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News from Russia

November 12, 2002

Dear Family and friends:

This has been our fall break week and it went by very quickly. You may recall our prayer requests for Tanya: She was out of the program for two weeks and then reassigned to be in the orphanage directors family for "one-on-one" attention. We see her often and give her hugs, she seems to be doing much better and shows a desire to be here. Please pray for Tanya, that she could learn to be content under authority.

The theater incident revealed, in our "family", who was walking by faith and who was walking by sight. Linda and I went out on our date night on the night after the theater hostage incident began, we came home to a less than tranquil home. The children had been given a rather graphic briefing, on the theater situation, in school. The children who trust that God directs all the affairs of men, took the briefing in stride but the children, who are not believers, had begun talking among themselves. They became convinced that the orphanage was the terrorists next target, they were going to die and they were in a panic. We took it as an opportunity to talk to them about their eternal destiny and though there were many tears, ours and theirs, there was no repentance. Please pray for Olya E., Nastya O., Annya M., Valya S., Ira R., and Vika K.

We spent a pleasant day with Julia and Sergei's aunt and uncle, and Sergei, a few weeks ago. They took us to Red Square and several other tourist spots in Moscow. A wedding tradition here is for wedding parties to visit numerous famous sites on the wedding day. We encountered at least 27 wedding parties in our travels, bridal parties and brides all grandly dressed for the occasion and "typical" Moscow weather that ranged from reasonably warm and sunny to snow flurries to freezing cold and sleet and back to sunny again. Sergei was a real gentleman, very attentive to our needs, and his aunt and uncle were very gracous hosts. The aunt even scooped up Isaiah, at one point when he was tired of walking, put him on her shoulders and skipped off down the street in her high heeled boots, much to ours and Isaiah's surprise.

After snow flurries on 15 out of the last 30 days, we got our first real snowfall yesterday and now have 6 inches on the ground. The temperature is a rather consistent 28 to 34 degrees day and night for the past month.

We spent a day this week with 2 of our girls: Nastya and Katya Lapsina. We went to what seemed to be an old Worlds Fair site, the statuary and monuments date it to the late 1960's and seemed to be commemorating the USSR's lead in the space race. The girls knew nothing of the history of the park since it was prior to their birth and ancient history. Perhaps one of you history buffs would know of a worlds fair in Moscow in the 60's. Anyway we had a nice day getting to know the girls a little better and enjoying their company. We ended the day doing something children around the world have come to love, going to MacDonalds.

Which brings us to the topic of navigating in a city where few people speak English and every destination on the Metro has a 7 syllable name written in a language using Greek, Latin and Hebrew characters. We are starting to get around pretty well and it is amazing how much you can accomplish just knowing the Russian for, please, thank you, yes and no. Just as a back up however we are going to have Lisa and Kathryn resume Russian lessons and in turn teach the rest of us. Please pray that we would not let our busy schedule get in the way of ministering to the people in their own language. As a side note, we still get a chuckle each time we happen upon an American chain restaurant like MacDonalds, TGI Fridays, KFC, Baskin Robbins 31, etc, the logo's are familiar but the names are phonetically written in Russian.

We are working on plans to redistribute 18 girls in 6 bedrooms, in our "family", to create a more positive relational mix. We want to seperate some that drag each other down and more importantly put together combinations that will build each other in their faith. Please pray for wisdom for us and our authorities as we consider wwhat is the best mix. The plan is to make the changes on Wednesday and any change always involves some tears and turmoil.

Today we moved Semione, our 9 year old boy, out of our family and into a "boy" family. He was maturing physically and spiritually to the point that it was felt that he would do better in a male environment. Semione took the move stoically, we cried.

We continue to have bouts with illness from poorly handled food. Please pray that the Lord would sanctify the food. Marina, the woman in charge of the kitchen, is a Christian and very nice but she is under a lot of pressure to maintain a tight budget, work with staff that is put in place and required by Russian law, and must answer to several antagonistic agencies that seem to make up ever changing ill defined regulations. Sounds pretty much like life in the USA but none the less please pray for Marina and the food handling. One thing they apparently do not have here is an agency like the USDA. In August, we watched a fellow butcher a pig on a piece of cardboard in a dirt parking lot then carry it into the grocery store.

Please pray for our family, that we would guard the few hours we have each day as thebutlers7 and not allow the meetings, endless knocks on our door, and numerous "emergencies" to deprive us of the time we need to be a strong family.

Serving Him in Moscow,
The Butler Family

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