Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Break Retreat 2012

Last Monday through Wednesday, Andrea and I took a group of Mienh young adults (9 of them) to the coast for a Spring Break retreat. This was planned so that we could encourage them to follow God, spend time with Him, and to learn more about Him. Andrea and I came back from the retreat encouraged and excited about their desire to look to Him. They looked forward to the devotional times and the individual quiet time to pray/read with no interruptions (no cell phones). Their comments about trusting God and not the empty promises of the world gave insight to their understanding of Him. I pray for them and ourselves to TRUST the Creator and not those empty promises of the world! I praise God for this group.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

What a day of rejoicing!!

Micaiah came to me with tears- saying "I am ready to be baptized!" It amazed me, because Andrea and I have been praying for guidance with him and haven't pursued this with him a whole lot. We were being cautious not to push at the age of 12. I asked, "How do you know you are ready?" His reply was, "I want to be sure when He comes back that I will be with Him."
I asked him to explain baptism and its significance- he gave me the most beautiful description of surrendering and submission I had ever heard. He mentioned that in his daily reading and from sermons that he recognized the need to be saved from his sins and united with Christ. I knew he was ready- so this morning he was baptized into Christ in the Columbia River.
I ask you to pray for him in his new walk!

You may see the video at:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nikolaev, Ukraine 19-20 November, 2011
James 1:16; Hebrews 12:1-3

Yesterday (Saturday)- we walked to a park so Isaac could run his wiggles out. At this park there was some military equipment, which Isaac and I climbed all over. After arriving home, we prepared and went to meet with the boys at the Boys' rehab center. We had a great time with them- I was the only one who knew Russian and English (MISSED YOU GALINA!!!), but it was good for me to be under that type of pressure. They shared what they would like to do when they get out of school. Some want to be mechanics, construction workers, pottery makers, and a boxer. One thing they all had in common was that they want a loving family. It was encouraging to see their wonderful respect and desire to read the bible (David and Galina gave them each a bible - which they showed us with much joy). We shared with each other much of our lives and spent some time discussing truthfulness and trust.

In the evening we met with Olya and her friend Dima. Isaac and Olya made us Ukrainian desserts!

Sunday (today) we had 13 gathered to worship God! Twelve of them stayed for the potluck afterwards. It was great for Isaac that Nastya (11 years old) was there for him to spend time with. We had a great time of encouragement. Olya helped me translate the sermon, which was encouraging to see her use her knowledge of English for God. Afterward Olya and Nastya came over to visit until 5 p.m. In an hour we will be meeting with Kesha and Nadya once again before we leave on Tuesday. Thank you for your prayers- we had some very encouraging and deep visits with all those we met on this trip.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nikolaev, Ukraine 17-18 November, 2011

Thursday, we met with Luda and Stepan for a bible study and some singing. That evening we met and ate with Olya.
Friday, we enjoyed the market and tasted some Ukrainian pastries (so delicious). After walking around a bit, we decided to let Isaac play at the playground by our apartment- we met some kids and visited with them. Two of them spoke very little English, despite the language barrier Isaac was able to communicate with them. We played hacky sack, volleyball, and sat with them for awhile to visit. It was an amazing time for us!
We were able to meet with Kesha and Nadia- we had a great visit and found out that they are expecting a child - very exciting. It is our prayer that they pursue God not only for their souls, but for their future child.

Please pray for us, we will be meeting at the boys' home tomorrow afternoon and with Olya.
Lord willing, we will meet with Kesha and Nadya again before we leave.
Enjoy the photos.

Nadya and Kesha with us at an ice cream parlor.

Olya, Andrea, and Isaac

The four boys Isaac befriended!

Isaac visiting

We are playing volleyball!

The Posse

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NIKOLAEV, UKRAINE Nov. 14-16, 2011
Colossians 3:1-4,12

We spent Monday getting some chores completed. Making phone calls, schooling Isaac (we brought some of his homeschooling materials with us), shopping, and washing clothes-while Andrea and Isaac did school, I washed our clothes in a tub.

Tuesday Andrea cooked chicken scampi for Olya, and we discussed what brought her to Christ. She shared that it was the studies in the Bible plus seeing kindness and love in those in the church. I used her story, Colossians 3:1-4, 12 and Galatians 2:19-20 in class today. We need to keep our eyes on things above where Christ is seated so that we remember it is not our life that we live, but Christ's. Our bible study met at 2:00 this afternoon due to the darkness/cold at night. Although we had plenty of sunshine today, it seemed to be colder. We sang nine songs in English and Russian, and Isaac read the scriptures in English. What an encouraging time!

Isaac reading Colossians 3:1-4

Stepan, Isaac, and Luda after a great time of singing/study

Students after our bible study.

After our bible study with Stepan and Luda, we met a group of students, who were taking pictures. When we told them that we were from America they were excited to talk to us. They tried their best English - English is a great opportunity for making contacts.

Friday we will be meeting with Kesha and Nadya. They are a couple Jon and I spent time with in June in class and outside of classes. Please, pray for them that we can encourage them to pursue God and studies. Also, pray that we will be able to meet with Olya's parents.

Love in Christ,
Mike, Andrea, and Isaac
P.S. here are some Nikolaev Culture pics

Soldiers in Training

Local Artists

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Philippians 4:7
"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

The last three days have been eye opening as far as living conditions are concerned. Andrea made a comment a couple of days ago how it's interesting that there are both dilapidated and new buildings all together throughout the city. The markets, unmatched in America, are very large and numerous throughout Nikolaev. There are several large grocery stores, and with our limited exposure it appears that only people with more money use them. These grocery stores make our Northwestern WinCos look like kiosks both in variety of products and cleanliness.

Portion of market with grains in background

Small Pet market outside large market.

Friday we met up with Olamide and spent some time looking at pictures of his family/friends living in Nigeria. I was shocked to learn about the city of Lagos and that there are 8 million people there. We talked some about studying God's word and how it helps to walk with Him.

We were able to see Olya on Saturday to pray with her and talk about our life in Christ. After Olya left for music lessons, Andrea, Isaac, and I went to meet her mother. Olya's mother works in a library about 100 yards from our apartment. She was very kind and sweet. I ask you to pray for Olya and her family. She is wanting them to know God more.

Sunday was encouraging to meet with the church. We were not able to see all who normally attend- some work and one other brother (Stepan 86 years old) fell some time ago and is recovering from an injured ankle. There were eight people in attendance. One brother (David), is from Florida and has moved here two weeks ago. He is here teaching English and training in acrobatics for circus work.

I preached and led songs, and David led a prayer, there were times I had Olya translate a couple thoughts. This was my first full sermon in Russian- it was more difficult than I had anticipated, but it is the difficult things that push us to grow and be used by God.

David and Isaac enjoying time together

After service we had a potluck with those who remained. Also, a student from our campaign in June came by to visit and show pictures of her recent wedding. Natasha walked with us back to the apartment and spent some more time visiting.


Please, spend some time after you read this praying for those mentioned in this newsletter. Love you all, and God be with you.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nikolaev, Ukraine 08-10 Nov 2011

NIKOLAEV, UKRAINE 08-10 Nov 2011

Well, as many of you already know, we arrived in Nikolaev safely. It took a couple days to adjust to the time difference, therefore I am writing this at 3:30 am. Isaac enjoyed his first plane flights and views of different worlds. It was special to watch Isaac have these new experiences.

We have met with Olya, Dasha, and Olamide each day since our arrival on Tuesday. It has been wonderful to visit these new Christians- I have grown close to all three after our campaign last summer. We are looking forward to the gathering with the church Sunday; I have been calling, emailing, and skypeing to contact others to come on Sunday.

We needed to get vegetables for Borsht(Ukrainian soup dish) yesterday (Thursday) so we went to the market, which is the largest I had ever seen- it goes for several blocks. Andrea and Isaac did so well at practicing their Russian while at the market. After getting all the ingredients, Olya and Andrea made borsht for all of us, and it was delicious! It was a blessed time for Olya and Andrea to bond as sisters in Christ.

Please, pray for us as we meet with the brothers and sisters here to encourage them, as well as seek out other opportunities like speaking at the university and teaching bible. I will be calling today to make an appointment for next week to speak at the university across the street from where the church meets.

Isaac's first plane flight- he got the window seat.

Isaac with Olya(left) and Dasha(right)

Andrea and Isaac in front of our apartment entrance.

Andrea and I sporting my new hat.

Isaac and Olamide(a christian from Nigeria attending the ship building university)

Andrea and Olya preparing Borsht

БОРЩ (Borsht)

At the Market

We can't get away from Oregon.