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The Winter Road to Vanavara (part 2)

Vanavara Trip Dec. 2014 from James Dean on Vimeo.

The trip to Vanavara went very well. We arrived back on Saturday very tired, but happy that the trip was such a success. I am thankful for friends like Oganes and Missionary James Pranger. We had a wonderful time of Christian fellowship and were able to accomplish much together on this trip.

Conditions of the roads
There are two routes,  a longer one and a shorter one. The longer one is made up of both logging roads and winter roads. The log roads are not bad to drive on, as they are well maintained so that log trucks can pass quickly. The winter roads are rougher. The shorter route is almost all winter road. While it is shorter, it is considerably rougher. I included a video of the trip.

Building
Earlier I wrote a about the building project, and what we hoped to learn from some of the local builders. As you may recall, we had hoped to be able to build on steel piling, as it would be much cheeper than concrete. We spoke to the gentleman …

Driving the Winter Road to Vanavara

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Today I will be taking another advanced survey trip to Vanavara. Missionary James Pranger, Oganes, and I will be leaving out on the winter road. Some of you may remember Oganes from some of my earlier letters. He translated for me on my very first trip to Russia, and accompanied me to the northern villages of Tura and Turahansk. He also heads up the village ministry in Atamanova. Brother Pranger is a second generation missionary who practically grew up on the winter roads, and knows the dangers of them far better than I.  
A trucker who drives this road regularly said that the trip takes about 24 hours from Krasnoyarsk. This will be the first time we have driven the road. The purpose of this trip is fact finding. Specifically:
What are the conditions of the road? We are told  that the road is rather rough, but how rough?To make contacts with truckers who could transport building supplies. Oganes has made contacts already with some drivers.   A better understanding of the cost involved …

Advanced Survey Trip to the North.

Missionary Matt Northcutt and I are planning an advanced survey trip to the North. We plan to visit the village of Vanavara toward the end of this month (September.) Vanavara is located in the Evenk Municipal District, which is home to both Russian and Evenki People. The total population of Evenkia is 16,284 people. Vanavara represents 3,154 of the population.

Vanavara is one of the three major support centers of Evenkya. It supports four other smaller villages. Also, Vanavara has a  Home for  the Elderly and Disabled, a Children's Rehabilitation Center, and a children's home.

I first became aware of this village while I was on furlough. It was then that  I learned that one of the faithful church members from Krasnoyarsk moved to this village due to work. She is a single lady with no other believers with whom to  fellowship. Please pray for her as she stands as the lone witness in this village, and for Brother Northcutt and I as we seek direction from the Lord.

Economic Sanctions

So far the U.S. economic sanctions have not effected our wire transfer to Russia. It has, however, effected some. My understanding is that a simple wire transfer to a Russian bank is not a violation of the U.S. economic sanctions, however it is scrutinized very closely. Because of this scrutiny, some U.S. banks have chosen to not process any transactions to the Russian banks listed in the U.S. economic sanctions. This is done as a risk management measure. This has left many missionaries in Russia and the Ukraine without money. Some have been able to rely on their credit cards, but it should be noted that Russia is very much a cash based society, especially in the villages. 
Fortunately our wire transfer went through this month, but we do not know how long our U.S. bank will continue to process our wire transfers. One possible solution that we are looking into is opening a bank account with a German based bank that also operates in Krasnoyarsk. Such a bank would comply with all the E.U.…

VBS in Shila

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We had a wonderful week of VBS in Shila, with an amazing turn out! We registered  34 kids, which is an amazing number for our village. 23 of them were first time visitors. In addition to this, we had 2 grandparents and 1 parent sit in on some of the fun. This allowed us to get acquainted with them.  
This week was also a great encouragement to our faithful neighbor, who spent much of her time giving out invitations and talking with parents and grandparents about VBS. It was such a great blessing for her to see the fruit of her labour. 
Some of this week's highlights were:
34 New Testaments Handed Out!

Singing!

Games!



Bible Lessons and Missionary Stories

Snacks!

Crazy Hat Day!

Prizes!

Medals 







Preparing for VBS in Shila

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Tomorrow we start VBS in Shila, the village where we live. We have spent the last few days getting the property ready, and making sure everything is in place. Today we transformed the garage into a castle, using the same props that we used in the city VBS. We plan to hold the lessons in the garage as it is much cooler then trying to hold it outdoors. The games and activities will be held in our yard.

My heart was touched as I watched my neighbor, who has faithfully attended the services for some time now, giving out invitations to VBS and talking with parents and grandparents about the upcoming VBS. It is exciting for me to see her get excited about the work of the Lord.

Please pray for us and the work in Shila, as the Sunday School attendance has been up and down lately. I am praying that VBS will help us to reconnect with some young people who have not been in awhile, and to bring us into contact with some new people we have not meet before.




VBS in Atamanova 2014

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VBS went very well in the village of Atamanova. We had a good group of kids. They had a good time in playing the games, listening to the stories and doing other activities. Most importantly, they heard the Gospel preached. Please pray for our church family that lives in the village of Atamanova, as they follow up on the children who came to VBS, and continue to hold a Sunday School in this village.



VBS Krasnoyarsk 2014

First week of VBS in the city of Krasnoyarsk is over! The Lord truly blessed. So thankful for a wonderful group of missionaries and church members to work with to make this all possible. 3 more VBS' to go, please keep them in your prayers. We start in the village of Atamanova this Wednesday. A special thanks to Amber Pranger for making the video recap of the week. We hope you enjoy.


Gardening for The Lord

We were able to get a garden in this year. We wanted to last year, but we needed to build some fences, and get the property prepared first, as it has been some time since the land has been worked. 

The garden has proven to be an opportunity to help build friendships. One of our neighbors came over to help us plant. We were also able to help her with some things in her garden. Some of our other neighbors gave us some starts to plant. On another occasion, one of my neighbors waved me down one day while I was outside working, to give me some pumpkin seeds that she had dried; because she had heard that we like pumpkin, and we can make some kind of unusual American pie with it??? Such friendships could open the door to presenting the Gospel.
There is a little bit more going on here then building friendships though; a garden is an important part of village life. To live in a village and not put a garden in would be very abnormal. It could even give you the reputation of being lazy, or even wo…

V.B.S. Preparations

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Tomorrow we will kick off our first day of Vacation Bible School. We are planning to hold four different V.B.S. campaigns in four different locations. Tomorrow starts the first of these campaigns in the city. Please pray that these will go well.

We have been very busy with all the preparations that go into such a program. To fit in with our medieval theme, we were able to transform the church auditorium into a castle.







We also made the props so that they can be folded up and taken out to the villages for the village programs.

We have a variety  of games planned for the children ending with a medieval carnival. That said, in addition to building the castle props, we needed to also build a variety of games. It has been a lot of work, but it will be well worth it to have people sit under the teaching of the Gospel.

Please pray for us throughout the weeks to come. Please pray that:

God would soften and prepare the hearts of the lost.God would strengthen the saint.God would help us build fr…

Getting Excited About This Summers V.B.S.

Yesterday we had our first meeting in preparation for this summer's Vacation Bible Schools. The theme this year is "Guard your Heart," and it is taken from Proverbs 4:23. The decor and games are being planned around a medieval-knights-and-castle theme. Most of the month of June will be taken up with  preparation  for V.B.S. Our first V.B.S, in the city, starts on the 25th of June. In the following weeks we will head out to the villages with the V.B.S. program.Please pray for our summers V.B.S. programs. It has always proven to be a great opportunity to meet new people and preach the gospel.

Back Home

We have made it back home and are getting settled in. All of our flights went well, however a few pieces of our luggage were lost. The airport quickly found them and they were returned within a few days. They were not damaged and the people at the airport were very kind and professional.

Our first Sunday back also went well. We had a good group in both the Shila service and children's church service in the city. Our two church members, who were covering the lessons, did a fantastic job. They are planing on continuing to teach every other Sunday. This is an important step, as I am trying to phase myself out of these ministries so as to free myself up in in order to move further north.

We also thank the Lord for friends and coworkers in the ministry like Matt and Katie Northcutt. In our absence they oversaw the children's church and Shila service, in additionn to their other ministry obligations. This is no small task, and we are very grateful.

Please continue to pray for us as…

Leaving for Siberia

Furlough has quickly past by, and we are all packed and ready to depart. Today I will pick up a car from a rental company to load with our luggage. The plan is to drive to the airport in Washington DC, overnight at a hotel, and in the morning we will drop the car off and board our first flight. We fly from Washington to New York and then on to Moscow. We will arrive in Moscow Thursday morning and will not leave for Krasnoyarsk until the evening, so we will spend the day in Moscow. There is a train that can take you into the city, so we will do a little sight seeing.  If all goes as planned, we will leave America on the 7th, and arrive in Siberia on the 9th.

Winter Snow

If you have experienced an unusual amount of snow this winter, or you have had a snow storm even though you live in an area of the United States that does not normally get any snow, then you can blame us. Apparently someone in our family packed it with them before leaving Siberia. Before leaving from Russia I was telling my kids about America. My oldest daughter, Emily,  was 6 when we left for the field and she has forgotten a lot. Our middle daughter, Melana,  was 2 when we left, so she doesn't remember anything of America. Lilliana was born in Russia and has never been in the States. As I was telling them about the States, I said we would,  most likely, not see much snow in America. I said that when we are in Michigan and northern Ohio we will see some but that's about it. Well, everywhere we have traveled it has snowed. I'm not sure, but I think that one of our kids snuck the snow in their carry on.

Furlough

We are enjoying our time back in the States. We were able to spend Christmas in South Carolina with Cassie's parents. After that, we went to Ohio had a family reunion/Christmas with my family. It was good for the kids to spend some time with their grandparents. Everyone had a great time.After the Holidays we started reporting back to our supporting churches. We have greatly enjoyed seeing many of the folks in our supporting churches. I wish that we could make it around to all of our supporting churches, but we are only taking a five month furlough. We can not exceed our time outside of Russia by six months. If we do we will loose our resident status and not be able to stay in Russia. By taking a five month furlough we will have an additional month in the event of an emergency. We are scheduled to leave on May the seventh. We will fly into Moscow and overnight there before flying on home to Krasnoyrsk.

Homesick for Siberia

Our youngest daughter, who was born in Russia, is getting a little homesick. On a few occasions I have  started our video presentation in a church meeting, and as she sees the photo of home she starts to cry saying "I want to go home." Of course she has also greatly enjoyed her time in America. They have greatly enjoyed their time with her grandparents, and their involvement with the various Children's Church programs. We appreciate the kindness of the Children's workers at all the churches we have been to.It is good for our children to spend some time in America so that they can better understand American culture. This will prevent or minimize reverse culture shock when they are older and come back to the States.