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IMG-0224It’s been a while since I wrote something here.  It’s kind of a weird task… I don’t know who reads these notes.  Do 10 people read them?  100?  I do know that some of the traffic is somehow automated.  How much, I guess I’ll never know.  I look back and see that a few of the posts were opened over 30,000 times!  Who reads them???  I have been told that it’s difficult to read what I write.  I don’t know how much of that is the due to the mixed up synapses in my brain from living in a Russian/Ukrainian speaking world and how much is just my unique way of communicating.  Either way…  for those who find it difficult: my apologies?

I “went dark” for two months.  There was no good reason.  I did wonder if I would hear from anyone asking about the reason why…  People are way too polite these days!  Today we rather forcefully suggested to one of the guys at rehab that he needed to walk in the light rather than in the darkness.  Where do we trip and fall?  It is when we aren’t walking in the light of God’s Will/Word.

It has been an interesting two months.  Camp 120 basically went off without any of the proverbial hitches… at least, without any major ones.  Both of our boats, while loaded up to the gills with stuff and people were stopped by the water police on our last trip back.  They raised their eyebrows at the overloaded boats, took photos of our licenses, joked around a bit about Australia, and went on their way.  A relief.  Actually, it was kind of funny.  They pulled us over and immediately asked what we were doing with so much stuff on board.  I explained and then asked if I could show them my license as I’d never had anyone check it before.  They thought it was a bit weird that someone would ask them if their documents could be checked.  Normally it went the other way.  We had a good laugh.

We took a trip to America to celebrate Pris’ parents 50th wedding anniversary.  That was encouraging in a number of ways and it was definitely nice to be with all the kids there.  Jesse came from Australia with Daniella, the lovely girl he will marry on December 14th.  Naturally, we plan to be travelling to Australia for that and will be there for a few weeks prior and a week following.  While in Ohio, we took IMG-0319a drive to a place of massive rock formations that had crevices running through them.  Jess and Daniella posed for a “ring shot” in one of the lush crevices.

How is the church going?  Well… I think.  How many things would I change if I had the power?  I smile.  We sure aren’t a perfect church.  I was talking with a philosopher friend who came for a visit on Sunday and he made an interesting point.  He said that he has noticed that often churches that begin to look really professional end up losing the family atmosphere that we value so much.  I don’t have a lot of experience with other churches, but I do wonder if there might be some truth in what he says. 

The building is slowly taking shape in our minds.  We are understanding a bit better how we can develop her.  Today, I finally got ahold of an old friend who installs furnaces and he will come and have a look early September to advise us about options and then install the furnace.  The guys from rehab have been busy around the place making it look a bit better.  They finished sawing and chopping a couple of trucks worth of firewood last week – which, if the truth be known, probably would peter out before we shrug winter off.  (Firewood is something we probably shouldn’t skimp on so we’ve ordered some more.)

Tonight, I got a call that one of the rehab men was drunk.  Pasha went to the village to see what was up and we discovered he wasn’t drunk on alcohol, but was drunk on love.  Thankfully, it had only progressed to letter-writing between him and one of the ladies from the ladies rehab center – a serious infringement of their commitment.  One of them will be sent away… if not both.  We know of a few good rehab centers which we will send at least the man to.  It still feels lousy though.  Before making the decision, we will take some time to just let things sit for a bit to see if more comes to light.

IMG-0211I looked at the stats again tonight…  not counting the guys in rehab right now, we are operating on a 60% success rate.  I’d rather it was higher…  but am glad God has had mercy to that extent for it’s a lot easier to serve during the times of blessing than during drought.

Shane and Jemi and the team with them are trying to get a room in one of the local colleges to use as a base for outreach there.  If you care to pray about this…  we would be delighted at the opportunities it would give them to spend time with the students.  We notice that the number of students coming to our town has been dropping.  Mostly, those who come do so because they aren’t good enough students to study elsewhere.  Few are from cities.  In the college we would like to get a room in, the lads said that they knew of one male student who didn’t smoke in the entire college.  Other vices are naturally rampant.  These kids don’t need the gospel more than anyone else, but God has put it on our hearts to reach out to them.  May He have mercy.

This picture from Camp 120 includes Vika off on the right in the glasses.  Vika came to rehab about a year ago.  She left after several months – all proud and foolish.  She came back one Sunday morning looking like the demoniac from Luke 8!  Last week, I was talking with her and she shared that she felt like the Samaritan woman at the well and realized that all she needed and all she wanted was Jesus in her life.  A week earlier, we had affirmed her in her walk of faith, (moving her on into the third stage of rehab), and marveled at the changes God had wrought in her life.  From proud and unpleasant, she had become humble and even a delight to talk to and see God in her heart.  I love these dramatic stories!