Magadan was built in 1939 as a Gulag, (one of Stalin's prison camps). It is now a city with a population of 95,000. Almost all of the people that live there now have a family member that suffered in one of the many camps. Magadan is located in Siberia, and because of this has very limited resources and must have most of its supplies shipped in from China and Japan. Because of it's history and location, Magadan is a poor city. Even greater than it's material poverty though, is its spiritual poverty. The Russian people, especially those in Magadan, have suffered more than most people will in their lifetime. Because of this the people of Magadan are slow to open their hearts, but when they do you know it is sincere. At the same time, they are extremely generous and welcoming, willing to spend a month's wages on one dinner for guests. Fr. Michael Shields has built his parish, the Church of the Nativity, with his own hands, and has faithfully served the people of Magadan and the surrounding villages, (being the only priest within 800 miles). Through the foundation Fr. Michael has built with his own parish, and through the prayers of the martyrs from the prison camp, the people of Magadan are beginning to “see the great light” and the city is full of a hope that you can feel when you are there.