Sunday, November 23, 2014

I'm not posting today…

I'm on the verge of losing my voice, and I have to finish the paperwork and planning for my class.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Yeah, more about my speech

I am adding a page to my website, giving gory details about my speech. :-) It is at

As part of building this page, I am trying to upload an MP4 of the event. My computer is throwing a temper tantrum about that. It may never speak to me again! Worse yet, it may never LISTEN to me again! Oh no! Not THAT, again!

I've said it once and I will say it again:


(Unless you are talking about episodes like this…)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I gave my speech to TOTA

Here I am, all perky and prepared to speak
Here I am, all perky and prepared to speak

Some of the people I spoke to…

Saturday was the big day. Leslie and Erica took me, and they seemed to have a good time. Erica made some contacts that will help her as she goes towards her own career.

But… This is my blog. I can tell you that I've learned some things during this experience. For starters, although it makes me nervous… I like speaking. The preparation is difficult. I can't tell you how often I changed everything. From beginning to end, through the whole thing down and start again.

I also learned again that somethings feel best in the rearview mirror.

Monday, October 13, 2014

I don't want to write a blog post today

It is rainy outside, perfect for snuggling under a blanket eating chocolate. Old movies are playing on TCM.

… And my TODO list is depressingly long. I'm tackling my list, like a good girl.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

September Newsletter from Leif & Zhanya Camp

Several people have mentioned that they did not receive my August prayer letter—I did feel a little bit encouraged that my letter was missed, but also a little guilty, because I didn’t write one.   I had intended to, but things piled up at the end of August and beginning of September—kids starting school, moving English Worship, meetings etc. —so I ask for your understanding as I let the prayer letter slip.  Also, I have been having trouble sending them out—they are getting blocked as spam, so first, if you do not want to receive these, let me know.  Second, if you know someone who wanted to receive them but isn’t, pass them along as their server is probably blocking mine.  Anyway, below is my prayer letter for September with a printable version attached.  I must confess, the way I remember what I have done each month is by the pictures I have taken—and this month I seemed to forget my camera every where I went—so there are things that I have not written about.  To be honest, it is also not always so convenient to photograph meetings and other things (and I’m not so good at selfies when I am teaching or whatever).  This month just flew by. 
One other thing I wanted to say—this is off the prayer letter topic, but something that has been on my mind—sort of a meditation.  I was thinking the other day on Luke 15:4-7—the parable of the one lost sheep and rejoicing when it is found.  In my life I run across many lost sheep—some even in my own family. And, yes, as a missionary and as a pastor, it is my job to try to bring them into the fold.  But I don’t think this wonderful task is reserved only for pastors or missionaries.  As God has first loved each of us, and as out of that great love He came to seek and save us, each of us are called to be imitators of Christ. Now what if we each picked one lost sheep we know in our lives and made bringing them into the fold a priority in our prayers and our actions?   I am not saying we go looking for 10, or 100, or so many million Gospel touches, just finding that one lost sheep and leading them into the fold.  The idea that with God’s help we can do this and cause the angels to rejoice seems marvelous.  And there are so many lost sheep….



ЯБЛОКО YA-blah-kah—Apple
Psalm 17:8 Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,
OK, so why apple?  Well, it is the Trinity season, and one symbol for the Trinity is an apple; also, three times maybe four (I always liked those verses in Proverbs and Amos for the three/four construction!) the phrase is used, three times to refer to God’s chosen people (which in New Testament parlance means the Church), or it could just be that the apples have started to fall off the tree on our dacha so I have to pick them and sort them and dry them and wonder why would anyone want to be the apple of any one’s eye since apples are causing me so much extra work, and so apples are just on my mind at the moment—but you can decide the reason!  Still, an apple is an interesting fruit—especially the red, shiny ones—and to be the apple of God’s eye, to be His beloved, to know that when He sees you He smiles just because you exist and are His beloved child, that is something else entirely.  This is something good to know when we become overburdened by the cares of this world and feel as if we might be alone.
              September is always a big month here for the Ingrian Lutherans—summer is full of different mission trips or groups and camps, and that is time consuming in its own way, and people, including many of the pastors I work with take their vacations. But September means back to the regular schedule—confirmation classes begin, Bible studies that were interrupted by Summer vacation, Sunday school, and also the first session of our Bible school without walls.  This month English worship also has moved to St. Anne’s—even though the building still is not heated, for now we are holding services there every Sunday (and hope to have heat by winter), Russian services are also being held the 2nd and 4th Sundaysl (and I am helping with those).  The big news this month is the long awaited reprinting of Lutheran Heritage Foundation’s translation of the Book of Concord. 
Bible School WithOut Walls—WOW!
2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
              If you recall, last December the St. Petersburg District decided to organize a Bible school without walls, and was quickly joined by two neighboring districts—Karelia and the Western Ingermanland (which is to say the Suburban and village Churches surrounding St. Petersburg—keep in mind that an Ingrian District might span a large territory, but consists of between 10 and 20 congregations).  The Bible school consists of 8 intensive weekends spread over 2 years (with readings and homework between sessions) and is designed to give laity a chance for deeper study of the Biblical and Confessional understandings of the Church and help the church identify potential leaders (Sunday school teachers, deacons, pastors, etc.).  Teachers are volunteer and each session is hosted by a different parish. 
Last year we managed to fit in the first two sessions—Christian Spiritual life and Overview of the Old Testament.  Pastor Ivan Laptev, who is the chair of the Ingrian Mission board returned from his vacation the first week of September, but we were not able to meet until the 9th—at which time he told me the first session for this year on the New Testament was already scheduled for the 12-14th.  As I was in the process of moving English Worship to St. Anne’s, I had hoped all my duties for this session would be simply logistic, delivering and distributing the Lutheran Heritage books and Good News Journals that we were using as textbooks.  On the morning of the 10th, however, Ivan came to the office and told me that the pastor/professor who had been invited and was expected to teach on the Epistles and Revelation had just canceled.  Well, I had just gone over Revelation with my kids for summer devotions (so my Seminary notes from Dr. Brighton’s class were still fresh in my mind), so I was volunteered to teach that, and was also roped into teaching on the Catholic Epistles (that is to say all the ones not attributed to the Apostle Paul).  Ivan took the Pauline Epistles, Pastor Fedor Tulinin taught on the New Testament Canon and Pastor Mixail Ivanov taught on the Synoptics and the Gospel of John.
              The next session is on Biblical Interpretation and Hermeneutics scheduled for mid-November (then “the Lutheran Confessions” in February,  “Church History” in April and “Theology in Practice” and “Outreach and Mission” will finish the cycle by at the beginning of the next academic year).
House of Prayer-another day another project
Isaiah 56:7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations."
In the village of Kuzmolovo, which is now more or less a suburb of St. Petersburg, there was a house—a house that had been being used as a house of prayer for many years by a group of Christians with no solid denominational affiliation (such were many protestant groups during Soviet times).  The house caught fire, and the owner decided it was not worth keeping—so donated it to the Church of Ingria.   The catch is this—if we can “repair” the house by March 1st, which is to say “rebuild” the house by that time, we do not have to file a building plan and pay for all the engineers’ reports (which in Russia cost almost as much as the actual building)—as long as we build a house the existing foundation.  Now the race has begun to dismantle the building (carefully to save what building materials we can),  so we can then rebuild—I have spent three or four days there and have left a lot of my tools there for others to use. 

Prayer Requests (remember you may send me your prayer requests as well)

With all that is happening to Christians in Syria, with unrest in other places, there is plenty enough to pray about.  To all these and your other prayers I ask you pray with me about the following as well: This month we have a special prayer request for a little girl named Lydia.  My wife has been working as a nanny for this two and a half year old who is at this moment in Israel with her family facing a heart operation to repair a defect (they left Sunday)—prayers for Lydia, her parents and Zhanya as well.   Prayers of thanks for building of St. Anne’s and for the new house of prayer in the village, as well as prayers for the necessary funds to repair and build (and in this regard, continued prayers for funding the building project in Nizhniy Novgorod), also prayers for the Bible school and the students that have attended, that they might continue to grow in faith and leadership.  A big prayer of thanks for the printing of the Book of Concord.  Pray for Karl as he searches for scholarships and God’s will as far as college applications, choice of major and so forth, and keep Nastya in prayer as well as she continues to grow in faith.  Keep me in prayer as I take on more responsibility—not only is my work with the Ingrian Missionary committee expanding, but I have added helping out at two Russian services each month at St. Anne’s.  At the beginning of next month, I have been invited to speak at the joint district pastors’ conference to be held in Koltushe, and at the end of next month, God willing, I will travel to Nizhniy Novgorod.  Pray also for the continued partnership with LHF as we are already working on reprinting the Small Catechism, the Lutheran Prayer book, etc., all important for the work here.
St. Anne’s and English Worship
Although St. Anne’s is without its own electricity or heat (we are borrowing a little electricity from the school next door via a long extension cord), English language worship services have moved to the chapel we fixed up last year.  In addition to English Worship at 9:30 am each Sunday, I am assisting with Russian language services being held on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month, led by different Russian pastors—the idea is that I eventually take on the 1st and 3rd (and occasional 5th) Sundays on my own.  I also want to begin a Russian language Bible study, but this is waiting until we can prepare a smaller room that can be more easily heated in the winter.  So much needs to be done—and the ultimate goal is to set up a Christian Youth center there, space for Prolife ministry and other related ministries seems such a long way off.

Lord, Keep us steadfast in Thy Word
Curb those who fain by craft or sword
Would wrest the Kingdom from Thy Son
And set at naught all He hath done.
TLH #261 verse 1

In Christ,         

Leif & Zhanya Camp

CONTACT ADDRESSES Feedback, questions, whatever are most welcome.
Our Russian home address:
Leif and Zhanya Camp
18 line V. O. dom 43 Kv. 7
St. Petersburg, Russia, 199178
Stateside contact address:
Leif and Zhanya Camp,
C/O Marli Camp
902 N. 12th
Melrose Park, IL, 60160                                          
Russian Lutheran Church Address:
Ev. Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia
Bolshaya Konyushennaya dom 8a
St. Peterburg, Russia, 191186
Telephone: +7-911-294-8754 (my cell number). Home 7-812-356-8457  Russian Prolife Website
Note—Between St. Petersburg and central US time, the difference is 9 hours.  Stateside contact telephone: 708-344-4472
E-MAIL: & feel free to share this prayerletter with your Church, friends, or enemies if it might help (just please do not quote things out of context or edit my words in such a way as to change their intent).  If you would like to receive a copy via e-mail, simply email me directly and ask!