Dear Brothers And Sisters in Christ, A lot has been going on here in the last month or so, I'll try and do my best to bring you all up to speed!
First things first, last news letter I wrote about the opportunity, due to a matching funds donor in the US and the spontaneous outpouring from our "fans" here in Russia, to purchase a vehicle to replace the one we wrecked back in October. I am pleased to report that we were able to raise, along with what came in on the Russian side, enough money to purchase a new vehicle, do basic post purchase maintenance and repairs and put $2,500 in the bank towards future repairs. Thank you all so much for stepping up and helping us in this crisis. We will endeavor to stay right side up on the road from now on!!
The day after we bought the car, Andrey and I took it on it's "maiden" voyage (its a 1997 Mitsubishi Delica) to the city of Prokopevsk where I conducted two days of seminars on family and child rearing. It was a good time, well attended and even afterwards I continue to get a lot of positive feedback. There is a real hunger amoung the beleivers for solid teaching on the family. Praise the Lord! I'll be ring to the city of Kansk this January where I hope to be able to share my whole collection of teachings on the family, about 22 hours worth. Please pray that this event will come together smoothly. On the way to and from Prokopivsk, we stayed with Pastor Vlad in Kemerova. He has also asked me to come to Kemerovo in 2015 and do an extensive series of lectures on the family. God is opening doors.
My parents came to visit from the 6th of November to the 20th of November, two weeks that flew by as if it had been two days! They came to commemorate the 20th year anniversary of the establishment of the church in Oseenavy Mees, the first church in the Boguchany region. We had a three day long conference, guests came in from all over Russia. The theme of the conference (aside from being the 20th birthday of the church) was missions. A call to everyone to not look at oneself and see the reasons why not to go, but to realize that often the very reasons we have to not go or not serve are the very things God will use to glorify Himself through you. My parents shared how several missions organizations told them that they could never be overseas missionaries with four kids, but how that turned out to be one of our largest assets. The first people who came to faith were all our friends, children us kids had befriended.
Mom and Dad left on the 20th of November, but not before having to sit through a radio and then a TV interview in Krasnoyarsk. God continues to use the "fame" from last August to open doors for me to preach the word or at least sow seeds. Praise the Lord. Unfortunately, for the English speakers, all the content from these events is in Russian!
This week a man by the name of Volodya arrived to join the RPTC program (Rural Pastor Training Center). He has been in the Lord for some years and has been looking for someone who was working in the villages to work with and learn from. That's when he saw some news report about an American raising goats in the Boguchany region. He looked into it and found us! So far he seems very prone to learning and to helping. He helped me a lot over the last couple of days as we slaughtered and then butchered, packaged and stored seven goats and one sheep. I think if he can stomach that a few days after arriving, he can probably do most anything!! Please pray for Volodya that he would be able to lean what we can teach him, that he would then carry that knowledge forward and use it in his ministry in the future.
We are now getting our bags around to hit the road again! Back in July an anonymous supporter gave us a gift of a three week vacation to the US! PRAISE THE LORD AND THANK YOU! WE have not been back to the US as a family for about 3 years, so even though we are not in the position to come back right now and travel and see everyone and share what the Lord is doing here, we are very grateful for the season of refreshing this will afford. This vacation package includes two weeks in North Idaho where we wil be staying at my parents house, and a week cruise out of Miami. We are so humbled and blessed by this blessing. Again, thank you.
I need to wrap up this letter since it is already 7:30 AM. I still have a few chores to get done, then breakfast, a little last minute packing, two church services to do, then we hit the road for the city. Pray for traveling mercies!
Yesterday was -41 here. For our family devotions we read Psalm 147. In verse 17 there are these words, "He hurls down His hail like morsels, who can stand before His cold." As the cold literally crackled outside, I was reminded that the earth IS the Lord's and everything in it. Sometimes we see things that happen in our lives, like "bad" weather, as obstacles, burdens or hardships. This passage reminded me that there is a different perspective bred in thanksgiving; namely that the storm clouds are witnesses to His Glory. We can see His awesome power in -41, or in the darkness of the squall, or in the trials we endure only if we choose to walk in an attitude of submitsion to His will (because He is God and we are not) and thankfulness in all things. Thankfullness brings contentment, contentment born with patience brings peace, peace which passes all understanding produces joy. And the Joy of the Lord is out strength. We claim to need strength when the trials come, when the storm rages, when the world is dead with cold, but so often we turn away from the first step in the chain reaction of virtue which inevitably will bring us joy in which is our strength. For even Christ endured the cross, not out of sheer will power but "for the JOY which was set before Him."
Give thanks in all things, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:18
Justus, Rebecca, Tirzah, Adara (+1!!).