Posted January 9, 2014
Over the past 15 years we have seen a lot of things happen at the camps, churches and schools where we have volunteered that further the Kingdom here on the planet. Today we got news that has overwhelmed us emotionally as well as spiritually:
In the spring of 2010 we stopped for three weeks at Lives Under Construction Boys Ranch on our way home from Rio Grande Bible Institute. The first night at supper we were introduced to a young man named Vladik and told he was from Russia so, having spent a year in SW Russia in the mid 90s, we found an immediate attachment to him. His adopted parents live in Huron, SD and brought him out of Russia when he was about 3 years old. As he got into his teens his conduct went out of kilter and he wound up at LUC with a psychological disorder that caused him to detach from those who were closest to him (There is a fancy name for it). I (Roger ) had about a 1/2 hour discussion with him one day when we were working together and found him to be very intelligent and willing to talk about his disorder (in psyc terms !) He seemed to be doing very well at LUC, even by the analysis of the directors. We took the attached picture and put it on the wall of our kitchen to remind us to pray for him. A year later he "fell off the wagon" and ran away, and after about a week the police returned him to the Ranch after arresting him for stealing warm clothes at Walmart. A year ago we asked the director how he was doing and she said it didn't look good for him.
We got word today in a newsletter from the director of the Ranch that,
"About a month ago, one of our recent graduates entered Navy boot camp. Vladik reported on his opportunities to talk about Jesus and be able to lead Bible Studies with other Navy recruits. He was excited about how comfortable he was in his role and how easy boot camp was for him compared to others who are struggling with the structure and physical demands. He thanked us for the solid foundation he has to build on, and for the 'tools' that he now has to build with." (Note: LUC uses a philosophy of tough love and consequences in their ministry.)
We immediately e-mailed the director asking if this was the "Vladik" that we knew. The response:
"OH yes he is!!!!!!
He is seemingly doing well and writing all of the staff that he is sharing Christ with people around him."
Praise God with us!!!!!!!!
Roger & Edna Schmiesing
"Apprentices of Jesus"
Well, it’s Christmas Day and we have been at The Rio Grande Bible Institute about a month. This is just a fascinating place ! We have mentioned before that it is like having a second family, but last night was even more profound...We were invited to a Christmas Eve party by one of the students. “Be at apartment 20 around 7.” Edna had seen lots of activity in that direction from where she was working. As we walked over there (about 4 blocks) we saw smoke and then found they had FOUR grills going! Actually, not grills but wood fires. One of the “contraptions” was 3 decks high with meat in various stages of “done”, one was roasting corn on the cob, another was simply 3 concrete blocks in a horse-shoe and a large (6 gallon ?) Stainless pot with hot fruit drink; apples, raisins, cranberries, cinnamon stick, sugar and one unknown fruit. (How do you sat ‘fantastic’ in Spanish?) When things were about ready a student that graduated last year and is doing an internship here in the valley peached a “mini sermon” on John 1:14...”The word became flesh and dwelt among us...” Another had a guitar and he and one of the staff with an accordion led singing Christmas carols in Spanish. Another staff person led in prayer and we went to work on 6 different kinds of meat, roast corn, salads, potatoes in various forms, and I’m not sure what else :-) People were still coming at 9 when we were getting ready to leave! We had been home about an hour when these students came by on a trailer & flat-rack serenading the entire campus with carols. Oh, by -the-way, Edna took a Norwegian cranberry salad called “Yeftis.” I mean, if we are going to be international.... Then we went back for more today at noon for another buffet and song-fest.
Amidst all the merry-making, we ARE getting some work done!!! Edna and I got somewhat caught up yesterday afternoon about 3 with apartments for new students coming in...but tomorrow another family leaves so we get right back into it. The storeroom was moved just before we came so Edna has spent a lot of time re-organizing everything. Roger has been doing some painting other than apartments and will be going back up on a roof again Monday for a short term...2 day stint to help with a rubberized coating on a large steel shop. All is well, God IS good...ALL the time!
The picture is about 1/3 of the folks at the Christmas Day dinner
Blessings from Texas!
Roger & Edna