Monday, August 25, 2014

The End of Summer - August

WHEW...Where did the last month go??? It's just not possible that this is the end of August already! That means only one thing's time to bring in hay for the animals and buy wood to heat homes for the winter, AND just beginning to harvest some of the vegetables everyone has worked so hard to grow during our short summer months! This past month was also filled with unexpected guests; five different times to be exact, however, several of these visits turned into huge blessings for the community. During this past month, the fellowship also received an awesome gift that we pray will be used wisely in the coming years. Lastly, this past month saw our fellowship grow in numbers. There are LOTS of pictures this month, so find a comfortable seat, relax and enjoy...

                               This was the 9th of July in our small greenhouse....

This was the beginning of August...tomatoes on the left,
peppers on the right, and cucumbers in the back!
Potatoes...hopefully another month before harvest!

The rest of our garden.
As we mentioned above, there were some unexpected guests over the last month. Apparently, there was a huge push to send groups from S. Korean churches this summer to areas around the world. Our area was on their list and to our surprise, groups would just show up at our door looking for a place to rest before heading out into surrounding villages. However, there were two larger groups that stayed for several days and blessed the community with some great programs. One such group was 16 ladies that wanted to give free haircuts, manicures, massages, and mini- portraits to anyone they met on the street. There was a good turnout and folks stayed around to just talk and hear the Good News from some very enthusiastic ladies! (Did we mention they didn't have a translator, spoke very little Russian and no English? They had things written down and used a lot of pointing and 'sign language'.)
Facials with masks and massages  :)

Manicures and hearing the Good News

The ladies sang "Jesus Loves Me" in Korean and Russian.
The next large group, 17 students, showed up with a tremendous children's program. Unfortunately for them, we didn't know they were coming until a few hours before their arrival - we could have advertised in the local paper and done some great advance preparations...however, this group was amazing and went door to door with balloons and lots of enthusiasm. An hour later, there were over 30 kids ready to hear songs, skits, play games and do crafts for the next two days! What a blessing for these kids, our neighborhood, and our fellowship as well - they saw firsthand how to meet and work with local children.  We hope this will open doors to meet the parents as well!

Children's program on the final day.
One of many puppet presentations...

Games where everyone could get at least one prize!

New songs with lots of motions to make it interesting!

Craft time...making crowns.

When we wrote our last update, we were in the process of purchasing a van specifically to be used for the fellowship. A gentleman in the US felt the need should be met and donated enough cash for us to purchase a used van from Korea. Even though it had been used here in Russia for quite a few years, it was well cared for and should give us many more miles and years of service. The person will remain nameless so many THANKS from the folks here!

Last but certainly not the least of our news...we added another member to our 'family' last week as we celebrated a time of fellowship and a baptism. The guys were very grateful for the warm weather as it was in the 80's that day; the 'creek'  on the other hand was NOT so warm. It's spring-fed and never gets above 50F. (Kevin said it felt a lot colder than that...not much more than 40F!!) The kids didn't seem to mind, they jumped in later that day and immediately jumped out!! They just had to get in one more swim before summer is over.

Very proud Mom and daughter.

Preparing lunch .....

Time of singing together...

Playing games ....egg toss (1st time for all the kids)

dunking for apples (they had never heard of this game)

One of our youth group kids goofing around with Kevin.
Thank you for taking the time to read our update and most of all THANK YOU for the continued sacrifice of prayers! We'll 'see' you next month with many more pictures and news from Siberia!
  Kevin & Laura

"Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?"   Corrie Ten Boom

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Celebration and Crisis in July

Yep...when we are able, we celebrate the 4th of July even in the middle of Siberia! This year we joined our fellow worker Doug and his family for an afternoon of food, hikes, and just some time to relax in the woods. We didn't have fireworks or sparklers this year, but it was fun just the same watching their kids play American football, having a pine cone war, and chasing their dogs away from the food on the grill!

"Shashlik" or kebobs on the grill!!! YUMMY

Team mate's kids and Kevin on the hike....

Doug with his kids in 'tower' they found.
My Siberian Cowboy  :)   
We (the Moms), let everyone enjoy a hike while we rested and caught up on more important things. (Actually, we were just too full to go anywhere at that point!)

The end of June, we were greeted one afternoon by a group of believers up from Mongolia. One of the gentlemen had been here before to visit his relatives. He has a huge burden to share the Truth with them and has made the long journey many times. He brought some friends this time and stopped by the church to say "hello" and have tea! (Mongolians drink tea with salt and's an acquired taste!) What a HUGE blessing to fellowship with 'family' from other cultures and countries!
Group from Mongolia.

Crisis hits our fellowship....A little over two weeks ago, one of our 'kids' was coming home from the river with his sister and some friends. When it's hot here, EVERYONE goes to the river to cool off! The road they take is well known to all from this area, so driving along this particular road is usually done with caution. This time was not one of those days. The driver had been drinking, it was four in the afternoon, and was returning home with friends. He didn't see Maxim (Maxeem) in time and hit his bike, not the boy, sending Maxim flying through the air and landing on his head. He was immediately taken to the hospital here in the village by another car that came upon the accident. After a couple of hours, the doctors here were wise enough to realize they needed someone with more experience to take a look at this boy. Within six hours after the accident, a team of doctors from the city were here deciding what would be best for Maxim. They felt he needed better care and equipment to aide in his recovery and after three days a plane was called to take Max to the city children's hospital! For most of us, this seems like 'no big deal'; for a village in Siberia, this was a HUGE deal! We are so grateful for the prayers that have been lifted for Maxim. We feel it is the reason they called for specialists and for the plane that was sent to take him to a better facility. He was in a comma for 12 days and is now awake, however, he is totally paralyzed at this point and unable to speak. There is still some swelling of the brain but he breathes on his own and recognizes voices. PLEASE continue to remember this little guy, he's only five, and pray for his family as well. (Our latest news from the doctors is that most of his brain is 'dead' and most likely there isn't much more to do....we are praying as to what we should do next, if anything more!)

Natasha and Maxim in May

Max's Grandmother and sister, Natasha, at the hospital...

Loading Maxim onto the plane from our village, first time
locals remember a plane being used for an

Taking off for Ulan Ude....
Through all of this with Maxim, we've seen growth in the fellowship. Of course, there are lots of questions as to 'why', however, we are learning what true faith looks like and how to"5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Prov. 3:5,6   Thank you to all who pray for us and remember the folks here as well!!  

We are so very blessed!!  
   Kevin & Laura

“Faith takes God without any ifs.” ~ D.L. Moody

Friday, June 20, 2014


YEA!  You might remember our last update showed SNOW in May; gratefully, we now have our wonderful sunny days and much warmer temperatures! (It's been in the 80's already...of course it fell back to the 60's and lower, however, we're back to a normal summer again.)
View from our window in June.
The first week of this month, we were re-united with fellow workers returning from their time of refreshing and 'recharging' stateside. They were also greeted by their older son and Grandma! (She turned 72!) We're glad to have everyone back and eager to work together once again!



ALWAYS fun when you have these combinations  and of course great friends!

Story time with beautiful flannel pictures....
During our last stay in the States, we were blessed with a huge flannel graph kit to teach stories during our time with the kids on Sundays. they LOVE to get involved in the stories. This past week, we learned how to be 'fishers of men', as found in Matthew 4, and how to follow HIM. After our story time, we played a game where the kids could 'fish' with a magnet and get 'fish' with special verses for each of them to read. The time went so quickly, we were surprised when the parents came back to see what WE were doing, not the other way around :)

Sorry so fuzzy..Laura took this one :) 

Сурхарбан - pronounced Surharban is a Buryat holiday that celebrates the end of winter and greets summer with food, dancing, and singing traditional songs. However the emphasis is with the contests in wrestling, archery and horseback races. These sports are extremely important to the Buryat people, so they take the competitions quite serious. We would wager to say these sports rank alongside soccer (football) in this region. Unfortunately for us, we were only able to see one of the three contests because of different locations....enjoy the pictures!

Singing Buryat traditional songs; our video did not capture the
beautiful sounds this year....

Buryat National Dances

Wrestling is a Buryat National Sport

This gentleman was honored for serving in WWII;
he is 90 years old!

The celebration began at 10 in the morning and lasted until around 11PM when it was dark enough for some fireworks! Great way to end a beautiful summer day. We had a full moon to add to the festivities as well....

Making bread....we have talked about doing this for years; why make bread when you can buy a fresh loaf every day for around 75 cents?! This past year, we've begun to change our diet and although going gluten free in Russia is all but impossible, we've heard that sour dough bread is on the OK list. Not wanting to totally give up one of our favorite food items, we decided to give it a try....WOW...Kevin has outdone himself this time. He is already a fantastic cook, now he can add baker to his resume!

Not to be outdone by her 'Uncle Kevin', our little 'munchkin' decided to help Laura make biscuits from scratch this week. Her mom just got a job and we're helping out for a few weeks. Not bad for a seven year old!.....they were delicious!!!  None left to take a picture of.....

With summer being so short for this part of the world, the next few months will go quickly with a lot being done in a short amount of time. We pray this year's harvest will be abundant - in food and in new lives that will follow Him.
    Blessings,  Kevin & Laura

"Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it."             Blaise Pascal

Friday, May 9, 2014

Gotta love Siberia...May 1st and what did we wake up to find?  You guessed it...snow.  Well we know that it will be getting warmer as the days go on.  In fact as I am writing this it is overcast and cool outside with a high today of 67 F, then the days will get colder once again.  The nights are still pretty cool, tonight will dip to about 36 F.
The good thing was it melted pretty quickly...
Presenting a cross to Valeri in the village.  The crosses are made by the men's group from FUMC Englewood.  We were given this and have passed it on to the work here.  

The fellowship decided to hang it in the children's room...what a great place.  Thank you so much for this new addition...
The Kids were happy to see Kevin......they are all getting so big!

New addition to the park in the center of town...
Great Gazebo with benches, in the background is a new playground...
VICTORY DAY......May 9th 2014
Balloon with the Republics name.....there were lots of these...

Porridge cooked every year to remind everyone of what the soldiers ate during WWII
Notice the picture she is holding, it is of someone who served in WW II,
these were used all over Russia this year...

Natasha and Maxim get bowls....
Laura and Sveta with a bowl as well...
Students from the 2 High Schools and the local technical schools ROTC program had a part in the celebration 
Many balloons were released to honor the fallen from the war...

We always get asked to show something from our here goes, this is our local water tower.  We are very grateful to have it!!!!!!

Thank you for following us as we continue working in the village....we will be more diligent with updates in the coming months....

In almost everything that touches our everyday life on earth, God is pleased when we're pleased. He wills that we be as free as birds to soar and sing our maker's praise without anxiety. A.W. Tozer