Autumn is in the air!

Wow, what a feeling. We’ve spent the last 10yrs in East Texas and forgotten how beautiful and invigorating the fall season is. The chilly days and cold nights give warning of what is to come while the gorgeous, vibrant leaves begin turning color across the rolling country side. The babushka’s are seen less along the roadside with their vegetables now, and the harvest is in full gear with an array of combines, tractors, and rickety soviet trucks transporting the grain. It’s reminding me of my Canadian youth growing up on a farm, although a lot of the machinery is the kind of stuff my dad had retired long before I can remember.

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Note the two workers, one driving, the other on the back spreading out the seed evenly.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. As much as the outdoors and scenery are enjoyable, it’s only for a moment as we’re reminded daily that we are in a strange new land and miss our friends and family. Over the past few weeks we’ve really settled into our house and begun making it feel like home. The consistent internet access and hot water have been such a relief and allowed us to get into a rhythm (baths now occurring more than 1x per week!). Deb, Cassie and the kids have had now 3 weeks of Russian lessons with Svetlana, they are doing very well (says their teacher) and I’m next up for starting again.

We have 2 college students from the builder school now working on our basement. They went around Rz knocking on doors, asking for work and Daniel brought them up. I thought that was extremely impressive given the cultural mindset and was happy to reward them with outside work and now completion of our basement. They have been extremely thankful and work hard. It’s also a great opportunity for our family to show love and represent a functional (sort of) family. They are very hesitant to take any drinks or snacks from us but are warming up. They speak 0% english so it’s proving a little difficult to communicate, so our actions are the gospel right now. Pray for them, their names are (we think, they have changed them a few times) Oleg and Sasha. Once completed, our basement will become play-school central and this winter we hope to start using it also for bible studies/fellowship, it will have a bathroom and also a kitchenette of some sorts.

Elyosha (Kolya’s brother who also worked on our house) is back for the winter and we are working on my office in the garage. Right now I’m stationed in our master bedroom and Deb will be excited to be able to put kids down for naps without worrying about my conference calls. The office will be pretty small, but heated, with internet and electricity… I just arrived back from Epicenter (remember mordor) and spent most of the day getting materials for the project, sheet rock, insulation, fixtures, windows and a door.. I’m sure we missed something and I’ll be going back soon. I decided to wait on the office downtown, things weren’t as they seemed and I took that as a sign to invest in my own office for now, a controlled environment that I know will work. dsc00316.JPG

[Crowe and Gollan kids playing at Baleko Schochenka, a famous WWII battle ground]

The Lord is giving me daily faith to believe Him for a building downtown. I don’t particularly want one, but I have an inward desire to keep asking, talking about it, and knocking on doors. Pray with me would you? It doesn’t matter where it is, or what it looks like, but that God opens the door – there are willing believers that will serve and I think it could also be instrumental in growing disciples as well as Christians here don’t seem to have much in the way of organized evangelism, a collective work we can all put our hands and hearts into. God give us this place for Your glory!

We will be starting Drive Through History in our house in two weeks, I think. I’m hoping it ministers and brings the Christians closer together here (english missionaries) as well as give us a good historical base on the early church, I really like those videos, they inspire and build my faith – God has a plan for the church at large and you see this when you step back in light of history. I want to be a part of history, impacting the history and future of those around me. God can use us if we surrender and let Him.

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I like the drive into RZ, I can imagine the horse and buggy along this road, it reminds me (not sure why) of the prodigal returning home, the familiar row of trees is starting to give me the same feeling of ‘coming home’, that’s a nice feeling.

So that’s it for now. Sister City is still in progress, we are waiting on RZ now (Kilgore was approved a few weeks ago), it’s sort of like ping pong. I just spent way too much $ on a fedex, what an experience, wow. I passed through what seemed like 4 or 5 layers of office people, customs brokers, and warehouse officials to get this small 4lb box only needed a paper for my truck, but had Autumn send me a dvd and game too, what a mistake. I received no less than 6 stamps, paid 200% the value of the materials inside, all they kept telling me was, “Sorry, this is Ukraine”. I just smile and reply, “Ya Zneye-you” which means, “yes, I know”.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” Matt 7:7

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