A Postcard from Romania

Well, I’m in the middle of a grand tour. Over a week ago I left Estonia, driving south for three days to Montenegro. My time there was excellent and full of life. I spoke at the Word of God Evangelical Church in Podgorica and had great fellowship with family, friends and ministry partners. It would have been nice to have more time and hopefully Olga, Val and I will visit next year.

Then I drove to visit friends in Serbia and a few days ago arrived in Sighișoara, Romania (in the heart of Transylvania, above). Yesterday was a full and joyful day. I spoke at three churches (one Romanian and two gypsy/Hungarian) and felt that the Lord encouraged and comforted many people. It’s gratifying to return to minister in fellowships, to see familiar faces. Last year I was here with a team that prayed for many people. Last night a man told me how much that blessed him and prepared him for the year.

Here is my view at one of the village churches last night, just before I spoke:

This week I’ll have other meetings and on Friday or Saturday I will drive to Odessa, Ukraine in preparation for our Stoneworks conference next week, where we will welcome over 30 adults and about 20 children.

One lesson that continues to resonate with me: if anyone wants to be fit for service in the Kingdom of God, they can not put their hand to the plow and look back.

From Russia to Montenegro

Last week we made the drive from Russia to Montenegro. We traveled in two cars with our friends Sergei and Christina and their twin girls. Here is a photo record of the trip. (You can see a slideshow/video of a previous trip here).

We started early in the morning from dacha in Russia. Sergei said his goodbyes to Olga’s grandfather, Orest Grotten.

Olga posed for a portrait with her grandparents, Orest and Ludmilla

Orest said goodbye from the kitchen window

We packed up our cars and headed out!

The sun came up as we headed South, past Pskov to the Latvian border. Continue reading

A Few Dacha Videos

Can you tell that I’m learning how to post videos?  Here are four short videos from our visits to Olga’s grandparents’ house.

The Russian summer or country house is called the dacha (rhymes with gotcha).  In usage we say things like, ‘I am going to dacha’ or, ‘how was dacha?’.

These videos are pretty poor quality and quite short.  I promise I’ll do better in the future.  But they will give you a flavor of life at dacha.

Continue reading

A Quick Guide to Russian Family and Friends

At the risk of offending some people by leaving them off, I’ll make a stab at giving a Russian ‘cast of characters’ to help minimize confusion —

Mike Cantrell: uhmmmm, me

Olga Cantrell: my wife, we married in 2001. She is the BEST!

Tanya Yaskevich: Olga’s mother

Alla Pavetic: Olga’s twin sister who now lives in Montenegro (see this post for the Montenegrin guide)

Orest and Ludmilla Groten (Grootten): Olga’s grandparents, Tanya’s parents, in the summers they live at ‘dacha’, an old log home in a village south of St. Petersburg. Continue reading