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Christmas gift for Russian leaders (by Rick Ives)

29 November 2009 No Comment

As we say in Russia this time of year – WE GREET YOU WITH THE BIRTH OF CHRIST! Friends – would you send a special Christmas Gift to Russians Reaching Russians to help the work of God in that far-away country?

In this month’s issue, you’ll find the annual Ives family, RRR, Christmas photo-card. We’ve been sending these out each year to all our RRR supporters since 1993, and I have kept a copy of each year’s photo. To say the least, the “look” of the Ives family has changed over the years. Me? I am balder, older, and heavier. Heather? She’s lovelier than ever. And what about Anastasia?! She’s 12 going on 30 and a beautiful, young lady. Yes, things change, but what is most important does not. The Ives family thanks you for helping us serve the wonderful people of Russia to build God’s Kingdom.

We were in Russia last week with a team of 12 Americans, and the look of Russia has also changed over the years. Today, there are more modern stores, apartment buildings, highways, etc., but what is most important in Russia has not changed at all. Jesus Christ loves the Russian people passionately, and He is the true Czar of Russia. We’re thrilled that millions of Russians know Him today as Lord and Savior, and He is building His Kingdom there in Russia, the world’s greatest mission’s field. What is truly important never changes!

During my recent time in Russia, I visited a women’s prison in Saint Petersburg with Yan Volkov. He oversees a wonderful Russian Prison ministry, and, this year, he will provide Christmas gifts and the gospel to 10,000 children whose parents are in Russian prisons. During my visit, I was taken to the cell of three young women (all around 18) who gave birth while in prison. Russian law is different than ours, so those women will be permitted to keep their children with them—in their bleak, prison cells—for three years. Then, the children will be taken from them and given to outside family or to the state. Can you imagine the nightmare of having to raise your child in prison, and then having that child taken from you? One of the young mothers was in for murder. She was just 18, facing a 12-year sentence. Meaning that when she gives up her baby in three years, the next time she will see her child will be when the child is a 15-year old teen!

I imagine the tremendous pain and heartache of a mother losing her child like that is somewhat akin to how God, our glorious Father, felt when He sent His son Jesus away from Heaven to come to this earth for some 30 years. Imagine the pain and sense of void God felt when, for the first time in eternity, His son was gone. The Trinity was incomplete, and Heaven was minus its main beauty. God did that for us. Jesus came here for us. In Russia, instead of Merry Christmas, we say what is really important–what never changes–“We greet you with the birth of Jesus!” Thank you, Lord, for being the first missionary, for coming here for us, for dying on the cross to set us free, for your promise of Heaven. What a mighty God we serve!

And that same God works through Russians Reaching Russians to this day to lead Russians to Him, to build churches for worship, and to send Russian missionaries around the world to preach the Gospel. Thank you for helping to make this possible.
Would you please send a special year end gift to help us further God’s work in Russia? The work of the gospel, starting churches, going into prisons and orphanages….God’s work!

During my time in Russia in November, Pastor Igor Sokolov, pastor of one of the largest churches in St. Petersburg, Harvest Church, made a remarkable statement to me. I have known Igor since 1992. Igor said that he and other Russian pastors have worked with many western church leaders over the past 20 years. He then told me that to him, what has made RRR unique and so valuable is that we have always kept every promise we have ever made. In Igor’s words, whatever has come out of our mouths has actually happened. Friends, this is a wonderful legacy we’re building in Russia; made possible in large part by YOU! Your prayers, your gifts, help us to make and keep our promises in Russia!

So, in reality, not much has changed. RRR, almost 20 years serving in Russia now, continues its commitment to do all we can in Russia, continues help and support Russians, and we promise to lift up the Name of Jesus in all we do.
Again, please help us! God Bless You – Rick and Heather Ives J

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