A Different Kind of Retirement…

This was one of my first posts after starting my blog in 2007. My parents are a great model for what can be done in retirement. I wanted to share this since I’ve made lots of bloggy friends since 2007.

April 1997 ~ Moisi and Nadia

You’re 74, your wife is 73, you’re retired, what do you do? My parents, Moisi and Nadia decided to sell their house, many of their household possessions and move to Russia to start a Bible study ministry in a small village near Rostov-on-Don. They filed for a one year visitor’s visa and left with suitcases full of Bible study materials on May 6, 1997. They set up shop in a four-room home with no indoor plumbing. My dad is not an ordained minister. His experience comes from many years of following Christ sincerely, Bible study, service for the Lord, sincere love for God and God’s people. My mother loves God, loves my father, and loves to cook. They work together beautifully.

My parents were both born in Russia. When young, (1932), their families separately escaped out of Russia into Iran. They lived in and near Tehran, where they met and were married. My oldest sister was born there. My dad was not a believer when he married my mom. She was a believer and the daughter of a Baptist minister. Shortly after WWII they applied for and received permission to immigrate to the U.S.A. After arriving in New York they traveled to Los Angeles, where relatives set them up with shelter and work. Two more of my older siblings, myself, and four younger siblings were born to my parents. Twenty years into their marriage my dad accepted the call from God to follow His son Jesus as his Savior. This took place at the Billy Graham Crusade at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1963.

My brothers and sisters oldest to youngest. Kathy (who was born in Tehran), Vera, Fred, Ellen, Tim, Steve, Lana, and Leonard ~ 2003

My parents have faithfully followed the Lord in word and deed. On trips to Russia earlier in the 1990’s they felt the need of the lost sheep in this spiritually poor country. While visiting relatives they led a cousin to the Lord. She begged my parents to come and teach her the Bible. My parents prayed, listened, and felt it was time for them to go for longer than a 2-month visit.

A Bible study turned into a small church that met in my parents’ rental home. Up to 15 women started coming to church on Sunday. No men. They did not anticipate the response they’d get from the children in the village. Forty children came for Sunday School.

Many of the children came faithfully each week even though their parents did not come. Some of the fathers ridiculed their children for going. The Sunday School Christmas program brought out a lot of parents. Same for Easter programs. God kept opening doors for the men to hear the gospel, too. My dad was asked to speak at funerals where he always preached the Gospel, the Lord works in mysterious ways. At the end of their first year there were several new believers. My parents had to leave Russia in the Spring. Eight women wanted to be baptized before my father left. The lake was frozen and there was no baptistery in the village. The women insisted my dad baptize them in the largest bathtub in the village!

Cousin Natasha’s Baptism

My mom with her ducks and geese

My parents came home to the States in May of 1998. They had their medical exams and my mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She had surgery to remove a cancerous lump and had radiation treatments for 6 weeks. She recovered well enough to encourage my father to make arrangements for another one year visa. They returned to Russia in October of 1998. They had a great reception on their return and their mission there was confirmed. They bought the house they were renting and turned it into a church with their small living quarters. They built an outdoor baptistery. They have gone back for a few months at a time since 1999.  Their final trip was just last year. They went to  encourage the existing church and make arrangements for a visiting pastor from a neighboring larger city to come in and teach this small group of believers. My parents turn 84 and 83 this year.

Comparing my folks from this 1999 photo in Russia with their 1997 photo above you can see the toll their two years of service, cancer (prostate and breast), and age have taken on them. They do not have any regrets for the time and sacrifice their service in Russia cost them. They are now living in a Senior apartment continuing in service for their Lord.

I leave you with this song, Remind Me, by Aaron Spiro and Carlo Furlan as a fitting close to this story of my parents.

Remind Me

When I’m old, remind me not to get stuck in my ways
When I’m old, remind me not to sit around day after day
’cause there’s a race to run that doesn’t finish at sixty
And I’m not giving up till I’m safe in your arms

When I’m old, let me bring glory to your super name
When I’m old, remind me not to take your grace in vain

When I’m old, remind me who and what I’m livin’ for
When I’m old, remind me not to hide away and double lock my door

I’ll rest in heaven, retire there. Let me run for Jesus ’till I get there.

Moisi (Moses) and Nadia have certainly lived their lives for Jesus and they haven’t stopped yet!

Moisi and Nadia ~ October 2006

ht:  I Am, I Am, Kickin’ the Sky / Aaron Spiro & Carlo Furlan

I’m adding a current photo of my parents from 2010

My parents will turn 87 and 86 this year (2010)

My father has been experiencing some chest pains this week and I’m heading to Brea tomorrow to visit with my folks before Dear and I take off to Seattle on Saturday.  If God brings my parents to mind please pray for them with these new pains my father is experiencing and as they are considering the option of moving in with one of my brothers for the next stage of their lives. I would rest better being 1200 miles away if they were living under the roof of one of my siblings…

Photobucket is holding all my photos that I stored on their site from 2007-2015 hostage replacing them with ugly grey and black boxes and asking for a large ransom to retrieve them. It is a slow process to go through all my posts deleting the ugly boxes.

About Ellenhttps://happywonderer.com/I am a wife, mother, baba (grandmother) and a loyal friend. Jesus is my King and my hope is in my future with Him.

23 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Retirement…

  1. Thank you Ellen for re-posting this!!! I always love reading about your parent’s endevors and the blessings they share.
    Being away from them will be hard..yet you have so much to be in peace about….you know to whom they belong!! They will be on my mind, heart and prayers!!! much luv mL

  2. This is the most moving post I have ready this whole week. What a great testimony your parents have lived. I just attended a funeral earlier today of a lady who served in missions capacity with her husband for 15 years after he retired.

    Will definitely be praying for your parents.

  3. What a lovely post Ellen. What an amazing couple your parents are! A great reminder to us all to keep going in the service of our God.
    Thanks for visiting me, and for your prayers, Ellen. I do hope all goes well with your move, and that God will hold you, your parents and your family in the palm of his hand.

  4. I’ve been amazed and inspired by your posts~~none more than this. What an inspirational story, and enlightenment. The joy is spread through you and your glowing family and contributions to this wonder-filled internet!

    Thanks for your gift of sharing and love and expression…and to your blessed parents as well! (I never knew you had so many siblings!!)

    Wishing you all best in your move but I will still visit you every day

  5. Your parents are a beautiful story of service to the Lord. What an inspiration they are. Many, many blessings to them. I’ll pray for them regarding their decisions and for your dad’s health.

  6. I loved being able to read this…I am a friend of Debbee’s and I have met them briefly here and there throughout the years and Debbee ALWAYS speaks so highly of them and in one of our Bible Studies I remember her using them when we had to talk about “our heroes” but I don’t think I have ever heard their story like this. I have always thought your family was so special and “neat” and I see all the “neatness” rolls down from the top. 🙂

  7. I’ve never met your parents in person Ellen – but I feel as if I know them already. I love their beautiful story, their love and witness for Christ, their love of family and friends and your love for them. I am praying for them right now – especially for your Dad.


  8. How wonderful to read your parents’ story. The last line of the song you quoted cuts to the quick. We all think we’ve worked hard and deserve our retirement: to please ourselves or sit and do nothing if we so choose. Your parents had a better way. May God bless them as they have blessed so many others.

  9. What an amazing “retirement” and what a testimony of Jesus. I wrote down this scripture a couple days ago, and after reading this story, I am reminded of it.

    “I will very gladly spend and be spent for you…”
    ~2 Corinthians 12:15

    Thank you for sharing.
    Prayers for Dad.


  10. What a wonderful tribute to your rich and godly heritage. I was encouraged by your parents’ story and will pray for your folks. That song was great, too — I hadn’t heard it.

    Thanks for reposting. I linked over from nikkipolani’s blog.

  11. Your parents are God’s children, that is for sure. Isn’t it a great comfort. I love that song by Mercy Me when the line says, “to hear Him say, “this one’s mine,” child of the risen Lord. Oh, how comforting and reassuring. I will keep your parents in my prayers. My husband and I have often laughed and said that the older we get, the longer our prayer list.

  12. Saw in the comments that this was a re-posting. I am very blessed that you re-posted it. In my own work of Bible teaching, weariness hits; and it is these stories of His faithful ones continuing at His work, in strength not their own, that I am revitalized and comforted. Thank you again. I will pray for your parents.

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