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 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.

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