It's been a Siberia-like three weeks here in mid-Michigan with temperatures as low as -30 or so, kids missing school, and loads and loads of snow. Feels like home! Speaking of which, our friends from where we used to live in Siberia were kind enough to remind us that they were at -46 before windchill. Now that's winter! :-)
Unfortunately I'm soon going to be missing out on some of this fun: I leave Thursday, Feb 21 for Baku, Azerbaijan (highs in the 40's) to visit two of our field families. One of those families I've known for several years now, and the other is brand new to us, coming over after our partners shut down their branch there as I've mentioned before. I've had the chance to Skype with them and written, but this will be my first visit to them in-person, staying in their home, getting a feel for how they're doing as a family and how their new plans for work under us are coming. They seem like a great young couple. Please pray for my trip and for a productive time with these two families.
Please also continue to pray for our Caucasus Branch in Georgia as they on-board three Russian couples, a Dutch couple, and a couple from California. In one fell swoop we're going from eight adults to 18, and we're doing our best to bring these new additions in well. There are agreements to construct with their sending organizations, there's training to do so that they know what PBT expects of its projects, member care relationships to start forming. Lots of good things that take time and effort and good communication. Your prayers for this growth in our Caucasus team are much appreciated!
Ending on a note of praise: It's been a long haul the last couple years trying to replace the lost funding that we need to keep on task in bringing God's Word to the Bibleless of Eurasia. Several of you have started supporting us in that time and some even increased what you were already giving. I know that many of you prayed as well, and we have seen progress, but we have still been well short of making up the overall monthly commitment level needed to keep going.
Along the way, we've been thankful for some generous one-time gifts that have helped make up the difference. It is along these lines that we have an important praise to share with you: Thanks to some recent and promised one-time donations to our ministry, it looks as though we will be fully funded through the next three years! Praising the Lord for His faithfulness to us and to know that we can concentrate on supporting our people well and growing our capacity to serve through new additions without the stress of wondering how our own finances were going to come together. Just amazing.
That said, we still need to be looking for long-term monthly support commitments since we intend to be at this for a lot longer than three years. I would still appreciate any leads you might have in Churches or families that could be interested in partnering with us, and I will continue contacting new Churches myself to see what doors the Lord may open. In praising God with us for this great news, please also continue in prayer for us to find those new partners that will help us through the next ten years or more! God does continue to grow our capacity to serve, and there will be no shortage of needs to meet for many years to come.
Grateful for your partnership in everything.
More on my return.