Merry Christmas, Russia! I’m Headed Your Way.

I’ve waited fourteen years to return to Russia.

Four weeks from today, Daylen and I will be there.

My dad took me on my first international trip to Russia as a young teen to deliver Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to orphans. During that trip, my heart packed its bags and moved into a Russian flat. God transformed it, instilling an endless — and somewhat irrational — love for the language, the spiritual state, and the people of Russia.



Why am I sharing this today? Well it’s Christmas! In Russia! They celebrate on January 7th, so what better time to share God’s calling than the day the Russian people celebrate my Lord’s coming to earth?

Daylen and I have a vision for a future with Russia. For three years, we haven’t known what this calling would look like. We haven’t known the why, how, for how long, or when. We’ve known only that God stamped Russia on our future and said, “Be patient.”

Last fall we met a Russian pastor and his family. They invited me to come to a women’s conference near Moscow to talk about my book, A Time to Die. (Eep!) He invited Daylen and my dad to come and meet with other churches to talk about ministry opportunities.

So here we go. First step.

We want to share this vision with you. I have no idea what God will do or reveal during this trip, but I’ve had fourteen years to prepare myself for anything. The two callings God’s made abundantly clear for my life are Russia and writing. Now those callings are holding hands, skipping along, beckoning me into a new adventure.



So welcome to the new page of the Brandes’s life. If you haven’t already signed up for my newsletter, that’s the best way to get condensed updates regarding our journey. We’re so excited to see God working more in our lives — and to look back at how he’s prepared us.

This year, I expect to share at least a few posts regarding Russia — how God laid it on both our hearts, how our trips (yes, there are more than one!) go this year, and how our vision grows. Please, if you will, continue to pray God’s glory over this next step. And especially pray for the salvation of His people in Russia.

Thank you for being a part of this story!


Do you have any specific “callings” or “vision” that God’s placed on your heart?


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About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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  1. That is awesome!

    My husband being from Zambia, Africa, he has some visions to make a difference there, but we’re not yet sure how that will look like either. I feel like we are in a season of growth and perhaps we have yet to “grow” into our vision.

    I don’t know if I would say I am “called” to write, but it is something deep inside me that’s part of who I am since I was little, but I had totally forgot about it. In 2003, I felt God ask me, what are you doing with what I gave you? and I was like, what did you give me? And the word “writing” popped into my head. And since then I’ve been putting one foot in front of the other. We shall see where this goes.

    • I love the different ways God gets us into things — like writing. Sometimes it’s a gong-like calling and other times it’s the word “writing” popping up in our head after a prayer-question. 😉

      Thank you for sharing you and your husband’s vision about Zambia! May the season of growth be prosperous! I look forward to when He reveals more to you! 🙂

  2. What a fantastic opportunity and that two of your callings have come together in such a way-it can only be God. Praying blessings over your trip and the people of Russia.

    • Thank you! Thank you! Yes, I’m beyond blessed that He’s allowed these two things to go hand-in-hand. I can’t even begin to imagine what deeper things will come. 🙂

  3. Very exciting! Praying for you…

  4. Wow! So excited for you. I seriously can’t wait to hear all about Russia. It’s funny the way God calls us, isn’t it? I had a similar calling to writing with a few years of advanced warning and then a “Now Wait.” command. It’s exciting when you get a few more pieces of the puzzle. 🙂

  5. I could only imagine how excited you are!!! Just last year God gave me a vision and told me we were going to go to Cambodia (my husband’s homeland). A month later my husband got a spoken word that we were indeed going to go in the future.

    I know one thing that God strongly placed on my heart is to start a home for girls/women where they can stay, learn English, and other hobbies that could help bring income. This was inspired by an article I had read in the Phnom Penh Post (that’s Cambodia’s capital) that families were selling there girls virginity to buyers because the families needed an extra income and through this they could make a hefty price. They had a woman share her story of how she had sold her daughter to a good man in order to pay for her husbands medical bills. It was good at first, but then she greatly regretted selling her daughter when she had some medical issues occur due to sexual abuse. I was so heartbroken after reading the entire article and was the first time I read something where I truly wanted to make a difference. I prayed so earnestly that God would show me a way I could help these girls go to place where they didn’t have be sold just because of the superstitions of taking a girls virginity. It was through prayer and reading the Bible that God showed me the idea of this house called A Father’s Choice. These families could have their daughters stay here where they could learn other ways to help being income to families. It would be another choice a father could decide in what he should do if that makes sense.

    I know that was long winded, but that is one vision I’m so excited about! I plan to learn Khmer soon (thankfully my husband already knows it) and already try to keep up on the news over there.

    Ill be praying God’s hands over you guys and that He would reveal His plans to you both! God bless! 🙂

    • Wow, what a heartwrenching story. 🙁 I have a friend who does ministry in Cambodia, but I’d never heard that side of things before. What a blessing that God gave you awareness, a vision, and a husband all to bring shalom to another part of the world.

      I’ll certainly be keeping that vision of yours in my prayers! Keep me updated! And thank you for sharing! 🙂

    • What a great idea A Father’s Choice is! Ideas like that change the world one person at a time… Love it!

  6. How absolutely thrilling! I will be praying for you guys as you take this journey with this first step of faith!

  7. I venture to Alaska and Canada often, but Russia? Wow! You certainly get around Nadine. I think I need to get out more!

    I do have a couple callings on my life. The most compelling one is to encourage others. The second is related. There is no doubt I am called to write. And not only poems and books, but letters and blogposts and replies to Nadine… =)

    God bless you on the adventures He has called you to.

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