Dear Friends,

The most significant event of 2010 so far has been turning in my application for a temporary residency permit! Prayers for God’s favor were truly answered.

It doesn’t mean the process is over; they have only begun to examine my documents, which will take at least 5 months. But to make a long story short, after much advance planning, it came right down to the wire. In fact, the volcano in Iceland almost hampered my chances! It was a test of faith.

If you’d like to read about the different challenges, you can find relevant posts on my blog [listed below].

Stoneworks Retreat

Meanwhile, in March, I participated in a Stoneworks retreat in Tallinn, Estonia.

Stoneworks is my sending organization, and currently has people partnering/serving in Hungary, Montenegro, and Belarus in addition to Russia. So we got together in a little house in the snowy suburbs and had some fellowship.

In photo at left, partners serving in Montenegro, Russia, and Belarus share notes and smiles over a cup of tea

Easter Time

(photo at right: Zhenya and I pose with our “bundt kulich”)

It was interesting to be studying in a Russian university during Lent and Easter. One teacher gave us some Easter egg decorations with folk designs. Another is a devout Orthodox believer and invited us to visit a Good Friday service since our class had been cancelled.

Valentina said she was aware of wanting to avoid proselytizing, but thought that since Eastern and Western Easter fell on the same day this year, it wouldn’t hurt to invite us. She seated us upstairs in a “backstage” area and then went down to sing in the choir.

On Easter Monday, I saw her in the hallway, and she said “Christ is Risen!” I was able to respond “He is Risen Indeed!” It was a blessing to be able to proclaim Christ in a secular environment.

Our spring church retreat fell on Easter Weekend this year. We took the opportunity to focus exclusively on Passion Week and Christ’s death and resurrection, using the last few chapters of John as our main text.

Russian Classes

My classes have been going well. The schedule hasn’t been as convenient this semester as far as pursuing other interests, but I have had some challenging and interesting subjects.

I participated in a student conference last week. There were many students who did research on social themes, and mine was the orphanage system. Almost all of the students were American, though not students whom I study with.

Here’s a photo of me presenting; don’t I look enthused? J

I wish there had been more Russians there, but at least I got some practice speaking in a more formal setting.

Orphanage Ministry

I still visit the same two orphanages. One of my favorite counselors was chosen to go on the hosting program with New Horizons. I’ve been tutoring her in English for about 3 years now. I’m excited for her and especially about the prospect of her staying in a Christian family. We might just have to do some “prep work” in talking about religion. Please pray for Galina this summer.


One recent outreach effort has taken the form of special interest gatherings organized by a few different churches, including mine, and hosted by a Lutheran church. The idea is to have scholars share their research and invite others to comment. We’ve had various literary and scientific themes, such as G.K. Chesterton and the aging process (separate times).

It’s a bit hard getting started because people don’t know each other and don’t always arrive having read relevant materials. But it is still a good chance to meet people, and fellowship then continues in other forms.

Visa Math

My residency permit will be ready at the end of September at the earliest, and my current visa is up at the end of June. I can either extend my student visa for a few more months to fill the gap, or leave the country to get a new visa. I will probably go home for a few weeks in July and then get a 3-month visa which will hopefully be sufficient.

Prayer requests:

-For wisdom about future visa/work/housing opportunities. Clarity to know what to focus on and which paths to pursue.

-For my last few months of classes; contact with my Russian teachers and fellow students.

-For those preparing for summer camp ministry: local churches as well as any mission teams planning to come.

-For the Russian children and chaperones preparing to come to the States on the hosting program. May they most importantly be exposed to the Gospel! Guidance for families considering adoption through this program.

-For relationships within the church as well as outreach to non-believers.

Thanks for your support, as always!




Summer/Fall 2009

-getting fingerprinted for my background check

December 2009

-getting my results

January 2010

-getting in line for the quota

-getting the medicals done

February 2010

-taking a trip to Moscow for new fingerprints

February/March 2010

-getting delayed

April 2010

-getting down to the wire

-receiving my final document at the last minute

-handing everything in