Our return to Russia went smoothly. The flights went well, we had no problems crossing borders and are almost completely over our jet lag. After a few days in St. Petersburg, we went to dacha (above) to open up the house and get it ready for the summer. Our dacha (summer house) is about 250 years old, and shows it.
Last fall we had the foundation fixed and the workers left quite a bit of rubble and chaos. So, we spent several days cleaning the place and finishing up some projects. I also built a greenhouse that wore me out. During the winter someone broke in and stole many tools (and in the process damaging some property), so we also had to recover from that.
Dacha is looking better, but it still needs a lot of help. Our hope is to turn it into a ministry center, and we’re slowly working our way toward making it able to host larger groups of people.
We’re now back in the city. Tomorrow, I (Mike) go to Estonia for a few days and then drive south to Montenegro, meeting my Finnish friend Heikki Hakala in Riga, Latvia. Heikki and I have wanted to take a road trip together, and we’ll visit historic sites along the way. We’ll also visit Schloss Heroldeck in Austria, a Christian conference center (and castle!) where I’d like to lead a youth retreat at some point. It’s interesting research to say the least.
In Montenegro I’ll meet with many friends and ministry partners. I’ll also welcome Stoneworks board member Glenn Cole and his daughter Sarah, who is an intern with us this summer. We and another intern Anna Savelle will then make ministry stops in Serbia, Romania, and Ukraine as we head to their internship in Estonia, serving at Sunbeam and Camp Gideon.
I’ve recently had contact with a church in Western Ukraine that is helping refugees from the war in the east. We’ll visit the church, learn more about their needs, and hopefully carry some donations with us. Please contact me if you’re interested in helping with that particular need.
Olga and Valerie will remain in Russia, taking care of things in the city and then spending more time at dacha, enjoying country life as Valerie gets a golden brown tan.
The words of Jesus are constantly in my ear, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Let’s keep pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which Christ has called us heavenward.