Thursday, October 25, 2018

October 2018

Summer has come and gone and with it the heat and humidity!  We are very much looking forward to cooler weather, (temperatures in the 70's instead of the 90's) and the holidays!! Another "Florida fun fact", knowing that the hurricane season will have passed by the end of next month :).  On that note, THANK YOU for those of you who got in touch to be certain we were not impacted in any way by hurricane Michael.  We have been protected once again this year and only experienced wind and rain-usual weather for Florida. PLEASE continue to pray for the folks in the "panhandle" or northwest section of Florida; they were hit hard and it will take years to recover from the devastation of such a storm!

Over the last months, we have celebrated our 33rd anniversary, Kevin celebrated a birthday  - we won't mention his age - our organization sent out more workers, and we heard from the folks in Russia.

In June, we decided to head south and visit our oldest son and his fiancee for our anniversary. It's so nice to have both of our sons on the same coast, in the same state, and for us to be in the same country for a change! Soooo, whenever possible, we take advantage and spend time with our 'boys'. Over the course of a few days, we went to a Miami Marlin's baseball game, ate at a great Peruvian restaurant, hit some golf balls and took our first airboat ride. We both realized we have lived in Florida for over 35 years and never been on an airboat! It was very cool but very short so we have decided we'll have to do this again soon with all the 'kids' next time.

Marlin's game with Joshua and Jessica

First airboat ride - great fun!!
The only alligator we saw and it was just a baby.

A few moments earlier this tree was filled with these white birds
that originated from Africa - beautiful!

Apparently, meat on french fries is a Peruvian food thing - amazing!

Roasted kernels of corn... different but very good as well.

In July, we were able to be a part of a week-long orientation with our organization for six couples and some single folks preparing to head out to Asia.

Imagine…“Our people are not working with the persecuted church; they are planting the next persecuted church.” (Anonymous) 

Think about that for a moment… our folks are truly our heroes! They are engaging with people groups that are unreached, they have no church yet, which also means no Bibles or Christian literature in their language. Our workers are going into areas where they will most likely need to learn two languages before having the ability to speak into the lives of the people they've gone to reach. They will be there for 'the long haul'; most have committed from 10-20 years! PLEASE keep them in prayer as they leave the familiar for the unknown...all for His glory!
Praying for our workers as they prepare to GO!
August was Kevin's birthday as well as an amazing journey taken by the churches in Siberia. We'll share the birthday picture first...Kevin always complains that I, Laura, get to celebrate at least a month for my birthday. (That may be true) So this year, we made it last about two weeks:). I was able to surprise him by going to a Tampa Rays baseball game! (He's not the easiest guy to surprise!) We also had a chance to dine with friends and go to the beach with our granddaughter. (That's always a treat!) 

Although birthdays are always exciting for us, better news came from the churches we worked with in SIberia....Were you able to take time this year to refresh and relax? Was your pastor able to get away for a time of spiritual refreshment? How about last year? How about the year before?? We are so blessed to live in a society where this is such an important part of who we are. Even our pastors and their families take time at least once a year to ‘get away’ and ‘re-charge’ for the work that lies ahead. This is not always the case in remote areas or in countries where there are few believers to have such an opportunity; for some, it has been a decade! Matthew 28 11:28-30 in part states; 

“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” 

Why do we share this? Three Car/van loads from Siberia drove across Russia to another country (over 3,000 miles) to help with a conference that was held for pastors and their families. The pastors came from some very remote areas where there is little Christian presence! We can't share details but please know that these pastors and their families were refreshed, encouraged, prayed for, housed and fed for ten days. Our group from Siberia was a part of a larger group from other countries who came together to show the love of Jesus to fellow workers. Please continue to pray for those who serve in areas where it's extremely difficult to be followers of Christ.
Part of the group from Siberia.

Skits for the adults.

Teaching for the kids.
We've been so blessed this summer. THANK YOU to all who continue to lift us in prayer and for your continued financial support. Kevin's work in the main office of our organization has kept him quite busy. We are growing in numbers and eagerly watch as the Lord continues to bring young folks that encourage us with their willingness to leave their 'comfort zones' to GO. 

I will praise the name of God with song and magnify Him with Thanksgiving. Ps. 69:30

Serving together for the Gospel.

Kevin and Laura


Thursday, May 31, 2018

May 2018

One would think that after five or so months of 'silence' there would be a plethora of information and pictures to share... however, after much searching our photos, that is just not the case. We assure you we have been busy with ministry, we just are not taking pictures like we did in Russia. (there would be a lot of pictures of with people in an office) Sooooo, please be patient with us and please continue to read...we do have things to share about how the Lord is working around the world through our organization!

February brought us quite a wonderful 'gift' from Russia! We are fairly certain as we were getting off the train for the first time in Siberia, January 1997, it never crossed our minds that the man shaking our hand would become one of Kevin's best friends from Russia. We are also certain we never imagined that this man and his wife would be sitting in our living room some 21 years later in America!! Pastor Zhenia and his wife Natasha were able to do just that in February... what an amazing opportunity for them and for the folks that were able to hear them both speak at a church in Sarasota, Florida. They were brought over to share at a conference for world missions; there is no doubt that all in attendance were challenged by Pastor Zhenia's message to the church;  Don’t stop sending folks to the ends of the earth to work among the unreached. Send out your best and most capable so that we can see more churches established and see Christ proclaimed in these dark regions.”  We were certainly challenged and convicted that the work is still not finished and God wants to continue using all of those available and ready to GO!

Together again  - in America!

Natasha sharing her testimony at a ladies' tea.

Kevin praying over Zhenia as he shares during the conference.

Welcome to Florida :)

Hanging out at a local state park. (Gator and Zhenia)

Enjoying some time kayaking the mangroves on the bay.
Night fishing...first cast, the first catch of the night!

Jessie was part of a summer team that worked with
these folks in 2012.

Spending the last couple of days in America.
We had such a great time catching up, sharing stories, lots of laughter, and of course shopping! :) They have 10 children between the ages of five and 28. (Four are adopted) It was truly a blessing and we are eager to return and visit our Russian home soon!

Sometimes we just need a rest.... ministry can be exciting, fulfilling, a blessing, challenging, exhausting, frustrating... there is really no end to the adjectives that can be used and most often, (you) would not trade the life of ministry for anything! Being in His Will is the perfect place to be in our journeys, however, sometimes we just need a rest. Jesus was our example when overwhelmed with the day, He would find a quiet place to pray and rest in the Father. In March, some very dear friends of ours who have served in a church in Massachusetts flew down for a couple of weeks, first of all, to thaw out, but more importantly to get refreshed and renewed so that they could return and serve once again in the ministry the Lord has given them. Please remember to pray for your pastors, leaders, and those involved in daily ministry.
Sharing another Florida sunset with friends!

We had to share one last photo of fun in the Florida rain :)
Grandaughter Winona jumping in puddles with Papaw :)

So that we do not completely overwhelm you with pictures; we will continue next month with 'the rest of story'. Thank you so much for standing with us as we partner together in HIS work, many of you have been part of our team for over 20 years and we are truly humbled.  Please continue to lift us in your prayers as we continue our work together to reach the unreached.

Blessings, Kevin & Laura