Wednesday, March 14, 2012

IT'S least that's what the Russian calendar says!

Perhaps it's Spring somewhere in the world; just not in least not yet! We're getting closer to above freezing temperatures...maybe just a few more days ??!!! In any case, we thought it was a great idea to show you around town. We confess our pictures don't show people; mainly because when we were taking these pictures, folks were still pretty much bundled up - you don't see many faces during the winter months. So.... ......grab a cup of coffee and sit back as you walk around our village of Horinsk.

Coming into our village...sign says Horinsk.

The regional hospital as you come into town.

One of two auto parts stores!
Newer of the two gas stations.
Bringing gas from the city.

One of the many grocery stores in our village.

School #1.......nearest to our apartment.
The Post Office/Phone company/
Internet service Offices

WWII Memorial in foreground,
Sports Hall and Culture Center
in the background.

The newest Kindergarten...there are four others with
as many as 100 children in each. The name is
"Golden Keys" and was built in six months by Chinese workers.

Center of town with medical clinics on either side
of this picture.

The county library.

Our apartment - second floor with balcony.


These are typical homes anywhere in Russia. Approx. 80% of these type of homes do not have      central heating or water and have outside toilets as well. 

This is where we live....although there have been adjustments to village life, it has become home for now! This is some added information for those who appreciate more than just the pictures :) Our village is located in a valley surrounded by mountains. The average temperature in summer is 85 degrees with winter months averaging -28C. We don’t get much snow but once we do, it will remain until March.  Our community is approx. 40% Buriat and 60% Russian. (Also folks from Uzbekistan, China and AmericaJ) This village was once quite small but as of 2010, the population is 8,430. It’s the region’s central town and has two schools, four kindergartens (these are separate from the schools because they are open to children from 2-6 years of age), a library, and indoor gymnasium for the community, four small cafes in town and two on the edge of town. There’s also a library, a very old and small museum and of course a monument in the center of town to those who died in WWII. We only have four paved roads, the others are gravel and/or sand with lots of dips and holes. This being the ‘county seat’, we also have government offices and the courthouse.  Not more than 20 years ago, this town also had several factories. There was a chicken farm with 50,000 chickens, a diary farm that supplied milk products to the region, hay was grown outside of town about 20 km on 100’s of acres of land; after ‘peristroika’ the equipment disappeared and all of these farms and businesses closed. There is a local butcher which has also started a small business that makes a national food that’s something like a meat dumpling for this region. There must be 30 or more small stores that sell groceries, an appliance store and two furniture stores, and our version of home depot (only lots smaller). We also have 6 sawmills, however, they employ the Chinese because it’s cheaper and that is where approx. 80% of the lumber is shipped. With all of this you’d think most folks would have jobs….we still see the unemployment rate over 40%!

“I must have walked around your building for two hours before knocking on your door!” It had been at least three weeks since Sergei had spoken with us or anyone else from the fellowship! He had made the decision to go back to that ‘old life’ of drinking and hanging around ‘friends’ that would drag him away from his ‘new life’. March 2nd Sergei decided he’d had enough….he called Kevin and with heavy feet and a very heavy heart came to our door to ask for forgiveness. We have written about Sergei and his family and of his problem with alcoholism. We’ve also written of how he has wanted to change his life; to be a better husband and father. We pray this time Sergei will stand firm in his faith and trust the only One who can make a difference in his life. PLEASE remember this family in prayer; they’re expecting their fourth child and we see them becoming a huge part in the fellowship’s future. ( We decided not to post a picture of the family because this is posted online.)

In closing, we ask that you would remember not only the family mentioned above but also a young lady from our fellowship that almost lost her arm at work. A very long story, short - they doctor here was able to save her arm. She has feeling in the arm and hand and is able to move her fingers! However, the 'pins' needed to place in her arm to stabilize the broken bones is only found in the city and after six weeks of trying to 'fix' the arm here, our friend will be going to the city for her third and hopefully final operation. PLEASE join with us in lifting this need to the only ONE that can heal in all situations. We are so grateful for the continued prayers and support you so abundantly give - THANK YOU!
   Blessings from Siberia,
     Kevin and Laura

 The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.
- Ann Landers