Hello, family and friends!
We have returned from the beautiful spring weather of Moldova and Romania to snow in Moscow, but we have hope of spring coming here soon. We are home for three weeks before our week of teaching in Ukraine. Here is our news.....
New Moldova Divisional Commanders....
Majors Ian and Vivian Callanders arrived in Moldova at the end of December, so they are still listening and learning but they are perfect for the task. They have served 31 years with The Salvation Army, with 21 of those years as corps officers. Vivian has been a Candidate Secretary and Assistant to the Personnel Secretary, she has great insights in these areas. Ian has served as a DYS, Public Relations Officer and Assistant Training Principal. After a week with them, we call them friends!
23 Continuing Education Officers and Corps Leaders met for two days. The officers are our "children" since we commissioned them, so we know them and love them all dearly. They seem to be happy and healthy in their spiritual walk. Each has his own challenges, but all are doing well. There was great fellowship among them and great discussion.
36 local leaders and officers gathered for a day of local leader training on "What is the work of the Army?", "Servant Leadership as a Lifestyle", and "Making Disciples". We also introduced the Leadership Resource Series for 2008-2010 - six seminars and Bible Studies that they can choose to teach in their corps over the next three years. One per year is required. This is key since most of our officers have no Christian bookstores in their cities.
24 employees gathered for a day of training on "Integrated Mission", "Servant Leadership in the Workplace", and "Listening to Needs...Finding Answers".
For both groups, we provided power point presentations on the international Salvation Army, The Salvation Army of Eastern Europe, and The Salvation Army disaster response to the Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. Most of the delegates had never seen The Salvation Army performing such services. This inspires our people to realize that they are part of a great worldwide Salvation Army!
Ten local leaders, officers and employees attended the two days of training in Romania. While the Region is small, it is still very important that we care for the people there and support them as they grow. We remained for the Sunday morning Holiness meeting and ten local officers were enrolled. God's presence came in a mighty way and many prayed at the mercy seat. How we thank the Lord for this!
Americans tend to stand patiently in single file when waiting in line...not so in our world! We have five-pronged lines merging towards one person taking tickets! We are learning to squeeze into the five prongs or else be last.
For those of you who are new to our newsletter this year, the Moldova/Romania border crossing remains the same. It is a two hour process for the following: visa check, bag check, drug dog, disinfecting the train's exterior, and changing the entire train's wheels because they don't fit on the Romanian tracks!
Our travel back to Moscow included the following....a 4:30 AM trip by taxi to the airport, a two hour fight to Moscow, customs, baggage, a one hour train trip to the Moscow metro (subway), a thirty minute metro trip with a good 200 to 300 steps which require carrying your luggage up and down. Needless to say, home never looked so good when we finally arrived there around noon!
Yes, we received our three-month visa for Russia in the record time of three hours. We will now apply for a work visa--good through November-that compliments our work permits. Now, each year, we will apply for new work permits and new work visas at the same time within Russia, and we will not need to leave the country! This is all very good news. However, it is also a new process so please keep it in your prayers.
--continued progress in retaining the right to live and work in Moscow.
--positive and productive gatherings with employees, local leaders, and officers over the past six weeks.
--our granddaughter Gracie Maye keeps growing, happy and healthy all the while.
--The Salvation Army's registration in Moscow (progress has been made).
--wisdom as we plan together this Territory's future direction and methods.
--growth in numbers and dedication of Salvation Army soldiers here.
May the Lord bless and keep you all in His peace.
Brad and Anita