This summer’s trip was amazing! And you know why?? Because our Almighty God is amazing! We couldn’t have done anything without Him. So, first of all, I want to give all praise and glory for everything we went through and accomplished to Him.
This was truly an amazing summer. Let’s start with just the fact that we didn’t have a team for this summer to actually do something. And as we’re getting ready, during the early months of the year, Edward Malanchuk was keeping in touch with our friends in Kazakhstan. Turns out, after he invites them to join our project in Khabarovsk Russia and they agree, God sends a sponsor to pay the travel expenses for those young ladies to join us in Russia. So, from the very beginning we could see God’s hand over us.
Our team varied from village to village, and really day to day sometimes. But for the most part our team consisted of eleven people total.
Our time in Russia starts with preparation in Khabarovsk taking longer than expected. This actually got us worried because it shifted our project dates for each village. Now we would be unable to do the four projects planned and time was restricting us to only three. But He is faithful, isn’t He? And if He brings you to it, He will bring you through it. So we trusted God in the midst of our confusion.
Since some of the last preparation didn’t involve every team member, some of us started going to that first village. If you’ve heard testimonies of any of our previous trips to Russia, you know by now that in Khabarovsk the only way to get to some of the villages was by ferry. Well this year, we were introduced to a new type of local transportation. Airplanes. It was a small 4-seater Cessna, and owned by a local missionary pilot by the name of Kostya Rudoy. He’s been training for a pilot for the past six summers in Alaska and South Carolina. A Khabarovsk native, he’s had the desire to serve God and reach these secluded villages for a while. And God sure did give him that opportunity. He had just received this airplane about a year ago. Since it took some time before it was finally put back together and registered to fly, he hadn’t flown anyone yet. So when we met him, and heard of the opportunity to use this airplane for some of our transportation needs, we took that God given opportunity. Over the years, the rules on this public transportation ferry have changed some, not allowing us to transport much baggage. And that was going to be a problem because in order to do a week long camp in any village, we need a lot of inventory. From personal belongings to food for the stay there to sports and crafts equipment, it all adds up quickly. So the day we were all initially supposed to leave to the first village, Pobeda(Victory), we only sent one young brother, Slavik Mayboroda Jr., with the rest of the airplane loaded with some of the sports equipment and tools for construction work for the first village. This turned out to be the first missionary flight in the far east of Russia, on the first missionary airplane with the first missionary pilot! Serving God, we made history. Since this was a Saturday, Slavik Jr. was able to lead a church service the next day with the several church members of that village. After the morning service in Khabarovsk, Mark Liventsov and I left Khabarovsk for Pobeda as well. Also taking as much luggage as the Cessna could hold. The rest of the team arrived that Wednesday.
In Pobeda, our main focus was working on the outside of the church building. We tore down the old fence that was there and put up a new one. Everything was done by hand from A to Z. While the guys were working on that, our girls gather up the village kids for Bible stories, songs, games, and crafts. Even though we didn’t do a full size VBS style camp there, the kids loved it and didn’t want us to leave. Kostya had the opportunity to bring a flight simulator to the village as well. He did a master class on airplanes and let the teens try out flying on the simulator.
After a blessed week in Pobeda, we went to the second village called Ulika. It’s a small village consisting of the native Nanai people of the Far East. They are very welcoming, as always. We go there by river ferry. There, we lived right on the river bank. We had four tents set up to sleep in, one kitchen tent, and a couple big screen tents to do crafts in and Bible lessons. We had to purchase quite a few new tents this year as most of the tents were stolen from our storage in Khabarovsk. But even some of the new tents didn’t hold our through the storms and some of the other ones were torn up by the local cattle at night. But nevertheless, we had an average of 40 kids come to the weeklong camp there. We got back to Khabarovsk after two long weeks of physical, mental, and emotional work. Thank God for His daily presence with us, because without Him we would have failed and all that work would have been a waste.
The other two camps that we did went a little different. Upon arrival back to the city we took a few days to regroup, prepare everything for the final week and rest a little. The Lord knows we needed that rest. During the last week we did two VBS style camps in two different places. One was a small village not too far away from the city, and the other was in a small region of the actual city. We started one camp in the city in the morning and did the program until a little after lunch. And after lunch we went to the small village outside the city.
A total of about 200 kids came to our camps, and heard the gospel. Several churches were visited and uplifted, including the two churches in Pobeda and Ulika. Work was done on the church in Pobeda and more work is in store for us in the future. We still have plans to remodel the inside and replace the roof on that building. We also visited individual Christians for fellowship and uplifting including our beloved sister Lidiya Fedotovna.
There is still a lot of work to be done in Khabarovsk and the surrounding area. We are doing everything we can with what we have. Your support always helps, most of the time more than you can even imagine. If you would like to take part in our ministry in any way, please contact us. We would love to have more people go next time! Please also continue praying for our ministry’s growth, but most important for the people that heard the gospel, for them to give their hearts to Christ Jesus.
– John Malanchuk