Winter has arrived in St. Petersburg. We’ve had quite a bit of snowfall over the past few days (see our car below). The city is beautiful as we continue to press on in our life and work. Here is an update about a few items —

MIR hopes to send 39 children on the hosting program in December. Laws recently changed in Russia, and this is making it much more difficult to send children on the hosting program. Please pray for the staff of MIR, to make good decisions and have favor with the government officials. Much needs to be done before the children travel on December 13.

Our relationships and work in Estonia continue to grow, and next year should see some significant activity. I (Mike) continue to help coordinate the establishment of a center for disabled children there. We’re planning a fact-finding trip to Norway early next year, which will include Estonians and Americans. Also, an architect has offered a house that we may be able to use as a Christian guesthouse — whenever he finishes it (it’s 80% done). And we’re hoping to send a few mission teams to minister in camps next summer.

Last week, I went to Camp Elama with Sergei to work on one of the stoves (below). Sergei is working to make Elama more useful throughout the year, and fixing this old smokey stove is a part of that. As we tore it apart, we discovered that it was built with the outlet from the firebox actually below the fire — not a good design. And the stove fairly fell apart, so Sergei will need to do a lot of rebuilding. We’re hoping to host a couple of camps at Elama this winter, and it’s good that Sergei has learned how to build stoves. Most of the buildings are now heated. That is a significant improvement over last year.

This will be the first year of our married life when we won’t be in the US for Christmas.  We’ll miss our family and friends in the States, but it will be good to have Christmas and New Year’s with folks here.

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