david maxey

August 28, 2008

Working Man

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidmaxey @ 7:35 am

 

Right off the bat I apologize for not posting more frequently recently. As you may have guessed I am caught up in building a 344 square feet addition on to the front of our church. So far, it has mainly been me and a construction pro from our church – Valera, that have been doing the work, and the work is HARD! After finishing the foundation, we have been erecting the walls. The walls are put together log-cabin style, out of squared off logs which are 6 inches square and 13 feet long. A rough guess would put the weight of each log at about 120 lbs. Believe me, lifting 120 lb. logs all day long will put anybody’s muscles through the press and I can testify that mine have been pressed and hung up to dry. In fact, my fingers are so sore I can barely type this post. The good news is, that my participation is saving the church a healthy amount of cash in wages.

At the rate we are going, we hope to finish with the walls by the beginning of next week. After that, we’ll start on the roof. God is blessing us with wisdom on how to build better and is helping us find great discounts on building materials. We have a ten thousand dollar budget to work with so far, and we are doing are best to squeeze every bit of juice we can out of those green backs. At the same time, we know that our God is the God of more than enough and we believe that we’ll complete our construction project in style.

Next post, I hope to show you step by step how we put together the log walls of our addition.

August 22, 2008

AK-74

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidmaxey @ 5:26 am
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AK 74

AK 74

Every Tuesday night I lead a small group in our church for young married adults. We always have lively discussions ranging from biblical themes to current events. One small group meeting, our topic for discussion was the “Protection of God”. It boiled down to everyone sharing a personal testimony on how God had protected them from danger. The church’s accountant, Olga Kolesnikova, who attends my small group, shared an incredible testimony that I want to pass on to you. To the Western mind, this testimony might seem outrageous, but here in Russia, it is very plausible.

 

Around the first of the year, Olga was heading home from work one evening, when she spied a group of policemen trolling the courtyard in front of the apartment building she lives in. She was not surprised to see locked and loaded policemen in the vicinity of her building, since a group of drug addicts had taken up residence in one of the flats, and the police constantly monitored them. Olga’s path home took her directly past the policemen and as she neared them, one officer peeled away from the rest and confronted her. When he drew near, Olga could tell he was in his cups (drunk). He staggered up to her, unharnessed his fully automatic AK-74 from his shoulder, and jammed its lethal, stubby barrel directly into her chest. “What would you do if I pulled the trigger,” he sneered with a drunken slur. At first, Olga was shocked speechless. Somewhere from within she found the courage to brush the weapon’s barrel away from her chest, and told him, “Go away!” With that she walked around him and didn’t stop till she safely reached her flat. Thankfully, he didn’t pursue her. It wasn’t till she got home and the shock wore off that Olga began to shake uncontrollably. She was shaken, but she was alive! God miraculously saved her life.

 

After almost twelve years of living in Russia, I can confidently say that there is not much worse in civil life than a corrupt police force. There is something extremely perverse about a supposed defender of justice and succourer of the helpless transforming into a greedy, violent thug. For one thing, who will punish them? They are recruited to punish evil doers. But what happens when the punishers of evildoers become evildoers themselves? They become elevated above the law and are accountable to no one. They do what they please and no one can stop them. That is why it is crucial for Russia to completely extinguish corruption in the police force. A good start would be to begin giving policemen a decent pay that they can comfortably live on without having to resort to bribes to put bread on the table. After that, the entire force needs to be scrubbed clean, and extremely severe punishments for abuses of rights need to be implemented, but even then, that might not be enough. The question is, “Is it even possible to reform the police department?” Honestly, I think the only thing that will eradicate corruption in this nation is a spiritual revival. Quite literally, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only thing that can solve Russia’s ills, which means that we are at the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.      

 

Olga Kolesnikova - the church's accountant!

Olga Kolesnikova - the church's accountant

 

August 21, 2008

Soap Box

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidmaxey @ 1:58 am
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Every preacher needs a soap box. My soap box, for the past couple of years, has been a broken, battered, contraption covered with faux-marble patterned Formica. When the top-heavy upper portion of my soap box broke off from the base and was left precariously attached by only a thin shred of Formica, I decided that I needed a new soap box – I needed a genuine Pulpit!

 

We decided that we would go modern and so settled on a chrome and glass look for the new pulpit. We bought the chrome pipes and the connectors, ordered the glass for the face plate, top, and shelf, and in one day assembled the new pulpit ourselves. I think that the end result is quite handsome and best of all it’s functional. The glass work surface is non-skid and does a great job holding everything from paper to a laptop. If you’re looking for a good pulpit I heartily recommend this one. It’s easy to construct, looks great, and performs well.

 

My old Soap Box

My old Soap Box

My new Pulpit

My new Pulpit

August 19, 2008

Foundation is Complete!

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidmaxey @ 5:55 am
Today, I want to give you a visual tour of what we have done up to this point with the foundation for our add-on. I apologize for not posting earlier. As it turned out, I put in some very long hours working on the foundation, which thoroughly creamed my soft, office muscles. In fact, even as I write this I can till feel the ache in my fingers, back, and calves. Well, the foundation is done now and we are starting on the walls. It still amazes me that here in Russia we were able to complete the entire foundation in a week. Why does this amaze me? Well, almost everything takes longer here than in the West. For instance, it can be very challenging to even find building supplies in stock. Sometimes, it can take days just to find the right size of nails one needs. How did we manage to build so quickly? One word – Grace!

Let the journey begin –

The boring machine at work. It's boring pilings for the foundation.

The boring machine at work. It is boring pilings for the foundation.

Vassya and I hard at work.

Vassya and I hard at work.

This is the steel framework inside the foundation's walls.

This is the steel framework inside the foundation

Wooden forms for the foundation's walls.

Wooden forms for the foundation

Concrete truck filling up the forms.

Concrete truck filling up the forms.

The finished product.

The finished product.

Finished product 2

Finished product 2

August 14, 2008

More Foundation Work

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidmaxey @ 8:03 am
 
Today, I got my hands dirty with the “boys” shoveling dirt, tossing rocks, and gathering up bits of rotten wood, all of which the excavator dug up yesterday and left in a big, unsightly pile. When I was done the pile looked more presentable, though there’s not much you can do to make raw soil look “pretty”.

We finished wiring together the steel lattice framework that we will set inside the trenches dug out for the foundation. After concrete is poured over the framework, it will serve to strengthen the concrete and keep it from cracking, which is a real concern in a cool climate such as Khabarovsk’s. 

 

The trenches we dug for the foundation

The trenches we dug for the foundation

My "pretty pile of soil"

My pretty pile of soil!

Steel lattice frame-work

Steel lattice frame-work

August 13, 2008

Foundation First Steps

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidmaxey @ 7:41 am
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 Today, we made some major progress on the foundation of the addition. We practically finished cobbling together the wooden forms for the concrete walls of the foundation. Also, we welded together all the re-bar for the pilings that the foundation will rest on. Lastly, we dug out the foundation’s outline with the help of a nifty excavator. Amazingly, it took all of 20 minutes for the excavator to finish all the digging. In all, we had a very profitable day.

 

Tomorrow, we plan to set the wooden forms in place around the foundations perimeter. We also plan to bore the 12 feet deep holes for the pilings, and finally, weld together and set in place the steel lattice that will run through the concrete walls of the foundation.

These are the wooden forms for the foundation

These are the wooden forms for the foundation

 

These are the re-bar frames for the pilings

These are the re-bar frames for the pilings

 

Our nifty excavator at work!

Our nifty excavator at work!

August 12, 2008

Ready, Set, Go!

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidmaxey @ 1:40 am

Green Light, GO!!!

At last, our add-on construction project has started! You will recall that we are building an addition on to the front of our church that will house our children’s ministry, an indoor toilet, gas furnace, sleeping quarters for our guard, and storage area. It is so exciting to see things moving and shaking. Just yesterday, my assistant, Vassya, and I drove around to several stores and purchased necessary material for the foundation. Today, we are busy making forms out of boards for the foundation, and welding re-bar together for the 12 feet deep steel-and-concrete pilings which will anchor the foundation. I am proud to say that our addition will be extremely sturdy and should last a very long time; it will serve the church faithfully and well.

 

 I plan to give you frequent updates on our building progress. You’ll want to know how things are moving along, and some of you will be interested to discover how one-story, wooden structures are built here in the Russian Far-East.

 

 

 

August 8, 2008

I’m Gonna’ Walk All Over You!

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidmaxey @ 5:21 am

I’ve been waiting almost a year to make this post – Meghan is walking! It is hilarious to see her waddling around the flat, bumbling aimlessly into any and every obstacle in her way. One of my favorite parts of Meghan’s walking is when she changes directions. Have you ever heard the phrase – “stop on a dime”? Well, Meghan hasn’t quite mastered that yet. Unlike adults who can halt, pivot, and spin in a matter of seconds, when Meghan changes directions she methodically slows to a halt, each step smaller and slower than the last, before taking a long elliptical path gradually changing her angle of approach till she finds herself incrementally swinging towards the new direction she requires. This method of turning takes a lot of space which is not always available, so when there is no space for “wide turns” Meghan simply plops down into a sitting position, spins around on her bottom till she is facing the way she wants to go, resumes a standing position, and heads forward from there. As you can see, either way you go she has all her bases covered!

 

Walking is essential to life and we celebrate Meghan’s new found freedom of motion, however, it does have its downsides. For one, Meghan is not so easy to keep track of anymore. She can now travel from point A to point B at a very rapid pace. Secondly, when Meghan was limited to crawling everything above 1.5ft was out of harms way, now anything below 3ft is in mortal danger of being handled and slobbered upon. This basically means that everything sitting on desks and tables has to be kept far from the edge, or else…

 

Congratulations, Meghan, on achieving this new stepping stone in life!

August 7, 2008

Monkey Business

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidmaxey @ 6:29 am
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The "Not-So-Rare" Gorilla

The "Not-So-Rare" Gorilla

 Several days ago, I read an article (click here to go to actual article) on CNN’s website that claimed that 50% of the world’s primates are facing extinction. This is a very strong statement, and if true, is quite alarming. Extinction is not a tame word. The first thing it conjures up in my mind is the infamous Dodo Bird, and the last thing we want is our chimps going the way of the Dodo. Apparently, Asian primates are the most at risk, and though – “Great apes like gorillas and bonobos still faced challenges in Africa, the report said, but it was the smaller primates — such as the red colobus monkey, with its striking white, black and rust-colored coat — that could die out first”. Of course, scientists are claiming that the main reason primates are under fire is because their habitats are being destroyed and polluted by mankind. In other words: It’s ALL our fault!

While I love animals including primates, and I certainly would not want them to go extinct, I have this gut-feeling that somebody may have been stretching something – at least a little bit. “What has caused my suspicious gut-feeling?” you ask. Well, for one thing, the very day after I read this alarming report about half the world’s primates being on the brink of extinction, I read another article on CNN’s website that sent me rolling across the floor of my office in a fit of hilarity. Let me quote you the title of the article (click here):

 

More than 100,000 rare gorillas found in Congo”

 

Story Highlights

·         Researchers feared only around 50,000 Western lowland gorillas left worldwide

·         Now 125,000 primates have been discovered in northern Congo

·         Population declining rapidly because of hunting and diseases like Ebola

·         Expert: This is the highest-known density of gorillas that’s ever been found

 

 

According to the article this HUGE community of RARE gorillas was found in a “swamp” in the Congo. In other words, they have found located in one African nation, in one African swamp, twice as many gorillas as they had previously thought existed WORLDWIDE! I would be curious to know how many other African nations (they are not few) may have similar communities of gorillas nestled away in uncharted swamps. The funny thing is: the gorillas have been there all the while. There were tens of thousands of them thriving in this swamp while scientists were busy crying, “Extinction!” I guess gorillas aren’t as “rare” as we once thought.

 

 

Now, I do realize that the gorillas were found in Africa not Asia and they are gorillas, not smaller primates that are most in danger. Still, gorillas are primates and obviously they are not extinct, not even close. I just wanted to point out that scientific research is not infallible. Just because an “expert” says that something is so, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. Yes, let’s be good stewards of what God has given us to enjoy here on the Earth, but at the same time, let’s not panic and fret. I have a sneaking suspicion that there may be a whole lot more untapped resources and undiscovered wildlife on this planet than we think. God designed the earth to sustain the jewel of His creation – mankind. I believe that the earth will continue to sustain us for as long as needed, until its purpose has been fulfilled. If God feeds the sparrows and clothes the lilies, how much more will He clothe and feed us, even here on Planet Earth!

 

  

August 6, 2008

Red Tape Anxiety Gets Beat by God’s Peace

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidmaxey @ 6:23 am
One Chop is All it Takes!

One Chop is All it Takes!

The blow was cushioned by the plate armor of past experience, since I had been through this before it didn’t hurt as bad second-time around, but I still felt a dull thud. Our lawyer consultant had just finished telling us that Russia’s new president – Dimitriy Medvedyev had made some changes in the Russian Federation’s land codex which ruthlessly assassinated our most recent effort to privatize our church’s property and get permission to finish constructing the “big building” sitting right behind our current facility. This is not the first time unforeseen and unanticipated changes in Russian law have thrown a monkey wrench into our works. Of course, this is isn’t the end of the road, we’ll come up with something else in time, still, this judiciary blow stung a bit initially. Thankfully the sting faded quickly, and a strong and abiding peace rose in our hearts. No matter what, we are on the winning side as members of God’s great family, and no matter what, we do have a church building, even if it’s a little small.

 

The overwhelming peace that saturated my heart and mind, after the brief, initial sting of the news from our lawyer consultant, was so prevalent that I could literally feel it working in me. Just two years ago, such news would have frayed my nerves, shattered my confidence, set my stomach to churning, and made me frantic. Today, I experienced peace. And this peace it not something made up; it’s not just emotions or a state of mind, it’s a spiritual reality. How is it that in just two years I swung from fretting to peace? It is due to me growing in knowledge of God’s love for me. I am confident that God loves me. I am confident that I am His child. I am confident that I am the righteousness of God in Christ apart from works. Peace will rule in your heart when you begin to comprehend how much God loves you. God’s eternal love for us is our guarantee that everything’s going to be OK!

 

What’s next? I don’t know yet, but God will lead us and give us wisdom. Whatever it is, it’s going to be good. In the meantime, we’ll continue to give God thanks for what we have and keep moving forward. Today, like never before, I came to realize that as important as it is to privatize our land and finish our “big” church building, they still play second-fiddle to the Message that God has given us to proclaim – the Gospel of Grace! One thing is for certain – we shall trust God and He will not fail us. He shall fulfill the desire of our hearts.

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