Soul Tattoo: How One Moment Can Shape Your Destiny

[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ife on the road is always exciting and challenging. You spend countless hours worrying about whether you packed your deodorant, toothbrush, clothes and all that gear you are taking on the trip; however, the real reason we spend all this time worrying about these things is because of the people we meet along our journey.

The Value of a Photograph

[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ow many photograph's do you have in your home?  Hanging on your wall?  In picture frames spread throughout your rooms?  I don't think I have ever really pondered the question myself until returning to Russia.

At work, I have photos pinned to my cubicle walls.  We have pictures hanging throughout the buildings.  We frame them for the world to see, and yet do we really stop and consider the value of that photograph?

I know its kind of odd to consider, especially since I am blogging and photographing my way through Europe.  We have pictures of the ones we love in our homes, on our office desks, in our houses of worship.  We use photography to capture moments that otherwise would take many words to explain.

Today’s Headline: Relaxing

This man had dropped off his grandson at the summer children's ministry in Pskov, Russia and then proceeded to grab his paper and folding chair, and settle in for a relaxing scan of the headlines.

(Shot in Pskov, Russia – July, 2011 – Canon 5D/2 | 85mm f/4 @ 1/1000 | ISO 100)

Encouragement International Launches Summer Missions 2012 Promo

Last year, I went with Encouragement International on two missions trips to the Czech Republic and Russia and loved every second of it.  If you have never been on a missions trip before, I can tell you that you will meet people and experience God in new and exciting ways.

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Encouragement International is launching their new Summer Missions 2012 campaign.  Teams are forming now for:

  • Czech Republic – July 4-16, 2012 – led by Mike Vanis
    • This trip is a family camp held at Hotel Medlov nestled in the Czech mountains.  During this week-long family camp, you will have the opportunity to teach English to Russian students and families, play games (especially UNO), have meaningful spiritual conversations with people, hang out with new friends and build life-long memories.  I went last year and loved it!
  • Pskov, Russia – July 11-21, 2012 – led by Jim Liljegren
    • This experience brings you to the heart of Russian culture.  You will have the opportunity to participate in children's ministry, painting, building and replacing worn benches, play games (soccer and volleyball) after the evening service, talk with people who are far from Christ, and live with a loving Russian family.  Paul Joung and I had a blast with our host family last summer.

Want to know more about how you can spread the gospel of Christ in either the Czech Republic or Russia?  If so, click here to learn more about this amazing opportunity.


Our Second Home (Saransk) – Part 2

**Author's Note:  This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for the better part of six months as I never quite finished this from my spring missions trip.**

When I look back on our time in Saransk, my heart is here.  I got to spend a few moments with my sister family – Victor and Julia Gretchko.  Boy, it has been far too long since I have seen them last.

Gretchko Family

Gretchko Family

When I was here last, there son was a tiny boy, and their beautiful little girl was not even a twinkle in their parents eyes.  Their home is filled with so much love.  The laughter of the children is infectious.  They are such a cute family, and I will miss them when I leave.

Oh, Great Jolly Jump – Where Have You Been All My Life?

As I reflect on the first day I arrived in Pskov,Russia to do ministry in the courtyard, I was wondering how I would fit everything in to place.

Before me lay a vast expanse of dirt and grass flanked by apartment buildings that look like they rose from the ashes of the cold war. The amphitheater had been beaten down by the harsh winters. The benches, or what was left of them, need some tender loving care, and the volleyball court was riddled with broken bottle glass and no net.