This summers trip to Russia’s Khabarovsk Krai. In this report you can find some details on the VBS style summer camps, orphan ministry, and the opportunity we had for ministering to broken families.
A total of four day camps were conducted during this trip. The first camp started on Tuesday, July 18th in Pobeda. We would’ve started them earlier but the weather wouldn’t permit us to fly out to the first village earlier. We didn’t have as many kids as previous years, but nonetheless, we were able to minister to about 30-35 kids everyday. The number of kids fluctuates because not every child is able to come every day. We have previously done week-long day camps in this village, so this was another time to be a good witness to the people of this village. There are several adults who we were able to minister to during this week. They weren’t interested in God or the church before, but now were interested in what we do, started asking questions and just watched the work we were doing with the kids. It’s good to see adults opening their hearts to hear the Word. Please pray for Pobeda and its residents.
Most summers, if we decided to do the day camp in Pobeda, we would also do one in Ulika. If you’ve been following our ministry, you know that Ulika is a native Nanai village. It’s very small, with about 35 homes and a population right under 200 somewhere. So everybody there definitely knows each other. Ulika, unlike Pobeda, doesn’t have even a grass strip, so the only way to get there in the summer is by river. The river ferry going from Khabarovsk and stopping at these villages has been overfilled lately. Luckily, we were able to make an agreement with a barge owner to transport our supplies and our team down the river.
The number of kids that attended our day camps here in Ulika was similar to that of Pobeda, even though Ulika is so many times smaller. Also, there were more adults that were interested to come and see what we do with the children. There is on lady in particular, her name it Katya. She was interested in our program when we were there two years ago, mostly because her daughter was in one of our groups. She did participate in some of our sports activities. But this year, she came every single day and was very active and involved. Please pray for people like Katya, that through the encounters she’s had with the Christians she’s met, she might come to Christ.
In Ulika, the House of Prayer(local church building) is being expanded by Christian Koreans who established it in the first place. Koreans are concentrated on this village because the Nanai people are more willing to accept the gospel than the Russians who are more dedicated to the very liberal life of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Koreans are asking that Pastor Slavik would start regular visits to this village and preach there at least once a month. He has taken this into consideration, because he’s already making several visits there a year. Please pray for Ulika, the small church there, and the Nanai people.
Our third location was in Zaozernoe, not as many kids as other years as well. Throughout the year kids kept asking if we were going to come this year. When we did come they were very eager to see us!
Pray for Zaozernoe. Pray for the people there, the children who attended our day camps, and the parents who might be reading their booklets at night.
The local shelter in Voronizh district of Khabarovsk city is another place we have previously done our day camps at. It’s a shelter for teens and young adults hosted by an elderly Englishwoman named Joy who moved to Khabarovsk many years ago. She still teaches English at a local university, and also tries to help the young people in the city. This year, we had a very small amount of kids come to our day camps at the shelter. Please pray for this shelter and its success in helping the teens and young adults that go through it.
The director of the Village club accepted us with open arms, which is not usual for most Russians to do. She also thanked us very much, and told us to come next year.
Highlight Of the Camps
Every year we do day camps, we have our special camp money called Tallets. Kids can earn talents in many different ways some of which are: learning Bible verses, singing a song during our worship gathering, doing the homework activities they have in their booklets, and for random acts of kindness. At the end of the week, we have a camp store where they are able to purchase something for themselves. In this years prizes, among the toys, gadgets and stuffed animals, we had two wooden planks with Psalm 23 burned onto them. Nobody really showed any interest in these wooden planks in Pobeda, and someone bought one in Ulika. So here in Zaozernoe, we decided to do something different. Without telling the kids, we decided that before we let the kids buy what they wanted, we would see if anyone was willing to buy this wooden plank for 30 Tallents. The person that decides to buy it, willingly, we weren’t going to force anyone, we would let them choose a few prizes extra. Well, when we offered the plank up to them for 30 Tallents, this is pretty close to the maximum most of them had, no one really wanted it. Pastor Slavik explained to them, that the toys they bought would break, and the gadgets would get old, but the Word of God would last forever. Then one little boy asks, “would you give it for 29 Tallents? That’s all I have.” We said sure, and asked him if he’s positive that this wooden plank was the one thing he was willing to spend all his Tallents on. He said he was sure. So can you imagine the surprise on his face, and the faces of all the other kids, when we told him, for buying the wooden plank he gets to choose anything else he’d like. This little boy had hundreds of toys and gadgets to choose from when it came time to buy his presents, but he chose a wooden plank with Psalm 23 on it.
Ministry with Orphans
I was able to invest into the Eternal Kingdom in some other ways while the camps were in progress. Olga, a mother of two, formerly an orphan herself, has been in touch with the orphanage staff and other orphans in that orphanage. She’s registered as a constant visitor and is able to take as many kids as she wants for as long of a time that she wants.
Using this opportunity, we were able to get children from the orphanage, just to take them out to the city, give them a healthy meal, give them some rides at the local city carnival, and just spend some time with them and show them love of Christ and affection. We were able to get the kids for a day, by groups organized by the orphanage, in groups of 7-8 kids. We did this three times. So in total we were able to spend time with and show love to 20 orphans! Praise God! All thanks to the support you’ve been providing! And although there were some concerns from this orphanages director, as she’s not very open to the way we spent time with the children, God blessed our time with these kids.
Ministering to Broken Families
I also had the opportunity to minister to several families and a few singles in the form of counseling and some financial assistance. Most of these families are single mothers. There are a few mothers who are orphans, and now their kids are growing up without fathers. Just going out for lunch with these single mothers and giving them some spiritual guidance, advice for the situations they’re going through, and that small amount of financial help goes a long way for them.
Partnership with Kingdom Air Corps
And we have to mention Kingdom Air Corps based in Alaska. We have been working together with them since 2015, and they have been a huge blessing! Kostya, the pilot who trained in Alaska and now serves as a missionary pilot in Khabarovsk, took his first missionary flight two years ago. He’s been flying Pastor Slavik to Pobeda throughout the year, and our team when we do summer day camps to the remote villages.
Please pray for:
-Kids camps, for the seed that was planted to bring fruit in the near future
-Orphans who were ministered to
-For broken families, single mothers and single fathers
-For Pastor Slaviks church and the spiritual growth of their community