home again...seeds were planted.
We had a cold, warm,
and wonderful time in Russia. Our desire for snow was
answered! Did you know snow is cooooooold? We were
grateful for safe travel as we spent so much time on the roads
in snow and ice.
For those who did not get our email from Russia...
We had an uneventful flight, those are the best kind.
started with a visit to the home for the Street Kid Ministry
of the Vine Church. The apartment is a wonderful home for
three children. There are two young women who share their
time as house parents. The pastor who heads up this
ministry was there to meet with us. We were touched by his
compassion for these lost kids.
how the youngest boy, Alosha,
had told him he did not understand why they only had second
hand clothes. Why couldn't they have new clothes like the
other kids. The pastor said,
"Let's pray about it." They did. Not knowing about
Alosha's prayer, a Treasures'
supporter sent a check saying, "Meet a need". We received
the check and ask God what He would have us to do with this
money. Within minutes, Vitaly's
email came saying Pastor Victor shared the need for winter
coats for these kids, could we help? Pastor Victor did not
know about Alosha's prayer. We
also did not know about Alosha's
prayer. We emailed right back...yes,
buy them new coats and boots! It melted our hearts as we
were able to tell Alosha, God
had heard his prayer and answered it by sending help from
the other side of the world.
were preparing to leave for Russia, another
Treasures' family gave us money and said, "You will know the
need when you see it." So, what else could we do, but take
them shopping for new Spring
clothes? They had a great time picking out
their NEW outfits!
Victor and Annya came to the
hotel to visit with us. We talked about our desire to find
a place for the Barskoe kids to
go after they leave the orphanage. We are hoping the Vine
Church can help us start an apartment for these kids, so
they will have a safe place to live and go to school. They
were very interested.
years ago, one of our Treasures' friends helped Pastor
Victor start a TV ministry. He purchased video equipment,
computers, etc., to make videos for Russian Christians. A
seed was planted. Because of that seed, Pastor Victor was
able to do something no one in this region can do, produce
Christian programming. He was so thrilled to tell us...TBN
and CBN are giving him 2 satellites and studio
quality recording equipment to broadcast Christian
programming 24 hours a day, to the entire Vladimir
region!!!! This is an investment over $1,000,000 that has
been provided FREE!!!!!! Can you believe how God multiplied
the seed? Again, our vision was smaller than God's plan!
remainder of the day has been spent getting ready for our
Easter party at Barskoe. All
our "boys" came by tonight to help put the Easter gift bags
together. AND, Max spent his time helping us get on line
from our hotel room...no small task! Our task would be so
difficult without them. These young men are a
treasure, please pray for each of them and their wives and
& Alyona and son,
& Katya and their baby, due
driver, Andre...he is not a Christian, but we are praying
we will reach him one day!
We started the morning very early, making all the purchases
needed for the Easter party at Barskoe. We were joined
by Vitaly, Max, and two of the dental team kids from the
Vine Church. We traveled to a bulk food market where
we purchased chain saw supplies, 300 eggs for the kids to
decorate, and 50 loaves of bread. The open market was
our next stop to purchase fruit for the kids. Each
child would have a banana, apple, and pear. Hope our
dentists noticed...NO CANDY! See, you can teach old
dogs new tricks.
Director Alex only called 3 times to make sure we were
coming. The new director for the Suzdahl school
district had come to meet us. He had been a history
teacher for 18 years. We were able to share our hopes
for the next year:
- daytime restrooms,
- a woodworking shop to
teach the kids and a cottage industry,
- bee hives to teach the
kids and supply them with honey,
- playground equipment,
- basketball court,
- a safe home for girls when
they turn 16.
They have had several broken
pipes this winter. When Vitaly sent us photos of the
conditions of the pipes, we talked about re-piping the
orphanage. Just so happens, that was on Alex's
"desire" list. So, when the ground thaws we will begin
the new plumbing.
On to the party! Harold
wanted the kids to have peanut butter and jelly
sandwiches...he sliced 30 loaves of bread while Vitaly
peanut buttered and Stephanie jellied. They ate like
they had never had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches...OH,
they haven't! Each child was given fruit and a bag of
gifts, including a toothbrush, toothpaste, beautiful cross
necklace, Bible bookmark, rubber stamps.
While the kids went off to
class, we gave the workers the seeds and tools we brought
with us. Howard went to visit the workshop to find out
what we need to get them a working shop. Teaching the
kids woodworking skills will be great opportunity.
They can also make the needed repairs around the orphanage
and sell furniture to help fund the school.
The house parents were given
the opportunity to ask us questions. They had some
very interesting questions. It was a relationship
builder and we hope it helped them understand us crazy
We finished just in time to
travel to Dr. Sergey's home for dinner. He could not
believe all the medical supplies we had been given,
thousands of dollars of supplies, instruments, and uniforms.
Each one has the opportunity to save the lives of the tiny
babies he cares for. The computer at his hospital had
just broken, we were able to purchase a new one for Dr.
Sergey and he would give the hospital his old one.
The day ended with a fresh
dusting of snow.
We visited the director of the
Baby House. Her husband had just passed away and we
wanted to pay our respects. We were happy to learn he
was a believer. She needed to share her loss. It
was a sweet time for all of us.
We picked up the Vine street
kids and finished shopping for tennis shoes and jeans.
We returned to the hotel just
in time for the dental team get-together. The hotel
gave us a room to meet...what a surprise when we saw how
many teenagers came to meet us! Pizza and cake for
everyone. The dental program began in January,
teaching the kids at Barskoe to brush their teeth and use
the fluoride we sent in. Oksana, one of our
translators, is teaching them self-esteem classes. She
invited the youth at the Vine Church to join her, little did
she know just how many would catch the vision! There
is now a waiting list for each visit, they go 2 times a
After our meal, we talked to
the team about being our hands and feet to minister to the
kids at BG. We appreciate their enthusiasm and
faithfulness. The kids have all kinds of friendship
ideas for their visits when the self-esteem and personal
hygiene classes are over. Then the most wonderful
thing happened, they began to share what this mission has
meant to them! Isn't that just like God, you just
think you are doing something for someone and YOU get the
blessing. Their depth of understanding and compassion
was astounding. God has used our relationship with the
Vine church and Barskoe Gorodische to put a Russian church
and Russian orphans together.
The party broke up about 10
PM and we moved our "big kids" Vitaly, Alyona, and Max up to
our room. It was a precious time, we are always
moving so fast on these trips that quiet time is a treasure.
God has blessed our mission with young, bold Christian
helpers. If one day the door closes for us, they are
being trained to care for our kids.
God has placed on Alyona's
heart the need to teach the girls at BG who they are in the
Lord. Most of these girls never had a woman to teach
them Godly principles about how to behave as a lady with
dignity and modesty. Her father is a pastor and her
mother has given her the gift of core values of a Christian
woman. We encouraged her to take a bold stand in this
direction on behalf of these girls.
The snow stopped long enough for
us to make the 3 hour drive to Moscow. It was a
beautiful sunny day, PTL.
We had one last shopping trip
to complete. Our translator, Losha and his wife Katya,
are going to have a baby. They have prayed many years
to have a child. In Russia, pregnancy is kept at home.
They do not have clothes available for pregnant moms.
These young men are so sensitive to our, Stephanie and
Donna's, health needs, this is a small way we babushkas have
been able to care for our translators (our boys) by helping
their wives with maternity clothes and baby needs.
Losha needed a baby bed, so we went shopping at Ikea.
WE SLEPT LATE.
Oleg, our Voronezh partner, arrived to spend the afternoon
with us. We had brought computers for Anna Boys'
Prison and medical supplies for Dr. Natalia. We
fellowshipped over dinner, then Oleg hurried to catch the
train to Voronezh.
It was snowing when we left
the restaurant, a perfect ending to a magically trip. Harold
and Howard walked back to Red Square in the snow. Did
I mention, Harold is the most cold natured person around?
He suffered for Jesus so we could have a winter wonderland
through customs is different. The rules change each
time, therefore, WE cannot be totally prepared. It's
in God's hands. Once again, eyes were closed as we
passed through customs entering the country. We had 8
suitcases of medical equipment, supplies, seeds, and
computers. Howard and Donna went through the red line
to declare the money we were bring in. We had to be
prepared in the event the war detained us in Russia.
The agent scanned Donna's
bag, back and forth, not sure what he was seeing. He
either did not know what he was looking at, or did not care.
He stamp her passport without comment or question. He
did not even look at the scanner when Howard's bags passed
through. To God be the Glory!
On our departure, we found if
you arrive before 7 AM and go directly to ticketing, customs
sleeps late! They came to their stations while we were
checking in at Lufthansa's. And this time...it did not
matter, we had nothing to declare...or not!
Looking forward to the next chapter of the odyssey,
Stephanie, Howard, Donna, and Harold