Forgive the delay in not getting this out sooner. Life, as always, has been hectic. I won’t wax poetic about the weather. Suffice it to say, it’s cold and snowy, without any changes in the forecast any time soon. Here’s an update of a few things that have been going on lately.
Regional Evangelism and Outreach
Last week I took a trip with a group to the city of Tikhvin to help plan for an evangelism trip there in April. Tikhvin is about a 3 hour drive from St. Petersburg and is located in a region surrounded by many small “villages.” This trip is being organized by a local pastor, Alexander Morozov, here in St. Petersburg whose wife is from the region. He’s done quite a good job of organizing churches both from here in the city and from the Tikhvin region to participate with this work. Further planning will be going on for this over the next few weeks. This trip will coincide with Easter according to the Eastern calendar. The ultimate goal is to plant churches in the various villages in the Tikhvin region.
PRAY: For the planning of this project. We are in need of more volunteers who can help in various ways. Please also pray that all of the funds necessary will come in for this project. Pray that people would come to know Christ.
April Bible Conference
Plans are coming together for a Bible conference to take place here April 30th – May 2nd. The conference will feature four main speakers, three from Russia and one from the United States. This conference will be for both church leaders and laypersons. I am serving as one of the main coordinators of this project.
PRAY: That the conference planning will come together smoothly, and that the one American speaker would be able to get his visa to come. Pray for a good turnout for the conference and that all the funds will be made available.
Travel to Tuva
As part of my work as Field Director for InterAct ministries, I travel to other regions of Russia several times per year. April 15th – 23rd I’ll be traveling to Tuva to meet with our one team member there and with native church leaders to discuss a number of issues related to our ministry there.
PRAY: For safe and problem-free travel. Pray for good meetings with native leaders, that our relationships could be strengthened to allow us to move forward in the work of the gospel there in Tuva.
Many of you remember me mentioning “Alex” in my last letter. Unfortunately I can’t report that anything has gotten better. A couple of days ago I had to be firm with him about his repeatedly calling me over and over again. This has been a common problem all along where he would call me repeatedly, sometimes 10-15 times in a row. This time when he called I was in a position where I could not take his call. Because I couldn’t take his call he accused me of having “issues that I needed to deal with.” When I was firm with him he hung up the phone and has cut off all contact with me.
This has been difficult in some ways, because I very much care for his soul. But at the same time, the situation with him has not changed for the past two years and has been taxing to say the least. During this time he has lied to me repeatedly, tried to get money from me (which I found out later he would have used for prostitutes), and has basically used me to impress others with his own abilities to speak English. This, I think, was also one of the issues which upset him, when I told him I was no longer going to speak English to him but only Russian.
I will continue to pray for him, and if he ever calls me I will be here for him, but I cannot change his heart.
PRAY: That God save Alex.
Cristy is at 23 weeks now! We praise the Lord that all is going well with our prenatal care here in Russia. She’s continuing to take just a few hours of Russian lessons per week to “tidy up” her knowledge of the language. It is amazing how far she has come with all of her responsibilities as a mother.
Isaiah is also busy day in and day out playing, and doing a little home school work with Cristy. The weather has unfortunately prohibited a lot of outside time, but he tends to stay plenty entertained.
We also want to praise the Lord as we’ve seen a little increase in our monthly support! We are so thankful that some other supporters have come on board recently and have started giving monthly. We are still behind though, and are in need of further monthly support in order to continue our work here in Russia. For all of you who have supported us and are continuing to support us we thank you dearly.
People sometimes wonder what it takes to live and work here in Russia. According to the most recent totals, the cost averages out to about $190 per day. Now that’s not how much we’re eating in food per day. That’s the average of everything we have to spend in order to live here. This includes, visas, legal fees, our apartment rental, food, living costs, our insurance, bills, and travel to the United States once per year. If you take that number and divide it by 12 you get about $15. What that means is that if you give $16 per month to our ministry, that over the course of a year that supports us being in Russia a full day! See, even small gifts help significantly.
If you’re able to help you can either go here or send donations to
31000 SE Kelso Rd.
Boring, OR 97009
Please note “Thomas & Cristy Slawson” in the memo line.
Thank you all for your love and prayers. May God bless you all.