A Postcard from Russia — Home Again

Each month, MIR hosts a prayer meeting (above) attended by people who give their lives in Christian ministry. It was great to attend after missing the past few meetings. MIR is facing some challenges just now, so your prayers are appreciated. A friend once told me that choosing a life of ministry means choosing a life of poverty. There’s truth in this.

These saints refuse to pursue worldly wealth and achievement; rather, they lay down their lives in service. They serve orphans, print Christian literature, help local churches, manage projects, provide counsel, fix computers, minister to college students, and more. Our fellowship and prayers reminded me of the greatness and comfort of God’s kingdom; we are His family, united by His Spirit, even though we come from varied cultures and life experiences, speaking different languages. These are good friends and valued co-workers.

New opportunities are on our doorstep. For instance, we hope to help open a center for disabled children in Estonia. In Russia, we will hold a pilot Ecological Camp at Elama where a British ecologist will teach children about the beauty and diversity of God’s creation.

Now a closing thought from Olga: This year’s fall has been specially beautiful. I think I don’t remember such glorious October as we are having now. And even though the fall means that the nature is falling asleep, it hold a promise of new life in it. And for me that is what I feel. There is a promise of new life. God has something in store for us. And not only for us, but all of His children. His plans are good, His plans have a future. We may not understand this, we may not see it, but He does.

A Postcard from Russia — Apples, Mushrooms and Berries

The end of the summer is upon us, and now is the time of harvest and of looking forward. The apples, mushrooms and berries (and carrots, peas, cucumbers and potatoes) are plentiful.

Last week we were at dacha again for Olga’s grandmother’s birthday; she is 77 years old this year.  On that day, August 28, eight years ago I proposed to Olga in the garden there. Each year since we’ve been at dacha to celebrate the birthday. It’s a blessing that we can have time with family. Olga’s grandfather, Orest, is doing fairly well, in his 90th year.

God continues to bring new opportunities. We look forward to telling you over the coming months about a few things that are on the horizon. MIR is doing well, Stoneworks is growing, our ministries in Belarus and Montenegro are increasing, new workers are being called to work along side us, and key relationships are growing deeper. We are thankful for the fruitfulness that God brings.

In His love,

Mike and Olga Cantrell

A Postcard from Montenegro — Fruitful Relationships

teencamp_durmitor

I  just returned from a very fruitful trip to Montenegro, where we hosted a team from St. James United Methodist Church in Athens, GA.

Our relationships continue to deepen in Montenegro and the work is expanding. I was involved in three main areas:

First, we ran a teen camp. We had more campers this year than last (it’s great to see growth), and our time with them was very deep and fruitful. Two young ladies made commitments to become followers of Jesus and several others were very encouraged in their faith.

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A Postcard from Russia — Teamwork

I (Mike) am back in Russia after a great trip to Montenegro. Today Olga and I visited a couple of teams we have here in Russia. Above is the team from Oak Hills Church in San Antonio. Oak Hills has sent teams to Russia for many years, and they are always a very good team. They all told us their time here has been really wonderful — good relationships have been formed with the children in the camp, and the camps staff has also worked well with them. They sang a beautiful multi-part harmony acapella song for us. They are great! They sang at the opening ceremonies of the camp. It was a joy to be with such a happy, witty and enthusiastic group of people.

I am writing this from Elama, the camp we’re running. Today the children’s camp came to a close. About 60 kids were here for more than a week attending a Christian camp organized by Source of Life Church. On Monday we’ll start a youth camp for about 100 people. In August we hope to host a couple more camps, and we also have a few Christian families living here for the summer. It’s a real joy to see so much life here, especially when just a few weeks ago it was fairly lifeless. I’ll send an update about Elama next time.

Please keep us in your prayers as we come to mind. We have a lot going on, and we face some changes. I’ll write more about that later. Please pray that we’ll have wisdom and unity as we pray about decisions that are ahead. So many wonderful things — Montenegro, Elama, the teams in camps, the MIR staff, New Horizons — give us joy and thankfulness in our hearts, because God has allowed us to participate in His good work.