Done and Done!

Finally.

It’s been almost four years since we started the process of Olga becoming a US Citizen and we’ve just taken the final step: Olga received her US passport on Thursday.

Olga and Valerie go to Russia on Tuesday. I will go a little later, on the 30th. So, we’re packing, wrapping things up here in the States and preparing for life in Russia once again.

Olga continues to homeschool and do all manner of things around the house. Val is doing great, such a joy.

I’ve been teaching a series entitled A Biblical Attitude Toward Money. This is in preparation for my next trip to Congo. The church there has asked me to prepare a few teachings; in addition to teaching on Money, I’m also preparing sessions on Authority, Life After Death, and Knowing God’s Will.

I continue my work helping ministries in Europe, and focus on Uganda and Congo continues: just today I sent funds to Uganda in preparation for a conference we’re sponsoring; we’re also purchasing wood-working tools and Bibles as well helping orphans go to school.

This summer looks to be busy: we’ll send mission teams to Russia, Estonia, Ukraine, Romania, Moldova and Montenegro. We will also have interns in Romania, Montenegro, Belarus and Estonia. I will travel to several countries as usual; I’m still discerning where the Lord wants me this summer, but it seems that I’ll attend a men’s conference in Norway and be with mission teams in Estonia, Montenegro, Romania and Ukraine.

Our lives are full, abundant. And this is what Jesus promises: if we’ll just die to ourselves and let Him be our guide, then we’ll be fulfilled beyond imagining.

 

Olga’s Borsch Recipe

Preparation time: 3 – 4 hours

  • 3-4 medium sized beets
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • Half of a small green cabbage
  • 1-2 chicken fillet breasts or the equivalent of beef or turkey (the meat can also be on the bone)
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 3-4 pepper corns (or ground pepper)
  • 2-3 bullion cubes (optional, I usually add it if I use chicken, but you don’t have to do it. Beef and other meats are flavorful enough by themselves)
  • 1-2 Tsp white vinegar
  • Salt to flavor
  • Parsley to flavor
  • Dill to flavor

Boil the beets beforehand. Don’t cut them, don’t peal them, just wash and cook them with a lot of water. You check their readiness the same way you check potatoes. (It will take about 3 hours to cook the beets.)

Shred Cabbage and set aside for later.

Rinse the meat, put in a large pot and fill with water leaving 2-3 inches on top. Add one onion and bay leaf. Bring to boil, continually skim off the foam on top before the water starts boiling.

(The time for preparing the soup depends on the time it takes the meat to cook. For chicken it takes 1 hour, for beef, turkey or pork – about 2 hours.)

When the water starts boiling reduce the heat, add salt and pepper corn (or ground pepper) and shredded cabbage.

Peal potatoes and cut in bite-size chunks. Add them to soup 20 minutes before it is done (if the potatoes cook too long, they will be too soft).

Chop the second onion and grate the carrots. In a skillet sauté the onion until golden then add carrots and keep sautéing for a few more minutes. Add to the soup 5 minutes before it’s done.

Right after that take out the meat, cut into bite size chunks and put back into the soup.

Add bullion cubes. Remove the whole onion and throw away (unless you like boiled onion, which I don’t).

Peal beets, grate them and add to the soup 1 minute before it’s done. Immediately after that, add vinegar. Start with 1 Tsp and taste the soup. You have to be careful with vinegar because if you put too much, it will make the soup bitter. Add more if you need it. Vinegar will keep the color in. Add parsley and dill. Taste, and adjust the seasonings.

You are done. Serve it with sour cream, freshly chopped parsley and dill (and dark rye bread!).

Olga’s Borsch Recipe

As some of you know, Olga makes GREAT borsch, the traditional Russian beet soup.

This is her recipe:

Preparation time: 3 – 4 hours

  • 3-4 medium sized beets
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • Half of a small green cabbage
  • 1-2 chicken fillet breasts or the equivalent of beef or turkey (the meat can also be on the bone)
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 3-4 pepper corns (or ground pepper)
  • 2-3 bullion cubes, optional (I usually add bullion it if I use chicken for the stock, but you don’t have to do it. Beef and other meats are flavorful enough by themselves)
  • 1-2 Tsp white vinegar
  • Salt to flavor
  • Parsley to flavor
  • Dill to flavor

Boil the beets beforehand. Don’t cut them, don’t peal them, just wash and cook them with a lot of water. You check their readiness the same way you check potatoes. (It will take about 3 hours to cook the beets.)

Shred Cabbage and set aside for later.

Rinse the meat, put in a large pot and fill with water leaving 2-3 inches on top. Add one onion and bay leaf. Bring to boil, continually skim off the foam on top before the water starts boiling.

(The time for preparing the soup depends on the time it takes the meat to cook. For chicken it takes 1 hour, for beef, turkey or pork – about 2 hours.)

When the water starts boiling reduce the heat, add salt and pepper corn (or ground pepper) and shredded cabbage.

Peal potatoes and cut in bite-size chunks. Add them to soup 20 minutes before it is done (if the potatoes cook too long, they will be too soft).

Chop the second onion and grate the carrots. In a skillet sauté the onion until golden then add carrots and keep sautéing for a few more minutes. Add to the soup 5 minutes before it’s done.

Right after that take out the meat, cut into bite size chunks and put back into the soup.

Add bullion cubes. Remove the whole onion and throw away (unless you like boiled onion, which I don’t).

Peal beets, grate them and add to the soup 1 minute before it’s done. Immediately after that, add vinegar. Start with 1 Tsp and taste the soup. You have to be careful with vinegar because if you put too much, it will make the soup bitter. Add more if you need it. Vinegar will keep the color in. Add parsley and dill. Taste, and adjust the seasonings.

You are done. Serve it with sour cream, freshly chopped parsley and dill (and dark rye bread!).

Olga’s Family Tree

Victor Minakhin, Olga’s third cousin once removed, has created a family tree of people who will attend our family reunion in Narva, Estonia this August. I’ve cropped the entire tree to show the part that directly relates to Olga’s line.

You can read about Olga’s grandfather, Orest Maximilianovich Grootten, here; and here is more info about the family.

As you can see, Olga’s family goes back to England in the early 1700s. Who would have thought?

20100526-narva-reunionthin

Click here for the entire family tree, if you’re interested. Victor said there may be some corrections to be done, so I’ll update this when he sends a newer version.

A Postcard from Russia — Home Sweet Home

The other day I came home to a pleasant sight: Olga making jam from gooseberries she and babushka picked at dacha. We’ve done a lot of traveling this summer, and it’s nice to be back in Russia for a bit. We’ve recently spent time at Elama, been at dacha, and visited with teams from the USA. August is holiday time in Russia, so things are slowing down a little.

For the past several months we’ve had three young ladies from church living with us — Zhenya, Anya, and Natasha. We’ll tell you more about them soon. They are all very strong believers, good friends and have become members of our family; the people at church now call them Kantrelli. Our home is full of life. We truly have a sweet home.

Natasha visited dacha with us and learned how to mow grass. I think we’re the only people in the village with a lawn mower; we always have interested neighbors stopping to look at how the machine works, many have probably only see one in the movies.

Many of you know that I am the executive director of Stoneworks International. We are seeing much growth. Also, this fall Stoneworks and Spring of Revival are opening a Family Home in Minsk: a residential program for graduate orphans. If you’d like to be on the update email list for Stoneworks with reports on our work in Russia, Belarus and Montenegro, please visit here to sign up.

We give God the credit for all the good He does in and through us. We hope you, too, will see these good things and give praise to our Father in heaven. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him.