Tuesday, December 12, 2006

We're in Texas! :)

I can't believe I haven't written in over a month! We had a safe trip from Moscow to Pittsburg - the kiddos did amazingly well so thank you for praying. When my Dad picked us up at the airport he told me the sad news that my Aunt Mary Alice has passed away that morning. She had been in excellent health until 2 months ago when a very aggresive brain tumor was found. I had really hoped to see her one last time so it was a sad trip down to her funeral.

The next two weeks at my parent's house was a wonderful time of enjoying family; especially my brother Matthew's family that lives in Papua New Guinea (missionaries with New Tribes). We had not seen each other in over 4 years so it was quite a wonderful celebration. They now have TWO TEENAGERS!! ::gasp! how did my brother get so old! :):: Their children are amazing and and it was especially fun to see Rachel and Karis together - they are only 18 months apart and were like two peas in a pod. We were laughing when our combined 8 children were together the ages are 15,13,11,9,7,5,3 & 1.. you would have thought we had actually planned it!

Thank you to all who prayed for us as we traveled! It's been very special to be around loved ones.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Please be praying..

Tomorrow morning we will be traveling to America! Yes, I can still hardly believe we are actually going. We had planned to go this spring, but then realized that both Andrei (James' ministry partner) and our friend Chris Brudi would both be gone this spring so it was now or never. I am really looking forward to seeing my brother Matthew and his family - he is a missionary in Papaua New Guinea and it's been 4 1/2 years since we've seen each other... I can't believe I now have a nephew & niece that are teenagers!! So please pray for safety traveling and no sickness for our kiddos. Also please be praying for Andrei and Chris as they have many things planned around the Christmas and New Year's holiday.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Catching up...

Did you ever just have 'one of those weeks'?? The past two weeks for us have brought a burned up computer - thankfully the hard-drive was salvaged!! My wisdom tooth decided to appear knocking my last molar at a 90 degree angle and causing not just a little bit of discomfort.. I was supposed to get the wisdom tooth pulled yesterday but the Dr. was sick so I'm on hold. Please pray as going to the Dentist here tops my list of 'things I never want to do in this lifetime.' A messed up transmission on the van, Johanna finally cutting her two front teeth (can we all say HALLELUIAH!) and quite a few visitors rounded out my schedule. So know you know why I haven't updated the blog :)

But we did get to celebrate our precious Johanna Joy's FIRST birthday!! We had such a wonderful celebration! Of course Johanna could have cared less; but the siblings were very excited and made cards, had a fancy meal to which we invited Andrei & Inna, Summer, Chris & Camilla. Johanna is such a sweetie and I wanted to take the time to write a little story about how we came up with her name.. I actually wanted to write this when we sent out her birth announcement but forgot (sleep deprivation hit early!:)

When I was in my third month of the pregnancy I went to the Doctor to get my thyroid checked. She kept saying that because my thyroid was low I should have an abortion and went on and on about 'you have 3 healthy children, why would you want another?' Later that day I walked over to where we were in the process of building our house; our next door neighbor is an abortion Doctor and his wife in his assistant. The wife saw me walking outside and came out to talk.. she had just found out I was pregnant and went on & on about 'why in the world would you want another child, they are SO much work!!' At the end of our conversation she even offered me a discount at their clinic. I went home that night and felt discouraged and overwhelmed - I wondered did we really have the emotional strength to love and teach FOUR children?!? I couldn't sleep so I got up and opened my Bible to the Psalms - I started to read Psalm 30 which says 'His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, but JOY comes in the morning.' As I sat there reading I heard a little whisper that said to me 'Don't you worry Susan, this one is going to be your Joy-giver.' I was so encouraged that when I told James about it the next morning we decided that if it was a girl her middle name would be Joy.

Her birth was such a miracle and she has truly brought our family abundant Joy! Just last night Rachel had Johanna in bed with her 'cuddling'. I told Rachel it was time for bed, and Rachel smothered Johanna with kisses and hugs and said 'But I just love her so much I want to keep cuddling forever!' God knew exactly what our family needed and sent us precious Johanna Joy as a priceless treasure. We love you little Joy-giver!
With all our love,
Your Adoring Family

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Babushka Nadeshda

Last week the children and I were walking in the woods and kept finding mushrooms that I didn't know the names of (and if they were edible). We found a Grandmother with her knife and basket also gathering mushrooms and decided to ask her... she was friendly and asked the usual 'are ALL these children yours' etc. etc. questions. She talked on and on and told us she had just moved to Nara-Faminsk 10 months ago from way up in Siberia and was very lonely. She then invited us to come to her apartment later in the week for tea. I told her we'd love to but only if she promised just to have *tea* and not fix a meal or anything fancy. She promised over and over to just have 'an apple cake & tea.' So a few days later we all arrived at her apartment.. there in her tiny kitchen she had prepared potatoes and mushrooms, two different salads, hot dogs, pickles and up on the windowsill because there was no room on the table... an apple cake. She just loved having children around; ooohed and ahhed over Johanna while she shoveled three pieces of cake into Caleb. As we visited she began to cry as she talked about her 25 year old son that was killed in a car accident 4 years ago.. he was so strong and handsome and had tried out for the Russian downhill ski team. She said after his death she became so angry and bitter that she drove her husband of 30 years away; she now was alone and terribly sad and lonely. As we left she hugged and kissed the children and thanked us over and over for coming and to please come back soon... 'very soon, I haven't been so happy for a long time.' Later that night I was reading a book by Brennan Manning in which he made the statement 'When we bring a smile to someone in pain, we have brought Christ to them.' Hmmm, his comment really made me reflect on the truth that sure James goes out and leads a Bible study but our entire family right down to Caleb and Johanna can share Christ by being focused on giving Christ-like love to the lonely, discouraged and hopeless people around us. There was a dozen other things James could have been doing that afternoon besides eating hotdogs in a Grandmother's apartment... and yet 'Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their afflection.' James 1:27 tell us. So pray for Nadeshda and the countless other Grandmothers God brings into our lives. Pray for James as he hauls their potatoes for them - that in all things that people will know that we are HIS disciples because we do have love for others.

Here's Rachel in the woods that day feeding sunflower seeds to a squirrel. She was beyond thrilled and now has plans for a pet squirrel.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A trip to the ZOO!

This past Tuesday we had a wonderful trip to the Moscow Zoo! It was a beautiful sunny fall day and we enjoyed every minute. Our friends the Hunsuckers were able to meet us with their two children Jaan & Raia. Caleb & Jaan are only a month apart and I call them the 'Best Buds'. I enjoyed watching them together more than the animals :)

Jaan had just celebrated his 3rd birthday so although it was a bit late we had another cake with candles for him... I asked Caleb to go over and stand beside Jaan so I could get a picture of them together; Caleb got up from seat went over and serenaded Jaan with his own version of 'Happy birthday..' - it was so cute!

Here's Raia (L) and Johanna together - they both have blue eyes and blonde hair and so sweet together!

One thing that struck me was the difference between the zoo in San Antonio - in the States everything is in their *natural habitat* and you can hardly see the animals. In Moscow we were sooo close to the animals with just a concrete valley and simple iron fence. Believe it or not I hardly used my zoom to get this picture.. it was that close! When I was tucking Caleb into bed that night he said the lion was his favorite.

Caleb feeding bread to the ducks

Not the best picture, but I have a picture of Caleb on his first birthday sitting on this same walrus.

Caleb & Jaan watching the monkeys

Rachel thought it so wonderful that Raia was walking already. (she's a few months older than Johanna) She told me on the way home that we 'had to work more with Johanna to get her to start walking.. it's just so fun to walk when they hold on to your finger.' :)

Caleb & Jaan were just tooo cute together in their matching dog hats!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

They're ENGAGED!!

I'm happy to report our dear friend Chris Brudi (we both knew Chris from back in 1995 when we were both single - I was actually friends with Chris' sisters) and the lovely Camilla are engaged! Camilla is from up in Siberia, but has been living in Moscow the past three years working as the translator for Joyce Myers television show. She is an amazing young lady and seeing how God brought Chris & Camilla together just further deepens my awe of God's Sovereignty. They have so many common interests; and yet are such *opposites* in personality that they wonderfully compliment each other. Yes, if anyone needed a 'help meet' it was Chris (hee hee!) and God brought along someone just perfect! We are mainly excited (selfish motivation!) because Chris & Camilla are planning to live here in Nara-Faminsk for about 4-5 months every summer to help do camps & ministry. Please pray for Chris & Camilla as they have many major decisions to make this next week - mainly where to marry; and all the lovely visa paperwork to submit.

In other news.. it's been raining here for 3 weeks now!! I mean torrential rain.. all.day.every.single.day.every.day.every.hour Okay, the kids have major cabin fever but we have gotten off to a good start in school, so yeah for that. Rachel was to be baptized on Sunday, but due to the rain it was cancelled and we hope to have it this Sunday if the weather is nice. Last Sunday there were exactly 40 for the Bible study!!! Poor James doesn't know what to do.. I mean that's a lot of people to fit in a one-room apartment. He and Andrei are trying to figure out a way to have more home Bible studies during the week in apartments scattered around the city - be praying for wisdom for them!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

English Camp

This was the first year to try out an English camp. We decided to have a 2nd camp because after 3 years of advertising and passing out invitation pretty much *everyone* in our city who is interested in studying the Bible has been contacted. So we decided to invite people to an English camp as a way to build relationships and hopefully some time in the future the friends we made would be interested in coming to the regular Bible camp. Our expectations were exceeded!! as one young man Pasha accepted Christ and almost everyone told James, 'make sure and call me next year I want to go to your regular camp.' Praise the Lord!

This is 18 year old Pasha that trusted Christ at the camp. He is from the city of Obynisk - about 45 minutes away so James and seen him only once since camp, but was happy to hear he had been reading his Bible. Please keep praying for Pasha as he is a natural leader.

On the right is 15 year old Daniel and his friend from Tajikstan. Daniel's Mother speaks English and came over to our house for a visit. They had to leave the country of Tajikstan two years ago and have very few friends here in Nara-Faminsk. We were so glad to get to know this family.

Cathi brought so many great books and teaching resources - what an answer to prayer!

Most of the group

When they weren't studying English, there was still plenty of time for games

James celebrating his 34th birthday out at camp

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Changed Lives and some additional photos

The girl in the middle of this picture in the gray sweatshirt is 14 year old Katya. She had been coming to some of the Bible studies this past year, and at camp trusted Christ as her personal Savior.

This is 18 year old Lena who also accepted Christ. She's been faithfully attending the Bible studies. Please pray for her as she has a very, very difficult home situation - an alcoholic mother and they live in a government building.

Micah was a great addition to the kitchen

Making wordless book/gospel bracelets

Cathi from Kansas sharing her testimony. Having help from the States was just an incredible, huge help!! and such an answer to prayer. Be praying people can come over next summer!

James was impressed with Micah's chainsaw skills

Changed lives in the city of Mitayava

Two years ago at summer camp a 13 year old named Julya was saved. Her grandmother lived in Nara-Faminsk, but Julya was from the city of Mitayava - a closed military city almost 2 hours away. The past two years Julya came to the Bibles studies every chance she could; sometimes traveling 5 hours round-trip. (there is no church or small group meeting in her entire city). This past Christmas she asked James & Chris Brudi if they would come out and go sledding and then talk to a group of her friends. James took a van load of youth out to Mitayava and was suprised to see huge brick walls and barbed wire everywhere. He drove through 2 different check-points then to the large *mountain* to go sledding. (it's a grass covered missle silo!! :) Afterwards they went back to Julya's apartment where 20-so of her friends crowded in to hear James & Chris share... James said it was an amazing experience as they were so eager to hear anything about the Bible. James wanted to go back to Mitayava and then found out it is completely forbidden for anyone with a foreign passport to enter the city. The guards at the two checkpoints just assumed James was Russian and didn't ask to see his passport - if they would have know he was in their city James could have been arrested. So unfortunatly, James has never had a chance to go back to do more evangelization in the city. But Julya continued to read the Bible with several of her friends and also handed out invitations to the summer camp - and 7 different youth ended up coming to camp! The neatest thing was that her older brother Eliya decided to come... and yes as an answer to Julya's many prayers her brother accepted Christ as his personal Savior! (picture of Eliya above)

Here is Julya (on the right) again with her friend Lena.

Both Lena and Olga because Christians

Monday, August 28, 2006

Changed Lives - Lena & Katya

This is Lena age 14. Her Dad left the family when she was a baby and she was raised by her Mom and Grandmother. After camp, Lena's Mom decided to give Lena over to the state-run orphanage, so Lena moved just last week to live there. This is the orphanage that James goes to teach an English lesson every week, so we hope he'll have a chance to be a positive influence in her life. We're praying that the orphanage director would allow James to hold a Bible class in addition to the English lessons. Please pray for Lena; she is such a sweet girl but I know the difficult life that she will be faced with at the orphanage.

Here is 15 year old Katya (on the right) and Cathi from Kansas that came over to help. This was the first time for Katya to come to camp, and the first time in her life she had read a Bible and heard anything about Jesus. She has also been faithfully coming to the weekly Bible studies.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Changed Lives - Valara & Alyosha

Valara is 14 years old and lives with his Mother, his parents divorced when he was a baby. His Mom works every long hours and Valara used to spend most of his time hanging out in his apartment entryway smoking and drinking alcohol. On the last night of camp Valara came forward and said he wanted to put his faith in Jesus Christ. Please pray for Valara that his faith and character would grow; he has been faithfully attending the Sunday afternoon and Wednesday evening Bible studies.

The young man 3rd from the left in the hat is 18 year old Alyosha. This year was the first time he had been to camp, and the first time he had ever seriously studied the Bible. The last night of camp he prayed to receive Christ. A few days after camp ended two policemen showed up at his door to search the apartment and ask his Mother lots of questions about the camp. It scared his parents to the point they've asked him not to come to the weekly Bible studies. As disappointed as we were about this chain of events, it is neat to see that Alyosha is still reading his Bible for himself. He told James that the camp was a complete turning point in his life and that he has made many changes in his life since returning home.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Changed Lives - Ksenya's Story

Below is a picture of 16 year old Ksenya or 'Susha' as everyone calls her. This was her first time at camp, and she had never read a Bible or heard anything about Jesus before she came. Micah led her to the Lord one morning and it's a much better story to hear Micah tell it.. so here's part of her e-mail.

Not knowing what time it is I look over at the clock and see that its 6 AM. I immediately thought ok going right back to bed. As I'm laying there I get this urge to get up and read my Bible. But I was so tired so I didn't. About 5 minutes passed and I couldn't go back to sleep. I was tired but it my life depended on it I couldn't fall back asleep. I felt like the Lord was telling me to get out of the bed and read my Bible. So I said ok Lord, maybe you want me up. So I roll out of bed and grab my Bible. I find a log and sit down. I opened the Bible to psalms (random spot) and the first verse I see is "The lord determines the steps of the righteous" I instantly thought ok lord, maybe you have something in store for me this morning. a minute later Susha comes up behind me and asks me what am I doing. Now these kids don't get up until we wake them up so it was VERY unusual for one of them to be up on their own. Especially at 6 in the morning! I say "I'm just reading my Bible, do you have one?" She said no. Immediately after asking me that she asked me if I wanted to have some tea. I said sure. So we went over the the kitchen area and made tea. I felt the Lord telling me to witness to her. I instantly knew this is what God got me out of bed for. I asked her why she was up so early. She just said well, I have a cough and it woke me up. I prayed a quick prayer asking the Lord to give me the right words. As we sat down I looked at her and said "Susha, if you were to die today do you know where you would go" She said no. I said well, you can know. and ya'll it was amazing!!! God gave me verse after verse to share with her. I began really talking to her about becoming a christian and how amazing a life with God can be! Her eyes were huge. I knew she was taking it all in and I was getting so excited! She then said "before this camp my heart was not opened to the Lord, but now its open and I want to ask him in my heart, right now" I about started crying when I heard that! I was amazed that God answered my prayer, and how fast he did it too! To think I was doubting God. God showed himself so strong that morning! So back to Susha... I asked her if she wanted to pray with me and ask the Lord in her heart, with a big smile she said yes. I grabbed her hands and we prayed. Her prayer was so beautiful. As I sat there praying with h er I was so amazed at God. How we plans things...how we allows things to happen to show how big he is. When we finished praying and Susha looked up at me there was something different in her eyes. She looked so much happier. We continued to talk about how God can change a life and how no matter how much sin we come with God can wipe it away. Hearing her share about how she didn't want anything to do with Christ before this camp and how now she wants to live a life with him was so encouraging. We talked for about 2 hours, it was awesome! God taught me so much through that experience. I'll never forget it.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Camp Report

I especially love this first picture.. it's so neat to think that some of these young people had never in their life read a Bible until they came to camp.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Yes we are still alive!

Well it's been forever.. we've had an interesting couple of weeks since camp. First our computer crashed which was so much fun to deal with - I never knew it was possible to have over 1100 viruses on your computer (this is WITH the latest Norton whatever anti-virus protection installed on the computer). So we are back in the world of cyber communication and I really.really.will get camp pictures uploaded.

One thing to pray about - a few days after the English camp ended we found out that the police were visiting the homes of almost every young person that had gone to the two different camps. In some cases the police stayed in their apartment for hours, searched through things and kept asking, 'what did they do to you? What did they feed you? Did you drink anything strange? etc. etc. We spent a tense few days expecting a police visit here at our home, but they never arrived. It has been very frustrating because technically the police are calling the Baptists here in Russia a *cult*, but technically in the laws they are given the freedom of religion etc. So anyway, James tried to talk with several of the parents and every single one was very grateful and thanked James for the camp. We are really praying that the police visits will not deter any of the youth from being allowed to come to the weekly Bible studies.

In family news - Caleb celebrated his 3rd birthday on the 11th!! I can't believe how grown up he is.. such a little man. The kids are doing great. We did have quite a traumatic experience Saturday - James was gone to the Pastor's meeting in Moscow so I took the kids for a walk. We were walking down the sidewalk when we heard a crash - I turned around to see that a large 18 wheeler type truck had gone up onto the curb and struck a baby in a stroller. The vehicle behind the truck just happened to be an ambulance so all we saw was the Mother yelling 'you killed my baby' as she ran with her child and jumped into the ambulance. When James got home that evening I told James I couldn't sleep until I knew if the baby was okay - so James said he'd go down to the hospital and check. (what James does for his poor emotional wife! :) Anyway, he found out the baby had miraculously survived (the stoller was completely crushed under the wheel) with only a concussion and scrapes. James then decided to go to the store and bought them a nice stroller. When he returned to the hospital with the stoller the other visitors had left the room and he got a chance to sit and talk with the parents for quite a while. Anyway, it was neat to see how God turned a traumatic experience for the kids (Rachel especially was very upset about the whole thing) and turned it into a way to share Christ with this family.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Camp Update - INCREDIBLE!

Here's Tabitha doing a craft with the girls

Well James and the four girls (we've nicknamed them the Florida Girls) arrived back safe & sound from camp. They said it was amazing, incredible and God was very much working in people's lives!! Thank you so very much for praying! Everyone was so exausted that they pretty much ate, took veerrryyyyy long showers :) and slept & slept - so I haven't heard lots of stories yet - but will post more later. They had just one day to rest and then on Saturday they headed back out to camp for a five day English camp.

James said he counted 56 different youth that came to the camp (some came just a few days then left). This was more than we were expecting and James was excited to see that many of the youth that came were friends of the ones that got saved last summer. Micah (from FL) did have one incredible story of how she got up early one morning and was reading her Bible when someone came over and starting asking all sorts of questions. The young lady ended up praying to receive Christ with Micah! Cathi from Kansas is flying home tomorrow so please pray for protection as she travels (and Chris as he drives her to the airport). James, the Florida girls, and Summer Baird from Oregon will be coming back tomorrow evening and I can't wait to hear all their stories and see more pictures after they get a good 12 hours of sleep in them. One thing James did have time to share with me was one of the youth came up to James the last night and said 'Thank you James, if you had never come to Russia I would have never know anything about God or had a reason to live.' Just hearing that one little story (for me personally) made all the work and preparation of the last two months just melt away. Just one neat answer to prayer.. one afternoon we had a terrible violent thunderstorm and heavy rain for several hours - I called James to warn him it was headed his way - then the kids & I got down and really prayed that God would not let any rain fall on the camp.. the next morning I called James and he said they saw lightning and heard thunder all night but not one drop of rain fell at the camp during the night (but it rained for several hours in the town only 10 miles away!) Okay I promise to write more soon!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Birthday celebration at camp!

Well today is James' birthday so to celebrate I loaded up the kiddos and two very large cakes and drove out to camp.. what a fun fun FUN day! The kids were so excited to see Daddy again, visit in his tent (so fascinating!) go swimming, get to ride on a boat AND tube, and best of all (for David at least) get to shoot a BB pellet gun! He kept telling everyone he was 'the Lone Stranger'! (in case you don't know who that is.. he is somehow related to the Lone Ranger:)

Please be praying as the camp is going very well, but it takes lots of energy to keep 49 youth fed, learning and occupied. James looked pretty exausted and said that 'he was now officially too old to do this anymore' Ha! Cathi, Megan, Micah & Tabitha have been a huge help and the youth have enjoyed hearing their testimonies and practicing their English with them. Please continue to pray for physical protection and strength, continued good weather, and most of all that God would work in these lives. We really covet your prayers for the next few days!!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

PLEASE be praying!

Okay what a week we've had!! We are used to having everything fall apart the day before camp begins... but when the chaos ensues it's still unexpected - if that makes sense...

Anyway, camp was to begin Saturday morning - late Friday night a terrible storm blew in - the temperature dropped 35 degrees and incredible winds blew four of the tents down. When we woke up Saturday morning it was 42 degrees! and many of the parents were calling concerned it was too cold/wet to start the camp. So James decided to delay until Monday (the weather forcast for all of next week is great!). So Saturday James, Cathi, and about 7 other youth went out to camp to help set up and make sure everything is ready and then camp will officially begin on Monday. (does this make sense?? :)

We have about 42 youth planning on going so please be praying - that is a lot of people to be camping out in tents beside a lake.

Here's a newsletter I typed up and then decided to just send out the regular newsletter in a month with pictures from camp. So, this newsletter has lots of mistakes, run-on sentences etc.. but at least it's information :)

Dear praying friends & family,

Summer and sunshine have finally arrived! Here's an update of the past few months...

Easter Outreach:
The week before Easter James & Andrei spent several days passing out the Gospel of John with a special Easter message on the cover. They spent one whole afternoon talking with a group of ten young men from Armenia about the Bible; they were very open and receptive and thanked them afterwards for taking the time to answer their questions. Two of the young men they met are planning to come to the summer camp. While James was standing on the street passing out tracts he just *happened* to see the Director of the nearby orphanage - the one where we do a Christmas program and give out gifts every year. He had told the Director if she ever needed any help to please contact him... as they were talking she mentioned that some of the older youth at the orphanage really needed help with their English and could James possibly come by once a week to tutor them. So James started spending every Thursday afternoon tutoring and talking with about 11 youth. The first time he went he was walking down the hall of the orphanage trying to find the Director when he heard "JAMES" being yelled down the hallway; he turned around and saw 15 year old Katya that had gone to summer camp last year. When James asked her why she was now living in an orphanage she told him that in January she was very sick and hospitalized for two months. She kept waiting for her parents to pick her up from the hospital but they never came to see her. Finally she discovered they had sold their apartment and moved away and told a neighbor to tell Katya they 'couldn't take care of her anymore.' She had no idea how to even contact them so she was now a ward of the State. When she finished telling James she then added, "When I was laying there in my hospital bed all I could think about was next summer when I could go to your camp again." It made me realize just how much the love and attention these youth receive at the summer camp means in their lives.

A Few Good Men:
One thing we have prayed for was the chance for James to really disciple a few men who could in turn be the leaders of the Bible studies and Youth Center. God has answered this prayer this winter as two young men Sasha - a 22 year old who grew up in an orphanage and was saved three years ago - began to take a more active part and begin seriously studying the Bible on his own and with James. Also Sergei - who was saved at last year's summer camp - told James he wanted to be more involved in ministry and evangelization. Sergei began witnessing to the people he worked with at the factory and also going on Saturday to an orphanage on the other side of Moscow to do a program with a group from YWAM (Youth with a Mission). Please pray for Sasha and Sergei to grow in their faith and become leaders - something that is very difficult for a man to do in this culture.

Prayer Requests:

We've got lots!!
-Summer Camps - July 1st - 10th
- July 13th - 17th (special English camp)
- July 19th - 29th (with Pastor Andrei from Mozhaisk)

-Traveling safety for the team that is coming to help at the camps: Chris Brudi, Micah, Megan, Tabitha and Cathi.

-Spiritual and physical protection for those at the camp. Pray that God will WORK! in these hearts and lives.

-Sanity (!!) and protection for Susan as she home-schools Rachel and takes care of the homefront while James is away. It's of course a non-optional law of the universe that as soon as your husband walks out the door for an extended absence that everything immediately breaks down, explodes or somehow disintigrates in your home. :)

-Please pray that in all we say and do our lives will glorify Jesus Christ. We need such wisdom and feel so very inadequate. I constantly cling to the promise God has given us, 'Faithful is HE that calleth you who also will do it.' We know God has called us to live out our life here in Russia so we know HE will accomplish the endeavors He has put on our heart to undertake.

Our deepest thanks and gratitude to all those praying and giving to meet our needs. I sometimes think about how wonderful it will be in heaven to introduce you to Sergei & Sasha & Katya and all the others who will be rejoicing around the throne of God because of your prayers and faithfulness! May God richly bless each of you!

Grace & Peace,
James, Susan, Rachel, David, Caleb & Johanna Joy

Monday, June 19, 2006

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day again to the bestest Dads and Grandads in the world - how did we ever get so blessed?!?!

Sundays are always a bit hectic; and Monday is James' day off, so we decided to celebrate Daddy's Day today.. We had a long *council* with the kiddos to decide what we should do - they came up with the idea to blindfold James, put him in the car and drive him to McDonald's for breakfast. They whole thing was hilarious!! of course you could do just about anything with a two year old that has any element of suprise in it and of course it's a huge deal :) We went through the drive-thru and then took our egg mcmuffins and had a picnic with them. The whole time in the car the kids made up 'we have the bestest Daddy' songs and sang them at the top of their lungs the entire drive (thankfully McDonald's is only 1 mile away :) We are so so blessed to have such a great Daddy!

We had a beautiful day today and Johanna enjoyed exploring some outside and grazing on dandelion greens - yum! :) Our hearts have been sad lately thinking about Grandad Gorden (James' grandad) He has not been doing well and I keep wishing we could just hop on an airplane and give him one last hug. He's such an amazing person; and I wish our children could have more memories of being with him. When Caleb is working hard washing dishes I always tell him 'Boy you're such a hard worker, just like Grandad.' We love and miss our Dads and Grandad and are so blessed by your investment in our lives! Lots of love and sugar being sent with this blog....

ohh and the other pic - during quiet hour Rachel has been taking Johanna into our bedroom and reading her books - it's too adorable to watch! I LOVE having a child that can read!!!!! YEAH!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Miss Cutie Pie

well I tried to upload pics the other day but it wouldn't work.. so here's some random shots of the boys watching bugs (David's favorite pastime right now) and of course what is more wonderful than a bouquet of dandelions from a sweaty, sweet boy - I would rather have that than 100 roses!! :)

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