Hello Dear Friends and Family!
We would like to thank all of you for your continual prayers and support of our work. We would not be able to be here on the mission field and do the work without your help.
CHRISTMAS FEAST, TALLINN
We had a very exciting time in Tallinn at the end of the 2017 holding two Christmas Feasts for local and foreign students. We had a great turn out of people: both days our cafe was packed with students who were not able to be with their families for Christmas. We had more than a dozen countries represented during the feasts including Poland, Ukraine, Czech Rep., Turkey, Japan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, etc. At the beginning we had a Christmas themed concert followed by the Christmas message and sharing of the Gospel, followed by a meal that was prepared at the cafe by volunteers. There was an abundance of food, thanks to your financial donations and donations from some local food companies. At the end of the evening everyone received a present and a tract, and some took food home for the holidays. Students were thrilled that there was a free meal, gifts and food for them to take home.
After the meal we all spent time with the students talking to them about the Lord and their lives. I had a very long and extensive conversation about Jesus with one of the young professors from Tallinn University. We believe that the seed of God's word sown into the hearts will bear fruit. There are several students that come regularly to the cafe and have become friends, but we continue to pray for their souls to be saved and for God to move them to repentance.
FEED-IN, ST PETERSBURG - SALVATION!!!
As you know Russians celebrate Christmas at the beginning of January which gives us, a team from Estonia, an opportunity to go and be a part of the annual Feed-in for former drug addicts in St Petersburg. This year we were able to take 5 people from Estonia.
Every year there is a different atmosphere when we go there. In the last couple of years the Russian government issued some laws that "prevent" Christians from sharing the Gospel openly, several pastors were kicked out of the country. But year after year we have been able to preach and see souls come to Christ.
This year there were about 300 former drug addicts who came to celebrate Christmas with us. Volunteers who come to help with food preparation were more on top of things this year than in previous years. It was a joy to work with them.
Usually before worship I always feel excitement in the air, but this time it was different, I didn't feel the presence of the Lord in the usual way and almost started to worry. But the Lord has a way to encourage us when we need it. I came up to the mic to make an announcement and in the very front I saw two young guys. They were looking at me and smiling wondering if I would recognize them. Immediately I remembered them from the last year. My heart was filled with joy. Katya and I met them at the last Feed-in when they had just come to the rehab center and knew the Lord for a couple of months. At that time we talked with them about the Lord, encouraging them that they had made the right decision to follow Him, and at the end Katya and I prayed for them. When I saw them now, a year later, they told me they are going to Bible school, learning to be leaders in their rehab ministry. Seeing them again and talking with them brought my excitement and expectation back! I was excited to worship the Lord and to thank Him that He is able to sustain us through His word and prayer, He makes us grow and mature, puts compassion into our hearts and gives vision to follow Him and reach others with His love and mercy. All that to say we had a wonderful time of worship, praying for the Russian church and a new year of service and reaching the lost.
Another highlight of that trip was two people coming and giving their lives to the Lord. Before worship Olga told me about a girl named Lena she met and witnessed to on the street the day before. She was a prostitute and a heroin addict. Close to the end of worship I made an altar call and two people responded, one of them was Lena. We prayed together for her to receive the Lord. A couple of days later she came to church where Olga goes, the next day she was at the home group meeting. It shows there is still hunger and desperation for truth and new life. We continue to pray for her growth and right decision making. The other person who came to Christ was a young man who had just entered rehab.
Lena (on the left) and the other brother(far right) praying to receive the Lord
The next day our team was invited to participate in a city wide Worship Night at a local church. All I can say is that it was an amazing time in God's presence with God's people whom the Lord loves so much! For me it was one the most exciting and spiritually heavy times in worship. I could feel the heart of God for people in Russia, for His church there. There was very strong prophetic flow, release of hope, joy, encouragement to continue to serve Him, to stay close to Him and to grow in the knowledge of Him and His word, because only that can help us to go through tests and trials that are ahead of us. Afterwards people shared with us that their vision and hope were renewed. We were glad that the Lord can use us to serve them in that way.
I was very encouraged to meet people that I have not seen in years, who came to the Lord through our ministry in Russia many years ago, who are still serving the Lord, continuing to share the Gospel because they were taught that evangelism is not a one time event but a life style, and to see the fruit of their labour.
THE LIVING ROOM FELLOWSHIP
Our vision for Estonia was also renewed. We came back from Russia with new faith to continue to sow the eternal seed of God's word and in due season we will reap because it is God who makes it grow.
Last Sunday we had a privilege to baptize our dear friend and brother in the Lord David Jimenez. We met David four years ago, he was broke and broken in heart. We spent a lot of time talking to him about God's love and mercy for him and he received the Lord shortly after, and started coming to church. After some time his life was completely turned around, he got a job, could stay and work in the country, and found a nice place to live. But he was side tracked in his searching and stopped coming to church. A couple of years later, he came back to the cafe, we welcomed him and he was a regular customer at the cafe. At our New Years Candle light service David started praying, thanking God for loving him all these years and watching over him, he was repenting for not following the Lord. His prayer touched several of us to tears.
A few days later David was water baptized. He also received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. At the end of January he went back to his home country of Costa Rica. Please join us in prayer for David to find a local church and to be able to stay strong in the Lord.
- spiritual and physical strength for the team in Tallinn, Estonia
- leading and guidance of the Lord for the church
- growth of the church
- fruitful evangelism at the cafe and on the streets
- growing in the knowledge and strength of the Lord for David
With love and prayers for you all,
John & Sara Russell &The Living Room Fellowship team
for StreetCry Ministries, The Living Room Fellowship & The Living Room Cafe