Thursday, August 18, 2011

Camp Update!

We are so very thankful for your prayers for the summer camps ~ God did amazing things and was at work in so many people's lives. I was reminded again that we can plan, work hard, organize but it's only the power of God that can give hope, forgiveness and a new life. The first camp we had 30 youth and seven people repented. At the second English camp we had 50 - 55 people (some came just for a few days) and 14 people repented. We were very thankful that almost all the youth were new contacts ~ had not been to previous camps or Bible studies at the youth center. We were also grateful for the way God provided teachers for the English camp. This was the first year we didn't have a group from the States come over and God provided some wonderful teenagers from Moscow whose parents are missionaries. They did a fantastic job with the English lessons and were such a blessings. I personally was encouraged to see their maturity and willingness to help ~ it gave me hope that maybe, just maybe missionary kids can turn out *normal* ::wink:: Here are a few pictures and stories.
James in one of the morning sessions
Preparing three meals a day in the middle of the woods can be quite a challenge. Very thankful for the cook God provided.
Capture the flag is always a favorite
Chris Koepke from Kerrville, TX came over for the month and was a big help
This is Alina ~ her story was neat because she comes from a great home where the parents are Christians and have been praying for her for years. She did not want to come to camp and be around 'boring Christians' but finally decided to come.. so great to see how God worked in her heart!

These two brothers Dima and Anatolli (^ and below) were great to get to know. They come from a very poor family and had never read the Bible or heard about God. Both of them repented and have been coming to the Bible studies at the youth center since camp ended.

The young man in the orange flowered shorts is 16 year old Vitya. The week before he came to camp he overdosed on drugs and had to be rushed to the emergency room. He repented and after camp James was able to take him out to a Christian rehab center for a 2 month stay. So exciting to see the change in his life!

These are two of Rachel's best friends ~ Olga on the left and Sveta on the right. Olga went to camp last year and has been several times to Bible studies at the youth center. During the first camp she prayed to receive Christ. The next day I was out at camp and she came running up to the car to tell me what had happened and asked me if I could take her to the Christian store in Moscow after camp was over to buy a Bible. Rachel was thrilled as she has been praying for Olga for almost three years. Sveta also prayed to receive Christ and James has been able to get to know her parents and witness to them through camp.
This is 19 year old Katya ~ she repented at the second camp. Later after camp was over she came by the youth center and told James how it was a like a battle was going on in her soul the entire time until she prayed. She said she would never forget the peace that has come into her life and how grateful she is she learned about God and now has a Bible to read. She comes from a very tragic home situation with no father and an alcoholic Mother.
When we first moved out to Nara-Faminsk eight years ago and had our very first camp in this area we had an 18 year old girl named Lena come... oiy was she a trouble maker! She smuggled vodka in and got drunk and James was on the verge of sending her home when he said he felt strongly 'no she's the one that needs to stay.' At the end of camp one person and only one person repented... Lena. She went from being an alcoholic, angry, rebellious teen who regularly went to the Satanic church to walking in truth and light. The change in her life was dramatic to say the least! She ended up going to a Christian university in Moscow and marrying a super Christian husband. Lena and Vitalya were a fantastic help during the camp ~ shopping, hauling water, cutting wood, sharing Christ and always investing in the lives around them. Such a blessings to see their lives!

the kitchen
I'll end with some pictures of our kids enjoying camp ~ Johanna is part fish and would stay in water all day if she could
David LOVED the rope swing
and playing with the boat
And here's James ~ I told him once he turns 40 he can't do stuff like this

I can't put into words how much we appreciate those who financially gave to make this camp possible, and to those who prayed. God answered in a great and mighty way and we give all glory to HIM! Thank you for your investment in the lives of Russian youth.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Update & Prayer Requests

Greetings from the Beairds! It's that most wonderful time of the year... CAMP! Camp started on Friday; please pray for safety, protection and that God will work in hearts and lives over the next week. It's a much smaller group than we've had in the past ~ only 35 youth, but we're excited that almost all of them have never been to camp or the meetings at the youth center. It's the first time many of them have ever read a Bible or talked about God and James said the small group Bible studies are going great.

Two weeks ago our city was celebrating it's 150th anniversary and had a big city day. We took the kids to ride some carnival rides and were walking around the center of town when a young lady came running up to James.. 'James, hi it's me Ksenya!' A girl who had gone to camp three years ago was walking around with her beautiful little daughter. Ksenya doesn't live in our city and was just here visiting relatives. Three years ago she decided to come to camp, but the week before found out she was pregnant. Her Mom took her to the clinic and made an appointment for an abortion as soon as she returned from camp. During the week out at camp Ksenya ended up repenting and went home a new person.. she got home and told her parents she couldn't have the abortion. When we saw her she told us all that God has been doing in her life the past three years and said 'if I hadn't gone to your camp my daughter Anna wouldn't be alive today.' It was such a huge blessing and encouragement to us to realize that yes it's worth the time, effort and energy to invest in these lives and to share Christ with these young people. Eternity is at stake. Please pray for these young people to personally know God and have a relationship with him that will change their lives.
Lunch time
Practicing for the evening singing
Christopher Koepke, the son of James' cousin in TX, came out for the month and has been a huge help! Here he is with David & Caleb
The rope swing is always such a big hit!

Thank you again for all you do for our family and blessing us in so many ways!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Christ is Risen!

My most sincere apologies for not updating this blog sooner. We arrived back in Russia on March 22nd and I promptly got sick.. that plus jet lag and trying to get school going again and I have been doing good to keep my head above water. :) Rachel's prayers were answered and we had plenty of snow awaiting us when we returned. Here's a picture of Caleb enjoying a snowball fight ~ and in case you're wondering yes this was taken in April.
Today was beautiful warm and sunny, I looked out the window to see Johanna in the back yard with no shoes, short sleeves playing right beside our still unmelted snow banks. For our kids SUNSHINE = bare feet, regardless of what the temperature reading is..

However we have finally adjusted and back to living life in Russia. James is leading Bible studies on Wednesday and Sunday, and teaching in the orphanage every Thursday afternoon. He was very encouraged this past Thursday when quite a few students hung out for several hours after the regular lessons were over to *just talk*. Oh man I can't describe it in words but these 20 - 25 young people mean so very much to our entire family. Pray that they will meet Jesus and have their lives changed. Their life situations are so tragic and hopeless and they are wanting answers for their life questions.

Tomorrow is Easter here in Russia. I love this celebration and we've had a wonderful Holy week with Rachel catching her hair on fire lighting the lent candles, special readings, seder meal, cleaning the house (Russian tradition, but it's a good one) and making traditional Kulitchkee Easter cakes. Please pray for our service tomorrow and then tomorrow night at 7 pm we're having a special bonfire and meeting and inviting lots of young people who normally don't come to the Youth Center.

Johanna made no bake cookies and formed them into little 'nests' complete with jelly beans for eggs and a marshmellow bird on top. She was so so cute carefully making each one and then carrying them down the road on a plate to all of the older Grandmothers on our street.
A few weeks before we returned from the States our very dear friend 'Baba Luba' died from cancer. We lived in the same apartment building for several years and she was a such a gift to our family and became an adopted Grandmother for our kids. She had BRIGHT red hair, was so loving, kind, generous and very, very funny. This is one of my favorite pictures of her and her sister Luba (head scarf) peeling apples in our back yard with Caleb and David. They came over and spent the entire day helping us make apple sauce.
She made me fish head soup after Caleb and Johanna were born, and every single year the week before Easter she would come and spend the whole day with me and help deep clean the entire apartment/house. I remember once after we'd worked hard all morning cleaning windows I told her to take a break and fixed her a peanut butter and honey sandwich. She had never heard of or tasted peanut butter and her reaction was hilarious.. she told me I was trying to kill her like those sticky mouse traps you kill mice with. :) I've thought of her so much this past week. I've thought of the times we shared Christ with her.. she would always say 'oh it's a wonderful story, but I'm just too old to believe that. My whole life I was told God didn't exist and I just can't believe He actually does.' My heart has been broken this week as I think of our city of 100,000 with no Protestant church and no one telling the children 'YES you were created, and the Creator God who made you has a purpose for your life!' This is why we're here. This is why we so desperately need your prayers. As we all celebrate the new life we have in Christ please remember to pray for those who have never heard . Thank you so very much for all you are doing to allow us the privilege of living here.

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