Sunday, December 19, 2010

Joshua's Graduation from Biola University

       Congratulations Joshua!!!!!

Proud Parents 

Family and Friends to share the moment!!

What a blessing to be able to share the evening with Joshua. We'll be heading to Florida on Tues. the 21st; Joshua and Corey will be with us over the holidays until the 3rd of Jan. Anyone that wishes to write Joshua a note of encouragement his address is 15270 Riviera Lane, La Mirada, CA  90638. We will post more when we're together. Thank you to all for your continued prayers as we travel this week. 

Merry Christmas
   Kevin, Laura, Joshua and Corey

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Late post on Thanksgiving

Holiday Greetings!
We realized this year as we sat down to eat our thanksgiving dinner, this was the first year it has just been us (Kevin and Laura).  We discussed buying a locally raised turkey but decided against that for a couple of reasons: the first is that a locally raised turkey costs about $40.00 for a 8-10 LB bird...OUCH the second we would be in the states soon and could get a HUGE bird for about $10.00.  So we went out and got a "small" chicken at the store...(see pic)

Hey, I told you we bought a "small"  my hand is bigger but it was so tasty!!  Laura made some great cookies.  All in all we had a quite day.

Update on the barn
The barn has been completed and the cow and her calf will be brought in to the property in the next week or so.  There is room enough in the attic space to store hay out of the elements.
This should serve the needs of the fellowship for many years.

Wood Shed
We live in an area that has snow for 6+ months of the year, so this year we also added a woodshed to the property so we do not have to dig through the snow to get the firewood to heat the building.  
The woodshed is to the right of Laura.  It is really nice to have the wood stored out of the snow.  Hey it is not really that cold yet, we have only gotten down to -25 degrees.  The cold weather is coming. 

Keep coming back for regular updates!

Next update... project with School number 1 coming next week.....

Kevin and Laura 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November 2010

Greetings Dear Friends from Siberia!
      We are so thankful for each and every one of you…..we are blessed to have such wonderful family and friends! We realized however, that you had not heard from us over the last month and wanted to get an update out before the holidays take over everything in our already busy lives! J The leaves have changed and fallen from the trees. The temperatures have begun their descent for the winter months ahead and everyone is building up the woodpiles and finishing up outdoor projects. We have been truly blessed with warm weather so far but know it can change in an hour’s time!

    We will be heading back to the States in December for a six month ‘home assignment.’ We will be flying from the East this time and will have a short stop in CA before landing in FL on the 21st of Dec. Why California???  Joshua will be graduating from Biola and we were able to work out the timing so we could join in the celebration!  At this time, we have a few commitments already scheduled but we will personally be getting touch with many of you to set up times as we come to your ‘neck of the woods!’  PLEASE don’t forget the folks and the work here though! Plans are in full swing to have a wonderful celebration in the fellowship. Historically, New Years has been the BIGGEST holiday of all. This year the group has decided to have a larger celebration for Christmas than that of New Years.  What an amazing step to show their friends and family the importance of this Holiday of Holidays…the birth of the Messiah. We see more of an emphasis on the ‘reason for the season’ this year than in the past…remember them as they will use this opportunity to share with family and friends the true importance of Christmas.  They will also have a feast together and each family will prepare something like skits, songs, verses they’ve memorized, etc…  We’re blessed to have a great group of ladies who will make new banners to help decorate the hall and fill it with other decorations and of course pine branches for that wonderful aroma of the holiday.
Something for us that has been awesome to see is that when people really become committed to the local fellowship, they want to start giving tithes and offerings. Of course that isn’t always financial giving but here’s a perfect example of giving….  A few years back a local family donated a Heifer, and… well as things go… the cow gave birth every year.  This month we will be bringing the heifer and her calf to their new barn on the property.  The cow will be supplying the local fellowship with milk for our meetings…people love milk in tea here, as well as giving us the opportunity to sell the calf in the future. By selling the meat, we can help with the costs of all the different ‘works’ and running of the building for the fellowship.  The fellowship also has a pig and should have a litter of piglets in the spring. (Yes we are in a rural setting here as you can tell.)  All will be used to further the work we are involved in!

(Completed pictures of the 'barn' will be posted very soon!)

With victories, come defeats…we fight against an enemy that knows our weaknesses. He wants us to be defeated and live a hopeless life. We have written in the past of a young man that made a decision and has grown spiritually over the past months. “Sam” struggled with alcohol before and had been sober for a year. He recently celebrated his birthday and was swept up into drinking again for several days. We have begun counseling him and his wife and continue to ask for wisdom in speaking truth and love into their lives. We know the father’s will is for so much more! Jeremiah 29:11 says;  for I know the plans I have for you, declares the lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Remember this family often as they work to regain that hope.

The visa saga continues…for those of you who have followed us and our writings for any length of time; you are very aware of the amount of time, energy, and money it takes to continually have a current visa. This allows us to live and work in Russia. We’d like to go back and give a bit of our visa history…over the years we have had several types of visa’s to stay and work here; from worker for hire visas, guest visas, cultural exchange and some others in between.  In 2008 we had to travel out of country 3 times in order to obtain new visas.  On one of our trips back, we applied for what is called a temporary residence permit.  The process for granting such a permit normally takes about 6 months (180 days). The process for applications to get a permit takes a full week of running from one government office to another…and running from one blood test to another. (You’d be surprised at what they check for)  In August of 2008 we were granted a 3 year temporary residency permit…PTL.  We saw that as a direct answer to the many times this need was lifted up on our behalf.   Let’s jump ahead to 2010…The next step after the 3 year temporary permit is what is similar to a “Green Card”.  In June of this year we applied for the new status. Again we had to go through ALL the blood tests and such.  After finally completing the process, we turned in our papers and again the officials have 6 months (180 days) to review the entire application and give the applicant a yes or no.  The first week of November we went into the office to check on the status of our application. It was amazing they not only remembered us they also knew where we lived. They were very friendly and assured us that we they would complete our paperwork and issue us the permit the first part of December.  If we are issued this type of permission to live here, we no longer need visas to travel in and out of country and the length of the permission will be 5 years…continue to lift up this need for us! 

Several months ago, we wrote you on our own financial crisis. Again we see this as a distraction to the work here.  We continue to run in the negative with our organization and as we stated earlier, we’ll be heading back to the states for several months beginning in December.  One of our tasks will be to try and raise our support level.  We again have had to cut our monthly income to not fall further behind with our organization.  This is of concern to us because the amount of funds we have to put into the work is also affected. We are asking for continued prayer and wisdom as we totally trust the one who led us here and has sustained us over the past 14+ years!

Joshua…… is now graduating from BIOLA University in Los Angeles.  Hard to believe so much time has passed and that you all have been a part of our family for so long.  His graduation is set for December 17, 2010.  Biola is an awesome school and his experience there has been incredible.  Anyone that wishes to write him a note of encouragement his address is 15270 Riviera Lane, La Mirada, CA  90638.

Corey…is currently serving his country in the US Army and he’s stationed in Ft. Carson, CO.  I know he would appreciate your prayers and word of encouragement. Unfortunately, as of this writing, we don’t have his mailing address. He has been moved twice already and will move one more time before getting settled on base. We will be certain to get his address out as soon as we have one!

Giving Thanks in ALL things!
        Kevin & Laura

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Oct/Nov 2010...

                                                View of our village from a nearby mountain.

                                                        Outside our bedroom window.

Winter is here, not that we have a lot of snow...actually,we don't any right now... but we know it is coming. We have been extremely blessed this year with a very warm October! A couple of snow flurries here and there and some very windy and cold nights. For the most part...the nights are just below freezing and the days in the 30's and 40's! This month has flown by and we can't believe that November is only a few days away!

Flying in country can at times be...exciting at best....this last trip was one of those. ( We want to add here that not ALL in-country airlines are old, outdated, or poorly run. There are many that are up-to-date and quite nice.)
Earlier this month, we were able to fly over a 1000 miles north of here to the city of Yakutsk. The above picture isn't the plane we flew but the same type and the weather was like this when we landed in Yakutsk. We were supposed to fly in a jet, however, they only sold 20 tickets so the smaller (and much older) plane was the solution.
The reason for the flight was to take a trip to visit a wonderful family that has labored in this vast country for the better part of 2 decades.  It was  a good time of fellowship and encouragement for us and hopefully the family we visited.

Monday, September 20, 2010

September 2010

Fall has officially arrived...the leaves are changing so winter is just around the corner! We have been blessed with beautiful,warm weather and today a little rain :) Since it's raining, we thought we'd take advantage of some 'down time' to add some pictures and let you know what's happening with the Wooster's!
   First the home windows are in YEA! The workers are actually finishing up (we hope) installing our new windows! No more frozen windows and having to tape up, fill in cracks, and still watch a breeze get through at -40. We can now finish the rest of our remodeling (painting and papering) and relax when we get home. THANK YOU to those who sent extra support to help us out!! We are so humbled and grateful for your love and the funds when things are so financially difficult these days....thank you! 
Taking out the old....

New windows and balcony door....

    We were finally able to find a saw mill that would sell 'us' wood....usually they send it to we can finish the porch and some other smaller projects at the fellowship property. The guys have been busy buying cow hides to clean and dry for the making of saddles. For the moment, this process is done outside ( the smell is a bit strong) and the skins need to soak in water for several days. Of course this will be a bit difficult at below zero we're racing to get as many hides ready as possible before the freeze. Please continue to remember this work...there is a lot of interest from the community and the goal is to begin teaching this craft very soon to some new people. We'd love to give the ability to start a business in saddle making to some folks in this region since unemployment is around the 60% rate. We will also use our saddle shop/wood shop to teach young men/boys to make furniture. We have a man that teaches shop skills at the local school and the hope is that this year he can bring some of his students to our shop and begin working them more closely. Another chance to teach not only work skills but life skills as well. 
   Another window was put in this past week for a local woman...we'll let the pictures tell the story....

Thursday, August 26, 2010

August Update

Our class
Block of wood we start with
after many lines and lots of cuts we end up with this
a saddle tree all made from pine
Our saddle tree after we coated it with rawhide...
The saddle seat started...come back to see the final next blog
Giddy-up there cowboys!! There’s a saddle shop in the making in ….Siberia?!?? It’s true, the project to make saddles has begun and the learning process is going very well. We have two local men along with Kevin and our fellow worker Doug learning everything from making the ‘tree’, the wooden portion under the leather, cleaning and drying the cowhide needed, to cutting, fitting, and sewing the leather onto the tree. There is much more to this process and in the future I (Laura) will let Kevin get into the details…for now, check out the pictures……

Even more exciting than saddles …five new family members were added this month! It was a wonderful celebration with many friends and family members attending, over 50 people in all were there. There was one young man who made this decision and asks for prayer as he strives to be the leader of his home and the husband and father that our father would desire of him. Please keep these folks in your thoughts and prayers and they grow in their understanding and love for their Father!

Great day for the event

We’ve been able to get the steps and porch almost completed on the main building where the fellowship meets. We need to place the hand railings on the steps and some benches on the porch…we still have plenty of time before winterJ.

The garden is just fantastic this year! We have been so blessed with rainy days followed by lots of sunny, warm days! Anyone want some zucchini???? How about green beans???? We can’t give them away fast enough….good problem to have though….the potatoes are delicious, but we haven’t dug them all up just yet. We will most definitely have a wonderful harvest this year, food that will get many through those long winter months!

With September just around the corner, our home groups, men and women’s study groups, and our youth will begin meeting again. Remember us as we seek wisdom in what to share and that most of all, it would be understandable in their language! Please keep the fellowship in your thoughts and prayers as well as the projects.
      Joyfully Blessed,
        Kevin & Laura

Prayer and Praise
Pray for the boys as they are both very busy….Joshua is in his final semester at Biola University in CA and Corey is in training at Fort Leonard Wood Missouri, he finished Army basic training on the 26th of August. If you would like to write either of them, drop us a note and we will send you their addresses.

Praise him for his continued provision for the work here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

July 2010

Greetings from Kevin and Laura...

It has been a busy month...we have done some remodeling, been to a wedding in the city, worked in the garden, helped get the workshop up and running among other things.

Remodeling, what can be said; we have found out that NONE of our walls are straight. This makes it fun to hang a new door, lay linoleum, plaster...well pretty much anything you want to do. Never the less, we have been able to accomplish a few projects. We have installed a new floor in our kitchen and put up our new kitchen cabinets. In our bedroom we have been able to get the door replaced and curtain rods and curtains hung. We are hoping next week to tackle the bathroom, it would be nice to finally have hot water :).

Weddings... They are always nice to go to but his one was really special. Our friend Peter, age 38, got married for the first time! Peter was the second guy to shake our hands when we got off the train in 1997! He's been a language helper, painter, but most of all a great friend for these past 13 yrs. It was a great time to see two lives come together to form one, with Jesus as the center of their marriage they are starting off for sure on the right foot.

Garden...Yes we have a WONDERFUL garden this year thanks to Laura's parents for sending us lots of seeds from PA. It is amazing to us how fast the weeds can take over...kinda like life. If we do not weed out and hoe around and fertilize (get rid of sin in our life, stay in the word and grow in his knowledge) we too will not "grow" as He intends.

Workshop...We have written much on this topic in the past and we have made real progress this past month in getting the shop up and running. We have tables for all our machinery and workbenches set up. The entire place was rewired and we have hung light bulbs (not enough $ for light fixtures). We have a month long class starting the 2nd of August on how to build saddles. There is an expert saddle maker coming from Oregon to lead this program for us. Should be a GREAT month!

The fellowship is growing in His knowledge and it is great to see the interest in Him increase.

An AWESOME verse and also our verse for the year...Philippians 3:13-14.

Keep looking up!
Kevin and Laura

Monday, June 21, 2010

June 22 update

Dear Faithful Family and Friends;
Just a quick update on what’s happening with the Wooster’s this month…..last Wed. we were finally able to acquire our registration to live in the village. (Let me explain a little farther.)

Everyone has to be registered somewhere…even the nationals. So when you move to another city or area you have to move your registration. Normally this isn’t too difficult, but always time consuming! We began our ‘transfer’ on June 10th and we were finally finished on June 16th in the morning. It’s seems we’re the first Americans in the village and the head guy wasn’t sure what to do with us…so he made a few calls with the office here in the city, there was a federal holiday on Mon, and by Wed morning after 5 trips to the local office in the village all was AOK…. we received our stamp in our passports to live in the village.

Upon our return to the city, we then continued packing our apartment. We were also able to start the process to get long term permission to live in the region, similar to a “Green Card” in the States. After several trips (7 or 8) to the head office for immigration control, our papers were accepted yesterday, June.21st. The officials have 6 months to review our request and grant us permission or deny our request.
So as NOT to be a boring week, our car needed some major repairs again. It seems these weekly trips to the village and back are starting to show. This kept us in the city a few days longer than we wanted but also allowed us to get more things done here before the big move.

Please continue to remember us as we transition to “village life”. Thank you for the continued prayers and support…we are so very blessed!