Driving in Romania

In keeping with some other posts, here are two views of our drive through Romania. The first is through a very dramatic canyon in the Carpathian range, not so far from the border with Moldova. The second is in the foothills, approaching the Carpathians. The third video is a quick view of one part of our drive in Moldova.

Moldova –

Finally, I played with a new app call Hyperlapse. This was done in Slovakia —

A Drive Near Hauho

In case you haven’t heard, the ministry I direct, Stoneworks International, has a new partner in Montenegro. The R.A.E ministry in Montenegro serves the Roma & Ashkali/Egyptian population in Podgorica.

Roma and Ashkali refugees from Kosovo live in ‘temporary’ housing that was built many years ago. The refugee camp is built on the site of an old dump.

I’m very happy to be working more closely with Siniša Nadaždin, the leader of the ministry, and I am very grateful to the Lord Jesus for allowing me to participate in the fruit of these good relationships He’s given us.

We’re in Finland for a few days enjoying the little cabin called Koppero. I have a simple ‘office’ here so I’m able to work, and it’s nice to sit by a beautiful lake and enjoy the autumn weather, for the summer has passed; the days are cool though the leaves have not yet started to turn. It’s nice to enjoy a fire during the cool evenings.

We’ll go to Russia in a few days, spend about a week there and then plan to head south to Montenegro. Once again we’ll drive all the way from St. Petersburg, Russia to Podgorica, Montenegro. Valerie and I have made a list of all the countries we’ll visit on this trip. She’s drawn all the flags and will check them off as we cross borders. If all goes as planned, we’ll be in 15 countries in the next few weeks!

I also plan to visit a potential new ministry partner in Moldova with a stop or two in Romania. More about that later . . . .

Here is one of my favorite drives in Finland, a small road between Hämeenlinna and Hauho —

Driving in Norway

From time to time I post videos of places I’ve driven. While in Norway, Yura made some pretty long videos of our drive. I’ve trimmed a few down so you can see what it’s like up there. These were all made as we drove from Lakselv to Vadsø, across Finnmark.

Driving Across the Tundra —

 On a fjord (the fjord appears at 1:07) —


 A rainbow appeared —

To the North!

As part of my role as Executive Director of Stoneworks International, I am planning to visit Yura Belonozhkin next month and see the work he’s doing in the far north, particularly his men’s ministry. Vladimir and Marijana Cizmanski will visit us from Montenegro in September, and Vladimir will join me on this trip. It gives me joy for my friends and co-workers in various countries to meet one another.

The route will take us from St. Petersburg to as far north as Vadso, Norway. Vadso is about 420 km (260 miles) north of the Arctic Circle. It will be great to visit our ministry partners and see Karelia, part of the Kola Peninsula and Lapland at that time of year.

I hope to speak at a conference in Olenogorsk, attend church in Murmansk and visit several ministry sites all along the way, with Vadso being our last ministry stop before heading south. We’ll stay in Rovaniemi, Finland, which is on the Arctic Circle (Santa Claus has a house there!). We’ll all spend a couple of days in Finland before going to Estonia to pick up Vladimir and Marijana’s car so they can head home. This should be fulfilling and fun in many ways.

Here is a map for reference (it’s not completely accurate but gives an idea of the route):

The Long Drive to Montenegro

I (Mike) arrived in Montenegro a couple of days ago. I drove here with two Stoneworks interns, Caroline Bennighof and Krystal Smith, and a young man from Estonia, Kristjan Pold.

We’re here to work with a team from the US who will run a youth camp next week. The team arrives tomorrow, and for the next few days we’ll build relationships with the youth and minister at the Brethren Assembly here in Podgorica.

Here are the numbers —

  • 2966km (1843 miles): from our front door in St. Petersburg, Russia to the front door of our friends in Podgorica, Montenegro
  • 2732km (1698 miles): from the Tallinn airport to Podgorica, Montenegro
  • 35hours and 51 minutes: total time driving, with the car in motion.
  • Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro

A Drive in Austria

We’ve just finished our drive from Montenegro to Estonia. We drove through Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia. We got to see Vienna and Prague along the way.

Here’s a video of part of our drive through the Austrian countryside. It’s really pretty there.

A Drive in Finland

We are in Finland for a few days. It’s lovely here. Two friends from the US (Mary and Sarah Walsh) will arrive in Finland on Monday and spend a couple of days with us before we all drive back into Russia. Yesterday I made a video of my drive through the country. (The Finnish voice at the beginning of the video is a radio station.)

Driving in Estonia

I went for a drive in the Estonian countryside a couple of days ago. It is very beautiful this time of year.

(Our little car has been through Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Serbia, visited an Austr0-Hungarian fortress on the Dalmatian coast of the Adriatic and now explores this frigid northland.)

First, a video of the drive on the old Royal Road (the main road 200 years ago), along the shore of the frozen Gulf of Finland:

The video was made at about noon. You can see how low the sun is in the sky.

This is how the day started:

I stopped at a waterfall on the Gulf —

Then I drove from Narva-Jõesuu to Narva —

I’m in Estonia working on a few projects — I’m helping coordinate mission teams that will visit this summer, and we are taking important steps toward building a day center for disabled children in Jõhvi.

Long shadows cast on the icy Gulf of Finland —