Filed Under (Life, Stuff) by Justin on 2006-10-03

This afternoon, Bonnie and I will be making our final preparations for our trip to Moscow and begin packing. About 48-hours from now, we will be arriving at the airport in Charlotte, checking in at the Delta counter, and going through the various security screenings associated with preparing for an international flight. After that, we’ll have roughly an hour to mill around the airport concourse, snack, relax, and breathe our last bit of North Carolina air for a while. Then we’ll board the Douglas MD-88 for our short trip to Hartsfield-Jackson/Atlanta International Airport. Once we arrive there, we have a two-hour layover, which should be more than enough time to make it from our domestic arrival terminal, B9, to our terminal for international departures, E17 and have lunch somewhere at the airport. Finally, at 3:55 PM, we will take off in our Boeing 767-300ER and proceed to stay cramped up in it for the duration of the 10.5-hour flight to Sheremetyevo. Our local arrival time is 10:35am – or 2:30am Eastern Standard Time. I’ve already posted our full itinerary, so refer to that if you want to know exact travel times and flight information.

At this point, we will have been awake approximately 20 hours – and there is no rest in sight. In order to fight jet lag, we’ll be forced to stay awake and in lieu of going to the hotel and collapsing, we’ll instead be traveling around Moscow, seeing Red Square, The Kremlin, Lenin’s Mausoleum, and who knows what else. We will probably end Friday a bit “early” – around 7:00PM (11:00am EST on 10/6) and get settled in to our rooms at the 24-story Hotel Molodyozhny.

I really can’t wait until Friday morning. I’m ready to be in Russia. While it’s no where near what I would call a vacation, it will still be a very rejuvenating and relaxing time, amongst all the busy-ness. I’ve arranged for Matt to post on this blog while we are away with the email updates that Brad and Lori will be sending out. If you want to receive those emails directly just say so by leaving a comment here (with your email address in the “email” box) and I’ll pass the addresses on to Lori. You might also wish to bookmark the Stamey’s Blog and check there for updates.

Do svidanja! (Phonetically: dahs-vuh-danya) or Goodbye!

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Filed Under (Life, Stuff) by Justin on 2006-10-03

For anyone interested in following our travel, I’ll post the flight itinerary here for you. If you would be so kind, take a few moments and pray over these specific flights, and if you’re awake, even at the specific times we take off/land an such.

USA to Moscow – Thursday, October 5

Delta 1718
Douglas MD-88
Depart: 12:05pm
Arrive: 1:26pm
Duration: 1h21m
Distance: 227 miles

Layover: 2h29m

Delta 46
Boeing 767-300ER
Depart: 3:55pm
Arrive: 10:30am
Duration: 10h35m
Distance: 5380 miles

Total travel time: 14h25m

Moscow to USA – Monday, October 16 (Happy Birthday Bonnie!)

Delta 47
Boeing 767-300ER
Depart: 12:30pm
Arrive: 4:20pm
Duration: 11h50m
Distance: 5380 miles

Layover: 3h19m

Delta 6091
Embraer 145
Depart: 7:30pm
Arrive: 8:50pm
Duration: 1h11m
Distance: 227 miles

Total travel time: 16h20m

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Filed Under (News) by Justin on 2006-01-15

Just found out tonight that Jeremy is starting to plan another mission trip to Moscow, Russia. Hopefully, Bonnie and myself will both be going back again. He’s planning it for early October so I’m guessing the major details and fund raising will have to begin soon. It’s never too early to start praying for us.

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Filed Under (Life) by Justin on 2005-11-23

I received some incredible news earlier this week about some things that have been happening recently in Moscow, Russia. It’s important to note that prior to March of this year, there were ZERO Protestant churches in the region of Moscow that we worked in – Goluvinski. Our mission team’s primary objective was to help the team of Russians spread some literature offering folks a free bible and inviting them to participate in a bibly study via mail (aka a correspondence course).

Several weeks after our trip, we began receiving updates from the Stameys that they were simply overwhelmed at the response they had received. If I recall correctly, they ended up having over 100 people interested. Now if you do the math, 100 people out of the roughly 20,000 postcards we delivered, that doesn’t seem very good. But coming from a place where people have been so oppressed for so long, 100 responses was awesome. After our Russian friends received the cards, they would hand-deliver the bible and the study material and began to develop relationships with the people.

Now this is where the story starts getting even better. A few months ago, the American missionaries (the Stamey family) and the Russian team leaders decided it was time to have a face-to-face meeting with anyone interested and began searching and praying for a place to have this gathering. The Russian Orthodox church mostly has a strangle-hold on government-owned facilties such as recreation centers, public gyms, and libraries and if the local bishop doesn’t want anyone using such a place for whatever reason they desire, it usually doesn’t happen. But God works these things out for us! Genadi had began developing a contact in a library in the Goluvinski region and they agreed to let the team have their meeting there just ONCE and see how things went and they would then re-evaluate to see if the group could meet there in the future.

They had their meeting. Split into two, 30-minute segments was a bible study time and then a praise and worship style church service for the believers in attendance. After the meeting, the library director agreed to allow the group back again the next month, and again re-evaluate afterwards. The group as been meeting there every month for about four months now I think. How awesome!

But let’s not stop there… What set off this post was the email I received earlier in the week. This message wasn’t actually meant for me, but was forwarded from elsewhere and not deleted, so I read it anyway:

Just to encourage you, let me tell you that last Sunday we had 38 people present at the new church. about 10 of these were unbelievers. Most of them are contacts made through the invitations you guys gave out. Also, one young man came with his grandmother to the church. He received a Bible and a correspondence course and the next week, He accepted Christ. God is at work drawing people to himself in Moscow and he continues to bless and build on the work of the Crestview team.

That is the most encouraging message I could ever receive. God is using the work of our team and I feel so blessed to have been a part of His plan. It’s so absolutely incredible to think that this young man has came to know Christ as a result of an invitation placed in his mailbox – an invitation that maybe I personally stuffed into an envelope, stamped, or delivered to his grandmother’s apartment. To think that God might have used me for such a job just blows me away.

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Filed Under (Life, Stuff) by Justin on 2005-03-10

Exactly two weeks from this moment, Bonnie and myself will be in the middle of a layover somewhere in J.F.K. airport awaiting our flight to Sheremetyevo in Moscow, Russia. I’m starting to get a little apprehensive about the flight and even more so about the culture shock that I’m in for. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really excited about our mission trip, just a little worried about how I’ll handle it. Lot’s of people have asked over the past several weeks and months for information about our trip, and I’ve been very good at procrastinating on this entry, but I’ll summarize our trip for you now.

This got much longer than I planned, so read on for the details…
Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed Under (CITRT, Geekspeak) by Justin on 2008-04-06

Editors note: If you’re looking for a more superficial post on the technical details of MinistryTECH and the Spring RoundTable, move along now. That is NOT what this is going to be.

Warning: Deep Philosophical Stuff Ahead

The last four days have just flew by and I’m sad that MinistryTECH and the Spring RoundTable are now over. I always leave these times together with a heavy heart, much like the heavy heart I had Monday morning of this past week when I boarded Delta flight 47 to head back home from Moscow, Russia. There is just something so incredibly special about the relationships that are formed and strengthened at a CITRT event.

We had several first-timers this week and I’d love for some of you to leave a comment on your impressions. Someone usually asks the question “What was the most meaningful thing about this event for you?” and since 9/10 of us are hardcore geeks who thrive on the latest and greatest shiny gadgets, the answer usually surprises me. It comes in different forms and worded in different ways, but it all boils down to one thing: The People. And “The People” doesn’t just mean our “A-Listers” like Tony Dye, Jason Powell, Clif Guy, and Jason Lee – it’s the effect of the full group all meeting together and encouraging one another while discussing technology and spiritual things. It’s been said before, but I’ll repeat it here: We really have something special here! Sure, we have the common bond of technology and things surrounding it, but I honestly think if we took that away today, we would still have a great community and still be friends.

I wish there was a better way to let all of you know what an encouragement you are to me – both professionally and spiritually. I consider it an honor anytime I get to participate in (or even just listen to) “big picture” conversations like I did last night at dinner with Clif, Tony, JasonL, and JasonP and again this morning over breakfast with Tony and JasonP. I truly feel that my thoughts and opinions are valued and I always walk away feeling blessed by knowing all of you. I really look forward to the day when I can join you guys in ministry.

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Filed Under (Stuff) by Justin on 2006-12-25

Just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a very Merry CHRISTmas. Instead of gifts this year, we did something a little different for most people on our list:

Dear Friends and Family,

When we sat down to make our Christmas shopping list this season, we quickly realized how blessed and fortunate we all have been this year. Personally, we have been blessed with many “things” but more importantly, we’ve learned a lot in these past 12 months by paying more attention to God’s desire for our lives. The more we began thinking about Christmas and the insane amount of shopping to be done, the more blessed we realized we were and the more we felt like God was telling us to do something different and meaningful this Christmas. We both felt led to donate the bulk of our budget for Christmas gifts to groups and organizations that could help spread the true meaning of Christmas – the birth of our Savior – Jesus Christ, to people around the world.

As many of you know, back in October, we went on our second mission trip to Russia and were truly touched by the many Russian Christians we met and befriended. One group of believers that we met was in a small town called “Rzhev” about four hours outside Moscow. This church has 19 members and was attempting to renovate and build a new church building for themselves before the long, hard winter set in. Of these 19 church members, most of them are elderly and retired, living off their government pension, barely being able to put food on their tables, let alone have enough to spare to contribute to their church’s building fund, but they faithfully began building, trusting in God that the funds, materials, and labor would follow. This small, passionate church in rural Russia is just one of the groups we felt led to share “Christmas” with this year.

In addition to the Rzhev church, we’ve also made a pledge to our church’s Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, which goes to support more than 5,000 missionaries around the world through the International Mission Board. The work that these missionaries do is priceless. In the year 2005, more than 100,000 new churches were started and nearly a half-million people were baptized as a result of IMB missionaries.

Finally, we’ve also made a contribution to Samaritan’s Purse. Samaritan’s Purse is truly a world-class organization, probably most well-known for bringing smiles to millions of children’s faces each Christmas with the Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. In addition to the shoe box ministry, Samaritan’s Purse played a large role in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, helping people get back in to their homes as soon as possible. Even more than a year later, volunteer teams led by Samaritan’s Purse are still in the Gulf Coast area helping families get back on their feet. They are also constantly providing general medical care and needed operations to people around the globe who cannot otherwise afford the same level of care that we generally take for granted here in America.

If you were to take a look at “the big picture” our contributions to the above charities and groups may not be a lot, but we truly believe that when we give as God leads us, that our gift will be multiplied and be used in ways we can only imagine. We’ve made these donations in honor of you, our friends and family, in hope that at this time next year, even more families will be celebrating the birth of Jesus for what it truly is, instead of the commercialized version that has become so popular in our culture. We sincerely hope that we have not offended you, but that instead you too have been blessed by the works of these organizations and maybe even feel challenged yourself to help make a difference in Christmas for the rest of the world. From us to you and your family – Merry Christmas!

In Christ’s Love,
Justin and Bonnie
Christmas 2006

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Filed Under (Life, Stuff) by Justin on 2006-10-24

Katya, who you can see here, delivered (by C-section) today, a very healthy baby boy. Ivan Alexandrovich (or Vanya for short) was born earlier today weighing in at just a little over nine pounds! At that weight, I guess he’ll be walking in just a few weeks.

A few more details can be found on The Stamey’s Blog. Please be in prayer for Sasha and Katya as they begin this new phase of their life as first-time parents.

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