It is almost amusing to me how God works in His time, not mine. Before most of you received the most recent copy of my newsletter, I had lots and lots of news concerning Yura' visas and details about his visit to America. The first message was the following message from Jan Spurgeon-Marcum:
Praise The Lord! We have received all visas! They are for 3 months. Sept 13- Dec 12. Yuri will be back from Korea on Oct 5. He can leave Oct 6 or 7 for America. Please order flight tickets.
I am in Vladivostok. We will return to Khabarovsk on Saturday. Will write more then.
Love you lots
You can only imagine my excitement! I have never doubted that Yura would come to our country to bring God's message to American Christians. God gave me quiet assurance that this would happen when I first heard Pastor Yura share God's Word in his tiny church in Khabarovsk. But, I didn't believe it would be possible for Yura to bring his whole family and a young interpreter with him. But, as usual, God had a different plan than mine, and He arranged it all in a marvelous way.
Jan and Dale Spurgeon-Marcum are missionaries serving our Lord with Airo Ministries in Ufa, Russia. Recently, they traveled to Khabarovsk, where Jan had previously served, to visit friends and investigate the possibility of initiating a children's ministry in the Khabarovsk area. Part of their itinerary was to visit the Vladivostok Homeless Children's Rehabilitation Society. When they talked with Pastor Yura about their plans to travel to Vladivostok, he asked to travel with them. Vladivostok is the city where the American Consulate Office is located and Yura was going there to apply for the visas needed for his visit to America.
As soon as Yura received the Letters of Invitation needed for the visas, he, Jan, Dale, and Klavdia left by train for the trip to Vladivostok. Jan describes the trip in a recent e-mail:
"We are home again after several busy days in Vladivostok. Getting the visas was the greatest blessing of the trip. On the train we spent time with Yura and had time to pray before departing to the American Consulate. While at the Consulate Yura filled out the papers while Dale and I prayed.
When Yuri was done with the paperwork, he handed it to me and said, "You do it."
I said, "It will not work like that. You must talk to them."
Klavdia said, "He is afraid to go up there and wants you to do this for him."
Yura thought I would be able to persuade them. I told him, "God does not give you a spirit of fear but of strength and sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)
Yura then gave a smile and said, "Amen!" But, he still would not take the papers from my hand.
So we went to the window and I slid them in. This was the cashier and she said I would have to talk with the Consulate Representative.
The next window was to turn in paperwork and I again said I would like to speak on Yura's behalf. Again I was told to wait for the representative. All this time Dale was praying. He began shortly after we arrived and did not stop until the process was finished.
When we gave the papers to the clerk she said there may be a problem with Losha (Yura's interpreter) because he was not with us. Again we waited and prayed. Then it was our turn to talk to the representative. She had papers in front of her and told me to take a seat. She would speak with Yuri. I asked if it was possible for me to say something? She said, "Speak now, then sit down."
I told her we would be traveling with Yura part of the trip and that we would be attending a conference for people working to help orphans and the homeless in Russia. We explained that it was an important conference and very beneficial to Yura's work as he heads a program to do this work in Khabarovsk.
Then she talked to Yuri and said, "Yes, for you and your family but, I'm not sure about Losha."
More waiting and praying. Dale and I said, " No problem! God has it all planned and did not bring things this far to have someone say, 'No.'"
Eventually she said to pay for the four visas and come back at 4:00 to get them and an answer about Losha's. It was 12:30. We went to eat then walked all over town. Finally we came back at 4:00. Yura and I went in and again, Dale prayed. All visas were ready to go! Yuri was so excited he wanted to sing the "Hallelujah Chorus." He lifted his hands in praise. Then he smiled and said, "Dale's prayers!"
Yura said that this would not have happened without us there with him. Perhaps that is so, but we give Jesus all the glory. We were just where we needed to be and doing what was asked of us. We know now that getting the visas was the main purpose for us to be in Vladivostok. All other tasks were secondary.
We visited a shelter for homeless street children and the sight of a future program center with housing for more street children. We met with some orphaned children that are in a special program. There were five children, about seventeen years old, who had completed their time at the orphanage and are now in a home atmosphere. They live in an apartment with a house mother to care for them and keep them in line. This program is giving them a new chance in life. They go to college or trade school and are moving forward in life. It is a great program!"
As you can see by Jan's letter, God has decided that Yura's family will come with him to America. It is very unusual for visas to be given to such a young family as Yura's. The conditions in Russia today contribute to the large number of young Russians who are leaving the country with no intention of returning. It is because of this problem that the Consulate must be so careful.
And so, it is time to plan in earnest for Yura's visit. I ask each of you to pray for God's will to be done as we build the schedule and plan the visits Yura will make while he is here. I know it would be impossible to bring Yura to each of you, but, I believe that God will touch your hearts and teach you His will for your involvement in this great plan of His. This is God's mission. Yura has agreed to be God's willing servant and it is through Yura's obedient spirit that the Holy Spirit will bring God's message to you and to me.
This is the tentative schedule that Yura will follow. Please check to see if one of the cities are close enough for you to attend or help with the planning there. I know God has something planned for all of us to do to prepare for this mission.
I want to close by asking you to pray about the following needs for Yura's ministry:
In closing, I want to thank everyone who has and is preparing for this amazing event. Your prayers are most important and appreciated as we continue to seek God's direction to fulfill His plan. Some of you have been led to generously give funding for transportation and other travel expenses. However, we still need financial help to transport Yura and his family from state to state. We know that God has already placed the desire in the hearts of those who will joyfully give to make this vision a reality.
Write me or call if you have questions about the schedule or anything I have written about Yura's tour.
If you are led to send a gift to help with the costs of travel and living expenses for our Russian friends, please send your gifts to Fishburn UMC. Be sure to clearly mark the check concerning how the gift is to be used. May God richly bless you!
In His Love,
Fishburn United Methodist Church
1215 Fishburn Rd.
Hershey, PA 17033
Telephone (717) 534-1087
web site: http://get.to/faith
(The web site is my Russian friend Andrey's site.)