Tuesday, December 22, 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS

FAMILY ANNOUNCEMENT......
We are beyond pleased to announce and introduce our first grandchild, Winona Mary Wooster! She was born on November 19th at 5:50pm, weighing 7 pounds 5 ounces and was 19 inches long with a full head of hair! Of course we think she’s the most beautiful baby ever born J.  We are grateful we were able to be here and hold our  'zaichka' or ‘little rabbit’, (Russian nickname) just a little over an hour after she arrived. What an honor to be a part of this miracle!

Proud parents....Corey and Brittany

Very proud grandparents!!
How she had grown in three weeks!
If that wasn’t enough of a blessing; we were able to spend Thanksgiving with our sons and the ‘ladies’ in their lives. Our eldest son, Joshua flew in from California, picked up his girlfriend who is attending medical school in Miami, and spent three days with us in Sarasota. Of course, our youngest son, Corey and his new family also shared the holidays with us – this was the first time in almost five years we were all together for Thanksgiving! God is so good!         
Winona's first Thanksgiving! (New Wooster family too)


Would you believe the red shirts weren't planned??!!

Looking at baby pictures with grandma.

Thanksgiving in Florida!! 
Back in Siberia.....
Just because we are on this side of the planet, it doesn't mean that the work on the other side of the world stops. Keeping warm in Siberia can be challenging at best. The WOW (formerly Windows of Warmth, now expanded to include Wood of warmth, as well as helping out with Food on as needed basis) project continues as wood is being delivered weekly to widows, single mothers, or the elderly with no family members close to home. We wish to thank ALL of those who continue to support this project financially. We were able to only install a few windows this last year as the local social service office felt the greater need was for wood, not windows. We totally agreed as we quickly realized the price for wood has gone up significantly for those on very small pensions. In November we were able to deliver nine loads of wood and will continue throughout the winter months to deliver, cut and stack wood for those in dire need. Please remember this project allows us to meet people, share where the funds come from and why Christians from the US are helping folks in a village in Siberia – showing HIS love is an awesome witness! In fact we were able to present a Bible to an 84 year old Widow who had never owned one.

The village fellowship has seen growth over the last year in our children’s program. More often than not, we have as many as 25 kids, ages three to thirteen. We have run out of room and made the decision this past summer to take a garage on the church property and turn it into a kid’s room/ nursery. The exciting news is that this year potatoes were grown specifically for meeting needs at the church. The Fellowship was able to sell enough bags of potatoes to buy a wood-burning stove -  which is a good thing since siberian temperatures began dropping quickly last month (-25c, -13F). We hope that we will receive pictures next month of a completed room – we know the kids are ready for their own space!

Windows and wood burning stove installed. Floor and walls completed.
Now all we need is paint and furniture...the kids are waiting!
As you are making preparations for Christmas, please take a few moments to remember the folks not often thought of. Those in need of the most basics: food, shelter and above all His love.  What a wonderful time of year to bless those that come into your path in a tangible way; having the opportunities of introducing them to the only One who can meet their needs now and forever more.
Wishing each of you a very  Blessed and Merry Christmas!
      Kevin & Laura

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6





Tuesday, September 29, 2015

SEPTEMBER - Part 2

Siberian Summer in September is officially over! Yep, two weeks later and we are into the Fall weather. Leaves are rapidly changing as are the temperatures. Our days are now in the high 50's and the nights are getting close to those freezing temperatures...brrrrrrrr.... BUT, it has been sunny so we Siberians are still running around in our jackets, not coat, and wearing hats and scarves. Putting on the 'coat' means the warm weather is GONE...we wait until the last possible moment to give into those changes. Hey, at least there's no snow yet!!!
As promised, here's "the rest of the story" for September. 

Actually, we are going to take you back to August when an incredible team of young adults from Korea used their vacation time to spend two weeks in our area. A very long story - short, a group from the same church in Korea came out to do a kid's camp last year. It was a HUGE success so we decided this year, if they were interested, we should do two camps. They immediately said yes and decided to have two age groups meaning two camps this year. (Ages 6-11 and 12 - 15)  We will admit that when they told us the camps were only two days long each, we were a bit disappointed. However, they assured us that it would still be 'packed' with games, Bible stories, songs, crafts and food! We have done a lot of camps over the years, so we know the amount of preparation needed to get ready for such an event. We were in awe of the amount and quality of items for crafts and food - yes food - they brought from Korea!! There must have been six or more large suitcases jammed with absolutely everything they would need for their stay in our village!
Leaving Seoul for Siberia.

The team spent a few days blessing a group of young adults in the city
before heading out to the village.

We have an amazing video Kevin put together of the four days in five minutes. The song is in Russian but we're certain you will recognize the melody. Please hit on the following link to enjoy the video...Horinsk Camp 2015

We mentioned they brought everything they would need for their time in the village, including food....we only have one picture of just a very small portion but we admit the food was AWESOME! 

Preparing rice shaped into hearts...

Preparing a meat with rice noodles...YUMMY!


















Kimche, (spicy cabbage), rice, seaweed, an amazing meat dish….with chopsticks no less!  The kids were mesmerized with all the decorations, games, songs, and stories that were shared. Why so much food? The team wanted some kids from a small village in Siberia to experience the food of another country.  To our surprise, the kids LOVED it! More importantly, the kids were deeply touched by the sincere love this group brought as they truly showed Jesus through their lives. Of course everyone is eager to have them back next year, but until then, we are praying for folks in our fellowship to get excited about running a program to meet with these kids each week. 

August was also a time to celebrate new folks coming into the fellowship. 
This year three people made decisions to follow the command we see in scripture of baptism. We have seen that for our folks to make a public stand and be baptized is not an easy decision.  However, each shared incredible testimonies of how their lives have already changed and how important their newfound family has been for encouragement and for teaching/training in His Word.
Listening to testimonies of changed lives!




Watching momma get baptized with his aunt
and close friend of the family.
A beautiful day by the river with friends and family, celebrating new beginnings with Him in the center of their lives. Thank you to ALL who continually lift this area in prayer....we are seeing answers!

Our prayer is that you have been blessed, even if only in a small way, from the pictures and video. We are beyond grateful for the continued emails of encouragement and more importantly the faithfulness in prayers and support. 
      Kevin & Laura




 "Every truth in this world stretched beyond its limits will become a false doctrine." ~ K.P. Yohannan


Monday, September 7, 2015

SEPTEMBER 2015

Siberian Summer in September...say that three times! For us, it's the little things that bring a smile to our faces. Warm weather into the month of September....definitely brings a smile! Usually, we're seeing temperatures in the low 40's or mid 30's at night...still in the 50's with high 70's during the day!!! We'll admit though we're not getting too excited - this IS Siberia and tomorrow could bring frost and within days the leaves can change and be gone! :)   

Celebrating 30 years... for the most part, June was a quiet month this year. We made several trips to the city for Laura. A new doctor required new blood work and tests. So far, we are pleased with the direction this doctor is taking with medications and Laura's overall health. BUT, we began this section by announcing a 'celebration'....we ended June with our 30th Wedding Anniversary by hanging out in the city and eating ourselves into a coma! 
                                                June 1985


30 years later

Eating a favorite dish from Armenia!!!

 Back in the day, this was the first 'nice' restaurant in the city. Owned by Armenians, the food is and always has been amazing! We hadn't been there in years; they still recognized us when we walked in...guess there aren't that many Americans living in Siberia :) 

Wedding bells were ringing.... we were blessed to be invited to another wedding in the city this year. We met the bride in 1998 during our first winter 'camp' at a local school. The groom is one of the pastors from the church we worked with in the early years. It was a beautiful day and a blessing to witness the marriage of another couple whom love and serve the Lord. Of course, such occasions bring folks together that haven't seen one another in a while. We were pleasantly surprised to see 'kids' from our youth group from back in the 90's with their families. A new generation begins!!





Kevin always manages to find a baby to hold!!
July and August quickly became quite busy...although we didn't have any major projects due to lack of 'workers'; we were kept busy helping folks with the everyday tasks that must be done during summer. Pulling weeds in the garden, chopping wood for the coming winter, taking cows out to better pastures...just everyday 'stuff' that allows us to spend time with folks and build relationships. We love these opportunities because it often reminds us how difficult life truly is when you live in a village. So much depends on the garden and the care of the animals as they provide food throughout the winter months. We can't begin to count the times we've been able to have very open talks about creation and The Creator of all things. We are always grateful for these opportunities! We also ask that you please remember the folks across this vast country as we are hearing of price increases for food and gasoline once again. [Correction...we did have a small project through the local social service's office. We were able to have eleven loads of wood delivered then cut for older folks and single mothers. A huge blessing for all involved!]
Laura helping a friend's garden...weeds were taking over
the potato patch.

These 'barns' are built farther away from our village;
the grass is usually better and plentiful so folks hire a
shepherd to watch their cattle and horses during the summer.

Father and son cutting wood for the winter.

Should be enough to get the church through the winter months!

In the past, we would have continued with more pictures and asked that you sit back and relax while we share a large amount of information. After looking at what remains to be shared, we're going to give you a short break and return with more in a week. August was exciting and an extremely busy month. So please join us again on this site in a week for the continuing adventures on our incredible journey. We pray you have been blessed, even if only in some small way. THANK YOU for the faithful support and prayers...until next time...
  Kevin & Laura

A sneak peak of things to come...hint...it will involve kids and friends from Korea!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

SUMMER 2015

Gotta LOVE Siberia :)  This is what we woke up to on May 7th....
Awwwwww, yes ....a foot of snow. it was there for a day, then we were back to cool nights and warm days. Actually, this was more snow than we had all winter and made fantastic snowballs!!   June 1st,  this is our view.....

Obviously, we are very grateful that 'summer' is here and we are now able to plant the garden! (less a green house, but plant we will!)
We are going to bombard you with a ton of pictures again this month! We celebrated Victory Day, a wedding, and a church picnic since our last update. Grab your coffee and relax.......

Victory Day 2015…. With the exception of News Year’s Day, this is ‘the’ most celebrated and revered holiday in Russia! This date marks the allied victory of the Second World War at the Eastern Front. This year marked the 70-year anniversary and the Motherland went above and beyond in their celebrations across this vast country! The parade in Moscow alone was reminiscent of Soviet day parades with 16,000 troops, 200 pieces of military hardware, and143 aircraft. There were 10 groups, which consisted of 700 military personnel from 10 other nations, including China and India. Our village had the largest turnout of people and groups marching in a parade in the eight years we’ve lived here! We’re convinced that over half the village was present for the day’s celebrations. It’s something they could relate to and brought them together, if just for a day. It’s our prayer that we continue to have opportunities to share the One and only ‘thing’ that will keep families and lives together – a living Savior! Please remember us often as we reach out to new families over the summer months; whether through projects or ‘chance’ meetings.


"For the Motherland!"


"Celebrating Day of Victory. (9th of May)"


























Holding posters with pictures of family members that died in WWII.
Wedding bells were ringing....for a couple that met a few years ago and were reunited this past year. They will be moving to another area and we send them with love and the possibility to serve in their new 'hometown'. We had a large group attend from our fellowship and for all of them, this was their first time at a 'church' wedding...no alcohol and blessings from a pastor. It was a beautiful picture of what the 'church' should look like to those around us.

The end of the May was so beautiful and had been two birthdays the folks wanted to celebrate; so off to the woods we drove..three car loads with food, tables, and all the 'stuff' you need. It was a great time of fellowship, song, and some teaching from His Word. The kids had more than enough space to run and place frisbee and climb trees. (Some of us chose resting 'under' the trees and soaking up that wonderful sunshine!) We feel truly blessed to have such a group of folks that love to come together and just 'hang out' at times. There's talk of doing this again VERY soon - we are definitely ready!!!

Making 9kg of  "shashleek" or 20 lbs of  sish-ka-bob...sorry Sergei, we cut off your head!

Difficult to see, but the gal on the log is making beautiful flower wreaths for
the girls...this young lady is waiting for hers.

Pastor Valeri turned 55 and Natasha 13...great day for birthday celebrations!
It's been a busy month and the summer months are just getting started. Gardens are being dug and planted, people around town are building garages, homes, barns.....making repairs. Mostly, preparing for the coming winter! We love this time of year, not only because of the weather; we love this time of year because it opens huge opportunities to meet new people. We're always amazed when we meet someone that didn't know we lived here, even after five years! This always allows for great conversation as to why we are here and to invite them to a study group or to the fellowship on Sundays. Please remember the people of this large nation. Many changes are causing price increases in food costs; some have lost their jobs or had their salaries cut but not their hours. Although they are used to living in a crisis; this may be the most difficult time yet.
Until next time....be blessed and THANK YOU for sharing a few minutes of your time in Siberia!
  Kevin & Laura