Friday, December 13, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2013


Greetings from (HOT) Florida!
       Well maybe it’s not really ‘hot’ but it certainly feels like summer to us! Siberian temperatures are in the -30’s right now! J January will be even colder -40’s!

      On a more serious note; we have been silent for many months and for that we apologize. This past year has been a difficult ‘season’ for our family. We were originally going to return to Russia in May, which we did, but for only a few weeks. Our last trip to Russia was in Oct/Nov, again for only a few weeks. We’ve been able to work through the issue with the help of family and friends and receiving God’s peace. Many thanks for the prayers and support – we are truly blessed!


Kevin on our trip in November
We did not see that cold of weather for November, the temperature only got to about -10 degrees F.  The temperature today Dec. 12th  is -30 F...but it will get cooler...we missed the really cold weather this time.


Laura on our trip in November, this was a new coat that her
mom got for her, it kept her VERY warm and she looked great in it!

Sveta helping Laura prepare for the ladies study
 Please continue to lift Sveta up, she is working with the youth from our fellowship and is depending on  Him for her strength.  Quote from Sveta, "I never thought it would be so difficult to work with teenagers".  It is difficult but very rewarding.
Some of the ladies that were are one of the studies Laura did in the village
Laura and Sveta at sunrise...ok so it was 9:30am...
The village we live in  is pretty far north. 




Sweet sixteen….the youngest daughter of the pastor from the church turned 16 in November.  She has been with our youth group for four years and in the past year has been a vital part in playing the piano for Sunday services. She has only one more year of school in the village, and then she will move to the city to continue her education. Our prayers are that she be a witness of the love of Christ to young girls at school and continue to be a light when she begins to attend university. 
Budtid's 16th Birthday celebration, we had a wonderful
time with them, we made homemade pozi...a traditional
Buryat dish.
Pozi a Buryat traditional dish ready to steam.


A new arrival…. In August of 2012, Kevin had the privilege of performing the wedding ceremony for a dear friend of ours. In November of this year, a son was welcomed into their family. It’s a tradition/suspicion in our part of Russia that the newborn can’t be seen or held by anyone other than grandparents for 40 days after their born.  We’re certain there may once have been a good reason, although we’ve yet to find someone that actually knows. J We were blessed to hold and spend a couple of days with the family and their new arrival; it was an honor to be a part of those first days at home. Another generation will now be raised to love the Lord and serve others with love!
Good friends Oyuna and Sasha with their son Mark (1 week old)....he is so cute!
Please remember this family, Oyuna has struggled with her health in the past.


In closing we want to share with you a huge answer to prayer. Our youngest son was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan in 2011 when he was injured during pre-deployment exercises. For reasons we still don’t quite understand; he was eventually released from the Army in 2012 and came back to Florida to what he believed would be therapy or surgery to repair his damaged knee. On December 6th of this year, he was finally able to get surgery at the Veterans Hospital in Bay Pines, Florida (St. Petersburg) to repair his knee and will have his back checked as well to see what damage has been done due to walking incorrectly for almost 3 years. The answer to prayer is that the VA stepped in and quickly did their job. We have met so many other soldiers who have waited for several years just to be seen by a doctor or receive approval to get into the VA system.  We stand on His promises and know His ways are not our ways, and his timing is not our timing.  
Corey 2 days after his surgery...


May you remember the 'reason for the season' and may your Christmas be filled with love, peace, and most importantly, Christ Jesus!
             Merry Christmas
             Kevin & Laura



You will find, if you think for a moment, that the people who influence you are the people who believe in you.         Henry Drummond
   

Friday, June 7, 2013

May/June 2013 Easter in Siberia


Don't let the title of this post confuse you or think we're totally confused...some of you know that in Russia and a few other countries, a different calendar is used for holidays - especially religious ones. For example, in Russia we celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January although many churches across the country are also recognizing the 25th of December. There is also a different date for Easter; although the dates are usually a week apart, this year was an entire month. This difference gave us the opportunity to celebrate here in the US and in Russia! What a joy to share in the celebration of our risen Lord in two countries and two cultures! 
 The pastor gave a powerful message what the cross should truly mean in our lives and afterwards three people came forward wanting to know more about how to change their lives for an eternity!
Easter celebration with worship...
....and the Word!
We traveled through Korea this time and wanted to share this photo of the largest plane we've ever been on and I (Laura) believe the largest passenger plan made to date! It was WONDERFUL...one day we're going to get that first class seat/bed for these 13 hour flights! 
A380 Airbus....two complete levels...tail is 10 stories high!!!
In the US we celebrate Memorial Day each year at the end of May. In Russia they celebrate a similar day known as Victory Day to remember those lost during WWII on the 9th of May. To this day, in every city and village you will find a memorial in the center of town dedicated to those who lost their lives during that war. We've seen numbers as high as 27 million casualties of the war over the course of four + years. The cost was high in many ways and the nation takes this day to remember in songs and music from that era.
Buryat girl waiting to dance with her class.
Kevin and our little friend bring some ice cream!

WWII Memorial in the center of our village.

Banner declaring May 9th as Victory Day

Shutters and window 'decoration' found on most
village homes across the country. 
In the mid 1800's, Csar Alexander of Russia gave two families from England permission to travel to Siberia. Their goal was to reach Buryatia and translate the Bible into the Buryat language as well as teach in the local schools. They were successful on  both counts and because of the translation work several Buryats became believers in the Lord Jesus. One was named Shagdar and the gentleman seated in the picture below wearing his WWII medals in the great-great grandson of Shagdar. On the 9th of May we, along with our Pastor and fellow worker who has done a great of research on this family, visited this gentleman and his family. We had only intended to stop in and wish Morjeet Dojar well and gives thanks for his long life and service to his country. (He's 92) What we didn't know was that his family, which numbers over 70 relatives, also takes this day to celebrate as a family. We were given the honor of sitting at his table, where his oldest sons should have been, and shared a meal and stories of his life in Russia. Most of the family was there this year so it was exciting to meet so many people from one family! The family knew most of the story about their great great great grandfather, however, our hope is to spend some quality time with them and explain the true significance that early translation of the Bible means for their 'people'!
Morjeet Dojar with his 10 children.
Morjeet Dorjar with most of the grand and great grandchildren.
Morjeet Dorjar's family



Springtime always brings an abundance of opportunities. We're always looking ahead at the coming winter and know that wood, and lots of it, will be needed to keep the buildings and homes warm through those minus temperatures! This stack of small pine trees was delivered so Kevin and I plus a few of the ladies from the fellowship got to work and well...take a look...
Wood is delivered...about seven cords total. 

Kevin cutting the trees into smaller  log pieces ....

so they can be stacked....


.....and dried before winter sets in. They'll be cut as needed into
smaller pieces before thrown into the stoves.
Old pieces of fence getting stacked before being cut
into much smaller pieces.
We decided to sell our car this year after realizing that it just is NOT made for the 'roads' we have in and around the village as well as the main road we take to the city each month. It's great for in the city and was great on Japanese roads...but just isn't logical for our needs. Soooooo..we had a buyer and knew it needed a few small things done before it was sold. At least we thought it was only a small thing needed. A very long story-short; we had the repairs done and the buyer gave us permission to take the car back to the village to use until we left the county. Sounded great to us....about 20 miles outside the city we felt a huge pull, a BANG, as our bumper hit the road and miraculously Kevin was able to get the car off the road just a little! It seems the guy who worked on the car forgot to tighten a bolt that was VERY important and basically our tire tried to go right without the car...well, that's my(Laura's) explanation. The pictures show the story...



After a three hour wait on the road, a tow truck driver that came with NO tools, stopping at least six cars to see if they had what we needed, oh and did we mention while we were waiting it was so windy we thought the car was going to roll over???!!!  Eventually, we actually drove the car back to the city and the shop did all the repairs and paid for our tow truck...no charge! Our buyer took the car and we are grateful no one was hurt and all ended well!

THANK YOU for the abundant prayers you continually lift up for us and the folks we live and work with in Russia! We are privileged and blessed to be a part of this work. We also want to give thanks for the generous gifts that were made for a chainsaw (Kevin was using in the above picture), a TV for the children's program and several huge donations for windows! What a blessing and a picture of how the body of Christ works around the world!!
                  Blessings from Siberia,
                     Kevin & Laura

Friday, May 17, 2013

April/May 2013
Report of Kevin & Laura falling off face of the earth untrue! 


   Well folks...we're here to stop the rumors....we are alive and well and actually getting ready to make the long journey back to Siberia. We don't have a plethora (like the attempt to impress with new vocabulary?) of pictures or information, however, we do have something from Siberia and a HUGE apology for not keeping you up to date these past months! After reading the last blog update...YIKES... you folks have been more than patient!
Update on the 'boys'... 
    Corey's knee is still injured as we wait for the VA system to accept his claim so we can begin medical attention. He has gone for acupuncture and non-narcotic drugs to help with the swelling and pain and found it to work quite well. We continue to ask for prayer.
    Joshua has been doubly blessed over the past months with work. Working for a show on discovery studios, he has been promoted to working on site and is now living in Alaska for a month at a time and then back to California for a couple of weeks. He loves his job and can't believe he's getting paid to work in Alaska where it's sooooo beautiful!!
One of many eagles outside Joshua's apt.!

Siberian News..... 
   In March, five men from the fellowship in our village attended the annual men's conference on Lake Baikal. Those who attended were greatly encouraged and enjoyed the fellowship and new relationships that were made. We're told that this year the snow was deeper than anyone could remember making it difficult to cut through the ice to get their water.




The cross on camp property!

Men praising with one voice!!!!

Gotta Love April on Lake Baikal


Men from our village at a Conference on Lake Baikal
The folks from Joyful News Church (Village Church) send a small group of folks to the next village twice a month to encourage, teach, and break bread together with a much smaller fellowship of three people. It has been a huge blessing for ALL involved and although it takes quite a lot of money, they will continue to make the 45 minute drive for as long as possible!


Doing a skit at the fellowship in the next village


The youth group has grown in numbers, however, we still only have girls :) They have been going through several lessons on purity and continue to read and share the Word each week. They've also been busy baking, we're hoping they're share some of those 'goodies' while we're there!
  Because it's been so long since this was updated and there is much more to share...we're going to post this now and get all of the newer pictures together and have another post soon! Thanks for your patience...it is much appreciated!!
Thank you for all the emails and notes of encouragement we have received.  Please continue to lift up the work in the village, We are pleased to say that we have seen some great growth in many folks.

Blessings;

 Kevin and Laura



"If you are not as close to God as you used to be, who moved?" — Author Unknown 









Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012


Finally an update from us, sorry for the long delay in getting information out.  We have been traveling over the past month or so and fighting the worst jet lag we've ever experienced.


On the way to the states this time our flight took us through Korea. If you have never been it is worth a trip.  We only had 23 hours but were able to see Seoul and dream about another trip there...
Lunch Korean style!!!!!  SOOOOOO GOOD
Christmas market on the street...
Museum in Seoul...

Having lunch in Seoul from a street vendor....


Kevin at a large train station in Seoul

 We landed in California in November in time to spend Thanksgiving with our oldest son Joshua and family up in Ventura County. I (Laura) will apologize here because after our Thanksgiving feast with family....we realized there were NO pictures ...YIKES....just use your imaginations! :)



We finally found the "Hollywood" sign


Laura has been to PA and back since our arrival in Florida. She was able to be there for her Dad's 80th birthday! Kevin and our youngest son Corey have been super busy with veterans stuff for Corey's knee. There is so much to share and at the moment little time to share this well. We ask for your patience and promise to catch up in the next few days. We wanted to post this short video from Linus...this explains the true meaning of Christmas....click on this and turn up your sound...We pray you will have a VERY Merry Christmas and enjoy the Holidays!!!
   Blessings,  Kevin & Laura




Saturday, October 20, 2012

SNOW IN OCTOBER??!!!!

Yes...you've read that correctly!!  It was just a little over a week ago we had this:
Beautiful warm fall weather and leaves that had changed into these wonderful colors! THEN last Thursday, (the 11th) we woke up to this:















Of course we shouldn't be so surprised - we DO live in Siberia! It snowed most of the weekend and has been a driving nightmare with the road to the city closed for 4+days.  The folks here are actually hoping for warm weather just one more time! Not sure if that's going to happen this year. Well enough weather news - let's get to the 'real' stuff!
Harvest Sunday - some of the harvest.
    “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe…”  Hebrews 12:28  For the past three years, we have taken the first Sunday of October and celebrated the harvest from our gardens and the fields. Unlike most places in the US, the folks here actually grow a majority of their food for the winter months. They cut hay for their livestock and bring in multiple loads of wood to be cut and stacked for their wood burning stoves. The word ‘harvest’ has quite a special meaning for these people. On Oct. 7th, we once again celebrated with fellowship, a message from the Word, a fantastic meal, and prizes! (It was decided that a prize should be given for the biggest vegetable grown and for creativity using food items.
These ladies won prizes for creativity!
Home made bread with harvest design.
Sandwiches made into flowers & animals.























Bouquet of flowers from dough. 














Prizes for largest vegetables!!

      Kevin was given the honor of sharing from the Word; it was a simple message of two kinds of harvest. No one could have imagined how the Father would work in that service!
When you received our last update for the blog you may remember we've been a bit discouraged lately. Along with our fellow workers, we've been lifting this area and the work in prayer knowing the enemy is not willing to give up his stronghold on this region. With people leaving instead of more coming to our little fellowship we were feeling defeated. However, our Father’s timing is always perfect and He chose Harvest Sunday to remind us of that fact. After the message, Kevin asked if anyone wanted to make a decision that would change their lives or was there anyone needing to rededicate their lives. The answer was amazing! Several came forward asking for prayer so they would be bolder in sharing their faith. Then two older ladies came forward and asked to pray  for forgiveness and to receive the free gift of salvation!!! We give thanks for answered prayers, “since we (they) are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken.” Now the real work begins as we study His word together!
Some of the folks that attended Harvest Sunday service.
    "...and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe..."  There is still much to be done here. In a ‘village’ of 8,000, our small fellowship averages 30 people plus children. However, we see His hand in many lives and are in awe at how He continues to use 'us' in the middle of Siberia! Please continue to remember the folks here and this region in general. We also ask that you remember Tanya and her daughter 'Jean' as they wait in Moscow for Jean to have surgery on her jaw bones. The surgery was set for the 15th of Oct. but on arrival they were told because of a shortage of anesthesiologists, they may have to wait up to a month or more. They have very little money and are fortunate that Jean has a bed at the hospital while they wait. (Her mom, Tanya, shares the bed with her - no Ronald McDonald Houses here.) Lastly, we ask you remember us as we make preparations for some time in the States. We'll arrive in LA before Thanksgiving and be in the US until the end of April 2013. We'll write more about that later.....
    THANK YOU to all who keep us encouraged and up-to-date on what's happening in your lives! Helps us to keep you in prayer as well. 
    Blessed to be serving together!
              Kevin & Laura