We realize that we’ve not been keeping the newsletters up on the blog – so here’s July. We promise to do better!
CLICK HERE 7-11 Newsletter for the .pdf version of the latest newsletter. If you’re not on the newsletter list but would like to be, please send an email to email@example.com. We’ll be glad to include you on future messages! Also, feel free to visit http://www.actsofadvocacy.org for more info on our lives in Russia)
Greetings in Christ Jesus from Russia!
We hope this newsletter finds you staying cool this hot, hot summer! So far we’ve had mild weather for the summer here in St. Petersburg, and have enjoyed all of the sun (white nights these days) and all of the gorgeous blooming flowers it brings! Since our last update, it seems so much has been happening here, with many new doors presenting themselves.
Prayer Ministry Update
On June 6th, a group of about 15 Russian pastors came together for a conference to discuss the ministry of healing through prayer. Miki led the conference by discussing particular areas within prayer ministry, including the importance of time in the presence of God, receiving anointing of His Holy Spirit, and spiritual warfare and protection. The pastors were greatly encouraged to receive concrete biblical teaching and guidance in this area.
The next weekend, while attending a service at a church of one of those pastors, Miki was invited to the front of the church to pray for healing for anyone who desired prayer. When the pastor made the invitation to the church to come forward to receive prayer, about 3⁄4 of the church responded. Around 45-50 people came forward for prayer that evening. Miki spent an hour going through the line and praying for each of them, but knew that her prayers that night, and those few moments with those people in the presence of God were just a beginning to all that the Lord desires to do for them.
The following week, Miki was invited to visit a youth group that was preparing to lead a christian camp for troubled kids in July. After sharing some words with them about healing prayer, she asked if any there wanted to receive prayer. Every teenager raised their hand. This was a small group, so Miki was able to spend a few minutes sitting with each teen and discussing a bit more specifically some of the things they were seeking from God. Even in this short time, God did some wonderful things that day. Many tears were shed by each person as they prayed for healing in their homes (many of these kids do not live with their parents for various reasons), healing in their families, and healing and freedom in their own lives.
Throughout these sessions, many – particularly the pastors – expressed that they have desired to see healing in their churches and community for many years, but have become discouraged and weary that it has not come more easily and abundantly. They also expressed great struggles against the enemy in their efforts to seek healing from God. Many of our brothers and sisters here in St. Petersburg – faithful, committed servants of Christ – are suffering very dark and painful afflictions from which they cannot find relief. They feel constant attacks coming against them and their homes.
Further, the owner of the office space in the center of the city where we had begun our monthly, city-wide prayer meetings has recently been receiving a lot of questions from local governmental authorities. The office space has always been used for christian activities, and they are threatening now to force her to close its doors.
There are many reasons – most of which we may probably never know – that the enemy has such a hold in this place. The prayer meetings are not the direct reason for the questions coming from the local authorities, but the timing of losing that facility is not unnoticed. The types of battles that are being fought here spiritually by our brothers and sisters are extremely difficult, and many over the years are experiencing physical wear in their bodies, emotional issues such as depression and shame, and extreme fatigue such as we have never seen. We ask sincerely for your prayers covering these who are working for the Kingdom in the midst of such battles, where due to generations of looking away from God, the enemy has gained such a strong hold.
Orphanage Support Update
Also in May and June, we’ve seen furthering of a few projects that we’ve mentioned in previous letters. Some of these relationships are rather new, while some are more mature and are enjoying the blessing of deeper roots and growing foundations in Christ. In both cases we want to provide an update:
In May, we were invited to spend a long weekend in Volkhov at the summer cabin of a dear friend, where she holds summer camps for the local orphanages in her district and for the street children living in abandoned houses nearby. We spent some time helping to open up the house for the summer after a long winter, visiting with others in the community, and simply resting and fellowshipping with dear friends.
In June, Charlie had the opportunity to meet in Tikhvin with the directors of an orphanage and potential supporters about repairs needed on the roof of the orphanage located outside of the city. We have seen more and more that the orphanages located in the villages outside of St. Petersburg get significantly less attention from supporters than do those in the city. In this particular case, Charlie said that despite minimal conditions and their being obviously a bit worn out, the director and staff seemed to be doing a wonderful job making a home for the children living there. The children he saw seemed healthy and happy, particularly given their circumstances. The group of individuals seeking to support this facility – including Russian builders – are still working on the details of bringing it together.
Finally, we had a wonderful opportunity to join a team from all over the U.S. that came in June to work in Yunost summer camp for orphans for a week, and to set up for them some new playground equipment. The team had a very good time nurturing relationships with some of the kids they’d met in previous years, as well as building new ones. Plus, it is always a treat for us to be able to spend even a day or two with our dear friends from the U.S.!
As many of you know, Charlie worked in the music industry as an artist and producer before moving to Russia. Over the years, God has revealed opportunities for him to use these talents not only in orphan ministry, but also in support of christian artists trying to spread the gospel through music – collaborating with artists in Brazil, Turkey, Belgium and Russia. In the last 6 months, we have seen an increase in Charlie’s role within the music scene in Eastern Europe, and we ask for your prayers as Charlie seeks to be obedient in support of these artists and their calling as musicians in the Kingdom of God. As these projects are completed, we’ll be sure to let you know how you can support these artists by purchasing their albums and DVDs – and maybe even attend their concerts if you find yourself in Europe anytime soon!
Finally, in recent weeks, several events have occurred for us personally that have forced us to consider the possibility that a time of change is coming for us. To clarify – everyone is healthy! We plan to share more about what God is doing for us in upcoming weeks. For now we just ask that you continue to lift us up – and all of our brothers and sisters who have committed themselves full-time in this work. The battles keep coming, but the work is good, and God shall always be faithful.
We love you dearly – Miki, Charlie, Isabel, and Jasper
In our last newsletter, we mentioned that large unexpected expenses, rising fees and a falling dollar were impacting our ability to live and do ministry in Russia. Our living expenses have gone up 10% since January.
This challenge is still ongoing.
Once again, in order for us to sustain our term in Russia, we come to you to ask for your consideration toward our financial support, either in the way of one-time gifts or in monthly commitments.
As our busy summer continues, we invite you (or your sunday school class, your church, etc.)to consider partnering with us through The Mission Society by pledging $25, $50, $100 or more a month.
Many of you have already increased your giving. Now we ask you to help spread the word and tell others about our work here in Russia.
If you feel the Lord is leading you to begin to financially support the work we’re doing in Russia, please see the options below.
Thank you so much for all you are doing!
Ways to donate to this ministry: To make a donation by check:
– send a check to the following address, noting “Chastain/Russia 322” in the memo:
The Mission Society 6234 Crooked Creek Road Norcross, GA 30092
To make a donation by credit card or debit: – go to our website: http://www.actsofadvocacy.org and
click on “Give” to go to the Mission Society “donations” page.
To make a monthly pledge: Either contact us via email or phone (678-436-3016) so that we can send you the appropriate documentation, or go to our website: http://www.actsofadvocacy.org and click on “Give” to go
to the Mission Society “donations” page.