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Freed at Armageddon update

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All is quiet on the western front… unless you take note of the beauty that the Holy Spirit is working into the lives of these former alcoholics and drug addicts. At times, I’ve felt as if it is a slow process. Then at other times, I’m blown away by the way in which the men are changing.

Mitya continues to wonderfully model a lifestyle of a servant-leader and delights me with the new ways he thinks up to love others more than himself. God is glorified.

A list of the other guys out there from noisiest to quietest:

Sasha – has an infectious laugh and brightens up a room with his personality

The Ded (Sergei) – Knows a lot about everything and is normally right.

Kolya – Has an opinion about everything and has an amazing memory

Nukri – a small dynamo who, at 24, is the youngest at the center

Pasha – soft-hearted Pasha loves everyone – especially his Saviour

Igor – Has a way of making people feel important and appreciated.

Oleg – Quietly goes about his business; he deeply appreciated Ted Dekker’s “Black”

Mitya told me last week that Nukri repented openly and sincerely before God. Nukri is a man without a country. He was born in Georgia, but was rejected by his parents and ended up in a Russian prison for a number of years. He is now in Ukraine, and came to us because of alcoholism a friendship with a Christian in the city where his grandmother lives. May he grow in faith and love for God and His people.

Igor shared his testimony at a men’s breakfast last Saturday. He’s lived an interesting life, that’s for sure. The encouraging thing is that he has hope for the future. He understands that he is weak and needs God desperately. He would love to have more input into the life of his young daughter, and hopes that it might be possible to have her down to stay in our orphanage during the summer months. He attributes his initial desire to stop his irresponsible and destructive drug habits to the introduction into his life of this young girl.

The lads are finally starting work on the bathroom inside the house. Much to my amazement, it wasn’t a priority for them. Naturally, they’ve been surviving fine with outside facilities… but when it’s -20° C outside, it can’t exactly be a comfortable experience.

We have been taking groups of guys out to Armageddon each Saturday evening for a time of teaching and “sauna-ing”. I think about 10 guys have come out with me from Rzhyshchiv – some believers in Jesus, others not. Hanging out together with the blokes at the center has been good for all who’ve gone out. They spend so much time in God’s Word that it can’t help but overflow into conversations.

We are being torn somewhat by the continual requests by pastors to take in more guys in trouble. We’ve turned down a lot. A few days ago, we had another pastor call us from the city – he had a young man with him who was ready to go to rehab but didn’t want to leave the pastor because he was afraid he’d not come back. (That’s a good situation.) We thought about sending a couple of our guys home… but quickly dismissed that option. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about it again and see if we can recognize it as God’s will to squeeze in another young drug addict. (We chose to take him.)

Thank you for your prayers. Pavel is doing great. He and Mitya need wisdom and I’ve seen God often freely give it, more glory to Him. Meeting with these two guys each Tuesday is something definitely encouraging as I see God at work in them and through them.

clip_image002[7]Bucking the principle that it’s good to end on a positive note:  Yesterday Vitaly left us.  He was doing so well!  Last night as I lay in bed, I felt extreme distaste for this ministry.  (It was probably just a “poor-me moment”.)  Who likes building a house only for it to fall down?  We invested in Vitaly a lot of time and love and money and… thought we’d become friends, and he just distained it all.  I’m sure there’s a more Christ-like attitude I should have, but it escapes me at the moment and I’m angry, I think.  I know the principle I’ve used in the past is a good one:  remembering that I deserve God’s fury, but have his love and forgiveness.  But now, my heart is confused and my thoughts flutter around - it’s not exactly familiar territory.

May God bless you!