Monday, January 16, 2012

IT'S A NEW YEAR! Welcome 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  2012   To all of our family and dear friends around the world!!!!!!!!! it's the middle of January already, however, we've been busy not only putting this site together but writing updates, newsletters, making phone calls and sending countless pictures to our many supporters across the U.S.  THANK YOU to each of you who take the time to read our updates then pass them on to so many others, sharing what the Lord is doing in a village in Siberia!

Since the 24th of December, we've been busy doing what the folks here in Russia...celebrating! Well, maybe not like all of the folks here, but we have been celebrating with wonderful friends and looking ahead to how we can better serve others in our community in 2012.

Celebrating Christmas in December???!! Obviously, to us westerners this makes perfect sense. However, for Russia and about 12 other countries in the world, they celebrate the Orthodox date on the 7th of January. This year, we heard of many fellowships/churches across Russia deciding to celebrate on the 25th of Dec. one of which was a small fellowship that meets in a village about 30 min. from us. Several of us joined in their celebration of the birth of our Savior! Although it’s a very small group, we were encouraged by their faith in Him. We shared testimonies, exchanged gifts, and eventually we shared a wonderful meal. (The service was several hours long.)

Reciting a beautiful poem she wrote about the 'gift' of Christmas.
Sharing her testimony..of God's grace!


                            Exchanging gifts with the fellowship in the next village.

This is only half of the food that was prepared...
sorry, didn't get a picture of us eating together
we were famished after a four hour service!

News Year's Eve 2012!  This year we celebrated the coming of a new year together with prayer, food, games and fireworks! We even had a piƱata for the kids filled with candy. Not everyone in the fellowship wanted to come out in the cold and leave their homes for a long period of time. (Someone has to keep the fires going at home!) However, we had a good turnout and a great time of sharing and just being together; not surrounded by drunks! Many shared of looking forward to a new year filled with opportunities to share with friends and neighbors as well as growth in their spiritual understanding of the Word.
Tanya getting the food out for our meal!
The kids are ready to eat!!!!

Kevin getting the pinata ready......

Round two....almost broke it open!

Finally.....candy for everyone!!!

More games.....Kevin is the biggest kid.

A family playing twister,,,,sisterly love :)

They actually fell asleep after watching fireworks!!!

A time of sharing the past and future.
The Pastor and his family.

Christmas in January…. Our fellowship decided to remain with the January date of celebrating Christmas since it is recognized by everyone and wouldn’t give another reason for the community to think of us as a sect. Our time was shared with folks from the city and another village. The pastor shared the importance of remembering what the “Good News” truly is and what a precious gift we were given over 2000 years ago in a smelly stable filled with animals; a gift that changed the world forever!!

Our youngest member all dressed up for Christmas!
Laura's helper on Sundays.

Singing Christmas carols in Russian!
Guests from another village..

Guests sharing during our service. for all the kids!!

After reading this update, you may think all we did in December and January was to celebrate! For the majority of people in Russia, this is true! We see non-stop drinking; most government offices and many businesses actually close from the 31st of Dec. until the 10th of Jan.! The real ‘reason for the season’ is totally lost in the ‘celebrating’. As for our fellowship, this time was spent in much prayer and a renewed desire to serve the community. Please remember us in prayer as there is such a burden of urgency to share the Good News with others. We see and feel the darkness of ‘the enemy’ and know a battle rages in the heavens! We also know the victor of that battle and stand firm in that knowledge.

Blessings from Siberia,
  Kevin & Laura

[Today was -30F....Friday is supposed to  be  -52F!! PLEASE send warmer weather :) ]

Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed 
to sell your parrot to the town gossip....
                                                              Will Rogers