Having the opportunity to address the readers of our newsletters, we, the immediate caregivers to the orphans in Russia - Velikie Luki, would like to express our gratitude to everyone who supports this ministry. Acquiring Christian literature from our Russian bookstore, makes you an active partaker in the ministry. All contributions for the books we distribute are going to support the orphanage ministry in Velikie Luki and make the ministry possible.
We would also like to express our thankfulness to the members of the Shakopee Russian Baptist Church. This is our family, our home front, our prayer warriors, who stand before the Lord, bless us when we go to minister in Russia and support our youth, encouraging us to be faithful serving the Lord. We know that many of you who contribute to the orphanage ministry in Velikie Luki are making a sacrifice. You take something away from your kids and give it to others. You could have used the funds otherwise, for your own needs. This is a real sacrifice and ministry pleasing to God. He will bless each one of you. God will not be indebted to anyone, He will repay everything according to His mercy. This is your fruit, a "pleasant fragrance" - a sacrifice pleasing to God (Phil. 4:18). "Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant...." (2 Kor. 3:5-6). Glory be to God!!!
What has been done in Velikie Luki this last summer? The construction of the new youth center and the sanctuary have been completed. The building is ready to pass the final inspections. Its doors will be open for the orphans who come to us everyday for Bible study. This will also be the home of the missionary family. We hope that here we can start a new church. We have a big room that easily fits up to 90 people. We continue to look for families, who would like to serve as missionaries in the Pskov region.
Olia and Julia, who help us locally in Velikie Luki are also hoping that someone will share their burden in serving the children of the local orphanages. The words of Jesus, "go into all the world and preach the Good News..." are a command to the church. The US churches that give the most missionaries to evangelize the world count only 1 missionary for every 7000 church members. Just one out of seven thousand is willing to go. Is it not sad and troubling? How many missionaries do our Russian churches give? Is the great commission a command for our brotherhood? For our churches? Do I see it as a command for me personally? We may interpret it differently but Jesus said unambiguously: "Go". The entire church should take this command seriously and start moving into this direction to the glory of God.
Many of the young adults, who left the orphanage in the age of 16 and went to different colleges are still attending our Bible studies at the youth center. The administration of the orphanages and the city as well is in favour of the ministry we do. They want to give as many kids as possible to our foster care families.
Dear friends, please pray that God might send dedicated workers who are able to continue this ministry when we are gone and who will be a blessing for the children in Velikie Luki.
In His service Yuriy Tabakov
The last trip to Velikie Luki was with one goal to finish the construction of the youth center. Our team from Minneapolis was happy to serve the orphans in the city. Seven of us who went there had the opportunity not only to physically work, but also to fellowship with the kids and see the expansion of the kingdom of God.
Because the center is located just a block away from the orphanage, the kids ran to help us as soon as they came from school. Some of them painted the pipes, others were cleaning and caring out the garbage. Together we had a lot of joy and happiness. Most of the time we had meaningful fellowship as we worked on the building. Orphans are special kids, who desperately need love, tenderness, and attention in one to one conversations. We could not hold back the love Jesus poured into our hearts. We cried a lot. The Lord was touching not only the souls of the kids but ours too. Who are we that the Lord has found us trustworthy to proclaim His grace and see how the Holy Spirit works in the lives of these little kids?
We were not able to finish the job in the four weeks of the trip. Thus we plan a second trip this year in July. Children who, with tears in their eyes, said goodbye to us promised to pray that we might come as soon as possible. We were deeply touched and prayed to the Lord that He might adopt them as His sons and daughters. That He be their Father and Protector and strong Tower of Refuge saving them from the attacks of the devil.
The funds we used to build this building were from many people, who love Jesus. The $35,000 were not enough to finish the project. To complete the job we have to put in some flooring, the kitchen cabinets and appliances as well as finish the rest rooms. We also need to buy some furniture to hold services and make decent sleep arrangements for the missionary family that will live here. According to our calculations we are still short of about $7,000 - $8,000. Please pray for us that we might find the funds and finish the building in July. We hope this center will be a great place and refuge for the homeless and orphans. But also it should be the church where many kids will receive acceptance and unconditional love from those who serve there. We believe that Jesus Christ who has started this work will help us to overcome all obstacles and bring the knowledge of Him to these young hearts.