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The Balloonatic in Russia - Introduction

Tim Thurmond

Hi, my name is Tim Thurmond. I am a student at Indiana Wesleyan University. I will be turning 22 on May 10th. My major is Christian education and Children’s Ministry. I have been doing Gospel balloon twisting for almost 13 years. I have a big heart for a couple of things one is ministering and working with children. The other thing I have a heart for is teaching those who interact with children in how to better train and reach out to them.

This spring I have an opportunity for both. Starting April 29th, I will be in Tyumen, Siberia, Russia. This will be my third trip there since 1993. My first trip was for a month and was with my parents working with some missionary friends of ours. While we were there we performed as clowns and ministered to the kids who where, for the first time hearing Bible stories. My second trip was three years ago right after I graduated from high school and was seven weeks long. That summer I worked at a Christian camp with a small team and with the same missionaries this time teaching balloons to the campers and using it as a way to share the Gospel in a different way.

In the last trip, the Lord showed me a lot of new and interesting things. First, He showed me that He has given me an ability to speak His message in a way that anyone can understand. Second, He showed me that I am useless without him. The third thing is that in Tyumen, Russia, as well as in the rest of the world, there are a large number of children who do not get an opportunity to get excited about the Good News of Christ--for some reasons that are just not right. For example, they are labeled as juvenile delinquents and written off as a waste of time. On this last trip, because of a flood, I learned that these children and teens were as ready for the Gospel as any church kid--and maybe even more.

This year I am going back to work with the nationals and to train the pastors and children’s workers in new ways they can reach their children. I will be there for about six weeks and will be the only American there until the missionaries come back a week or two before I leave. This trip will be a big step in my life because next year is my senior year and after that I hope to do one of three things with my life:

One: I hope to become a full time children’s pastor.
Two: I hope to start right away being a children’s traveling evangelist. Or three: I hope to join a mission’s organization so I can train their missionaries in new ways to reach the church of tomorrow and of today.

When I contacted Greg Schuerman (the web master of this great site) about this, I presented him an idea. The idea is this: For the next six weeks or so, until I get back around June 10th, I will post my journal on-line at least once a week with pictures so that you can be a part of this journey and this mission.

Each week I will share prayer request and praises and updates in how every thing is going. I will also put a copy of my journal online. This will be a brief portion of each day. If you want the full journal at the end of my journey, I will send it to you. I will also answer questions, if you have any, about either how things are going or what the culture is like. Please ask. I will either answer on this web site or respond to you later when I get back. You can contact me at my e-mail account:

Since the trip has not started yet I will take this opportunity to share prayer request.

The first thing is that I do this trip with relying on the Lords power and not on my own. Next I need prayer that the Lord continues to provide my financial needs. Since I planned this trip, the costs have gone up. That the plans the Russians are working out happen and that every thing goes well. That the Lord shows me what He wants me to teach especially for the five day conference. That my physical health is taken care of. I have a history of back problems. Also for safety because of the global problems with war and SARS. That I make it thru the next week. I have one week to move from Indiana to Michigan and get ready for Russia. For safety and wellness traveling. The plane ride will take over 12 hours and for some one who is a very hyper individual, that is like torture.

Well, there is the introduction of the trip. I hope you enjoy the journeys of the college age balloonatic. I encourage you to tell you friends and church about this journal. You never know who it might encourage and speak to. I also have a greedy reason for telling you to share the word of this site: I want as many people praying for me as possible. I know that without the power of prayer, this trip will be a waist of time. Thank you, and if you write to me at, put “Russia” in the subject line. This way I will read it, and not just empty out my mail box.

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Balloonatic in Russia - Back HomeTim Thurmond
Balloonatic in Russia - The Whirlwind TourTim Thurmond
Balloonatic in Russia - A Week to RememberTim Thurmond
The Balloonatic in Russia - I've ArrivedTim Thurmond
Now Comes the Fun PartGreg Schuerman

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