They were my kinfolk, my people - many of whom I'm still friends with today, though we've scattered across the country, spilling out in different directions as fast as we could once we'd tossed our graduation caps in the air.

Aimee Nezhukumatathail - World of Wonders

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It's In the Past

Three Dave's No Waiting

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Crazy Dave's Give-A-Ways: The Power of an Encouraging Word.

This is officially the 25th post at Home School Dad. I thought I would celebrate by having my first give-away. I plan to give something away every 25 posts with every 100th post being a contest. Just comment on this post to be entered to win the book. I am posting all the "official" rules on a sidebar. Without further adieu, here is my first give-away:

The Power of an Encouraging Word

Encouragement - creating hope for the future - Ken Sutterfield from His book "The Power of an Encouraging Word."

From December '92 to November 1994, I served as a Southern Baptist Missionary in a Russian city of approximately 800,000, called Khabarovsk. At the time, they were the best 2 years of my life. (When you get the privilege of being married to a girl like Amy for nearly 11 years, everything else pales in comparison.) In Khabarovsk, I eventually teamed with 4 other missionaries to share the gospel and start a church among the college students. I say, eventually, because I came in November and the first of my teammates came the following summer. My first 6 months, I taught English, learned Russian and went to about 5 Russian Baptist church meetings per week.

I was one of the first Americans living in the region, but was hardly ever lonely. I dived right into my studies and my ministry. I went cross country skiing in 20 below weather. Let's face it, the first few months, I did everything in 20 below weather. I led a man to faith in Christ just by getting in a conversation about Russian Roulette. Like I say, I was hardly ever lonely for America or Americans. I should say, until Easter of 1993.

To the Russian Baptists, Easter is a much bigger deal than Christmas. A Russian Baptist Easter service is a sight to behold, with much singing, preaching and sending of greetings. The problem is that the calendar for Russia's Easter is different than America's Easter. Easter Sunday as I know it, was 1 week prior to Russian Easter. So on American Easter Sunday, it was just another Sunday at my new church and I was homesick, feeling isolated and frustrated with not being able to communicate heart to heart fully in Russian or English

I don't know if my good friend Vladimir Lebedev, one of the young men from the Baptist Church who later became the Pastor of the church we started, noticed my malaise or not. But after the evening service he advised me that there was another American in town and that he and I were going to visit him in his hotel. So we endeavored through Khabarovsk public trans to find that he was not at his hotel, so we went over to Vladimir's house to regroup. His mother made a nice dinner and while we were eating, Vladimir translated for his father as he told me this: "If anyone were to stop by and look at this house right now, they would feel like I have another son. You are part of our family."

Many people have done and said many kind things for me over the years, but Vladimir's father's words ministered to me in a way that no words have before or since. It was one of those moments in early language learning, when you understand the meaning before the translation is given. As in the quote I led off with, an encouraging word had given me hope for the future and I believe that was the last time I was that homesick in the entirety of my time in Khabarovsk.

I am going to give away 1 copy of Ken Sutterfield's book. It is a series of vignettes about encouragement. The author's goal is that the book will promote the act of encouragement. I hope I have a small part in that by promoting the book in this manner. Just post a comment by 11:00 p.m. CST 2/28/09. I will let you know who wins.

Next Time: Beginnings Part III, Now Where Were We?


  1. This is a touching story. Easter is such a special celebration I can see how you found yourself longing for America...home.

  2. Is this where I type to get a free prize? What is it again? I'd read it now but am falling asleep. Zzzzzz...
    Yours truly, Kate-aha

  3. I'm in Canada and I'd love to win :)

  4. I'd love to win this book. I have a goal to read parenting books this year!

  5. thanks for the great giveaway! :)


  6. Great giveaway! Thanks!


  7. encouraging words rock! Please sign me up :D
    my son just checked the cheese balls and confirmed that they, in fact, do NOT contain riboflavin; hoping this is not a dealbreaker ;-)

  8. Thank you so much for participating in my carnival and for the encouraging comments about my cupcakes.