In the Land of Russia with Jason

November 14th, 2005

“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:20, NASB)

Thanks be to God for His faithfulness and provision, and thank you all who are praying and supporting His work here!

Where should I start? As I wrote before, I seriously think I may write a book someday about the adventures of life and ministry here. There”s so much to write about” ¦ pray that The Lord gives the opportunity to one day put everything into one volume. As Chip, my dear brother in The Lord in Utah, says, ” ˜Serving God isn”t boring!”

On Wednesday (the 2nd), I went to Vladikavkaz to try and get my registration taken care of; nothing is wrong with my visa, but you also need to be registered after arriving. I was, but it’s a long story, and I have to re-register. I’ve gone there several times, but as I said, life in Russia is more than entertaining at times. I went there on Wednesday, but couldn’t pay the lady working there ” “ I had to pay the other lady that I’d spoken to in the past. However, she wasn’t there; I was told that she’d arrive at 2″ ¦ it was 12:30. I informed her that I didn’t have time to wait that long (I had a lesson back in Bes.), so she told me to come on Friday, and she wrote me a note to give to the door-guard so he’d know I could pay. I went on Friday, but of course it turned out to be a Russian holiday, and the office was closed” ¦ the security guard sympathized with me, but obviously could do nothing to help. ! I planned to go last week, but was sick for a few days, and also had to deal with a problem situation here. Please pray that when I go this week, I can get this resolved. ‚   Thanks!

The next day (Thurs., the 3rd), I taught one of the young men (Zaur) who lost his brother in the school massacre last year. I afterwards went to the building where the church meets, and found an interesting situation. One of the young ladies in our fellowship has two twin girls and I think they’re 3 or 4. Anyways, their mother went to a conference for a few days in a different city, and left the girls with one of the young men to watch for that time ” “ and apparently, they’d be staying at the church building. There are beds there, so that wasn’t the issue” ¦ I was just rather surprised to find they’d be staying at the building, and that they weren’t left with a family or something. But I prayed, and decided to help my brother for the next two days in watching them. It was difficult for us, but actually was a lot of fun and a big blessing, at least I know it was for me. The one girl is very calm and easy to watch, and her sister is the exact opposite. Yes, stepping out and going to a foreign country may mean you have to become ” ˜dad’ for a few days, but really, it will be a blessing to you! My brother, Vadim, spent more time watching the one girl, and I spent more time watching the other. On Thursday night as we tried to get them to sleep, they of course didn’t want us to leave the room, so we had stayed up with them for quite awhile. It was very precious to me to hold her in my arms, and see her smile and feel safe. For those few days, Vadim and I helped take care of them, color and draw with them, kick around a soccer ball and try to keep a balloon afloat, and so on. It was fun! I told the girl I spent more time with several times that ” ˜God loves you.’ One time I told her, and asked if she knew that” ¦ she responded, ” ˜Yes,’ and then started to sing the words to a Russian praise song, about Jesus being her Best Friend. It was cute as well, because she has trouble saying S’s and Z’s. I know The Lord was still so pleased to hear her singing!

That Sunday (the 6th), one of the older ladies in our small fellowship brought her grandson to the service. David is 8 years old, and he’s a really nice child ” “ one that you instantly sense is special, and that is immediately likable. His father died 4 months ago, and perhaps that’s why David is at first very quiet. I told him about his Hebrew name and wrote it out for him, which he really seemed to like. I asked if he knew that God loved him, and he said, ” ˜Yes.’ We did some drawing, and he asked me to draw him some pictures. Later that night, I visited the family that has more or less adopted me while I’m living here, and we had a lot of laughs. Though I’m in Russia, the majority of people here are not ethnically ” ˜Russian’ ” “ they are Ossetian, and their culture is quite different then Russian culture. The family tried to teach me some Ossetian dances as they played the garmoshka (very similar to an accordion)” ¦ let’s just say that I’m not a natural! I didn’t learn much, but God blessed me to sure make them laugh” ¦ especially Babushka (the grandmother), who was crying with laughter. Her daughter, Valya, told me that since Babushka’s husband died, she (Babushka) has been so sad” ¦ not even smiling. Praise God that He can use untalented dancers to bring joy to heavy hearts! That night was also special, because one of the young ladies in the family who played the garmoshka, Karina, said she stopped learning that instrument after the terrorist attack last year. It was very special to hear her playing, in light of knowing that. She still plays very well, and was laughing very hard at my attempts to dance.

The next morning (the 7th), I woke up pretty sick, and spent that day and the next mostly resting. But again, our Lord displayed His great faithfulness, as He brought one Valya twice to bring food for me and make sure I was okay. These people have so little, but they give so much. For example, that Monday she came with borscht, bread, rice & fresh milk & butter and told me how to make Kasha, and Vitamin C powder to mix with hot water and drink. The following morning, she brought me a delicious, hot meat-pie. Is not God Faithful? !

On Wednesday, one of the boys I teach English to read through Psalm 33:20-22 in English and Russian for part of his lesson. That night, several of us went to Vladikavkaz and listened to a visiting Pastor from Australia preach. Ed Luther is pastor of Sunshine City Church, and he taught on John 9 and gave his testimony” ¦ praise The Lord, several people (mostly young men) came forth to receive Christ! Ed announced that there was a baptism the following day (at our building in Bes.), and that they needed to come and be baptized (along with around 8 or so of our brothers and sisters). The following day was quite a day of confusion, as older believers from Vlad. came to Bes. and informed our sisters that they weren’t ” ˜ready’ for baptism” ¦ apparently, the ladies ought to be wearing head coverings and dresses, not pants. There was wrestling back and forth over all this over a few hours, and the place became quite a circus. Ed, his friend, and I went to the old school while the others were wrangling back and forth. We talked to two teenage boys inside the gym” ¦ they were from a different school, but said they had many friends that had been in that gym. We told them that there are people in Australia and America praying for them, that we love them, and that we didn’t forget what took place here.

On Friday and Sunday, we had times of discussion and correction over the whole circus that took place here. Please pray for the church here and for me as I serve” ¦ it’s so difficult trying to find out what is really going on at times, and also who you can trust and who you can’t (of course, we can only really trust The Lord, but you know what I mean). ‚   Please pray for me; after being here for about 2 ‚ ½ months, I still have concerns and questions about different things here. Pray that The LORD is glorified in us all, and that He grants the churches in Vlad. and Bes. His grace, mercy, truth, and leading. Please pray also that He’ll give me clear discernment into the issues at hand.

To The LORD our God be all the glory ” “ He begins the good work in His people, and He completes it. All that I am and all that you are is only because of His amazing mercy to us; may we keep that in mind today and always. Glory be to YHWH Alone!

In Jesus The Lord,
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