It is time once again for our newsletter offering Beacons of hope to all who read and share this message. As Dale and I begin our ministry together we both are seeing different aspects of things. We have chosen to both share in the writing of this letter and pray it is not to long. But we guarantee the Lord will bless you as you read it.
These are stories that have touched our hearts recently.
(Dale) CELEBRATION! CARNIVAL ATMOSPHERE! WOW!!
This is how electric the opening of the Evangelism Festival in Ufa Russia began. It was an effort of six local churches working with one another. As we arrived the two tents rose out of the ground and the blue and white ruffles of fabric billowed in the light breeze. It was spring-like with just a touch of coolness.
Large ropes pulled the strong material of the tents to the ground and the round steel tent stakes had a nice two liter pop bottle covering each stake. Innovation!
The people filtered in and out of the tent as we entered. The seats were nearly filled when we got there but our guides got us to a place where we could see a large portable stage. It was set up with huge speakers and audio equipment. Balloons were everywhere and children excitedly ran everywhere. Then a burst of applause and the young man who was emcee for the evening appeared on-stage.
Then it happened. All heaven broke loose. The choir made up of several churches opened their mouths and glory came out.
It was awesome- I didn't understand a word of Russian yet it didn't matter! Rod Parsley was not there! T.D. Jakes was not gonna make it! Oral Roberts was not on the list of speakers to be introduced! But guess who the honored guest was at this service!
Praise be, it was the Holy Spirit and he was in the midst of the people. I was in a state of Holy delight! Dancers suddenly appeared and lifted hands of praise to him. The choir seemed as if it was attune to the voices of heaven as they clapped and praised the Lord.
This is the yet another beginning of what God has spoken of. His Love pouring out for the peoples of Russia. And all the forces of hell shall not prevail against it. It is HIS church! Keep praying Saints and believe that what you pray for you will receive. The effectual, fervent prayers of a righteous person avails MUCH!
And Gods MUCH is MUCH!
(Janice) ORPHANS AND A DREAM
It was a cool November day as I made my first of many visits to the little orphanage that was home to 110 children. I mentally surveyed the building as we made the usual tour. As always we received the warm but curious glances of the children and staff as we walked from room to room. What were these strangers all about? I saw repetition of the needs of many of the homes here. They were broken cold buildings in need of repair, limited supplies in the work areas, outdoor toilets and half finished laundry buildings. But mostly children void of parents, lacking in love, and uncertain of the future..
Over a cup of tea and the director wearily shared some of her dreams for the future. But where would the funds come from? Support was hard to get in a country where some are not sure of the next meal. There was heaviness in her heart.
As we left that day her dream of a bakery would not leave my mind. I knew I needed to return and learn more of this project. It was mid December before this meeting happened. That day as we arrived loaded with Christmas gifts the snow was heavy and mounting fast. There were no plows to clear the way. When the road disappeared we left the car and trudged the final 600 yards through the knee-deep white stuff.
This time we were greeted with hugs and smiles but still that uncertain sense of caution. What are these strangers all about? The director that day seemed somewhat heavy in spirit. She appeared as if she were mentally and emotionally drained for whatever reason. I could only pray for her and for our direction to touch her life.
After a time of celebration with the children and dispersing the gifts we again sat for tea and conversation. I shared with the director my interest in the bakery project and wanted to know more about it. She gladly answered our questions and began to unfold her dream. She had a desire to have a bakery on site where they could make enough bread for the children to never be without. They would teach the children how to bake and some could make it a future profession. Some would use the knowledge to care for needs of their own family. They would bake enough to sell to staff to meet the needs of the supplies to make more.
She than took us to show us the building that would house this project. Her excitement grew as she vividly described each area and it's future use. It is a vacant brick building about 30ft x 30ft. The walls are solid but in need of scraping and plaster repairs. They would be covered in bright tiles. The ceiling, now dingy with lights old and worn, would be made suspended with bright florescent lights. The dirt floor would be cemented and tiled. All this would make a sanitary work place. In the corner she already has a donated bread oven. Nearby is a water boiler and some bread cooling racks. She had the plan where each would sit and how they would be filled with warm breads. You could almost smell them as she talked.
I made no promises except to take this to the Lord in prayer and also share her dream with others. I told of the scripture that says nothing is impossible with God. I said I believed He would make a way for this to happen.
By the end of the day she had hope again in her eyes. She had someone who believed in her ideas. She opened up in many ways that day as she was touched by the love in our hearts. That is the love of Jesus and we were able to share that with her.
Now five months later we again visit this orphanage with some funds in hand to begin the work. Also with me this time is my husband Dale. He is a master of several building trades. The director is amazed as we tell her he would like to "volunteer" to help with the building. After a meeting with the head contractor, we learn they have begun the cement work but that is where their supplies stop. The next step is the walls, floor and ceiling. The cost matches the funds the Lord blessed us with. The contractor was curious as he learned of Dale's skills. He was open to begin working together and sharing knowledge.
Again hearts are touched by the love of our God as they learn the funds come from many Christians in America. We also tell them we believe God will continue the provisions until the work is complete. They were beginning to learn what we were all about.
They continue to watch as we see the beginning of the first joint project between Americans and Russian in the Baskortastan orphanages. The nations coming together to touch the lives of children and to make a difference.
You have probably never heard the name. It is the only place 160 children can call "home". But it is not home. It is a place to survive until you become old enough to fend for yourself. It is the best people with limited resources can do.
It amazes me how flexible the emotions of children are. They are so cognizant of all that is happening around them. I saw curious faces, smiling faces, and some with a distant look in their eye. Some were bold, and recognizing our interpreter ran to her with an overflowing burst of love. She in return smiled knowing too well it was honest and open affection.
They were wondering what the Children's Fund had brought. It was gift time. But what were the gifts? It was soon discovered that we had brought very nice shoes, sports type tennis shoes made available by a charitable organization in Great Britain. We were but a conduit to get the shoes where they were needed.
The staff are very courteous and friendly. The superior of the school is the director. She is away for the day and will not be back until the next morning.
In her place is a woman of perhaps 50 or 60 years. She has a beautiful full Russian face with a wonderful smile. She also has a toothache. (I pray- but quietly- for Father to relieve the hurt).
Later in the day we gather around the children ranging in age from about 9 to15. Games from the USA. Like Twister and UNO. Also dominoes, yo-yo's and ball and jacks. I was watching the kids as they played, some with abandon, some shyly. That is when she sat down next to me. Many children came within reach that day. She was one of them that I had reached out with a pat on the head.
As I turned to see who was sitting next to me I saw a little girl perhaps 11 or so. She had long sandy blonde hair and blue eyes. And the emptiest look I have ever seen on a child's face. My "heart" reached over and gave her the best hug I could give-and I give great hugs! She suddenly wrapped her arm around me and put her head on my shoulder as though she were a daughter. And in that instant God showed me she was. She needed to know someone somewhere cared about her. God knew what she needed at that moment.
Yes, there is so much more she and all these children need. And as the Lord lives we will be available to be whatever He would have us be for his children.
And this is love that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning his command is that you walk in love. 2 John verse 6.
Thank you for your prayers and love.
God loves you and so do we
Dale and Janice Spurgeon-Marcum
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