45-25

Dear Friends,

I’m sitting here in our apartment in Russia contemplating the last two-and-a-half years that we’ve spent in this country. It’s been quite a “ride” to say the least. The Lord has led us down many paths, some in valleys, some on the tops of mountains, but through it all we’ve been preserved and blessed in the love of Christ our Savior.

Now, we are settled here and, in many ways, we call this home. After many brain-deadening lessons, we achieved fluency in the Russian language, and now our days are taken up more and more by direct ministry, rather than with cramming grammatical rules.

We believe we’ve been called to this work. Since the first time I visited Eastern Europe in 2000, and then Ukraine in 2001 my heart was burdened for ministry in Russia. God led Cristy and me together with a common calling to serve here. And despite challenges along the way, we are here by God’s grace.

Doors are opening now. Some connections are fully established and others are being made. It’s been 18 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and in many ways a new generation of missionaries is entering the field in Russia. We came right at the beginning of that shift and in many ways feel like we’re pioneering a new era.

For the first two years here we lived basically free of any financial concerns as far as our support goes. This was a huge blessing to us, as it allowed us the freedom to focus on learning the language, establishing ministry contacts and settling our family. But this past year has brought many changes. We are fully aware that the recession has affected many, and are appreciative of this fact. This has subsequently affected our support levels significantly. While some new supporters have stepped in along the way, it has not compensated for those who no longer are able to give. As a result we are, in a sense, “hanging on” with our support. We are doing everything we can to adjust to this. We have cut back our expenses significantly, and are, more than ever, careful with our money.

As things stand right now, if we continue to receive the average amount per month that is coming in, we will have to leave Russia and return to the States soon. We have committed that we are never going to go into debt in order to stay here. We believe firmly that if the Lord wants us to stay that he will provide the funds necessary. We still feel very strongly called to continue working here, but we also believe that the Lord provides, and gives us wisdom to know the right paths to take. We will continue to cut back until we can cut back no more, but we will not rack up credit card debt in order to stay here.

So, here is what we are in need of. We are seeking 45 people who can commit to $25 per month. This will help raise our monthly support level to the necessary amount needed to continue serving in Russia.

For those who give already, we thank you. We are not necessarily asking you to give more. But we are prayerfully seeking new partners in this ministry. So if you can we ask that you please pass this information along to others who might be seeking to support missions.

I thank you for taking a moment to read this letter. Believe me, it’s not the most fun aspect of what we do here, but we recognize that it is necessary, and want to do our due diligence in regards to our responsibilities here on the mission field.

Pressing on,
Thomas

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