It is hard to know where to start; there is so much to tell you since my last newsletter. I just returned from Atlanta, Georgia where I attended The CoMission Children at Risk National Summit. Representatives from over 100 mission groups and churches, who are working with orphans and street children in Russia gathered to network and seek God's guidance for ways to work together to make a difference in the lives of thousands of abandoned children and young adults. I found myself on an emotional roller coaster as speaker after speaker and group after group presented graphic and heart wrenching stories of the desperate plight of the children God has placed upon their hearts. The stories are similar; the solutions are few, but the determination of those called to save the children is strong in their knowledge that God already has a plan to bring these children to Himself.
There was a wonderful reunion in Atlanta as members of our team in Khabarovsk attended the conference. Sue, Ari, and Tanya came from Russia, Jack Stevenson and Joyce Titus came from western Pennsylvania, Ellen and Tom Tarver came from Texas, Jan and Dale Marcum came from Alfa, Russia and Yuri, Jenya, Nadya, Nakita, and Losha traveled to Atlanta with Joyce and me. God provided a marvelous opportunity for all of us to share our love, our visions, and our continued commitment to support each other as we work together to accomplish God's will for the people He loves in Russia.
We made connections with God's servants from all over the world who have been called to serve the abandoned children of Russia. It will be exciting to see how God will use these connections to bring His message of hope and love to those who have known little love in their young lives and to those who have no hope. Please pray with me that God's plan for these innocent children be accomplished in marvelous ways through His servants.
I plan to use the rest of this letter to praise God for the message He is bringing to American Christians through his servant, Yuri. Yuri, Jenya, Losha, Nadya, and Nakita arrived in San Francisco, California where they were greeted by Joe Orsini and Linda Peck. They met and shared the vision God has given Yuri with Christians there until October 21st.
Next, they flew to Denver, Colorado where they joined Steve and Marjorie Koval for a wonderful reunion. Steve and Marjorie were the first Americans to be called to work with Yuri's church in Khabarovsk. While in Colorado Springs they brought their message to those God had called to hear.
They left Colorado to fly to Cleveland, Ohio on October 24th. Joyce Titus met them there and welcomed them into her home in Sharpsville, Pennsylvania. God provided many Christians to hear Yuri's message in the Sharpsville area including a trip north to Erie, PA and south to Noblestown, PA to speak in churches there.
On November 2nd I traveled to Coraopolis, PA to join John & Doris Theurer as they prepared for Yuri's visit to Noblestown UMC on November 3rd. Joyce drove Yuri and family to the home of Pastor Aaron's home where we shared lunch and casual conversation. Yuri and Jenya's children played with Aaron and Gretchen's children as the adults connected in spirit and discussed the day's events. We all visited a food pantry and thrift store where people in need can receive help. These ministries are supported by several churches in the Noblestown area. Yuri was attentive and asked questions about how this ministry is financed and supervised. Part of his vision is to provide such centers in Khabarovsk for those in need.
Later that evening, Pastor Aaron and Pastor Yuri joined to bring God's message to those who were called to come. Part of the service included communion and I know that many people were moved as the two pastors served us in this most holy event. This was the first service I attended with Yuri in America, and I felt the strong presence of the Holy Spirit among us as we worshiped together.
I had the privilege of being with Yuri and his family in western Pennsylvania until November 8th. During this time Yuri brought God's message to many groups. It was marvelous to witness the Spirit of God moving in each situation. God gave Yuri peace in all situations including tractional worship, contemporary worship, prayer breakfasts, and casual Bible study. The Spirit of God revealed His mighty power in magnificent sanctuaries, in small gathering rooms, in a barn ministry, on Christian TV, in living rooms and restaurants. No group was too small or too large to be moved by the powerful message of God's vision for Yuri's ministry to His people in Russia. Hearts were touched, prayers of healing were heard, tears of compassion and love united Christians in spite of language and culture. What a blessed experience to be a part of God's plan to unite American and Russian Christians to share the Gospel of our Lord Jesus with those who are waiting to hear in Khabarovsk.
We left Joyce's home early on November 8th to drive to Atlanta for the CoMission for Children at Risk Summit. I have already shared the wonderful fellowship we shared there with fellow Christians who have been given the same vision for the abandoned children of Russia. Frank Decker and Al VomSteeg of the Mission Society for United Methodists hosted Yuri and his family in Atlanta. From Atlanta, they traveled to a church in Raleigh, North Carolina where Frank had made arrangements for Yuri to meet the Christians there who are interested in feeding the hungry.
Jan and Dale Spurgeon-Marcum are missionaries to Ufa, Russia and they have also been called to work with abandoned children in orphanages there. Jan was part of the Methodist team in Khabarovsk when I was there. She worshiped with Yuri's congregation and worked with them to bring God's Word to many people in Khabarovsk and surrounding villages. Jan and Dale will meet Yuri and his family on November 13th in Asheville, North Carolina and drive them north to their American home in Charlevoix, Michigan. Yuri will be sharing God's message in Muncie and Goshen Indiana on the way. Jan's most recent correspondence describes Yuri's visit this way:
"We will visit some of the ministries in our area that serve the poor and needy. We have various dinner plans thought the week too. As you support our work you also support Yuri and his ministry to the poor and homeless of Khabarovsk. He reaches out to orphans, street children, homeless at the local dump, and people of the native villages.
He is an awesome anointed servant of the Lord and a man of faith. We promise you will receive a blessing when you meet him and hear him speak. The Lord has put a vision in his heart and is bringing it to fruition.
Thanks to your prayers and faithfulness we now have a van, car seats, gas money, housing, and lots of blessings. Like I said, 'God works out all the details when we are where He wants us to be.' It is awesome to watch Him work!"
Finally, Pastor Yuri and his family will be coming to our area after Thanksgiving. I will drive to western Pennsylvania again to meet everyone in Franklin. I plan to worship with them there on Sunday, November 26th and then travel to Hershey. The family will be staying with a family from my church and they will bring God's message to various groups and churches of our area. Much of the schedule is set but there are still opportunities for you to invite Yuri's group to your home or gathering. Please consider the schedule below, pray for God's Spirit to guide and direct all messages and thoughts, and join us whenever you can.
As you can see, there are openings for you to pray about. There is much to do in our area, but we will be happy to include you and your friends in our schedule if God is leading you to become an active part of Yuri's visit here. Please contact me at the address, e-mail, or phone number you will find at the end of this letter for more specific details of our schedule or if you want to brainstorm a way to invite Yuri to visit your group while he is here.
Please pray for each of Yuri's steps as he travels and witnesses God's love in our country. Pray for the health of Yuri and his family. Pray for travel mercy and for strength of spirit and body to continue the challenging schedule. Pray for all who will hear God's message as Yuri obediently brings God's Word to American Christians. Pray that God will richly bless all who hear and give each one a clear vision for God's will in their lives.
My next letter will record the blessings God will supply for those who are still waiting to meet Yuri and receive the message God is bringing through him. I now look forward to Yuri's visit and the privilege God has given me to travel with him as he shares with you all.
In closing, I want to remind you all that the sad story of the needs of the orphans and homeless in Khabarovsk continues. Some of you will be called to help my friend Lena continue her ministry to the infant orphans in the city. Others will be called to continue to support Yuri's vision to bring food and God's word to the homeless who live on the garbage heaps of Khabarovsk. Your gifts are a vital part of the ministry to the abandoned children and the homeless families and individuals in Khabarovsk, Russia.
It continues to be my pleasure to continue to tell the story of God's work in Khabarovsk. Please pray for Yuri's visit to America and continue to pray for the helpless and homeless in the city. As you are moved to send a gift to be used in the orphanages or for Yuri's vision, 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 Rd.
Hershey, PA 17033
Telephone (717) 534-1087
web site: http://get.to/faith