Thursday, June 8, 2017

June 2017

May and June in Florida are definitely warmer than in Siberia; we are just a bit 'homesick' for Russia these days. It is very hard to believe that it has been almost a year since we left the village to return to America! Where has the time gone? SO much has happened and we often found it difficult to sit down and put things into words; thank you for your patience. We will do our best to keep this short, but you know how that goes :)  
After much prayer, we returned last June to help care for Kevin's Mom who had been battling cancer for many years. We thought we would have many months, maybe even a year with her, however, in August she went 'home' to be with her Savior. We are grateful for the time we were given and even more grateful she was able to stay at home where everything was familiar. It's been a roller coaster kind of year as we have gone through many adjustments in our lives; a new season if you will. HE has been our comfort, strength and peace - we have seen HIS grace and abundant blessings!
We filled our days as best we could and before we knew it, the holidays were upon us! We  took a trip to PA to visit Laura's parents, our granddaughter turned one in November, then we spent Thanksgiving with Joshua and his girlfriend and Corey and his family. For Christmas, we drove to PA with the 'kids' for a visit with Laura's family and returned before the New Year! Whew - we do not recommend driving 19 hours and back in a week with an infant, although she was a tremendous little traveler!

Our last family photograph with Mom, grandchildren and great granddaughter.

Our little princess turned one :)
Laura's parents in PA.

Thanksgiving in Florida - even though it looks like Christmas.

Laura's folks with all of their great grandchildren at Christmas.

We began the New Year
 feeling a bit more settled into a routine and getting more adjusted to American life. Even today we find ourselves still 'aliens in a foreign land' but knowing it is definitely where the Lord has us for a season. 

The first month of this year were a blur as our home office worked tirelessly to host a week of orientation for new workers heading to new places around the globe. We were quite impressed with the caliber of young men and women that have taken the scripture that commands some to GO into all the nations and are leaving jobs, friends, and family to do just that - to GO! Some couples have already left with a few others in their last stages of support raising and waiting on the appropriate documents needed to enter their new 'home' countries. Please remember these folks as they begin their new journeys in serving areas not yet reached for HIM! 

As soon as the orientation was over, plans began for the organization's main fund raiser. It was a  privilege to host a banquet and silent auction to help raise funds for the coming year.  Our speaker, Dr. Justin Holcomb, reminded us of the huge responsibility to GO and seek the lost. Sharing from the book of Acts, his powerful message of reading the Word then applying the Word into our lives will be the only way we will reach the most remote places with the gospel. Following Dr. Holcomb, we were extremely blessed to hear the testimony of a young lady who was one of the first believers in an unreached people group. By the way, this is the work that you have partnered with for 20 years as you helped us take the gospel to the “ends of the earth” - commonly referred to as Siberia.  :) A side note, many of you may remember praying for this young lady when she was diagnosed with TB in 1998. God healed her and she is still serving him today. She shared an incredible story of how our team had come specifically to share the hope of Christ to her people and the impact it made not only in her life but many of those around her. She shared from Romans 10:14-15 applying the verses specifically to her situation.  
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?” 
Hearing her story was truly humbling because we answered the call, you “sent” us, we preached, and she believed! How amazing is our God?
Banquet for our organization.

So, why a banquet and auction?...
One of our goals when we send out 'workers' is to keep their admin fees low. Most organizations charge 10-12% off the support that workers receive; we charge 3%! With over 188 guests in attendance, we were able to raise enough funds to cover a large portion of the administrative costs for the next year. We give HIM all the glory!

Tired of reading? We're going to end here for now, there is more... much more and we can not wait to share what the Lord is doing around the world and in our lives as well. Again, we are so grateful for your patience and pray this has been at least a small blessing for you. There is news from our friends in Russia so join us in a few weeks for an update from there as well! 
Serving Together,  Kevin & Laura