Today is a good day to post a letter I wrote exactly 10 years ago. This was written just before I moved to Russia.
Little did I know I’d meet my wife in just a few months, and I certainly didn’t expect most of what has transpired in this wonderful decade. It’s been a very blessed 10 years.
27 October 2000
Here’s the newest of the news. But first, a very quick recap: Just one year ago Mark Browne, the founder of Mission Russia Outreach (MRO), spoke at my church in Austin. At that time, some friends felt in their hearts that should I get to know Mark and the ministry. Well, I’ve now quit my job, left Austin, and spent over 3 months in Russia–this has been an amazing year, and I thank God for it. And there’s more to come:
A week ago, MRO had a Board of Directors meeting in Atlanta, which I was asked to attend. Since I had worked in Russia for a few months this summer, they wanted to hear my views on the work there. Two things have come from that meeting that I’d like to share with you.
1) I was elected to the Board of Directors of MRO. It’s an honor that was unexpected. Please pray that I and the other members will have wisdom as overseers of that organization. The ministry is growing in several ways, and we all need grace to walk in the way the Lord is leading.
2) I have been commissioned by MRO to establish and direct a charitable foundation in Russia. This organization will coordinate ministry teams, and humanitarian aid that come from America, Finland, and Australia.
A lot will happen over the next 12 months. The Lord willing, I’ll spend most of that time in Russia establishing the foundation; setting up the office; building a staff; learning the language; finding a fellowship of brothers and sisters; finding a home; starting a Bible study in that home; building relationships with orphanage and summer camp directors, government officials, and others; and meeting new friends.
I leave for Russia this Thursday, November 2 (things are happening quickly!!). I will meet with Steve Atkins, a pastor from Australia, and we’ll work with Sasha Kotenkov and others to establish the foundation in Russia. Steve will be there for three weeks, and then I’ll continue the work. I’ll be in Russia until December 15 and return to the States for Christmas holidays. Then I’ll go back in early January for the long haul. I hope to return to the States for a few weeks every 3-4 months from then on.
In reality, this Thursday I am moving to Russia (unless events take a drastic turn). So from now on I reckon I’m “from Russia” whenever people ask where home is; although right now I don’t have a home in Russia either. Hmmmm. . . my life is kinda interesting.
I don’t know yet if I will receive a salary from the new foundation, and I have no source of income. I say this to let you know the truth of the situation, and I know that the Lord will provide what I need, when I need it. God is calling me to trust Him with all of my life, and I’m having to let go of my desire to receive a regular salary. If you feel led to support me financially, donations can be made to . . . . . . .
Please give only if you feel led by the Lord. Perhaps He has other plans for you and your money, and I don’t want anyone to be outside of His perfect will. Pray and be obedient in all things; we will trust Him together. I encourage you to go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is unseen. And He who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Finally, and most importantly, I give God the credit for what is happening in my life. He loves the people of Russia, and He is doing some incredible things around the world. I am very pleased to be able to serve as He calls.
Grace and Peace be yours,