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

A Postcard from Russia — Blessed Meal


Each year our church in St. Petersburg, StreetCry, hosts a Christmas dinner for drug rehabilitation centers and homeless people. Orthodox Christmas in Russia is on January 7th. Here’s a report from Olga about the dinner:streetcry_dinner-8.jpg

There were more than 300 people at the dinner from about ten rehab centers. One rehab center came all the way from Belorussia for this dinner/worship fellowship. One of the guys shared his testimony, and he said that in the place of each person present was supposed to be a grave. If it were not for the grace of God, all of the guys and girls from the rehab centers would have been dead by now.


One of the pictures is all the dirty serving dishes we used! We took a bunch of them home with us, and Anya washed them in the bath tub yesterday.

It was such a blessing to be a part of it. I had a lot of fun cutting things in our flat for the salads. One guy came to use our kitchen processor to chop onions, and Olga Ryazhskihh came the streetcry_dinner.jpgsame day to talk and ask for advice and pray. My mom was there  and lots of other people.

I was so blessed to help and be involved. It was so full of life! People in and out, phone calls, cooking and cutting!!! And great time together as a body!