A late-August fire at a storage facility in Martyshkino, Russia has partially destroyed LHF’s supply of Russian-language Lutheran books housed there.
“According to neighbors, about 20-30 youth were goofing around the area about a half-hour before the fire. The fire was started accidentally by [those] youth drinking and smoking on the wooden stairs of the warehouse,” said Rev. Leif Camp, who distributes LHF’s books in Russia. “The police are trying to locate those responsible, but the chances are slim that anyone will ‘fess up.”
More than 40,000 books (including the Russian Small Catechism, Book of Concord and A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories) as well as tens of thousands of Russian Good News magazines were stored in the warehouse. Rev. Camp credits the firefighters’ quick response with limiting the damage.
“The real danger now is that books will get moldy from water damage,” Rev. Camp said. Over the next few weeks, “we are planning to unpack, pull out damaged books, dry what we can, and repack the dry ones.”
Rev. Camp is being assisted in this task by dozens of volunteers from area churches and missions.
“The reaction of the churches to this loss is a witness to how much the people here value LHF literature,” he said. “Just about anybody I meet from the church asks about the books and if they can still get them.”
Rev. Matthew Heise, executive director of LHF, said plans are underway to replace the most-needed titles first.
Anyone who wishes to help LHF provide Russian catechisms, Bible storybooks, or books for pastors can give online and designate your gift for Russia. Or, if sending your mission gift through the mail, write “Russia” on your check’s memo line.