.  One man, Nadir, lives about 5 hours away.  He returned home and his wife will be traveling 12 hours by bus to attend the conference.  Ivan is returning home, a four hour trip, picking up his wife and four ladies and returning to Ufa.  These are the kind of stories that are taking place – the men are rising to the occasion.  So, please pray…and here are some ways that you can:

1.  For Gini and Renee – that God would use their preparation and minister through them in whatever way He wants to.  For freedom to allow the Holy Spirit to take over, for strength and endurance to keep up with the women.  For wisdom as they are asked questions.

2.  For Emilia, our interpreter, who is the coordinator of the whole conference.  She has been buzzing around making sure that all things are in order.  Pray for her strength, stamina and leadership and that in all of this she can be a learner too.

3.  For the Ladies in attendance – that they would be encouraged and strengthened in their faith and embrace the message being given through their American sisters.

We need your prayers…!

Tuesday’s World

n506333118_1262336_2624Tuesday was a great day of ministry as the team broke up into two teams to serve the Lord on different fronts. It all started out badly as there was some miscommunication about breakfast…we were told that it would be at 9:00 a.m. but it was actually at 8:00 a.m. and we all missed it, so Rod began his teaching unfed. Thankfully, Marat, one of the brothers, left the building to get the basics of a typical Russian breakfast: Bread, cheese and sausage (like a salami and/or bologna). The team ate heartily with some tea of course, and Rod managed to grab a couple of pieces during one of the breaks.

After lunch some of the team left with Valantine to visit some Babushkas that are shut in. They were able to be an encouragement to them. Later in the afternoon the team left for the street kids ministry with Natalia Slobodyan, which meets at the Good News Church pastored by Piotr Zhuk. Many of these kids will end up in prison as they have no skills, education or ability to work, so they steal and eventually are arrested. Valantine who works in the prison ministry is saddened to see so many of them end up there and prays that somehow they can help teach and train these children as well as share God’s love and some food. It is always amazing to me how much these brothers and sisters love those that are hurting and in need.

Rod’s class ended up to be somewhat pleasantly controversial as we discussed many things related to preaching and subjects that are difficult to preach on. Here are some of the topics we discussed:

n639844530_1342623_2657 Church Discipline – they were encouraged that at our church we were willing to be obedient to Matthew 18:15-17 and we discussed the attitudes necessary in the process (they tend to be harsh) and what it means to “deliver someone unto Satan for the destruction of their flesh.”

Calling something sin that is not clearly identified as sin in the Bible – Drinking alcohol, which they would say is a sin, yet they use alcoholic wine for their communion (that was an interesting discussion), Smoking, Dancing, the use of drugs, etc. It was a healthy discussion and they all understood that these are “wisdom issues” and for us to draw a line in the sand, although making life simple, is not being faithful to what God’s Word teaches.

Unity – we talked about the need to unite in love even when there are some doctrinal differences in our churches. Sadly, there is a growing divide on Calvinistic and Arminian lines which is causing great conflict in the church. It was great to hear the men talk through this with the differences all being represented in the room. We talked about the need to allow freedom for each other to do ministry as God had called them and to work hard at not being divided or emotionally driven when they disagree.

russai-pictures-2009-rod-wednesday-457In the evening Rod had the opportunity to visit a leaders Bible Study with Surgei Interesov who is the pastor of the First Baptist Church and where Emilia, our interpreter, attends. This church is made up of many former drug addicts, especially ones who have gone through the Rehab center. Many of the me are sick and have HIV, yet they are so hungry to be God’s church and are getting ready to embark on a study through the book of Ephesians because they want to learn what it means to be God’s church and to do church God’s way… They peppered me with questions for two hours and it was great fellowship around the table and with candies and tea.

Please pray for us. Today will be a long day. The team will travel to Sterlatimak, a two hour bumpy drive, to spend many hours with those at the Rehab Center and then will visit at Surgei Loshak’s church in the evening, returning home very late at night.

Rod will be teaching and immediately following dinner will be hosting a seminar on the Basics of Biblical Counseling.

So, it will be a full day. Rod is still struggling with a fever (which usually creeps up in the evening and causes pain in his legs). Please pray for endurance and for God to be glorified.

God bless…

Very Manured on Monday

So, Monday was for many on the team a day to catch up a little from the business of Sunday, but Rod’s class with the Pastors started at 11:00 a.m. and all the team were introduced and shared a little about themselves.  Then, after lunch, they had the opportunity to visit a little of the town of Ufa, do a little bit of shopping and seek to get ready for the rest of the week.

n506333118_1255620_3439Rod taught from 11:00 to 6:30 with a break for lunch in between.  Realize, however, that our Russian friends love their tea and biscuits, so every hour or so they take a break to refill their mugs and stack up on cookies.  The class is going well, with about 25 men in attendance and more to be coming today (Tuesday).  Rod is teaching on “Preaching on Difficult Issues” and there is an eagerness for the discussion on these issues.

In the evening most of the team either relaxed, did school work (yes, some of our team are taking on-line classes and are able to submit assignments while here – technology at its best) worked on the women’s conference, but most of all prepared for this coming busy week.

n506333118_1255685_4029Both Kenny and his mother, Renee, were asked to work with the street kids tonight.  Only two could go as they were going to go find the children in different hiding places so taking the whole group would have been very difficult.  When I see Ken & Renee I’ll get an update and share their experience with you.

Here is our schedule for this week:

Tuesday – the Team (less Rod) will be working with the street kids ministry through the evening while Rod teaches from 9:30 until 6:30 followed by a Bible Study at First Baptist Church of Ufa in the evening.

Wednesday – The Team (less Rod) will travel to Sterlatimak and visit the Rehab center where Chris has been asked to teach three Bible lessons, Gini will be speaking to the young ladies and Steven will also share a Bible Study.  This was a highlight of our trip last time so everyone is excited to go.  It will be an all day event – leaving early and returning very late.  Rod will continue to teach from 9:30 until 6:30 followed by a seminar on Biblical Counseling at the Central Church.  Many of the churches will be present for the seminar.

n506333118_1255682_473Thursday – The Team will be serving with the street kids again and Rod will continue to teach from 9:30 to 6:30, however, this will be his last day of teaching as the men will need to return to their homes so that they can watch the children as their wives come for the ladies conference which begins on Friday.

Friday – The Team (less Rod, Gini & Renee) will be taking the street kids ice skating and will be gone most of the day.  In the evening at 7:00 Gini and Renee will begin the ladies conference.  They will have a nice meal and a time of games and then Gini will teach.

n506333118_1255681_5721Saturday – The ladies conference will continue until about 5:00 p.m. after which the team will all head out to the rehab center in Sterlatimak again for an evening service.  They will all stay at Sergei Loshak’s home and serve in the Sterlatimak region the next day, being divided up into two teams.

So, as you can see…we are going to be busy.  My goal is to keep you as informed as I can, but understand we are all very busy and eager to be involved in ministry…

We love you all and appreciate your continued prayers for us.

About the title:  We found out in one of the testimonies that the word for encouragement is very close to the word for manure…so, we have all embraced a new word and are seeking to manure each other all week long!!