Following is a letter from Pastor Maxim who lives in Khabarovsk and commutes once a month to the village of Sinda, where he leads a Methodist Bible Group. Sinda is about a three hour drive from Khabarovsk, when the roads are passable. The drive in the winter can take five to six hours. When we were there cows wandered freely on the highway, which also delayed travel!
The Sinda Bible Group meets monthly because the members live off of what they grow and they can only take time to meet once a month. They had been meeting in an old farm house (late 1700's to early 1800's-no running water or plumbing, lots of mosquitos). The floor, however, rotted out and the farmer and his wife are in the process of putting in a new one. They both are in their mid 80's and also farm, by hand, about two acres of land. They set aside a portion of their meager crops to feed alcoholics and poor people in the winter that would otherwise have no food. Since the farm house is no longer available, the Sinda Bible Group is now meeting in the home of a retired college professor who had a stroke some years ago.
I recently sent Maxim an email asking for an update on the Sinda Bible Group members and on his family. Below is his reply, which caught me off guard in that he is now trying to start a new Bible Group in Khabarovsk. Fantastic news!
Pastor Maxim and the Sinda Bible Group have a partner church, Green Bluff UMC, in Washington State. One of their members, Helen Laws, joined us on a past team.
Maxim has stayed with us when he visited the U.S. and we have met with him, his family and the Sinda Bible Group several times. He jokingly calls me "uncle".
Please keep Pastor Maxim, his family and the Bible groups in your prayers.
Hi "Uncle" Larry (-: and Terry. I am very glad for your letter. Last time, a few people wondered what was happening. Thank you for your prayers and support. My son Dennis is now 11, and daughter Kate in November will be 9. My sister Anna and her husband Joe were in a government program and have moved to the city of Khabarovsk. Now we pray for the creation of a Bible Group in Khabarovsk. We have conducted one meeting in the city. Please pray for this ministry. I got an appointment from the Bishop for both ministries (in Khabarovsk and in Sinda). One of the possible names of the new Bible Group of Khabarovsk is "Blessing". If you have any other ideas please share them with us. We invite all who are interested in development of the Methodist Church in the Far East. In Sinda, we continue to meet at Brother Ivan's house. May God grant him health and spiritual growth. The elderly mother of our sister Natalia has died. We believe that she is with the Lord.
Our prayer requests: Successful development of a new Bible Group in Khabarovsk. Service in Sinda. Required to serve: a good car!
Pastor Max Nikanorov with love in Jesus Christ
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