As our language skills increase so do our ministry opportunities. Thomas has been very busy helping plan a conference for the first week of December. Last week we had the committee meeting in our home. I was encouraged to hear the men discussing the goals for the conference and their desire for projects among the different churches to begin after the conference. Meetings like this one not only allow us to participate in ministry, but also to use our Russian, which of course, helps us learn it better.
We also have been attending a Bible study in the home of a lady from one of the churches that we attend. Bella Borisovna (whom you might remember from previous posts) is “the hostess with the mostest”. She puts out quite the spread for the people that she invites to her home. So far the Kamenski family are the only regular “non-church people” attending. We have enjoyed getting to know them better, and again they are patient with our developing Russian, which is an encouragement to us.
We were also able to attend a meeting for families with children with disabilities. How encouraged we were to see these parents interacting with their children! The group was not large, and we were able to meet and talk to almost everyone there. When they realized that we are from America and have a child with a disability, they were full of questions for us. Life is very difficult for most of them. Usually the mom is the single parent. We spoke to Sveta, the mother of Natasha, who moved with Natasha from Siberia so that her daughter could attend a special school for children with disabilities. Sveta works three jobs so that she can afford the rent for the apartment near the school for Natasha. Many of the other families are in a similar situation.
The school where we met with these families is one of two for children with disabilities. This is a city of about 5 million people, and there are only 2 such schools! The parents are concerned about what will happen or be available for their children when they finish school.
The Russians working with these families are doing a great job in organizing camps and these meetings for the families. We are thankful to be able to be involved and hopefully connect this organization with the local churches. Lord willing, we will be attending a family camp in January.
Those are some of the areas in which we are working right now, and of course, our language studies continue daily! Thank you for your prayers for us and for your support that helps us to be able to stay here and do what God has called us to!