Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Just shall Live by Faith...

This document-ary has come to it's conclusion, and in our last installment, I would like to say that it's been a pleasure sharing with you all. 

I HAVE BEEN REGISTERED. (!!!!!) (oo-oo-RAH!!)  

For the first time since arriving here in Kovrov,  I am fully and completely, beyond all doubt and above all reproach, 150% in compliance with the laws of the Russian Federation concerning the arrival in and temporary residence on the territory of Russia. 

This morning I went in, and after the obligatory 30-45 minutes wait, was admitted to The Presence. That is, to the office of our friendly (or not so) city Migration Control Inspector, who is responsible for registration of foreign citizens. 
I sat down, ready for whatever might come. 
He found my papers, leafed through them, put his stamp on my migration card, ran out for his bosses' signature, returned, and "Here-ya-go."  That's all? "Mmm-Hmm." I dutifully reminded him that his boss had asked for a few more documents from me, turned them over, asked a few questions - and that was that. Done! 

Again, if the fervent prayer of a righteous man is of great value, then I feel that we have been showered, deluged with prayers precious beyond worth. 

Not only was I registered, but registered through to the end of my visa. (!!!) There have been some recent changes in visa laws for foreigners in Russia. The whole expatriate community is panicking, because one of the amendments is that a person enters Russia for 90 days, and then is required to be out of Russia for 90 days. There are reasons for the changes in the law, but again, people are up in arms, there's widespread panic, protest, and frantic seeking of answers....  All that to say, that the local Migration Control here could have easily registered me for only 90 days and would have been completely within the bounds of the law. That they did not do so seems to me just one more evidence of the power of prayer, and the fact that the end result is truly in the hands of God alone.

Phyllis and I would ask you to please continue praying for us and our family, praying that we would be able to obtain temporary residence status in the next few months. 
We would ask you to pray for us as we live and minister here in Kovrov, to pray as the Apostle Paul prayed: 
"that from the first day you have heard of our need, that you would not cease to Pray for us, to desire that we might be filled with all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 
Pray that we would walk worthy of the Lord, pleasing unto all, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God...
Pray that we would be strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness
Pray that we would give thanks in all things unto our Father, who has made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance together with you, our fellow saints and believers..."

PS - Please be praying specifically that Phyllis and the children would be issued invitations and visas asap!!

(The Hunsucker Family Document-ary Series will be continued by popular demand. 
Be looking for the next installment on blogs near you: A Visa for Phyllis.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Court Date, anyone?

Today I had the opportunity to sample another new experience in my personal studies in the realm of the Russian Migration Control, Jurisprudential, and Penitential systems. (Or would that be 'repentantential', in my case? )

I last wrote that I was to return to the Migration Control office in Kovrov with a few more documents. These were requested as references proving: one, the connection of the local church with the national organization that issued me an invitation;  and two,  Pavel Korneichuk's legal right to sign documents for the church. 

I went in bright and early, got in line, then came back at 10am. (People draw up a list, then come and go a bit. Why stand there for two hours if you're the 29th in line?) 
I'd only been waiting a little while (30-40 min.), when the migration control officer we've dealt with before went into the Chief Migration Control Officer's office, glanced my way, and quickly came out again, with a "come-with-me" tossed in my direction. 
And off we went. 

Upon entering his office, he sat me down and quickly informed that they were denying me registration. This was based upon the fact of my record of repeat offenses, namely, three administrative offenses within a one year period. He reminded me that they had the right to do so, and I far as I knew, he was right. (Although the fact that those offenses had been 'forgiven' by the regional Migration Control was somehow overlooked.)

I was then informed that for the proper protocol and legal process to be followed, the next step was to take me before a municipal court judge. The judge could decide to uphold their decision, or to decide that they should register me. If I was denied registration, as I soon overheard, the next step would be official deportation. I had thought that was out of the question at this point, and learn, I guess! 
We went over to the court building, submitted the case papers, and made an appointment with the appropriate judge at 3 pm. I have to say that I went home again with mixed emotions, and lots of prayer. I also alerted local believers, and many of the pastors for Vladimir and Ivanovo regions, who were at a seminar today.

Upon returning to the court, after waiting only a half hour or so with our un-friendly neighborhood inspector from Migration Control, we were admitted to Her Honor's presence. Honestly, this was one of those times when I almost physically felt the support of so many prayers being offered up before the throne of grace upon my behalf. 
The judge asked me the following:  if I understood Russian, could I keep up with the legal terminology (mostly, if she kept it down to 50 mph), did I want an advocate, and did I understand the charges against me. Then she proceeded to leaf through though charges from Migration Control, compared all the information in said charges with my passport, visa, migration card, etc. She then leafed through it all again a couple of more times and said, "Would the representative of the Migration Control Office please indicate what statute of the law the charges are being based upon?"  (That's mostly verbatim.)  Our inspector repeated the charges against me, and repeated that they were suggesting deportation. 
The judge, Her Honor, then looked up again at the inspector and asked "All these charges have been filed and processed? As of the...?  What are the current charges??" 
And for once my friend the inspector was at a loss for words, drummed his fingers, twiddled his thumbs. The same questions and answers were repeated...and then Her Honor said, in so many words, "Come back when you have something current to bring up!"  And we were off again, me praying and rejoicing, and trying very hard not to let it show. Not a good time to do so, simply wouldn't do to rub it in. Especially since I don't know if I'm off the hook yet, so to speak. 

Back to the Migration Control HQ, the inspector runs back over to his bosses' office, with a "wait-right-here-outside-my-office!" to me. Upon his return, all he had to say was, "Can you be back here at 10 am tomorrow? Come in then and we'll decide the question of your registration." 

Please be praying for the people here in the Kovrov Migration Control office. It is somewhat discouraging to hear that they had decided to try for deportation. At the same time, they are extremely zealous about keeping the law, as well as being what we call 'Formalists' here. That is, sometimes more concerned about the letter of the law than the intent. So do please continue praying, and specifically for Oleg and Marat, people who are responsible for making decisions about what to do with us. 

Thank you all for your prayers, notes of encouragement, phone calls, letters...and most of all PRAYERS!! God alone knows what is best for us, and HE is the only one who can grant us the outcome that we so desire. Thank you for interceding before our Heavenly Father on our behalf. 
"Many seek the favor of those who rule over them, but judgement and justice for every man comes from the Lord."  Prov.29:27

(This document-ary to be continued...) 

Monday, October 29, 2007

A smile!

A smile!
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

She's smiling a lot these days. I love it!

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Hunsucker Document-ary Continues

In this installment, I would like to turn your attention to the following word:

c.1450, "teaching, instruction," from Medieval French document "lesson, written evidence," from Latin documentum "example, proof, lesson," in Medieval Latin "official written instrument,"
from docere "to show, teach". Meaning "something written that provides proof or evidence" is from 1727; the verb meaning "to support by documentary evidence" is from 1711.

Note that in this etymological definition, both the concept of 'proof' and of a 'lesson/instruction' are given as origins of the modern word.

I must say that for me, both concepts have been an integral part of my experience over the past two weeks. I have been learning and studying. I have been being taught, have learned many good lessons, and have most definitely received much instruction!
This being instructed and receiving instruction was all related to my giving proof that I want to live in Russia, reciting examples showing that I have not broken the laws out of evil intent, and demonstrating evidence that, having been given the chance to learn and change my ways, I have completely and fully complied with my local authorities.

So, what's going on? Enough etymology, right?

I have indeed re-entered Russia, with completely legal documents.
That is to say the following is now true:
1) The stated purpose of my being in Russia, written on my visa, does indeed correspond 150% with my actual activities here in Kovrov.
2) No less importantly, the inviting organization does actually have a corresponding branch in Kovrov which will take full responsibility for me as a foreign citizen here upon their behalf.

That being true of myself and my personal documents which give evidence of my desire to lawfully sojourn within the Russian Federation, I am now able to be registered at my 'point of arrival', that is, Kovrov! (HooRAH!)

This is the first time this has been possible for us. Therefore, I am indeed learning, and receiving much instruction! This has been a constant process since re-entering Russia last Thursday, as a matter of fact. My current status is that I have turned in my documents in time to be registered, so I am in safe. However, I haven't been registered yet, not due to any lack of effort on my part, but simply due to the fact that I am the first foreigner in Kovrov who has desired to be registered on a religious visa as working with the local Russian Baptist church. The migration control decided they needed a few more... yes, documents!
They would like to have copies of documents showing proof of the following: that Pavel Korneichuk has the right to sign documents as the head of the local Russian Baptist church; and that the Kovrov Church of Evangelical-Christian Baptists is indeed a branch of the Russian Union of Evangelical-Christian Baptists. We do have these, and I have been asked to bring them in to the local Migration Control office this Tuesday. Then I will be officially registered. (Assuming that they find no need for further documentation!)

Praise God for bureaucrats who are striving to see the law enforced and yet are willing to go to the trouble of working through our family's circumstances and reasons for being in the position we are.
Please believe me, I am not being sarcastic in the least - praise and thank God with us!! After all, we know that God is the One who is truly in control, and we have truly seen that 'the heart of the king is in the hands of the Lord - like a river of water, He turns it wherever He so desires'.

About Phyllis -
Please keep praying for us as we try to complete this same document process for Phyllis and the children. Our problem up until now has been that she was refused an invitation in Moscow, and the Russian Baptist Union headquarters in Moscow doesn't contest any refusals, or intercede for those they are attempting to invite.

At this point, we have begun the process of applying for invitations through the Vladimir-Ivanovo branch of the Russian Baptist Union. They are a branch of the national union, yet they are also a separate legal entity in and of themselves. They have the right to invite foreigners to Russia, but have not done so previously through the Vladimir region migration control. Therefore, first we had to begin the process of applying for/registering as a local organization inviting foreigners into Vladimir region. This involves a whole pile of... yes, you guessed it - documents!
Please pray for Sergei Burdachov, the Vladimir-Ivanovo Baptist Union's lawyer, as he gathers these documents and submits them. Pray that he would be able to do so as quickly as possible, he is a very busy man. Also pray that once they have been submitted, that the process of registering the bi-regional union and applying for invitations could be as short as possible. Usually this would entail a couple of months' time - we naturally want to amend our situation in a more timely manner, in fact, as quickly as humanly possible.

Please do keep this step in your prayers. We are taking things one day at a time, which is the only thing we can do. Each step of the way, we have seen God's provision as we have trusted ourselves to Him. Praise God with us for His faithfulness, and keep praying!!

When and if we pass this step in the process, we will leave all together for the Ukraine to apply for visas for Phyllis and the children. Pray with us that God would provide the needed finances for this trip. By my calculations, it should cost roughly twice as much as the amount we presently have left in our bank account!

Assuming God brings us all through this stage with all of our documents in order, we will immediately begin the process of applying for 'temporary residence'. This again, requires a fairly thick pile of documents, medical certificates, etc. However, if granted, we will have a... right you are once again, a DOCUMENT that allows us to live for three years in Russia, and re-register only once a year.
Sounds almost too good to be true. It is definitely something to be praying about even now - there is a quota, after all.

That, in short, is where we are now in the process. I apologize for not being able to give more of a Readers' Digest Condensed Version
...but DOCUMENTaries are usually lengthy, detail-filled, drawn out affairs, are they not? Thanks for reading, and thanks so much for your prayers, notes, love and support!

PS. Please pray specifically for God to soften the hearts of these men: Oleg, the head of the Kovrov migration control office, and Mikhail, the person in Vladimir responsible for approving invitations and registering inviting organizations.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


No, that's not the main subject of this post, but the sun is shining! I should have marked down the last time we saw it, so that we'd be able to appreciate it even more today. Sunshine peeked out just before nap time, and I was afraid Jaan and Raia wouldn't get to enjoy it, but it's just getting brighter, and they'll be up soon to go outside. Asya and I have already been enjoying it on the balcony.

But, I was going to write about our big girl, since I never got back to that yesterday. (Will's actually home all day today, so I have time to write!) I would love to know how much Asya weighs; she's definitely growing. In the past week or so, we've noticed that she's "waking up." She wants to look around and interact with her world a little bit now. Her older siblings still tend to completely overwhelm her, but she's interested in them. They still want to hold her all the time. She's turned into a pacifier baby. I don't know exactly what I think about that, but everyone should be thrilled. (I damaged the other two for life by not giving them pacifiers. ) It seems like Asya has slid right into our family without even causing a ripple. Or was she always here?

I still have time, so I'll keep going. . . .
Jaan has decided very recently that he's going to speak English. It's very fun, and very funny, and he's making great progress. By the end of a day, I usually feel like my brain is scrambled from answering his English questions, keeping up with Raia's Russian babble, and interpreting Asya's own language, but like I said, Jaan is making progress. A few nights ago he asked me "Как сказать ещё?" I told him "more," so he said, "I vant more eat." I asked what he wanted more of, and he said, "Как сказать beans с cheeseом?" So, we repeated "beans with cheese" a few times. Then he decided to put it together: "Please vant more beans with cheeseом!" That is just a tiny of taste of what's becoming very common around here!

I should write a little about Raia: she was helping me, by sitting and talking to Asya. I thought they would be safe for a second, so I turned my back. I heard a little squeak from Asya and turned back to find, "I hold her by myself, Mama!" And that's the constant battle with Raia, letting her help with Asya but not do any damage.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

One month old!

Big girl!
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

I would love to write all about our sweet Asya. Maybe I'll have time later today. . . .

Monday, October 22, 2007

My treasures

Three in a row
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

I took so many of these, trying to get a good one. I guess this is okay.

I was hoping to be able to say that Will got his visa registered today. After a whole day of sitting at the passport office and running around for different documents, he says that he thinks he will be registered soon. So, keep praying. Tomorrow he'll be leaving for Vladimir at 5:00 in the morning to meet up with the lawyer and start working on invitations for the rest of us.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Brother and sisters

Loving her. . .
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

. . . or smothering her?
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

"Mama, she's hugging me!"
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

You might not be able to tell, but Asya had her arms wrapped around Jaan's hand. He was thrilled and announced that she was hugging him: "That means she loves me!"

Will came home last night!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Today's news

Again, thank you for praying. All of Will's documents were accepted without questions, and they're doing one-day visa processing for him. If he can get train tickets, he could be back as soon as tomorrow night! Of course, it will be so late, that it hardly counts as tomorrow, but that's good enough.

Here in Kovrov we're enjoying the snow through the windows. I tried to get everyone out to experience it yesterday, but that was a little too much. It's mixed with rain and sleet, and the result is MUD. We stayed out for an hour, but then came in with all three children screaming: Jaan because he wanted to stay out longer, Raia because she was cold and wet, Asya because we couldn't keep moving enough for her to fall asleep.

"All by ourselves!"
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

This was from yesterday. Remember, they were supposed to be getting ready to go out in the snow.

And Raia kept going
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Yes, she has two pairs of underwear on over her pants.

Watching Jaan
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

We did send him out by himself for a while this morning. Raia and I played on the balcony and watched him. At one point she pointed out a dog to me. In an effort to get her talking more, I asked her to describe it:
"Yes, and. . . ?"
"And. . .?"
"Not tasty!"

"We love Asya!"
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Obviously, this is from before Will left. You can see what Asya faces every time she opens her eyes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Originally uploaded by fylliska.

I've already sent this photo to a few people, but it's so funny and such a common sight now, that I'm posting it here. Raia sucks her pointer finger; she's decided that Asya needs the next finger.

Thank you to those of you who are praying for Will. He found a place that does AIDS tests really fast, so he'll be heading to Ukraine tonight, which should cut a day off of the length of his trip. Hurrah! Keep praying that everything else will go just as well.

We're doing well here. We woke up to an unusual fall-winter beauty this morning. The birch trees haven't dropped their golden leaves yet, but they were all powdered with snow! We've been talking a lot about seasons lately, so I keep catching Jaan and Raia at the window, arguing:
"Look, it's winter!"
"No, autumn!"
They're full of plans for skiing and sledding. . . .

Monday, October 15, 2007


We're pretty busy with details right now, so this will be short and to the point.

Will's leaving for Moscow at 5:00 tomorrow morning. Hopefully, he'll be able to get his required AIDS test done there tomorrow and have results by the next day. Then he'll leave for Kiev on Wednesday, arrive there Thursday morning, do one-day visa processing, get back on a train to Moscow that night, arrive in Moscow Friday morning, and be home by late Friday night. All of that is assuming that everything goes perfectly smoothly and easily. . . so you know what to pray for!

"Who cares about visas?"
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Light At The End Of The Tunnel...

I debated on how to write this: detailed straight facts documentary style, detective/espionage thriller style, condensed news clip version... 

It's hard to figure out where to start, because at times it feels like we'll see that fabled light at the end of the tunnel once we finally dig our way out of the cave-in we've found ourselves in. Sound pessimistic? Actually, I'm feeling more optimistic about our document situation than I have in years!

I guess I'll start from the beginning. Phyllis sent out a prayer request sharing that I'd been summoned to an appointment at the Migration Control office here in Kovrov. 
I showed up, was asked in, and sat down to talk to the Director. After a few minutes, he waved me into a small side room, where three people were waiting to interview me. (See where I could've gotten into melodramatic thriller style?) 
After a while I learned that these people were three inspectors from the regional Migration Control, and had been asked to come figure out to do with this American, a serious repeat offender. (It comes out like "Evil Lawbreaker" if you translate the phrase literally.) 

There were a good many questions, and I could very much tell I was being prayed for. I was able to speak clearly, and the people were very sympathetic. After hearing my life story since 1994, when I first came to Russia, and writing it all down, they asked me if I would like to go to Vladimir with them. This was after at least two hours of non-stop question and answer, but I was ready. Their initial verdict was that since I/we had been trying to make things right since March, not to mention the fact that I didn't try to defend myself and say I'd done no wrong, there was a good chance that the outcome would NOT be automatic deportation. (Which could have very easily been the logical step, going strictly by the migration laws.) 

After signing another two papers admitting my guilt, with some explanation from my side, we got in a van and drove to Vladimir. I was amused at the amount of personal interest, and touched by the compassion and understanding I met with in these inspectors. Not something I had personally seen much of in law enforcement officials, and a far cry from all the horror stories one tends to hear living in Russia. 

An hour or so later we were in Vladimir. The inspectors went and made their reports to their boss, the head of the Federal Migration Control for all of Vladimir region. (A fairly important person, powerful, influential, high ranking, etc., etc.) Then I had to wait to meet with him. Probably another couple of hours went by. One inspector stayed with me as escort, guard, what-have-you, and we were able to talk as we waited. During all of the interview and following unofficial conversations, I was able to share of my faith in God and love for Russia, my conviction that it was God who brought us here. 

Finally we were summoned to the Regional Migration Control Chief's office. Again, I was deeply impressed by the dedication to the law and professionalism I saw - balanced with a willingness to deal with individual cases and people individually, AS people. Also there was nothing to suggest he wanted a bribe from me, and to the contrary, I felt very strongly that that sort of suggestion would only get me thrown out on my ear. A person like that is something that is not that commonly met with in a system so petrified by bureaucracy and permeated with corruption.  He also intimidated me greatly, but not on purpose. I just don't know if I've ever met any Russian government/law enforcement official on his level before. 

He had all the information from his inspectors, as well as their personal reports. He decided to be merciful, although it took me a while to figure that out. He was almost beside himself from the fact that we didn't come to Migration Control when we first came to Vladimir Region.    
Whether that was the result of fear, misinformation, misunderstanding, or not. He quite perturbed that we'd never known that it could be a fairly simple and straightforward matter even to obtain a residence permit. I repeatedly avowed that I had NEVER heard that such a thing could be simple, and if I had known, I would've tried long ago. =)

His mercy was thus wise demonstrated:
Due to repeat offenses, my visa is technically no longer valid. Strictly speaking, he should turn in the protocols to the regional court, which would result in my visa being annulled and entry to Russia denied for the next 5 years. (The thing we feared above all else.)
This he did not do, for which I am very grateful. What he did was fine me (which I went out immediately and paid, with my trusty escort), CLOSE my visa, and give me an exit visa. 
I did not get the distinction immediately, which they understood by the tears in my eyes and trembling voice. Both the Head of the Federal Migration Control Office as well as several others went out of their way to clarify, comfort me, and define the difference. 
A Visa Annulled through the court = deportation + entry denied for 5 years. 
A Visa Closed through the Migration Control = shorter visa length, exit visa issued, leaving the country, but free to return at any time.
See the difference?

I thank and praise God for HIS mercy. He is the one who holds the hearts of the rulers in his hands, and truly the only one who can keep us safe here. 

So, I was issued an exit visa good for ten days, effective this Monday. Then I was cheerfully, if sternly, wished well and seen to the door. I got home at 9:30 pm, having left at 10:30 am. 

This does not solve all of our problems, by far, but it is actually encouraging. To know that the Migration Control Office in Vladimir is willing to work with us makes a huge difference in my thinking. This is probably the first time since coming to Russia in 1994 that I have felt that I have any hope of getting my documents done, and done correctly, completely on my own; that interacting with the law enforcement officials personally could actually be beneficial, and allow me to live here 150% in compliance with the law.  What can you say, I guess a second-class citizen, suspect-immigrant type of mindset creeps in  easily enough after a while. We're almost afraid to get our hopes up too much, but this may very well be the beginning of a new period of greater personal security and increased ministry for us. 

There are still major questions immediately: what do we do about invitations/visas for Phyllis and the children, can the those be issued through our Vladimir-Ivanovo Regional Baptist union, will the Regional Migration Control Office help us with that, just to mention a few! 

I'll probably be getting tickets to cross the border very soon, so as to come back and hurry things along for Phyllis and the children. Thank you so much for your prayers, and please do keep praying for protection and wisdom for our family.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Moscow trip

Here's a good distraction, while we sit here and pray.

Our trip to Moscow for Asya's passport was actually quite fun! By the time we got to the embassy, we were pretty tired. Asya cried most of the time there, probably just because we finally stopped moving. And Jaan was terrified of the Marines who guard the doors. He kept coming to me and asking me to spank him if he was bad. I was a little puzzled by that, until he said, "Please, I want you to spank me if I'm bad; I don't want those soldiers to shoot me!" Still, everything went smoothly, and we should have Asya's passport in two weeks. From there we went to spend the night with our friends, the Sullivans, which was the fun part of the trip. (Oh, there was another family applying for a passport for their baby, who is just a few days younger than Asya. They were from the language school in Krasnodar. Anyone know people there with a new baby now?)

The tape player!
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

The Sullivans remembered how much Jaan had liked this tape player before, and this time they gave it to him! He hasn't been able to put it down since.

Feeding the turtles
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Biology 101
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

With the turtles, the seashells, and the birds, Jaan and Raia got to explore and observe all kinds of natural wonders.

Bagel makers
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

And then they made bagels with Aunt Roz. They had so much fun! Raia was up on the table, actually wallowing in the flour. Roz washed their clothes for us before we left.

Sarah and Asya
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

The quote of the trip was from Raia, as we were running for our train on the way back. Will was encouraging Jaan to keep running and run faster, when Raia piped up from her comfy seat, "I'm running in my stroller!"

Monday, October 08, 2007

Cute baby photos

Guess what we're working on today?

Passport photos
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Getting ready for our trip to Moscow tomorrow!

I thought there might be some people out there needing a cute baby fix:

Flying baby
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Playing together
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

He wants to play with her so badly! Jaan just can't wait until Asya wakes up, so that he can show her toys, talk to her, and interact with her. It's probably not much fun for him yet, but so cute.

Ready for church
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Asya went to church for the first time yesterday. We took a taxi to get there, and she was wide-eyed for her first time in a car. Once we got to church, she promptly fell asleep, and behaved herself very well all through the service.

This isn't a baby, but it's still cute:

Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Jaan and Raia are obsessed with cutting these days. Most mornings we have a craft time, because I'm not quite ready to be taking them outside morning and afternoon every day. I keep suggesting that we glue or draw or something else, but all they want to do is cut. And even outside of our craft times, they'll sit for ages, chopping papers into tiny pieces. Their scissors are the first thing they ask for when they wake up, and they carry them around with them throughout the day.

Oh! I just checked the weather forecast: snow on Saturday!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

My Document Folder Floweth Over...

As I was returning from ZAGS this morning, I thought that a picture
like this would be fun to share. This is what I had in my folder when
I came home, nothing added for effect, just stuff I've been carrying
around to one place or another over the past week or so.

But, we have a birth certificate!

Friday, October 05, 2007


Ok, folks. Here's our current status with applying for an invitation with which to apply for a visa. (For Phyllis and the children.) Hang in there with me, it's a little convoluted.

I went to Moscow, consulted our visa expert. (Whose visas we're currently here on.)
He said that he could almost certainly get Phyllis a visa... IF the Baptist Union would write a nice long letter interceding on our behalf. This letter would be something like a confession of past sins and a plea for mercy. We would explain the circumstances which resulted in Phyllis having 2 black marks against her, plead ignorance, good intentions, etc. We would also explain the family situation, that is: 2 small children, a newborn baby, and that her husband already HAS an invitation. (This might not help in the states, but often does here.) The Baptist Union would declare their intentions of making sure we fulfill 150 percent of all migration laws, etc.
He said with a letter like that from the inviting organization, as well as a similar letter from his company, that there would be a very good chance of getting the visas. He would take these letters straight to the head of migration control in Moscow.

However - the first time Phyllis' application for an invitation was refused, our visa consultant suggested something similar. I asked about this at the Baptist Union, and was very firmly, if politely, told no way, no how, sorry charley, que lastima. They turn in documents, and if the applications are approved, then it was the Will of God, Praise God! If the applications are turned down, then it was the Will of God, Praise God and say sorry sir or ma'am. I did my best to protest, plead, etc., but they do have sound reasoning. They invite around 1500 foreigners a year, and almost all of those are approved. If they start making a fuss about the handful that are turned down, then they could easily find the number of applications approved and visas issued halved overnight.

SO... I was going to go over to the Baptist Union immediately and try again to discuss this with the person able to make such decisions. When I called, I found out that he was on vacation until the 15th of October. Aaaaand so...

One of the guests at our church's Zhatva service was the Bishop/head of our bi-regional (Vladimir-Ivanovo) union of churches. He offered to help, to write any sort of letter that was needed. The bi-regional union was also one of the inviting organizations, since we live out here, they in particular would be responsible for us as foreigners. We discussed this more in detail at the pastor/missionary meeting the next week, and I spent a good while working out a draft of the kind of letter we need with the bi-regional union's legal consultant. (A Russian christian lawyer who is doing missions work as well as helping the 24 churches in our 2 regions with any and all legal questions. Praise God for him.)

It is POSSIBLE that we could have Phyllis invited solely through the local bi-regional union. They have the legal ability to do so. We should have a definite answer within the week, Lord willing. We will keep you all informed.

Please be praying with us. We are convinced that since God has us in Russia, has given us a love for this country, and has provided for and protected us these past 6 years (!), that the right thing to do is to keep trying to work this out, to keep pressing on to a conclusion. And if worse comes to worse, then move back to Moscow until we can come up with some other option document wise that would allow us to live and minister in Kovrov.

Thanks so much to each and every friend or relative who is praying for us and concerned about our future here. We believe that the results of all of this are truly in the Lord's hands, and therefore, the more fervent intercession on our behalf, the better! We can keep trying, but the single most effective thing we can do is to keep praying. God is the only one who can move the hearts of those He has allowed to be in places of power in this world.

Keep Praying!!


Be sure to check Elizabeth's blog today.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A walk

We went for our first walk all together yesterday.

Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Fall beauty
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Another fall beauty
Originally uploaded by fylliska.