Thursday, June 30, 2005

Email #4 - 6/30

Date: Thu, 30 Jun 2005 07:01:49 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Gerald Flinchbaugh"
Subject: VIM Russia 2005 E-mail #5
To: "Gerald Flinchbaugh"

VIM Russia 2005 E-mail #5

Dear Friends,

Below is newsletter #5.

Enjoy the newsletter. Have a blessed day!


Subject: VIM Russia #5, June 29, 2005

Again, greetings from Pyatigorsk!! Our days continue to be busy and full of Blessings! These last 24 hours have been no exception. Devotions on Tuesday evening were very touching as Oksana (one of our interpreters) shared with us how much she has learned about Americans, and how much she has grown to love us… We all agreed that the feelings are mutual between the Team and the Interpreters, and the People from the Boarding School.

Wednesday found many of us going off in a variety of directions. Four went early this morning to spend the day visiting the Russian Peace Foundation office in Stavropol.

Devotionals were brought by Jean H. and Charlotte. It’s so amazing how God moves among us!

Later in the morning, two more were able to visit the local public Library and spend time sharing and learning with the people there.

The rest of us stayed at the Boarding School and continued work on our projects. Most are nearing completion, and we are proud of what we have been able to accomplish! The Day School is up to 58 different children attending, with 38 of them today!

After lunch, we went up to see where and what the Sewing Teacher does her magic… They do embroidery, clothing construction, and many other types of needlework. Each of us received a stuffed animal that the children had made! They were very proud of the items they had been able to make with the materials they received from the Team last year, and are looking forward to sorting the bag of stuff we left this time.

Then we traveled to the Social Services Children’s Day Care Department. They were most excited to see us, and explained how the organization works and what they do for children in the city. Then, the children in the “drama” part put on a concert for us. They sang different types of Russian songs, played the piano, and performed the part they had had in the big Pyatigorsk Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Great War. Their songs were touching and fun, the performers well-trained, and many exhibited a very real stage-presence, and all thoroughly enjoyed that part of the afternoon… even putting to use the dance lessons we had yesterday afternoon!

After that visit, we went shopping in down-town Pyatigorsk! What an adventure!! We also did a little sight-seeing…

Every place we have been has been an education, sights and sounds, the feel of the area, and the warmth and hospitality of the Russian people. We are so blessed to be here!

We will all be sad when our time here is done, but know that God has been busy while we have been here, working through us, and through all of those whom we meet.

We continue to pray for you, as we know you are praying for us.

UMVIM-Russia 2005 Team Jean Taylor reporting

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From: Cheryl Hall

To: Shady Grove UMC

We continue our Boarding School work projects and marvel everyday at the signs of God’s presence. The teachers and translators are so talented at the reconstruction work that we enjoy learning “their methods”. Last evening, we had a Bible study with the Pyatigorsk Church. Julia Brooks, our oldest, dearest team member spoke about “ For God So Loved The World”. We have experienced so much love and grace from our Russian family that our goodbyes are painful, but we know we will return next year. So for now, we say God bless and das vidanya.

Cheryl Hall & Bobbie Stein

To: Shirley Hall

From: Cheryl Hall

Our work projects continue (the weather has been exceptionally sunny and cool) and hopefully will complete them by Friday. Bobbie, Gladyne & I had a wonderful dinner and meeting with Pastor Alexander & his wife Olga, so Weds. was an .exceptional day. We leave for St. Petersburg Saturday and, as you know, I am always emotional about leaving my Russian friends. Take care. Das vidanya.



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From Jerry, Jerry, Nancy, Jean T., Dave, Gladyne, Bill, Andrew, Andrew, Deanna, Christine, Nathan

To St. Stephen’s UMC

We all are well and busy, busy, busy!!! Have truly felt your prayers and are so thankful for them and your support for this mission. There is such need here!! The Spirit of the Lord is truly at work. Take good care of yourselves! We leave here on Saturday morning early for Moscow then St. Petersburg, then home on July 6… Don’t forget to come get us at the airport! Love you all, Smiles and Prayers from all of us.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Email #3 - 6/29

Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 04:12:00 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Gerald Flinchbaugh"
Subject: VIM Russia 2005 E-mail #4
To: "Gerald Flinchbaugh"

VIM Russia 2005 E-mail #4

Dear Friends,

Below is newsletter #4.

Yesterday I told you that I would check into what happened to Newsletter # 1. I learned that there was no newsletter #1 for general distribution.

Enjoy the newsletter. Have a blessed day!


Subject: VIM Russia #4, June 28, 2005

Greetings again from Pyatigorsk!! Our days continue to be busy and full of Blessings! Picking up where we last left off, our Monday evening devotionals were highlighted by a spontaneous presentation on the Russian Republic of Dzachistan by Nina and Olly, two of our new interpreters. They described life as a Russian living in a mostly Muslim area, including the challenges and the positives and gave personal perspectives as a Christian in a Muslim culture. Pat topped off the devotional with a lesson for our Russian friends on the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Afterwards fun and games continued with the Russian children in the playground area with rousing games of “volleysoccer,” basketball and such.

Tuesday brought more work. But first, we prepared for the visit to the War Veteran’s Hospital by practicing several of our songs, soulfully led by Andrew L. and Deanna. The neighbors have commented to the school staff how wonderful our singing is, so we gave them more to appreciate! Work continued in the Theater room <**???**> with preparation for new linoleum flooring, but repairs to the base required 24 hours to dry, so the windows were scraped of decades of built up paint and repainted. Installation of wainscoting in the dance room continued and major repainting of the main Gym room was completed.

Andrew Conard continues to explore the Russian culture and political systems through interviews with our hosts and other key people.

We were touched at lunch by the blessing of the meal by a Russian employee of the Boarding School. The Russians continue to actively participate in our devotionals and meals and are a true blessing to all of us as our relationships continue

to build.

After lunch, we were fortunate to be able to visit the Veterans Hospital. One elderly veteran of WWII, expressed his extreme gratitude to the Americans, saying the first time he saw any Americans was when they freed him from a German Prison Camp in 1945. The second time was today.

We had Bible Study following that at the PUMC, with lessons by Pastor Alexander and Julia Brooks… both touched our hearts, and taught us again about being salt and light.

We continue to love our time here, especially being with our Russian friends, and feeling the work of the Holy Spirit.

UMVIM-Russia 2005 Team - Jerrys Tussing, Cottrell, and Jean Taylor reporting

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From Bill Wynn: Requests St. Stephen’s UMC office and other Team Supporters to call his wife Mary Jane to send his love and let her know he is fine and doing well (she does not get email). Number is 703-425-8153. (P.S. Who won the NBA championship????)

To Good News Class: Thanks for your cards, letters, and inspirational books. Can’t wait to share my experience with you! Bill.

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From Jerry Tussing: Continued prayers for Judy Ryan and Sonja’s mom Margaret as they recover from their surgeries. My love to Sonja, Candice and Austin and the extended family as Margaret begins her recovery from this malignancy.

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From Jean T.: Guess what?! We got to visit the Veteran’s Hospital this afternoon, and they let me saw this morning! Love you all! Jean/Mom.

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From Dick to all in Deltaville: We are here, doing well, enjoying working with the people here. Our love to all our families!

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From Tim: Doing good! Love to all!!

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From Lyn: Today’s visit to the Veterans Hospital was very touching. The veterans we saw were very appreciative of the Americans’ part in the Great War. I visited the surgical unit and we saw Olga, Sr.’s mother there, who is recovering from abdominal surgery. This team is very musical, and I have enjoyed participating in all the singing. For the RDYC: we have a new word: “oishkey-benoishkey”! Love to all, Lyn.

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From Andrew C. – Mom, Dad, Jonathan, Melissa and Kristin – Eating well, and getting enough sleep. K – hope things are going well in jolly England. I’m taking good notes to tell you all about it.

Nicole – How is the beta? Are you on call this week? Can’t wait to see you. Ily

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From Bobbie & Cheryl: Dear Marjorie, Staff & Congregation:

We have arrived safely in Pyatigorsk and have begun our work projects. We are experiencing the wonderful warmth, friendship and love from our family and friends at the Boarding School. Our first Sunday with the Pyatigorsk UMC congregation was a special moment (seeing many old friends plus new ones). Pastor Alexander Kozorazov sends his greetings and blessings. Thank you for your prayers and support of our mission.

Love, Bobbie & Cheryl


Dear Mom,

Hi…just a note to say thank you for your support and prayers of my time here in Russia. We are being well taken care of by our friends and family here at the Boarding School. Pastor Alexander sends his regards. I’ll see you on July 11th. Take care.

Love, Cheryl

Note: You may respond to this email address if you would like to…

From Bobbie:

Once again this is a wonderful trip. Visited a vet hospital today with ten bags of supplies. Weather fine. Only a few days left to finish many projects. Been busy organizing supplies and hanging wallpaper.

Love, Mom

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Email #2 - 6/28

Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 03:41:48 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Gerald Flinchbaugh"
Subject: VIM Russia 2005 E-mail 3
To: "Gerald Flinchbaugh"

VIM Russia 2005 E-mail 3

Dear Friends,

I am including the newsletters below that I received from the team today as in line text. My experience indicates that this is the best way to send them to you as opposed to attached files.

Based upon the numbering of the newsletters from the team it appears that I did not receive Newsletter # 1. I am checking into that and will let you know what find out.

Have a blessed day!


Subject: VIM Russia

Greetings from Pyatigorsk!! Just want to let you know that all 31 members of the VIM-Russia Team have arrived safely in Pyatigorsk (along with all 62 pieces of checked luggage and multiple carry-on bags)! The flight to Moscow was uneventful, as long flights go; being an overnight, we had time to close our eyes and dream about the projects and people to come! On arrival in Moscow, we were privileged to spend the night in the famous Hotel Rossia (at the time of construction, the largest in the world with 6,000 beds!) They say that by the time this Team returns next June, it will be torn down and replaced by a bigger and better structure! We were treated to dinner at the American Bar and Grill. We entered a large building that appeared to have come from America’s Old West, complete with exposed beams in the ceiling, wagon wheel lights, and chaps on the wall. The food introduced us to typical Russian fare: spinach and greens salad, chicken over mashed potatoes, covered with a Kiev sauce. The 26-hour, all day, all night train ride to Pyatigorsk was a highlight with lots of time to see beautiful and interesting Russian country-side and get to know other members of the Team. It had two or three 20 to 30 minute stops when we could get off and stretch our legs, and buy ice cream or other treats from the kiosks at the stations.

On arrival in Pyatigorsk, we were warmly greeted by many friends from the United Methodist Church and the Boarding School. That day, we moved in to the Boarding School, visited the Social Services Center of Pyatigorsk, and heard about all they do for

the community (same as most of ours: help with childcare of young children, assist senior citizens, reach out to those in need in the community, and offer space for the local United Methodist Church to meet). We were entertained by some of their senior citizens, who did some traditional Russian dancing and some Pyatigorskan “comedy” routines, both of which we were included! Then we met with the Pyatigorsk United Methodist Church people for a devotional by Pastor Alexander. After dinner, we met all the important people at the Boarding School, from the Director Olga, Lead Maintenance Person Peter, Peter’s wife, Nadya, our Interpreters, and others. We were pleased to have Olga and Julia back as interpreters!

We began our work projects on Saturday, stripping wall paper, preparing walls for painting, replacing wall boards in the dining hall. We took a break in the afternoon to ride the cable car up Mount Mashuk, saw beautiful scenery and were able to really SEE how big Pyatigorsk really is… (350,000 people). Then we all piled back on the bus and went to beautiful St. Lazarus Church. The Orthodox Priest there gave us a mini-tour and explained the naming of the church and the significance of several important icons. We had the opportunity to shop in the gift shop adjacent to the church and explore the old cemetery, too. Next, we visited Victor and Olga’s newly reconstructed home for an official House Blessing. After our evening meal, we learned much about the Russian system of money lending, and the similarities and differences between construction in the U.S. and Russia.

The food at every meal has been delicious Russian food: borscht, sausages, cabbage salad, fried eggs and buckwheat, delicious bread and local jams, and always fresh tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden.

All is well, and God certainly is at work in us and through us and all around us. Thank you for your prayers.

Greetings from Lyn Conley! It was wonderful to see all my friends and Russian family here at the Boarding School. The neighborhood children have all greeted us enthusiastically and I was pleased to see many familiar faces. I am currently on the wallpaper team, working with several of the Russian teachers and other Americans. Saturday at dinner (lunch to us) I sat with Olga (Jr), her sister Larissa, and other teachers. We questioned each other at length about our respective educational systems. It was informative and enlightening. One of the best things happening is many of the Russian team members are attending our devotional times. Olga is interpreting and they seem really interested. Note of interest: Olga is coming to the US as a Fulbright Scholar sometime near the end of August. She will be at either Pittsburgh Univ., or at George Washington in DC. I am hoping for the GW appointment as she would be within driving distance for many of us. Love to all in Kilmarnock and elsewhere – thanks for the many prayers and thoughts! Jim – Olga says she can do our plastering – you just have to wait until August!

Greetings all from Helen and John

We arrived safely in Pyatigorsk as described above….tired, but happy and ready to begin our work here at the boarding school. We were greeted by old and new friends from the school and the church. Our projects began today to be continued on Monday. We continue to be amazed at the resourcefulness of the Russian workers (and by the skills of the team members). A further report will describe to you the progress of our work here as well as the visits to various supported organizations and places of interest here. We trust the team is in your prayers….you are in ours. God Bless!

Subject: VIM Russia #3, June 27, 2005

Greetings from Pyatigorsk!! Since you last heard from us, we have been busy! Sunday, we were able to spend a wonderful Sabbath with friends old and new. The Team were blessed to worship with our brothers and sisters of the Pyatigorsk United Methodist Church. What a Spirit-filled time! The Team made up the new UMVIM Russia Choir and made their initial offerings for the worship service. Deanna and Lyn, as well as Christine and Nathan sang special numbers. Pastor Alexander most graciously entrenched both Andrews in the worship service: Andrew Lewis as substitute organist and music director, and Andrew Conard bringing the message. Several gifts were presented to the church during the service. At the close, we were so pleased to have a concert by local musicians, the music’s of which could very easily be professional! It was wonderful for them to share their gifts of song, violins and clarinet with us. Our family of the Pyatigorsk Church presented us with a pot-luck lunch. The food was just like all Methodist Pot-lucks… most delicious and varied! We all ate way too much ! We all enjoyed meeting with and visiting our kind and gracious brothers and sisters of the Pyatigorsk Church.

Following lunch, we took a sight-seeing tour to Kislovodsk and the surrounding area. We enjoyed the ride through the Russian country-side, and a view of the “Five Mountains” for which Pyatigorsk is named “the five mountain town”. Learning that where we were used to be under the sea (thousands of years ago) makes us so thankful for progress! The afternoon was filled with seeing the sights and doing a little shopping (some real shopping, and a lot of “window shopping”) in this resort town with 5 natural springs of “healthy, healing” water!

On return to the Boarding School, the staff had a delicious dinner waiting for us. After we got our land-legs back, many of us played with the local children until time for evening devotionals. We play “33” like a basketball game of “21”, dodge ball, soccer and volleyball, Hokey Pokey, Duck-Duck-Goose and other games we all know and love! Evening devotionals wrapped up a Sabbath full of the Spirit of the Lord, from worship, seeing His World, and mostly getting to know those of His Children He has led us to.

Monday, we began our work projects in earnest. Some hung wallpaper in a couple of rooms, some painted the gym, some worked to put up wainscoting in the dance studio, and others ran the Day Camp, which we would call Vacation Bible School, and other continued to sort the gifts and donations that we brought along. There were 31 children at the Camp for the first day! That is how many have been there on the last day in the past, so the Russian children must be expecting this group from Virginia! Some work projects were completed today, and others still have small amounts of work to be finished up. Everyone really feels as if they have arrived, having been able to put elbow grease to their prayers for these gentle, hospitable Russian people.

After working most of the day, and a chance to take warm showers this afternoon, we all learned some Russian dances so we’ll be ready for the big party on Friday night! Sam and John offered jelly-making classes to some of the teachers in the Boarding School while the rest of us were dancing. Mulberry and cherry and currant were the flavors of the day! And THEN we Americans learned to make pelmeni! Jerry T. told us they looked like perogis. Others referred to them as ravioli. A small amount of seasoned meat was placed in the center of a special pastry circle, which was folded over and sealed to be boiled like a dumpling. Needless to say, we had to eat our “art work” for supper! Thankfully, the way they were put together did not affect the delicious taste or the nourishment!!

We are having the best time here learning about our Russian neighbors, both in working side-by-side, by teaching each other about our customs, and in sharing in devotional time every day. Surely the Spirit of the Lord is in this place! We continue to pray for your health, strength, and peace as we hope you continue to pray for us.

UMVIM-Russia 2005 Team - Jean Taylor, reporting

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From Sandra to John, Whitney and Steven: I love and miss you very much! I hope you all are doing well and taking care of those fat cats! I love being over here with these wonderful, appreciative Russian people, especially the children. I’ll be home before you know it! Love, Sandra.


From Jerry Tussing: We’re all thinking about Judy Ryan and Sonja’s Mom as they have their surgeries. Prayers for the Doctors, nurses and all those who will take care of them in the hospital and afterward. Prayers for them for strength and the Peace that passes all understanding.


From Tim to Missy and Kids: Doing well! Working hard! Love you and miss you… See you soon! Tim/Dad.


From Charlotte to Sarah Lynn, and Charles, and Andrew, and Anita: I had a dancing lesson today! Tell the cat I miss her! Love, Mom.


From Andrew L., Deanna, Christine, and Nathan to Mom: Everything is great. The kids are having a blast! The Russians are very hospitable… Can’t wait to see you in your new house! Love you, all the Lewises.


From Lynn to Jim and everyone: Today we really got into our work projects. I helped paint the gym today, and helped wall-paper the anteroom. There were 31 children at Bible School today. I think that was a new first-day record! Cameron Carter, all the children say to tell you Hello! Tonight we learned to make pelmeni (Russian ravioli). Guess what we’re having for dinner! Love you all, keep those prayers coming. Lyn.

P.S. Jim, don’t forget to water the plants!


From Beth to Mom and Dad: Just wanted to say hello! I have been painting and having a good time playing with the children. See you in a few days!! Love, Beth.


From Jean Taylor to Jerry Taylor, John, Jamie, Kylie, Pop, Susan, Mom & Dad T. and all the rest! I did find my voice, much to the chagrin of the rest of the team who know me well (ha-ha!) … we are having a wonderful time, and I really am glad that I am here. Had dance lessons this afternoon after cutting and putting up wainscoting in the dance room… What fun to be doing something!! Hope you got where you are going okay, Jerry. Love and mush to each of you with smiles and prayers! Jean.

P.S. Welcome to Pastor Sandy! Am looking forward to getting to know you! J.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Email #1 - 6/27

Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 04:52:42 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Gerald Flinchbaugh"
Subject: VIM Russia 2005 E-mail 2
To: "Gerald Flinchbaugh"

Subject: Good News, but not a Newsletter

Dear Friends,

I received the following message from a friend of mine
in Russia and I thought you would be glad to read it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~begin message from Russia~~~~~~~~~~~
Dear Gerry:

VIM team arrived safely - all sound and in high
spirits. This year the program is a bit different, and
more intensive, but the team does quite

I will proceed sending mails as Sam provides
Newsletters in the next

Warmly yours,
~~~~~~~~~~~~end message from Russia~~~~~~~~~~~

Have a blessed day!


VIM - Russia 2005 E-mail 2