Fixing our eyes on Jesus

Dear Blodgett Street friends and family. We miss ya’ll like crazy!!! Matthew, Jeanne, and I have been doing well in Moscow (and Melissa is doing well in Vancouver, BC too). It will be 2 years this April, since we first arrived in Russia and what a difference 2 years can make!

When we got off the airplane in April 2013 in Moscow, we did not know the Russian alphabet, and therefore could not read anything in Russian. Can you imagine what our life was like? Everything was a challenge. Simple things like going to the grocery store, riding a bus, or saying hello to a neighbor, became a very big deal for us. But since then, all of these things are quite normal to us now. We can shop for groceries, no problem. We can ride most any form of transportation (buses, trams, trains, the Metro, taxi’s) and get anywhere we need to go, no problem. And now, not only can we communicate in Russian, but we can actually carry on hour long conversations with people! Don’t misunderstand, we still have a LONG LONG WAY TO GO before we could be considered fluent in Russian, but we are well on our way. These next 4 months will be the most challenging four months of language learning we have ever had. We will try to spend nearly every waking moment totally immersing ourselves in the Russian language, to prepare for the required proficiency test that should be passed before we start our next Stateside Assignment this June 2015. Why put ourselves through all this? There is only one reason. That is because our amazing God of love, has called us to love others in His name, and learn how to communicate the truth that He brings the dead to life…in Christ!

As the LORD brings us to your mind, please pray for us, and pray also for significant challenges facing Russia and her people today. Some of these challenges are things like the conflicts in Ukraine, the devaluing of the ruble, recession and economic woes, and the common view on the streets that “most everyone around the world hates us”.

All of these reasons and more, are exactly why we are here in Moscow. Because the only ultimate solution to all of our troubles, and the sins that so easily entangle us, is to fix our eyes on Jesus! I’ve been explaining to our Russian friends often lately, that everyone around the world is plagued by our common ailment. We are a broken people, with a tendency toward selfishness. When we realize that our brokenness is separating us from a holy God, and that Jesus came to forgive us and set us free, then suddenly the challenges of life are more bearable. Because we now have the solid foundation of Christ, who carries us through the good times, and the bad times.

Lord willing, Matthew, Jeanne, and I plan to be in Carlsbad off and on from July 26 to Aug 14. I plan to celebrate my 50th Birthday in Carlsbad this year on July 27th. And we will also be celebrating our 20th Anniversary of being your International Mission Board Missionaries. Thank you so much for the years of faithful prayer and support you have give our family. We love you and we can hardly wait to see you!!

Yours in Christ,
Kelly & Jeanne, Matthew, and Melissa Manire