Two Puppet Teams
None of us can believe the Father’s blessing to us! We brought 1 set of equipment to equip a team here in Kazan. God opened a door for us to meet with friends in Chelny who already had a stage, sound system and a few puppets. They were already focused on sharing with children.
We met with them 2 nights to give them training and they were so excited at what they were learning that they begged us for a third night of training. Several of the ladies have committed to me that they are going to tell Bible stories they way we do to the children.
They desperately need story telling supplies, balloons, and some more puppets. These friends are willing to stand in the darkest places to reach Muslim children with the hope that only Jesus brings. Some American friends are coming to visit them in June and can deliver this equipment.
If you are interested in equipping this second team with the few things that they need so that we will have a second puppet team in a Muslim nation, please respond to this email.
Dima and Albinia’s Story
Dima is a very sweet young man whose Tatar family served us dinner one night. More, even though he is not a believer, he used his own vehicle to take us to shows. All of us were so excited when Dima actually came inside the orphanage to watch the program.
More, Dima’s fiancée Albina came with him. She has the most beautiful baby girl and he wants to marry her and be a father to her daughter. She has known so much hurt in her life. Her eyes tell you more than she speaks. A man broke a bottle, attacked her and her friend, and left her with terrible scars across her chest and arm. Still, she has a quick smile.
Dima searches for his answers to life’s questions in the study of numbers, numerology. He is hungry to find the truth that he does not realize is Jesus offers. I had some incredible conversations with him thanks to Oksana’s translation. He paid us the greatest compliment that someone who is not a Christian can offer. After spending a lot of time with us he said, "If church were full of people like these people, I would want to go to church." Praise God!
Lydia’s Thank You and Victory Day
A beautiful dark haired little girl came to a puppet show. She wanted to thank me after the program. She took of her necklace; two hearts cared as one on a string of hematite beads and gave it to me. A child’s thank you is so precious I was brought to tears by her generosity.
In truth, we all received so many thank you’s from the children. They lined up to hug me, she my hand, or just say thank you. Monday was Victory Day in Russia, a day set aside to celebrate the end of World War 2. Many children, their parents, and visitors came to the show that day. There were Muslims and Russian Orthodox friends present. We kept adding more chairs. This show was at a church, so we had complete freedom to share and could pray with the children. I heard some praying in soft whispers. Praise God!
Just For Fun
1. One of my favorite flowers is snapdragon. Here, they are called lions maws.
2. The Tatar hat is round with beautiful stitching and bead work. We saw a 10 plus story building here topped with one.
3. I was asked by several young people from the church that we worked with why I copied Mary Pippins dress style. I smiled and said that she was copying me! They all suggested that I buy an umbrella and a hat.
4. Shopping in a grocery store when you cant read a single word of Russian is a great adventure.
5. Riding on buses gives you a chance to see a lot of people. Almost everyone sits, stares and looks so terribly unhappy. I have been praying for a lot of people who appear so broken, so without any hope or joy.
6. When you know a little bit of Russian, you can really get yourself in trouble. Our driver tapped himself on the chest and said, "Remeshok." I thought that he was telling me his name, but it was not. I replied, "Priviet Remeshok." I actually said, "Hello seatbelt." He just wanted me to buckle up. My friends are still laughing at my mistake!
When I travel, I usually stay with families. We all enjoy getting to know people better over meals that we share. In Kazan, we are sharing a students apartment. He is a Tatar, loves Jesus, and has been so kind to us. Please ask the Father to bless him in return for his kindness.
In Chelny, three of us stayed with one of the sweetest ladies that I have ever met. She was a great grandmother, 67 years old, and slept on the floor so that I could have a bed. Though I begged that she would let me sleep there, she refused. I asked myself a question, when have I ever tried so hard to put others needs before my own?
Her home is very small, a 3 room apartment. Outside her door, the hallway is like all apartments here. It is so dirty and it smells, but as soon as you open her door, you are in a clean, bright place, full of love. If you want cold water anywhere in the house, you must go to the back of the toilet and turn it on. Then, it pours into the sink non-stop. Her life is difficult as I look at it, but she has the kindest spirit and often has people stay with her. She uses all that she has to be a blessing!
I am always looking for every opportunity to talk to someone about Jesus. While Sam was teaching 1 night, I met with an English class. None were believers. By tradition, they were Muslim and Russian Orthodox. Before I left to speak to them, we all prayed.
God answered our prayers with and outpouring of His Spirit. I shared my story of God’s revealed love in my life and they responded with the best questions. Several of the students came to the Victory Day puppet show the next day where they heard even more about Jesus Christ. Some were moved to tears and some brought gifts.
Please pray for the students of this English class. God knows their names. The teacher was so excited by their questions. Please pray for her to have wisdom and loves as she tells them more about Jesus!
We have only 3 days left! Please focus your prayers on this remaining time. We want to see Jesus do big things in Tatarstan!
Photos are online at:
Sam Shaw & Assistant Director