Furlough Plans

Furlough Plans

We are making plans for our furlough. We will be in America from September 2017 through February 2018. We have a short amount of time for a furlough, as we cannot be outside of Russia for more than 180 days or we could lose our permanent residency status. My goal is to be back in Russia by the end of February. This will give me a few weeks in March to make at least one winter road supply run before the road becomes too dangerous to travel. (Generally the road closes sometime in March.)

We would love to stop by your church to give our report about the ministry in Siberia. If there is a date during that time that works best for you, please email me immediately at siberianflame@gmail.com. I am looking forward to visiting with you.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Blog post

Thank you for praying for Matt and me as we traveled back to Vanavara on the winter road. We made it back safely, Praise the Lord! Matt and I drove straight through, trading off driving, so that the other could rest. Considering the conditions of the winter road, we made pretty good time.

The road was clearly melting. We drove through a lot of mud and slush, but underneath the mud and slush, the ground was still frozen solid. (In the warmer weather, much of the road is marshland, and only a few specially designed vehicles can make it through.)

We are glad to be back. Thank you for your prayers. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

I wanted to thank every one for their prayers for our coworkers, the Northcutts. The Northcutts are getting settled in to a temporary apartment while they decide what to do next. They have received some  supplies from the city. (As I understand it, one driver didn't charge them anything for the delivery.) Between that, and what they were able to get out of the old apartment, they have been able to set up a temporary living situation.

I am flying out tomorrow  to the city to help Matt Northcutt drive his truck back up the winter road. You may remember from an earlier blog post, that both Matt and I are having trouble with our vehicles. He had to send his truck down to the city on a flat bed for repairs. At the time of this writing, they are putting his truck back together, and it should be ready to go by tomorrow.

Please pray for this trip. The road conditions are not the best, as the road is melting away. Our truck driver friends are saying that this weekend will be their last push to get things up here on the winter road. We will have some trucks coming up behind us, in the event that we run into problems.

You can read more about the fire at the Northcutts at http://northboundnorthcutts.com 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Winter Road Update


This year's supply run was quite rough.  On our first trip, I ran into some mechanical difficulties en route. About 255km (160 miles) outside of Krasnoyarsk, the wiring harness caught fire. I immediately hit the kill switch, (a UAZ van has a factory installed kill switch that cuts all battery power to the vehicle) and got it off the road. Matt Northcutt and I cobbled the wires up enough to get it to a nearby city. A few days later, I limped it the rest of the way to Krasnoyarsk. (A special thanks to Kevin Jones and James Pranger for their help in getting it back to Krasnoyarsk.) I had a new wiring harness put in, and returned to Vanavara loaded with supplies. 

Upon my return to Vanavara,the van developed some different problems that I am working on now. In addition, Matt Northcutt's truck developed an engine knock. It is looking like he may have to send his truck down to the city on a flatbed for repairs.

Because of the problems with both of our vehicles, we were not able to make our second trip via winter road, but rather flew down and sent the needed supplies up with a truck.

Twofold prayer request:

Pray for Matt Northcutt, as he only has a short window of time to get the truck down to the city, repaired, and back before the winter road closes for the season.  

Pray for our vehicle situation.   After the accident that happened in October of 2015 , nothing has been quite right with our van. It has turned into one problem after another. In addition to the serious mechanical problems, I am having trouble keeping the back door closed. I have had to install a nut and bolt to keep it closed on the road. All that said, I think that it is time to think about a different vehicle. The good thing is that I can recoup the cost of putting it back together from the trade in. We have some money that has come in for a vehicle already, Praise the Lord! We need an additional $10,000 that will allow us to upgrade to a newer model and do any modifications that is needed for extreme weather. Please keep in mind that, as a foreigner,  the banks will not give me an auto loan like they would in the States. When we buy a vehicle, it is cash upfront. I know that that sounds like a lot of money, but if 20 churches gave $500 we could raise that money in a short amount of time. Please pray for this need.  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Life in the North (Part Two)


The winter road is open! Matt Northcutt and I are getting ready to leave out on a supply trip to the city tomorrow morning. It is about a two day trip there, and another two days back. We plan to drive the winter road portion on day one and drive the rest of the way to the city on day two.

From what our truck driver friends have said, it sounds like this year's road is in really good shape. We just learned that the short route is open, which is big news since it normally does not open until after the New Year Holiday. The reason for it opening early is that we had very little rain fall this summer, which in turn means that it does not take as long for swampy areas of the road to freeze over.

I have spent the last few days going over the mechanics of my van, as well as going through our emergency gear, making sure that everything is in order and properly working. Also, for safety, we will be taking two vehicles. This way, if something were to happen to one of the two vehicles, we would not be stranded.

Please pray that God would give us safety as we make this trip. Also, please pray for our families, as they will be staying in the village.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Life in the North (Part One)

Summer is an important time of the year in the North. We have a short season to get everything done outside before winter hits and everything is frozen. We have been quite busy this past summer. Things are starting to calm down after the frenzy of summer projects.

One important part of the summer activities is our garden. I have written about the cultural importance of a garden in the past, but in Vanavara it is even more important, as food from the stores are brought up the winter road or flown in by airplane. As a result, it is more expensive. A garden is an important part of our food supply for the winter, it is not just a hobby for us.

We had a few unexpected surprises. There was an old greenhouse on our garden spot. I knew that it would need to be replaced someday, but I thought that I could get a few seasons out of it. As it turned out, it collapsed in early spring. Fortunately it collapsed before the time to plant, and I was able to replace it.

Another unexpected surprise was the smoke from the nearby forest fires. We have a short growing season here, but long hours of daylight which balance out the short growing season. This year, however, the smoke blocked out much of that daylight, which effected the garden. But praise the Lord, in spite of all the difficulties, our root cellar is full, and God has provided.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

New Law

There is a new law in Russia that affects religious freedom. It is a very serious change and warrants much prayer. I know of at least one missionary who has already been brought up on charges. (The trial is currently pending.) There are still a lot of questions about the new law, and how it will be interpreted. We are working with a lawyer to make sure that we do everything according to the law. The following is a general overview of what we know about the law thus far. (A special thanks to Kevin for writing the following points.)
  • Russian nationals can freely witness to whomever they want to about their personal faith, whether via social media or personal contact. (one on one basis)
  • We as missionaries can freely witness to whomever we want to about our personal faith, whether via social media or personal contact. (one on one basis)
  • Evangelistic outreach (passing out literature or holding meetings in public areas on behalf of a religious organization) is permitted IF you have a letter from that registered organization (church) stating that you are acting on its behalf. The violation fine is up to $800, and possible deportation for foreigners.
  • Houses and apartments can no longer be used as venues for evangelistic outreach, but can be used for gatherings and Bible studies among believers.
How does this new law effect us? One on one conversations about the Bible and faith are protected by the constitution. Therefore, such conversations can not be affected by this new law. What this new law does is make it imperative that we purchase a commercial space. We are currently looking into several possible properties that would meet those needs. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Remodel




Remodel
We have been very busy the last few months with the remodel of the apartment. The remodel is very important, as it communicates permanency. We want people to understand that we have come to stay for long term, we are not just passing through, and that we want to be a contributing part of the village.

You may remember from earlier letters, that when buying or renting an apartment, things like kitchen cabinets, sinks, light fixtures, and so on are not included. That said, by default, every time one moves, he is walking into a remodel on some level. This time our remodel was quite a bit more extensive. The floors and walls needed to be made level and plumb. This is not an uncommon problem in regions like this. It arises from the unique difficulties in foundation work due to the depth of the frost line. The result is that things need to be leveled and plumbed on occasions. Our particular apartment was well overdue.

We have most of the hard work done, and now we are just putting up wallpaper and trim. It is also important to note that we stayed on budget with the remodel. 


A Special Thanks 


It was a wonderful blessing to have a crew from the States come and help with the remodel. Brothers David, Nathanael and Michael Troaster and Berry Northcutt (Matt’s Dad) came for one month to help. They left their homes and jobs to come to a northern village to help. We are so very thankful for their sacrifice.