I recently spent a few days with Elizabeth Salisbury at my home in Delaware. Elizabeth was my roommate during the last six months of my stay in Khabarovsk. She has been called to return to Khabarovsk as a full-time missionary. She will join the Methodist team already working there. It was a good time of sharing and deep rest, both physically and spiritually. We spent time laughing, talking, praying, reading and studying God's Word. Elizabeth will be leaving for Khabarovsk later this month. She asks for your prayers as she returns to her home in the Russian Far East.
Elizabeth wrote me about the work God was calling her to do in Khabarovsk. I would like to share the vision with you and ask that you pray for God's will to be done in her life and the lives of those she touches for Him. She writes:
"My last sight in Russia as I left in July of 1998 was a sea of beloved tear-streaked faces at the airport in Khabarovsk. It was a difficult farewell yet it was filled with joy because I knew I would return. Yes, just two weeks subsequent to my return I received a new vision for Khabarovsk and a clear calling to return once again!
My first objective was to complete my college education. My degree is a Bachelors of Independent Studies with a focus on management/leadership, psychology and communication - skills I found invaluable in Russia. One of the requirements of my degree program was a project or thesis paper. This provided me with a wonderful opportunity to chronicle my impressions and experiences in Russia and outline a proposal for a Christian Resource and Training Center, the vision given me by the Holy Spirit right before I left. Our last team act in Khabarovsk was to conduct a conference for all of our Christian friends in Khabarovsk. We called the conference 'United in Christ.' There were five churches involved along with seminary students and other individuals. Our objective was to demonstrate that we are all one body in Christ despite our denominational differences. It was outrageously successful! It also planted a seed in my heart and mind, and that of several Russian friends - this seed has grown into the vision for the resource and training center.
The vision for the Christian Resource and Training Center is to supplement the work of the young churches in Khabarovsk until such a time as these churches can become self-supporting. The proposed Center has three components: 1) A library/bookstore and office; 2) a training program/speaker's forum; and 3) an outreach/resource center. Please pray with me that this document and the implementation of the Center will be an instrument for the furthering of God's work in Russia and that this work will receive the support it needs and deserves.
You will certainly hear from me again throughout the coming year as we prepare for the continuation of God's work in Khabarovsk! Our friends there tell me they are praying for my return - they need our help! Fyoder, Yura, Tanya, Natasha, Luba, Lida, Lena, Sasha, Slave, Tatiana, Klauvdia, Alexei, Roma and many more are anxiously awaiting our help and instruction."
With love and gratitude,
your sister in Christ,
The Mission Society for United Methodists has endorsed Elizabeth's proposal. She is already working with the team in Khabarovsk and with Russian Christians there to begin the work God has called her to do. I know Elizabeth will be in your prayers as she serves God again with His servants in Khabarovsk. I will continue to share her work with you as her vision unfolds.
I would like to use the next part of my letter to share a letter I just received from Yura concerning his visit to America. The letter was translated and sent to me by Andrey who is also part of the story. Andrey will come with Yura as a friend and as his translator/interpreter. Those of you who will meet Yura will be able to hear him and speak to him with Andrey's voice and ears. Andrey is a dear friend and I am looking forward to seeing him again.
Here's Yura's letter:
Hello Dear Charlene,
"Finally, I believe the time has come to speak about the time-frames of the trip to America. My silence just meant that I was waiting to hear from the Lord. It is very important for me to go to America in the proper time! We can plan a lot, but the last word is His. He is the first and everything else is later; countries, peoples, the whole world! If God is waiting for something - everyone must wait for it. We need to be able to wait - Jesus will consider everything and will provide.
We cannot know the exact time when the hearts of people will be ready, but He knows the best. I know that to wait to hear from Him, without looking at human feelings, is faith. The result of this faith is the fruit for which the Lord and His Glory have come.
Yesterday was the final day of waiting for an answer for the timing of the trip. It will be the end of September. A pastor from Korea came and invited me to personally visit him in Korea. He asked me to come because I am the first fruit of his work in Russia (to make Pastors here). During the time in Korea, I will spend two weeks on the prayer-mountain in Seoul in fasting and prayer. Right after this time I will go to America. It seems to me that God is preparing me for the trip well. My spirit won't be dry and this is the most important for me.
I am very glad that before we come we can prepare some materials of our work in Khabarovsk to distribute among the people in the churches in America. I will take good pictures and write the message God wants me to share. It will be translated and sent to you and if you would be able to print all of this, it would be great. So this is the vision I have for today.
Dear Charlene, Thank you very much for the patient, diligent labor. I believe that in September our church will have about 100 members. It is especially important for me to be in Khabarovsk in this time.
Please give my hello to everyone."
Yura and Andrey sent the information I needed to write letters of invitation for them to come to America in September. Please continue to pray about the process of getting visas. It is difficult to get visas now especially for young men. I will let you all know when that process is complete and then my friend Joyce and I will begin to build a schedule to include all who want to meet Yura while he is here.
Before closing, I want to bring you the information I have from Lena, and Ari concerning the infant hospital and orphanage in Khabarovsk. I know that many of you are praying for these babies and the ministry of Lena and the team.
"My health is better and I am busy now again with translations. There will be three more adoptions soon. I am glad to be a part of the Russian program. I am also glad and excited that I am able to help others. I bought some medicine for a nurse's son. Her monthly salary is 300 rubles (about $12). She cannot afford to buy his medicine. She could not hide her tears when I helped her. The doctors are very grateful to me, but I tell them that I did nothing. They know the money is from American Christians.
It is amazing that people are found for me to help. I was able to watch a little girl to give her mother a rest; to feed street boys; to buy a blouse for my relative; to help Stas's English teacher. I am not boasting at all because I know that God is making this all available. I feel peace in my heart helping others; they really need my help.
Another orphanage asked if I could help them. It is hard to tell them
that there just isn't enough money to do more."
Feb. 12 - I finally got to see my little Vitali on Tuesday! The bad news is that's all I got to do - the orphanage is still under quarantine, but they did agree to let me see him. It was hard to not grab him from the nurse, but at least I know he's okay.
Please continue to pray for our babies. We'll be able to spend time with those in the hospital - we're so grateful for the free access the director allows - but we're restricted from the others until the flu quarantine is lifted. The doctors at the orphanage are hoping it will be over by Friday.
Feb.21 - Please pray that the quarantine is lifted at the infant orphanage. Although we selfishly want to see our babies, it was heartbreaking to see the babies so sick at the hospital last week. We want to see them healthy!
Feb. 26 - Although we weren't able to spend time with our babies this week, we were able to take them some much needed medicine and diapers. Thank you - it's through special designated gifts from you that we're able to help them in this way.
Mar. 12 - I got to hold my little Vitali for the first time in THREE months! I loved on him for about an hour and a half. The poor little guy is no bigger - can't weigh more than 12 pounds at 14 months, but he's got six big teeth, and was smiling and laughing. He's SUCH a cutie!
Please continue to pray for the ministry of Lena and the team in Khabarovsk. Sue Fuller is back with the team again and Elizabeth will join them soon. God has mighty plans for the people of Russia and your prayers are a part of that plan.
It continues to be my pleasure to tell the story of God's work in Khabarovsk. Please pray about Yura's visit and continue to pray for the helpless and homeless in Russia. Some of you may be moved to send a gift to be used in the orphanages or for Yura's vision to the homeless and orphans of the city. If so, please make your checks payable to Fishburn UMC and tell us how God is directing the gift to be used.
In His Love,
Fishburn United Methodist Church
1215 Fishburn Road
Hershey, PA 17033
Andrey's web page in English: http://get.to/faith