Sent To Siberia

Preaching the Gospel to the Rurals of Siberia

November 7, 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

The last month has been very eventful. First of all winter has come, it's now -10 outside and about -20 at night. But we are cozy and warm in our square log house, with a full woodshed of wood. God is Good!

After the last letter I wrote we were able to install our septic, thank you all very much!! We also had the excavator enlarge our moat" that runs along the front of our property. He also excavated a "sink hole" for our ditches to drain into. Our house in Takuchet sits in a bowl, and so the first few years we were hear we got flooded pretty bad. Every year I have improved the flood water management profile of our property and now, with these final excavations, I think we, and our neighbors should be dry this spring.

On the 4th of October Rebecca and I and the girls all went to the city. This was a planned trip, I need to renew my residency permit in November but I need to get all of the documents together for that permit in the city well in advance. We also needed to file to get a permanent residency permit for baby Kirsten. Normally this process, at least in the past, has entailed a long list of documents. Financial reports, AIDS test, venereal disease test, drug test, TB test, and so on. For an adult these can be intrusive and exhausting. For a six month old baby they are completely beyond the pale of tolerance, not to mention the trauma to the babies parents! So you can imagine our elation, our ecstasy, our complete sense of relief when I was told by our helpful migrations officer that "the law has changed, all of those requirements are no longer required for extension or for minor applicants whose parents already have residency permits." PRAISE THE LORD! I wept from relief, literally when I heard that I wouldn't have to haul my baby through that ordeal. What a blessing. They did add an expensive Russian language and Social Studies test, which I aced with no trouble. Rebecca will have to take this test next year and I think she'll breeze right through it as well. What a blessing.

We were in the city for 13 days, as I mentioned primarily to deal with documents. But we also were able to do a lot of outreach as well. I ended up giving four lectures, two about home-education and two about farming (one of these was open to the public, one was for the students of the Krasnoyarsk State Agricultural Institute). I also had 8 media appearances (mainly TV but also a radio show which was fun). Through the "merry milk man" phenomena God has really opened up, and continues to open up, a lot of oppurtunities to speak into peoples lives. In all my lectures and media appearances I am unapologetic about the reasons why we are in Russia, our faith and the Gospel.

Speaking of media appearances I wanted to mention here how God is using our "virtual" presence in Russia as well. I just got news from the 11th rural missionary who has been inspired to move out to the village, or to start a work in a village where they already live, since last August. Most of the people who have written to me about starting a ministry are using our model, starting a farm as a "tent making" venture and starting a church in several villages at once. This year has really been a year of unseen multiplication. I have also received word from nearly 60 people (both believers and non believers) who were inspired to leave the city and start a farm. I believe that for the believers this is the first step towards active ministry in the nearby villages, and for the non believers who are beginning farmers, I pray that God would touch them and then eventually they may also begin to minister to the villages around them, in due time! So even though my farming or home education lectures are not strictly evangelical in nature, I take every opportunity to share the message of Christ and village missions, and God has been using that in amazing ways.

I was also able to preach in two churches while we were in the city. Please pray that all these seeds that are sown would germinate and sprout and produce a plentiful crop of souls for Christ and workers for the Kingdom!

While we were in the city we also put our farm/family/ministry vehicle through the gantlet of garages and mechanics. Keeping a vehicle on the road can be expensive, especially when your roads are dirt and the vehicles are old. But I couldn't imagine not having a good car, and I wanted to just say thank you to all of you who help us keep these rigs on the road. They literally help "drive" our ministry! So we got our Delica out of the shop, Rebecca and I drove home and then I let the work crew for the orphanage use it to drive up here to start the last stage of the orphanage construction.

Unfortunately, four miles from home somehow the antifreeze drained out of the Delica and the engine overheated. It blew a head gasket for sure, and we are now in the process of diagnosing the engine to see how much damage was down to the engine block and head itself. So exasperating to get the car out of the shop, a rebuilt fuel pump, a ton of work done on the suspension, breaks pads replaced, new tires, some wiring problems fixed, just to now be rig-less again! We actually have a second car, a Honda Odessey that was donated to us by a believer in Krasnoyarsk last December, so it was a good backup rig, except the crew boss (of the orphanage construction crew) had asked to borrow the Odyssey to go to a church conference in Boguchany and broke the ignition lock while driving it. So, we now have two cars, both in good "working condition", but neither work!!!

This actually is an area I need a lot of prayer in. I personally do not drive, and Rebecca can not drive every time we need something, so I end up relying on a lot of extra help to drive me, or to drive for us. Consequently I have a lot of people telling me that everyone else except themselves is an awful driver, or that their crazy and wild driving style is actually rational and calm and if I only drove myself I would understand. Well I do understand that these drivers have a cumulative tendency in destroying cars faster than I can repair them! So I need wisdom in how to deal with drivers, how to set up good rational guidelines for drivers and how to follow through with consequences when drivers destroy things. Please pray for this, that we can get the Delica and the Odyssey running with as little outlay as possible and that I would have wisdom to deal with my drivers.

As I mentioned above, the work crew for the Orphanage showed up in Oseenavy Mees to finish the work on the orphanage. Hopefull by the beginning of December the orphanage construction saga will be over! Five US teams, four Russian contractors, things done over several times, but we are finally on our last and final push! What we will have is a beautiful 2670 sqr foot facility, fully functional and capable of housing up to 20 children and their parents. The only problem? The parents. PLEASE continue to PRAY that the Lord would provide that perfect family, to use this facility. Back in 2007, I was naive, I sincerely believed that the problem with ministry was the lack of resources, facilities or and infrastructure. And while these are needs, more often than not the limiting factor is, as always, laborers for the Kingdom. So pray that the Lord of the Harvest, the Father of the fatherless, would send a family who would use this facility to minister to the orphans of this region.

On the down side, I have been having some health issues. I had a pretty bad asthma attack that started on the 24th of September, just a few days after I got home from Kemerova, and lasted till the 5th of October when Rebecca and I went to the city. I had another serious asthma attack on Oct 18, three days after getting back from the city with Rebecca and the girls. This attack was life threatening and I only got real relief by heading South to Krasnoyarsk. I stayed in Krasnoyarsk for the remainder of October, just about two weeks. Following the suggestions of a pneumologist, I borrowed an industrial Ozone generator from a friend and bought a pretty high grade three stage air cleaner and sent them home. Rebecca set these up in the house and cleaned the air in the house for about a week before I returned. I got back in the village yesterday and so things seem to be doing, although not a hundred percent better, at least controllable.

As I shared in my last email, I think the Lord is moving us from hear, and my continued asthma issues, which seem to only flare up when I am in Takuchet or Oseenavy Mees, seem to be confirmation of this, or at least more evidence on the side of moving on. Please pray for healing and for guidance as we pray about the next step. Please also pray that God would provide a pastor to lead the churches in Takuchet and Oseenavy Mees, both so that we can take a long overdue furlough in the US to see family and friends, as well as to free us up to make the next step. As always, the need is laborers.

Rebecca and the girls are doing very well. The girls continue to blow our minds with their memorization ability, they both recited 1 Corinthians 13 in church the other Sunday and are going to be reciting Ephesions 6:10-19 "The Armor of God" next Sunday. They are both learning to read and write and count and do basic math this year. We have been blessed with our girls! Kirsten continues to be a perpetual source of Sunshine! A happier baby I have never seen! Rebecca got a hand cranked carding machine and is merrily carding her way through two years worth of sheep wool, the little machine is an "industrial revolution" compared to the carding brushes she used to use! Rebecca has also started making soap for us, and to sell to our farm produce clientele! I really did get a Proverbs 31 woman for a wife! Speaking of which, she is sitting next to me as I write this prepping hides for tanning! So I'll wrap this up, let her read and edit for me and do some hide prepping myself!!

Thank you so much for your prayer! Thank you so much for lifting us up. As Paul says in Ephesians, pray for us that we may always open our mouths boldly to declare the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Justus Rebecca, Tirzah, Adara and Baby Kirsten

September 24, 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters In Christ!

It has been a while since I last wrote, largely because the summer months are full of farm work and usually very little of what is considered "ministry." Over the summer months we usually cut back on all church functions except Sunday Services and Wednesday night Prayer Meeting. But all the hay has been put up (almost 50 ton, loose), the potatoes are in the root cellars of both of our churches buildings (267 buckets), a variety of pumpkins, squash, carrots, beets, jars of jam and various preserves all squirreled securely away for the coming long winter. The lambs and kids have grown up and the last harvest, the butchering, will happen in November, when it gets cold enough to safely keep the meat in a barrel outside. Rebecca is carding the wool with the girls and she will be spinning in the long winter evenings. Summer has turned to fall and will soon pull the white sheet of snow up, and snuggle into the deep sleep of winter. And we will kick it into high gear ministry mode!!!

But even though during the summer our "official" ministry work is toned down a bit, God still opens many doors for serving others and proclaiming His Kingdom. During the summer months as we plowed and planted and harrowed and put up hay and wood, sheared sheep and washed wool, God brought some 50 people, hitchhikers, reporters, farm volunteers and just seekers from as far away as Krasnodar (Black Sea), and St. Petersburg. Some of these people came to make documentaries about us, some of them came to learn about farming, all of them heard the Good News, that God is our Father through the work of Jesus and that He wants all of us to turn from idols and serve the living God! It's funny how none of our neighbors will listen any more. They shrug us off with quips about "our crazy American's" and yet people from all over Russia show up, almost every week, to listen to what God has to say through us.

We had three boys live with us all summer, two boys lived with us for about two months and one boy lived with us for a month. This has become a kind of tradition with us, taking in boys over the summer and working, living and encouraging them in their faith.

One amazing thing that happened was a man from a few villages over, heard about us and came to talk with us. He had recently lost his wife and was fighting depression and alcoholism. I talked to him about God's will for his life and he received the Lord. A few days later he brought a woman who had killed her husband in a drunken fight with a knife and was suffering from shame and remorse. The court had ruled it self defense but she was tortured with guilt. We talked about the just requirements of God's law, that mans slayers do not enter the Kingdom, but that Christ took the punishment for our sins and suffered as a murderer, as a their, in our place. She also accepted the Lord. I was able to get these two connected with the local church in their town, a church we had helped plant years ago. Praise the Lord!

We've had a couple of new people coming to church meetings in Takuchet and Oseenavy Mees. The church body in Oseenavy Mees is always such an encouragement, and I have no doubt that they will continue to grow and to "reproduce", giving birth to spiritual children as the Lord adds to the number of those who believe. But for what ever reason Takuchet has been hard in that way. We have people who come consistently but only a few who really show signs of real spiritual life. It's not for me to judge, but please pray for the believers in Takuchet, that they would experience God in a way that is beyond their comprehension, and carry the message of Christ to the rest of the town. As is, our little group in Takuchet is very friendly, and if nothing else, very consistent. That is a blessing. May God explode their hearts!!!

Mid summer we had a big outreach in the town of Chunoyar. We used the new church building that was built largely due to help from our supporters, thank you!!!! Musicians came from the big city (Krasnoyarsk) and we had a great time. We had three car loads of people go from Oseenavy Mees and Takuchet to the event. There were non believers who heard the word preached and believers who were reminded that the Gospel is our bread, and sharing the gospel our food.

In the 20th chapter of John, Jesus calls out to his disciples in the boat, "Children, do you have any food?" What a strange question. You'd think you would ask fishermen, "do you have any fish?", "what did you catch?" But Jesus asks, children, do you have any food? What do John and Peter reply? No Lord, we're starving. No Lord, we're professional fisherman, we have nets and a lake and we're starving. Not because we can't catch fish (that too) but because the food we catch doesn't satisfy. It doesn't last. Peter dives into the lake, Drags the net of miraculously caught fish up on the shore, but Jesus already has breakfast ready. He didn't need the colossal effort Peter was willing to exert. What does Jesus want? What does the risen Christ need?

Peter, do you love me? Do you love me? Do you really love me? Yes Lord, you know I do, you know all things!! Stop torturing me, I'll do anything for you, I'll drag a half ton of fish up on the shore, I'll swim, I'll run….Peter, do you love me? Do this one thing. This one little thing. Feed my sheep.

So what is our food? In the fourth chapter of John, Jesus talks to the Samaritan woman, I will give you water! And she replies, well give it to me then? And He says, go tell your husband about me! And that was the water. When a child asks for bread does a Good Father give a stone? NO! She asked for the living water to flow. She had met Christ. All she needed to do was to believe and to go and share. Period. Life changing experience. But she got bogged down for another half chapter in theological, social and philosophical discourse! So fishing is good, and getting water at the well is good, and potatoes are necessary, and work is unescapable, but our food, our real food, is Christ and he is always present when we are seeking out a lamb, a lost sheep, and giving him the living water, sharing with her the bread of life. Child, do you have food? Feed my sheep. Are you hungry? Feed my sheep!

So we are also thinking about how we can "feed more sheep." The last couple of months we've really been doing a lot of soul searching as to the direction God is taking us and our ministry. I'd like to share with you a letter I wrote to my pastor as well as to some key councilors in our lives. Here it is:

Some Thoughts on Changing the Look and Feel of Our Ministry

First of all we have always wanted to plant new churches and open new ministries, to get a church started in all of the 27 villages of the Boguchany region. We also have always known that the long term future of village missions in Russia has to lay on the shoulders of Russians. That's why 4 years ago we moved to Takuchet and started the two farming experiments, one with cows in OM and one with goats in Tak. As you know our hope was to find a model for "tent making" that could theoretically support a farmer/missionary/pastor. We also started the RPTC in hopes of recruiting people interested in rural ministry.

four and a half years later we have a definite model that works, and a laundry list of requirements for success for a farm/mission endeavor. We realized the extent of the financial investments in starting a farm from scratch, even in Russia, as well as the realities of marketing product, etc.

We also found out
how very few people are interested in full time village ministry, especially when that means working with your hands. So we have come to some realizations.

1). Starting a church in every village is beyond the scope of the currently available recruits in Christian Russia. To reach the rural areas we should think in terms of strategically placing pastor/missionaries to be able to reach 3-4 villages at a time. This also makes sense if these teams are also going to be starting farms, the capital investment being substantial, allowing a pastor to reach 3-4 villages as opposed to 1. So the idea is to place pastors with their farms in locations where the "investment" of both very scarce human resources, and less scarce financial resources can do 3-4 times more than previously envisioned.

2). We are famous now! Funny, but this is a reality. I have almost 17,000 followers on Russian Facebook and over 32,000 subscribers on YouTube. Crazy as this is it has given us an unprecedented platform for sharing our ideas and for recruiting. I've gotten more response in the last 12 months from Russian Christians who want to go to the villages, who want to farm and open churches, than I have in the last 11 years of ministry in the Boguchany region combined. I've gotten encouraging letters about people who were encouraged to start rural ministries just by seeing us online, as well as people wanting to come and learn. Lots of people want to come out for a week or a weekend to "absorb" the idea, a few mention longer term internships (among non believers I have a list of over 100 people interested in coming to intern with us just for the farm side of things). However almost all of these believers already have a place their church is wanting to send them. No one, so far, seems interested in coming to the Boguchany region to start something here.

3). Takuchet is not an appropriate set up for exampling the model of ministry we have developed. We could of course build another building to house students (long term, live in, additions to the family have not been so wonderful for us), increase the size of the farm to support the increased personnel, start a church in Oktobersky to bring the number of churches we oversee up to the desired 3, but aside from all that, we are very far a away from, well, everything. We'd like to locate in such a way as to make ourselves available as an example to every and any potential recruit, even for a weekend or a week. We need to make ourselves available to serve the recruits where they can come, learn, and then go back and minister where God is leading them.

So we are praying and thinking about what this all means for us. Right now we are thinking that it probably means that we will be here in Takuchet and OM until we can find a replacement pastor to carry on the work and a family to work in the orphanage. After that we'd like to take a furlough in the US of about 6 months, to see supporters and family. After that we would then look where to set our next farm/church plant operation with the above considerations held in mind. It would most likely not be the Boguchany region, most likely somewhere closer to a city where national travel is more facilitated. We will not end up in a city, just try and make ourselves more available for people to learn. We'd still be doing village ministry, still be hoping to send missionaries to the Boguchany region, but also realizing our role as models and trainers for work all over Russia, wherever the workers can be found and to wherever they want to go.

So, that's what's on our minds. Nothing really to solid yet, a lot of details to pray about, a lot of things that need to come together first, but still, an idea.

What do you think? Love to hear prayerful feedback.
Pray for us that God would guide us, that doors would open and close as He sees fit. We also really want to come home for a visit, but can not do that until we get a solid replacement pastor in place. Please pray for this need.

Mid way through summer a church from the city of Kemerova asked me to come be a keynote speaker at their missionary conference. I was unable to go then, because of the farm work, but I recorded a video and sent that. Last week I was invited by the largest meat packing company in Kemerova to go and sell our cheese as well as to speak, twice, at their open air farmers market. I was given two 40 min spots to lecture on topics of my choice. I spoke about the future of farming in Russia and about family values. In both lectures I was able to bring things back to the Gospel. I gave 4 interviews for TV and the press. Sowing seeds. The next day on Sunday I spoke in two large churches, encouraging the believers to realize that now is the time to seize the day, start family farms and village ministries, feed the nation with both temporal and eternal food. The response was encouraging, people touched and motivated. Please pray that the Lord of the Harvest would truly send laborers.

In closing, I've left some of the most exciting news for last.
Our good friends, Dan and Joan Rulison, have made the decision to join our work on a full time basis. They will be doing mission advocacy in the US as well as traveling to Russia for semi long term trips to be involved in the work here. We are still praying for the Lord to show us how this new partnership will grow, so pray that God would guide us in this. And just send your thanks and blessings in the direction of the Rulison's. This has been something that has been in their hearts and ours for a long time. God is good to bring all things to completion!!!!

Sorry about the website being down! Our web hosting came up for renewal and I was in the middle of haying, by the time I got around to dealing with it, the host had deleted our whole site off the server. So I'll need to get it re-uploaded some time. I'm also building a Russian language version of our site. Pray for these technical projects to get done quickly, and not be a distraction.

Finally, I don't know if any of you have been following the news, but the Russian ruble has collapsed over the summer. ALthough this has caused a lot of hardships for our brothers and sisters in the Lord in Russia and is by no means a reason for any kind of celebration, it has provided us with a financial opportunity. Their are a few capital investment type projects I'd like to do in Takuchet. We need a new septic tank installed and it would be a major blessing to have a well, to not have to haul water. Drilling a well will now cost about $1200 as opposed to last years $2,500. The septic tank will now cost $500 as opposed to $1,000. This is a need, and an opportunity. If you feel led, we would be blessed.

As always, thank you for your support, your faithful prayers and uplifting of this work. God is doing something amazing in rural ministries, we are blessed to be a part of it, and we were here because we were sent by you. Thank you!

In closing…

Please Pray
That God would give us clear vision for the future.
That God would provide a family for the orphanage.
That God would provide a pastor for our two churches so we can move on and come home for a much needed furlough.
That God would guide and bless the Rulisons as they join our work in a more full capacity.
That all the seeds God has allowed us to plant will sprout and bring a good harvest.
That God would continue to open doors for us to speak, and that we would continue to be bold and speak all the word of this Life, regardless of persons!!!

Again, thank you for your faithful prayers and support! God bless!!

Justus, Rebecca, Tirzah, Adara and baby Kirsten!!!

Support Info

Currently our home church in Idaho handles all our tax deductible donations for us. Please send a check made out to Cabinet Mountain Calvary Chapel. Please attach a sticky note or a separate note, designating your donation for “Siberian Mission.” If you would like to give to a particular project, please designate that as well. Please do not make any notes on the check itself. Send your check to:

Cabinet Mountain Calvary Chapel
PO Box 461
Clark Fork, Idaho 83811



602328_10151982909718121_1151756877_ndan and joan rulison

June 19, 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Spring is passed and the hot, hot days of summer have arrived. How hot could it be in snow bound Siberia you might ask? Well the other day it was 98 degrees F, in the shade! So Siberia is a land of contrasts and contradictions, as our lives often are.

The last couple of weeks have been full of the Spring time work on the farm. I use my little farm tractor and a rotor tiller attachment to plow a lot of peoples gardens in both the towns of Takuchet and Oseenavy Mees. I usually plow for the church folk as well as for a lot of people in the communities. It's a nice way to interact with people, share the gospel and invite people to trust in Jesus. Can't say that there were any tractor side conversions this year but, a lot of seed was sown. One of the reasons I like plowing is that I can be a blessing to people in these two towns in need. Plowing the garden spot for a widow or for an abandoned single mother with two children, is a small way I can give a real helping hand.

Jordan and Janahlee are back in Russia for the summer, and have already headed up north to the Evenki people. They are planning on sending a few months in the Evenki territory before heading back to the US for the birth of their first child. Right now they are in a season of decision, praying and searching for what God has in store for them as a family, whether to continue the work with the Evenki as a family and in what capacity. Please pray for these two brave pioneers of the Kingdom, that the Lord would give them a real vision and a peace for what their next steps should be.

For the last several Sundays we've had a newcomer attending Church, reading, praying and asking questions in Takuchet. She makes a welcome addition to our little band of faithful believers. Takuchet has been an uphill fight, but maybe we will soon find that "man of peace" who will be a turning point in ministering to this town. Pray that the Lord would put a passion and an urgency in the hearts of the believers to share the Gospel with their friends and neighbors.

A couple of churches from the city have talked about sending outreach teams to us this summer to do youth and children's outreach. We would be so blessed by this so please pray that these events would really come about.

Last week I got news from our church in Idaho that the last of the money needed to finish the orphanage had come in!!! Praise the Lord! This building project will be 8 years old this August, and I personally am ready for it to be completed and launched. Last november a contractor friend of ours had pointed out some issues that needed to be addressed so that set the work back some. Right now we are pulling together a small work crew and hopefully will be able to start work in the first part of July and be done, finished, completely finalized by mid August. Praise the Lord.

We started the orphanage project in response to the Russian laws concerning foreign adoptions becoming ever more stringent between 2004 to 2008. I felt that we needed to continue to do something to aid the orphans and building an orphanage seemed like the best, long term investment we could make. We designed the orphanage to house 20 children, the maximum size of an "orphanage family" allowed for by Russian law in 2007. Back then the largest barrier for families wanting to start a "family orphanage" (much like a US foster home but more long term, more like adoption but with more than just a few children) was the rigorous home inspection and housing requirements.

We hoped to provide a facility that would fulfill those requirements and allow a Christian family to pursue their goal of helping children. Frankly I underestimated the enormity of the project, and if I had it to do over again I would have built using a different method on a smaller scale. But what we have ended up with is a 3000 sqr foot facility that is nicer than any home I've ever lived in! Now that the finish line is in sight, we need to be in serious prayer that God would send us the right family that can adopt the vision as their own, not just my idea, and really run with it. We have already had two families commit and then back out of the project, but I believe that this has been, although painful at the time, in the long run for the better. But as I said we are nearing the finish line as far as the construction phase goes and I want to see this building, so long in coming, to be put to good use immediately.

So please be in prayer that there would be no more construction set backs or surprises as we wrap up and that a family would step up in the near future to utilize the facility. And thank you, all of you, for supporting a project so long in maturing.

We have been studying the Gospel of John in the Takuchet Church and just went through Chapter 12, the anointing of Christ by Mary at Bethany. Two contrasts jumped out at me.

The first, the contrast between Mary and Judas. She is willing to sacrifice, even to the point of waste, to pour out her precious oils and spices and lavish it on Christ. She doesn't care for the scene she's making, she doesn't care for the gossip she's generating, she cares only to give her utmost for Him, because she knows that He is the real pearl of great price. Christ is not an end to a means with her, He is the final goal of all searches, the destination of all roads, the hero of every tale. He is the Beginning and the End, so in Him, she finds her end by giving all and receives a new beginning.

Judas, on the other hand is a thief and sees Christ as means to an end, a resource generating, revenue collecting mechanism for personal progress. But I have to not write Judas off so easily, because Judas is among the disciples, and Mary is not. Judas is an important ministry partner, the accountant, a trusted friend, a confidant, a team member, a chosen herald of the Kingdom. But Judas missed Christ. He proclaimed the Kingdom as Christ's emissary but never realized that the Kingdom of God begins and ends in Christ. Judas had confused the goals, not doing ministry but truly knowing Christ.

The other contrast (or even contradiction) that struck me was the nature of Mary's gift. It is spices and oils, worth a great sum of money, but it's a shroud, a burial poultice, a mixture for mummification, a choice collection of fragrances reeking of death and the grave. In the previous chapter Jesus had just raised Lazarus, Mary's brother, from the dead. Why did she still have these oils, these spices? Had she not been able to use them on her brother? Had she kept them in hope that Jesus would raise him? I can't answer that but I can say what leapt out at me.

Here is Mary, so lately bereaved and then relieved, so lately brought down to the depths of sorrow and raised to the ecstasy of faith. And what is her response? She gives her greatest treasure to Christ. But what is that treasure? Her treasure is the precious, priceless treasure of the grave, the mummification of death in overpowering dead aroma's.

Isn't it true with us all, though? Don't we collect our treasures of death and hide them away in our heart's most dear treasure trove, our offenses that our useful only to petrify the corpse of a relationship but which are so fragrant to our lacerated memory. Our secret sins and our not so secret bitterness. What to do with all this blessed death? We can take the road of Judas and mask our thievery with piety. Or we can pour it out on Jesus, lavish it on Him, empty the well of our sorrows and our delights on Him. What does he do with all our fragrant sin? He thanks us, blesses us, and takes it to the cross, dies with it on His shoulders, carries it to hell, and leaves it there.

What can we do for Him? What can we give Him? We can lay on him our burdens, our precious and costly graveyard burdens, and be free. And that too is a contradiction. God give us grace to lay all at Jesus' feet.

Justus D. Walker

February 19, 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ! Whether we do it on paper, verbalize or keep these thoughts to ourself, on New Years we all, I think, make some kind of resolutions. The New Year is too good of a natural delineation of time and events to be wasted on the everyday routine and, in and of itself, demands a sort of sanctification which arises with our solemn vows, resolutions, intentions, personal promises, goals or however else we want to describe those internal steelings of our will that we hope the New Year will bring. Having crossed, as we hope, the Rubicon we often find ourselves, very soon, far less steeled than we thought, less inclined to fulfill our good intentions than we had hoped or even thought ourselves to be. So it was with me. 

As the New Year came and went I made a resolution to write an email update once a week. It is now the 20th of February and this will be the first newsletter of the year. I am appalled at my own lack of discipline in this regard. We appreciate and depend on your prayers and involvement in this ministry and I do not mean to abuse your commitment by not communicating with you. Please forgive me

So Now I'll try and go over the past two and a half months and let you know what has been going on. It has been an eventful period, full of excitement, averted tragedy, ministry, doors opened and the Kingdom advanced.

In the first part of December, Rebecca, the girls and I were planning on a little vacation to visit family in the US. We were planning on leaving December 2nd and being in the US for three weeks. On the morning of our flight we got to the airport and could not find our flight displayed on any of the departure screens. I went to information and they said that the flight had been changed to an hour and a half earlier and that we had missed check in and boarding. I was livid. I went upstairs to try and figure out a solution with the Aeroflot company representative, the whole time grumbling under my breath about how I'd like to travel just once without incident. My internal dialogue went something like, "God, this is not funny. All I want is to take a little vacation with my family, visit relatives we haven't seen for three years, why can't you just help me out here?!" The Aeroflot representative was less than sympathetic, fined us heavily for a ticket change for four days later and told me we would have to take our complaint up with the regional office in Krasnoyarsk. More grumbling in the direction of heaven on my part.

So we hauled ourselves and our luggage back to our friend's car, who was luckily still around to take us back to the city. We decided to grab some breakfast before going back to our friend's house where we planned on waiting for our flight. At breakfast Rebecca started having some contractions, pain and troubling signs. We rushed her to the prenatal clinic and they got her on an IV, did an ultrasound and said we were showing signs of preterm birth. They suggested attempting to stabilize things with some meds and then to get us into the hospital and get Rebecca a cerclage put in. It all happened so quickly, and I began to imagine us, flying somewhere over the Ural mountains when this would have started to happen. My grumbling turned to thanksgiving, suddenly happy the flight had been moved and we had not been notified. Give thanks in all things. There is a power in that, which i know I often forfeit because I walk in my own understanding and not in humility toward His word. Give thanks in all things.

I went to the Aeroflot regional office while Rebecca was in the hospital and they were much more understanding. They refunded us our full ticket price plus the fines we had to pay for ticket changes. We were thankful for that. Speaking of tickets I am still trying to get United Air to return at least a portion of our continental US tickets and have not had the same fortune. Please pray that they would be gracious towards us and refund us the money for the US portion of our trip.

Rebecca spent seven days in the hospital after the she got the cerclage. After that we went home to Takuchet. So we didn't get to go to the US, but we were thankful that we had been spared another tragedy.

Jordan and Janahlee, who had been living in the woods with the nomadic Evenki people since August, came out of the woods in early December and made there way down south to spend Christmas with us! They actually came a day or two before Christmas and spent over two weeks with us! It was a great time of reunion, fellowship, mutual encouragement, good food and just good old fashioned fun. We opened stockings on Christmas morning, sang Christmas carols and rejoiced that the Light of the World had come, and that the darkness had not overtaken Him. Nor ever will.

Please pray for Jordan and Janahlee as they seek guidance for their further work in the Evenki Region. They are praying for specific guidance on how their ministry is to look. This is a crucial crossroads for them and I would encourage everyone to pray for this wonderful family daily as they seek to do God's work and gulfill his will in the far north. You can read more specifically about their adventures, hardships and decisions that need to be made at their blog here:

Another fun event that happened in December involved a car. Not a car wreck, just a car! I got a phone call from a guy who had seen in the news that we had wrecked our Delica mini van back in October and that we wanted to buy a new one. I explained that we had already been able to buy a new van and that everything was fine. He said that he had determined to give us a car and that he thought we could probably put two cars to use. A week or two later, a friend of mine brought the car up to the village, a 2001 Honda Odyssey! We were so amazed at both the condition of the vehicle and at the gift. So now we have two vehicles for ministry, the all terrain Delica beast, and the more urbane Odyssey. This summer when we built the garage for two cars, I was thinking about having somewhere to park a friends car, not needing the space tow park our two cars! This will prove very advantageous as you will shortly see.

While Janahlee and Jordan were still with us we did two large outreach efforts, one on the 7th of January and one on the 8th. The 7th is the traditional Russian Orthodox date for Christmas and we try to do an outreach event. The Church in Oseenavy Mees put together a full length theatrical production which we showed on the 7th in Oseenavy Mees and then again on the 8th in Takuchet. As always we had quite a few people show up from the village and this year we have even seen some of these people joining the fellowship on a consistent basis. Praise the Lord. Please pray that the believers, especially in Takuchet, would be convicted that making disciples is an essential part of being a disciple.

About this same time, on the 6th of January or so, a contractor friend of mine named Sasha Shahtaren (Sasha Sh. for short) showed up to help finish the orphanage. He had taken a look at our project in Novemebr during the big church conference and had noted things that had been done incorrectly and needed to be redone, as well as just some good advice on how to wrap things up in general. The orphanage project has kind of been at a stand still for the last two years, three different contractors taking it on to finish and really not getting much, if anything done. Very frustrating. Well Sasha Sh. came in like a whirlwind, organized the men in our church and attacked the project with a vengeance. There were quite a few mistakes that had been made and the crew spent a good month getting everything that had been done, redone in the correct way and making a lot of progress. We are now finally on, what I really do believe is the final stages of the orphanage project. Sasha Sh. estimate 6-8 weeks to get things completely finished, including all the cosmetic details, etc. Sasha Sh. estimates we need $15,000 to finish the construction side of the orphanage. Please pray for this big need. We hope to keep up our momentum and would like to recommence work in the first part of March so please keep this in your prayers.

Speaking of the orphanage, we have recently been contacted by two different candidates for people to run the orphanage. I believe that God is providing the workers right at the same time as we are finishing the project. This is very exciting, so please keep us in your prayers that God would give us wisdom and guidance in filling these positions.

After Janahlee and Jordan took off for the city on the 10th of January, the time on their visas running out, we were working on settling back into our normal ministry/work/life routine when once again things got shook up. On the 19th of January Rebecca had some serious contractions, tightening of the womb and cervical pain. We called our consulting doctor and our midwife and the suggested we needed medical help. We rushed Rebecca to the regional hospital in Boguchany, where they put her on an 8 hour IV and then flew her to the Prenatal Center in Krasnoyarsk. I got the girls around and had one of the brothers drive us down to the city to be near Rebecca. They put her on magnesium and some calming agent for her womb. She spent another 8 days in the Prenatal Center. Thankfully everything calmed down, the doctors sent us home with a firm recommendation of lots of rest. We began to think that this pregnancy had been kind of rough, so we decided to move Rebecca and the girls to the city to wait for the baby in close proximity to good medical care if the need arose. My mom, June, wanted to come and be near us and help, so she arrived in Krasnoyarsk on the 2nd of February. Rebecca, my mom and the girls will be staying in Krasnoyarsk until after the baby comes.

I spent a lot of time in December, and then Again in February going interviews, appearing on numerous TV and radio shows. I traveled to Moscow in the first week of February for a three day series of interviews, appearances, speeches, etc. Again, I do not exactly know what the reason for my recently found fame, but I see it as an open door that God has allowed me to enter into. I try to speak about the Lord and the message of the Gospel whenever I have the chance, to say things to prick interest and then on my YouTube channel I develop the ideas for people who are searching. Right now we have just over 24,000 subscribers on our youtube channel and I am trying to use that as a tool for spreading the ideas of the Kingdom. Thank you all for your long term commitment to our work. The reason we were "discovered" was because we were here to be discovered in the first place and your faithful prayers and support is what made that possible. Thousands of Russians are hearing a message they might not have otherwise heard, in the villages and now in the inter webs, thanks to you. Praise the Lord!

Invitations for teaching engagements have been piling up as well. In Late January I went and did two days of consulting work for two different farm projects, a Baptist based farm and a Pentecostal based church farm as well. The idea of using farming as a tool for village ministry is catching on. Praise the Lord. I also Did a three day conference at the end of January teaching on the topic of family. I have a series of 25 lessons on family, but in these small conferences I usually do about 8 to 10 hours of teaching. It is always a blessing to see people inspired to turn again to their own homes, to relay the ruined foundations and re-establish that "me and my house will serve the Lord." I have a large conference in March, as well as teaching opportunities in the Bible Colledge in Kansk, where I will speak on the topic of family and also village ministry. God continues to open many doors, and I believe here doors are not only doors for me to minister but also doors through which God will bring new partners into our ministry.

Like Volodya Y. Volodya saw the 17 second viral video of me laughing about the sanctions and got interested in this strange laughing American. He dug deeper and found that I was a pastor and a village missionary. He contacted me and asked if he could join our work. Now He has been with us for almost three months. We are studying the Bible together, he is learning the ups (has seen several births of goat kids) and downs (the other day one of our does failed to deliver and died) of farming and of the village life and ministry in general. Volodya wants to learn everything he can in the next year or two and then start a similar village ministry. Pray that God would continue to give Volodya a teachable spirit and encourage him through the ups and downs of the learning curve.

That brings us, more or less, up to date! As I said in the beginning of the letter, it has been an eventful time, several scares, lots of joy, many opportunities to progress the Kingdom. Keep us in your prayers, keep Rebecca and the new baby in your prayers, pray for the orphanage project and for Jordan and Janahlee, pray that God would give me grace and courage to use the open doors to proclaim his truth boldly, either in the village or on national TV. Thank you for your part in this ministry!!

Justus, Rebecca, Tirzah, Adara, (+1)!

01 New Car02 Volodya Y and I03 Going to get a tree04 Doing lessons withthe girls05 setting up for an interview05a doing a radio interview in Kras06 advent with the girls07 Christmas Tirzah08 Christmas morn09 Stockings10 christmas breakfast11 Jordan and me12 walker family christmas photo13 walker family christmas photo color14 Tirzah christmas photo15 Adara christmas photo16 the girls on christmas17 Rebecca and I18 Jordan and Janahlee19 Outreach in OM20 church in OM21 doing farm consultation