Happy belated Thanksgiving! I was able to spend the holiday with my family after my trip to Russia last month, and I can say that we truly have a lot to be thankful for.
I'll start with the freshest of news: You may recall one of my prayer requests last time was for fruitful discussion among the partner organizations doing translation in the region. One of them is withdrawing at the end of 2018, and they'll be leaving twelve language groups without ongoing translation ministries. In answer to your prayers and many others' those discussions did go well, and most of the projects they are leaving behind will continue under new organizations virtually without stopping.
I'm especially pleased to be able to say that as of yesterday (!) three of those languages are being taken on by our own PBT Caucasus Branch, taking them from two language projects to five. Two families from Wycliffe Russia who have experience with these projects and are well-known to our own families are also now being added to our team to help staff them, and the Lord is blessing us with the opportunity to serve even more people in the region, bringing them God's Word and sharing God's love. Please welcome the Avar, Rutul, and Tsakhur people into your prayers as we serve them together. (Links below)
I also had a great visit with the Wilsons while in Moscow. They've found a really nice apartment in the same building as the Director for the Institute for Bible Translation (one of our partners) and a short distance from some other contacts we have there. Lots of help and encouragement. They even showed up in Russia to a full refrigerator thanks to some of those friends. Thanks for praying for them. Life with their four young children and even language lessons are already off to a great start.
A couple more items for prayer from the field: Matt M. is a month in to his winter spent with Evenki trappers in the wilds of central Siberia and is doing really well. As an extreme camper himself he's well-suited to what he's doing, but as we regularly text through his satellite device I know that he is getting tired and could use a break. Praising God that he is safe and making good relationships, but please do pray for him to have the strength and energy he needs to continue and to stay healthy.
Steve H. and his wife are temporarily Stateside in order to get his diabetic foot wound taken care of that has plagued him for over a year. Praising God that it appears to finally be healed! Please pray for continued health for him and that they would be able to find more support before they head back over to eastern Siberia to work with the Chukchi people.
For our part, we still have a long way to go in replacing the committed monthly support we are losing. I just learned a couple weeks ago that some supporters of ours will need to drop their $100/month commitment due to personal financial considerations. Trending on some good news, however, that a local business has decided to support us at $400/month, and we've found a couple Churches that are interested in hearing more about what we do. Further, we've had a couple generous one-time donations that will allow us to keep going for some months while investing time in these new possibilities and looking for other potential long-term commitments.
Praising God for His care and provision, and hoping you'll pray with us that He will continue to provide for us so that we can see the Bibleless people of Eurasia reached with His Word.
On a final note for this time: Our son Keegan, at 16 our youngest boy and second youngest overall, just had major hip surgery two weeks ago. He's a really active kid: basketball, baseball, cross country, and he's really hoping he'll be able to get back to the things he loves once he's healed. Thankfully the surgery went really well, and he's on the mend. Time will tell to what degree he'll be able to be as active as he has been. Would you join us in praying for him to have a full recovery? Especially that the damage to his cartilage would prove to be minimal or that God would just outright heal it?
Thank you all for your prayer and financial support. We are blessed to have so many faithful people with us as we serve together.
Have a Merry Christmas!
Matt and family