Dear Brothers and Sisters In Christ,
Well I'm down with bronchitis
in the middle of haying season, ordered to antibiotics and bed rest
by the head doctor of our local hospital. So that means I can sit here, at my leisure, with the sun shining brightly outside and give you a detailed report
on all that's going on in our corner of the world!
I hope, with Russia
and the Ukraine
in the media a lot more lately, that you all find it an easy reminder to pray
for us. That God
would give us all peace
and that the Prince of Peace
would bring peace
and that the ambitions of men
would not inhibit the spread of the Gospel
. I think it's important that we filter every world event through the lens of the Kingdom. How is this effecting the spread, growth, and strengthening of the Kingdom of Christ? All the kingdoms of the world will fall. All the kingdoms are under the sway of the prince of the age, no temporal kingdom is an exception. Pray
that God would give us peace, that the USA and Russia would find a way to peace, so that the Gospel can go unhindered! Amen!
Alright, back to our life! Summer is busy with farm work.
As I relayed previously, our time in the winter is filled up with ministry and outreach efforts but our summers are filled primarily with farm work. Why "waste" time on our "hobby" farm? Because if we are really serious about Russian missionaries picking up and moving to the villages to serve the locals and open up churches, we need to have a tent making model that we, in good faith, know works and can say with surety, go, do this, it works. The first three years we spent in Takuchet kind of learning the ropes, finding out what could and couldn't be done, land laws, regulations, etc. We were further hindered by my health issues, attacks from some locals who slaughtered our animals and thought up various ways to inhibit the work. But God gave us faith to preserver and thanks to your prayers and faitfhful support we have two working farms. One in Oseenavy Mees and one in Takuchet. My farm in Takuchet is still teetering on the edge of solvency but I hope by this fall we should get the kinks worked out and a Russian missionary pastor could step into our shoes here and be fully supported by the farm. That's the hope for the near future! And it is exciting.
So since our last update we've been doing farm work. Had an infection in the goat kid population and lost about half the kids. That was a blow. But, we endure and learn and will avoid the situation in the future. We also were able to get a van
for our family this July. We had some issues with the bank transfer from the states, and a deal that should have taken a week ended up taking three weeks but when we drove our "new" 1995 Mitsubishi Delica 4x4 home from the city we felt it was worth it. Speaking of banking, as it turned out, a week after we got the van, finally getting the money out of the bank system, the US enacted sanctions against several Russian banks. The bank I use over here was one of them. We slipped in just under the wire. Yikes! We are HOPING to go to Oktobersky to open a new Church
there this fall. We wanted to do this last fall but we could not find a man of peace, someone to open their home for meetings. We continue to hope and pray for this man of peace. I am ready to start a new work in either Oktobersky or Novohaisk, we just need good contacts. So pray, pray for open doors. Hopefully this fall we will do two large scale outreaches in Takuchet and maybe in Oktobersky. Having the van will really help facilitate this. Thank you! PLease pray that we will be able to speak the word of this life boldly and that the hearers would be convicted and turn to Christ.
Most of August we've been trying to get in the hay
. Dodging rainstorms and scrambling when the sun shines can get old after a while but it has been a good year regardless. Hopefully we'll put up enough hay this year for both the Oseenavy farm, the Takuchet farm and have extra, even though the year had been, up until haying time, a semi drought! So the Lord is Good.
My chinese tractor side bar mower keeps falling apart
. It is a good thing I'm preaching through James in Takuchet on Sundays, count it all joy when you fall into various trials!!
Patience having a perfect work in us makes us complete! But the darn patience has to work! And we have to let it. Count it all JOY! How can we do that? By being thankful for what we do have, by giving thanks for the many blessing and by focusing on Christ and the work he has accomplished and then our "trials" become a comic relief, and if not a comic relief, at least we keep in perspective that we have not "struggled to blood" against sin.
So summer is almost gone.
My list of projects, somehow has grown by the end of the summer and not shortened. But God is good and has given me some good help this year and hopefully we can get the most important things done. I'm building a garage, or actually finishing the garage we started building last fall. The garage will house the ministry vehicle, our van that is, and my tractor. I want to put a rocket stove in so that will take some work. Finish up a few things on the greenhouse, put linoleum in the house, etc. Please pray for Andrey
, the milk man across the street.I feel like he is so close. He talks to me about God every time we meet up, and during haying season that was a lot because I was cutting his hay. He asked for prayer to get rid of a "curse" that he was afraid someone put on him, Please pray.
Near the end of July I was invited to Boguchany to preach to the church
there. I spoke on the cycles of life and death, the two trees in the Garden of Eden, the two trees at Gethsemenee and the One Tree in the Garden which is the center of the New Jerusalem. How Christ is the Tree of Life, and religion is the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. Andrey and his church there are working on building a new church building. Please pray for provision. We had two weddings in the Oseenavy Mees church this summer.
No weddings for twenty years and here, two in a row. The cool thing was that the two couples each invited all of the non believing husbands
of the believing women who come to church and we were able to more openly proclaim the Gospel to these men. three in particular that I would ask you to pray for are Volodya, Viktor and Sasha.
All of these men, in various ways, seem close to the Kingdom. Sasha was spared in a near fatal accident last year which humbled him. Volodya has had a complete life transformation through the Biblical ministry of his believing wife, Viktor has undergone a similar change. These men would be an asset to the church if they would finally submit their lives to Jesus. Pray for them please. One of our teens
in the Oseenavy Mees youth group was attacked two weeks ago with a knife.
He had a pretty bad wound to the leg. I do not think the attack was motivated by him being a Christian but then again it is hard to tell sometimes. Please pray for Sergey that God would teach him through this that bad company corrupts good morals. Pray that God would help his single mother make good decisions about bringing up a teenage boy with out a father. Jordan and Janahlee Jonas are back!
Jordan came over several years ago, worked with us for a while and then felt the Lord leading him to work amoung the native herdsmen up in the north, in Evenki territory. He recently got married, back in December in the US, and Arrived in Russia Aug 7th with his wonderful wife Janahlee! They ended up coming up to visit for almost a week and it was a blast. Please pray that Jordan and Janahlee would be given guidance on how to spread the Kingdom Message amoung the reindeer herders. I'm planning on picking my English classes back up this fall, as well as the Bible School program. Sasha
, one young man who really took learning english seriously, passed the high school English final exams this June with flying colors. 2014 was the last year that English was an elective for high school graduates. Sasha, who didn't know the alphabet when we started working in September, was so excited by the progress he made that he chose English as one of his electives! The English exams are infamous here. He is the first student in a three school area in four towns to pass the English exam in three years! Praise the Lord. Even though Sasha did not make an overt profession of faith, a lot of good seed has been planted into his life, and into the lives of many other English students here in Takuchet. The word has got around and a lot of people are asking about the upcoming season. We are able to plant seed because we are here. We can stay here because you have sent us. Thank you!
Rebecca and the girls are doing very well
. Tirzah and Adara are, thankfully, so thankfully, in good health and for the most part seem to be very healthy! They are a real joy. They are just at that age where they can really start plaing together in a very meaningful way and it is, usually, pretty wonderful to watch. Usually they are not puling each others hair out! Usually. Rebecca and I made a make shift pool for them that they had some fun in over the summer days.
As I mentioned I'm on five days "bed" rest due to bronchitis! Who knows how I got that. I interpret bed rest pretty loosely though, and I'm still trying to get things done, albeit I'm not out in the fields where I should be. Rebecca has had pretty good luck this year with the green house. unfortunately while we were in the city trying to buy our van, our farm sitter either fried or flooded the green house, spider mites invaded, and it's been a downhill battle from there. Hopefully we can learn from this mistake and not repeat next season!!
Speaking of the girls we have to go to Moscow next week to extend Tirzah's passport.
Her residency permit ends this February and due to the long sequence of necessary submission dates for different documents we basically have to get her a new passport now so as to safely get her residency permit extended. Long story short we all have to take a trip to Moscow to the embassy. This is a big financial burden, round trip for the whole family will cost $2,500. Pleas pray for continued provision and thank you for your support. Rebecca has been feeling sick lately
, but it's a good kind of sick. Morning sickness! Please pray that God would give her relief and a safe pregnancy.
We feel at peace about having another child now and hope that you would continue to bear our whole family up in prayer. Our family is an integral part of our ministry, and as our children grow up I expect it will be even more so. Our testimony is supported by our family life. There is an issue
I'd like to talk to you about that is a little awkward. But I'll just dive in because I do want your prayers. As you may remember last year Dad and I went on a month long church tour all over russia trying to raise awareness for village ministry. So far, other than a few long lasting ministry contacts, there have been no direct results from that tour. However, I think God wants the word to get out anyway
. In January a friend of a friend landed me an interview with a gourmet food magazine in Krasnoyarsk. I took the interview because I thought it might help to get me some extra clients for the farm products. They ended up not releasing the interview until June. Then the Boguchany regional TV channel came out and did a segment on us, our work, our family, our farm. Then a Moscow TV show came out, then the national evening news came out, then another Krasnoyarsk network, etc.
Overnight, we've become famous. Some sites are claiming 2.3 million views of the "merry farmer" (the spontaneous nickname that has popped up for me) on YouTube. I've now been invited to several national and regional TV talk shows to talk about farming, Russian American relations etc. Here is where I want your prayers. I want you to pray that God would use this not saught after national attention for us to be able to get the word out about village missions.
I'll talk about land reform and farming, but I'll also try and throw out shout outs for Christian workers to go to the villages. Those who are meant to hear this call, can then look me up later and get in touch. Please pray that God would give me the wisdom to use this media attention for HIS glory and to attract more workers to the field. And if your interested in getting a look at our life, even though most of you won't understand the language, sometimes getting to see our life is fun anyway. I've linked all the main videos that have come out about us on our YouTube channel:
Click on "playlists" it's the list with 4 videos in it.
As long as we are talking about the inter webs, I got our website back up and running
at the end of June. Nothing really new there, I need to find a hassle free way of managing the thing, but it is a good resource for people to use to get to know about us and our work. Still working on a Russian version. Should have had that up before the media frenzy hit!
Anyway, about the site, please go to the site and go to our "support" page.
It has an Amazon link
that you can use to do your normal online shopping through and we get a little (very little) portion of the proceeds at no extra cost to you. My hope for the Amazon associate program
is that we could fund our online presence (our website) and maybe in the future Russian language google ad words to help potential workers for the rural village mission field find us better. So that would help, an extra click or two for you and a little extra for us! Thanks!!
God is Good! Through ups and downs, drought and years of plenty, if we stay focused, somehow, anyhow, on the fact that He is good, we can get to the light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe the light is just the headlamp of the foreman bringing us more work, but that too is progress!! God bless!
Justus, Rebecca, Tirzah, Adara (plus one).