Letting go

Sunday, June 1, 2014

In 1999 I became a mother.  Just 15 months later, Daniel met his new little brother, Andrew.  (We also have two more children that I love dearly, but this post is about my oldest boys.)  Being a mom was a dream come true!  My days were filled with keeping my boys fed, changing diapers, wiping runny noses,  kissing chubby cheeks, and all the other tasks that come with being a wife and mommy.  

brothers - (November 2000)
At a young age, each of my kids were dedicated to the Lord.  Bible stories, Sunday School songs, and teaching obedience was a part of our daily lives.  Ron and I have always had a desire to raise our children to love and serve the Lord.  But honestly, at such a young age, most of my worries and concerns were about sickness, teething, choking on a piece of food, and such things as that.  I wasn't concerned about them hanging out with the wrong kids in the nursery :)

Krasnoyarsk, Russia (April 2003)
The next stage of life brought with it riding bikes, sleeping in big boy beds, zooming around on scooters, and climbing on everything.   

in Moscow to meet grandpa and grandma at the airport (November 2005)

Our boys continued to grow and reach new stages in their lives.  My job of being their mom kept me busy , but I was loving it. 

daddy's helpers - Shela, Russia (June 2007)
We praise the Lord that each of our boys made a personal decision to trust the Lord as their Savior.  Those were exciting steps in their lives.  What a blessing it was to see the Lord answer prayers and give us fruit that we had been praying for since our boys were babies.

camping out in the living room - Rakvere, Estonia (July 2009)
So, as you know what happens with time, the boys continue to grow and reach new milestones and stages in their lives. 

the {frozen} Gulf of Finland (February 2010)
Then the day came when my boys became teenagers!
Having two teenage boys in the house has been an adventure for sure.  One challenge that I face continually is filling them up completely at meal time.  They love to eat!  The teenage years bring other challenges too and honestly, they can be a little more complicated than when they were babies.

love my boys - Estonia (May 2010)

The older my boys get the more independent they become.  Part of me wants to protect and shield them from the hardships of life, while another part of me knows that those things are a real part of life and part of the growing up process.  So Ron and I continue to teach and train them with the Bible as our guide.  Then I remind myself that when they were just little guys in diapers, I gave them to the Lord.  They are His and He loves them more than I do.     

having fun on a trip to Finland (April 2011)

I'm thankful that even though my boys are almost head and shoulders taller than me, they still say "I love you" and give me hugs.  But life is changing once again for us.  For example:  as we think about when we will take our next furlough, we are having to consider things we've never factored in before.  Things like looking at Bible colleges, getting a summer job to save money, etc.  In just 3 years we will be sending Daniel to the states to start college.  To be perfectly honest with you - when we arrived on the field in 2003 with a 3 1/2 year old, 2 year old, and 8 month old I had not even thought about the day I would send one of my kids back to the states for college.  Now, I know many parents have done it and I know of older missionaries who have gone to the field and left grown children and even grandchildren in the states.  I have a much deeper respect for those people now than I did before.  That day is not so far away for me anymore. 
Whenever those thoughts overwhelm me, I remind myself that when my boys were little guys still in diapers, I gave them to the Lord.  He knows the stages we are in and the ones we face.  They are His and He loves them more than I do.

Resurrection Sunday - Johvi, Estonia (March 2013)
We are all excited about the next adventure in their teenage years.  Daniel and Andrew have an amazing opportunity to spend a part of the summer with their grandparents in California.  They will be flying out of Tallinn Tuesday, June 3, at 6 a.m.  They have lots of jobs and activities waiting for them.  Their grandpa (also our sending pastor) will be using them to help around the church.  They will also get to enjoy hearing preaching in the English language.  A couple highlights will be attending our home church's family camp and teen camp.
  
my boys - Johvi, Estonia (May 2014)
This is a new stage in life for us as parents too.  I guess God is giving us a practice run for sending them to college in a few years.  Even though I am very excited for my boys, I am going to miss them like crazy.  I am confident that this is what God wants for their lives this summer, but sometimes it is just hard to let go.  I must remind myself that when they were just little guys in diapers, I gave them to the Lord.  I want His will in their lives.  They are His, He knows what is best for them - He loves them more than I do.

It is always best to let go and trust God.



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Pressing on

Monday, May 26, 2014

Can I tell you a secret? 

Missionaries are human, just like you.  We face frustrations, trials, disappointments, and discouragement too.  Life is not a "bed of roses" just because we have answered God's call to take the gospel to a foreign field.  
My goal is to always be encouraging and positive when documenting things on my blog.  But I also want to be real and not pretend that there aren't struggles on the field.  The Christian life is a battle  (2 Timothy 2:3 KJV "...endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." )
The Devil sure has been fighting our ministry and family over the past year.  It is so easy to compare our lives and the result of our ministry by man's standards rather than God's standard.  The Bible commands in I Corinthians 4:2 (KJV) "...that a man be found faithful."  So as we face hard times and difficulties in life, let's make sure that we remain faithful to the Lord and leave any results up to Him.

Missionaries also need encouragement! (just like you)  I could tell you story after story of people God has used to be a blessing and encouragement to our family during some difficult times.  The amazing thing is, some of the times no one even knew we were facing the battle that had us down or discouraged.  But God did!  Isn't God just so good - all the time?  I'm also thankful for people that let God use them when He speaks to their heart.   

Sometimes I feel like I am just like the children of Israel.  It is so easy when trials come and things don't work out the way I want and in my timing, I start complaining and quickly forget that God is faithful

As we press on and continue to be faithful to the Lord's calling, we would like to ask you to pray for our ministry.  A couple months ago Ron found a building for rent.  It was a decent price for a commercial building.  After looking at it and praying, we met with the owner to discuss specifics.  She came down about $70 on the monthly rent and the plan is to take possession this Friday.

  
About the same time that we started looking at the possibility of renting this building, we noticed that we had a new church sending monthly support.  The problem was that we had never been to this church - actually, we had never heard of this church.  After checking with our mission board, we found out the support was indeed for us.  Our family had been praying that God would provide so we could rent this building.  God had answered our prayer!

Another blessing is that this building was full of office furniture - desks, bookshelves, chairs, tables, etc.  We were told that we could use anything we needed.  Many of the things we requested to use will be nice to have - especially since God provided them for us.


Would you pray that God would provide a couple more things? 
This building has a very large yard which means we need a lawn mower.  With all the rain and sunshine we've been having, the grass is growing quickly.  The yard is in desperate need of attention when we take possession.  A basic lawn mower will cost $200-$300.  
We have also been praying for a ping pong table.  This could be a great tool to attract young people so that we can have the opportunity to share the gospel with them.


Most importantly, please pray with us that this building will be a great asset to our ministry as we reach out to the people in Johvi with the gospel. 

For those of you who don't know, we are on Facebook.  Visit Winklers to Russians  and "like" us so you can get updates, prayer requests, and blessings.  I encourage you to look us up soon because we are getting ready to have a giveaway.  (details will be given on Facebook)  Our goal is to make more people aware of our ministry and ultimately have more people praying for the souls in Johvi.      


We are deeply grateful for so many of you that pray for our family, our ministry, and special requests as we bring them before you.

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Our Story

Friday, May 23, 2014

My hubby and I just celebrated our 16th anniversary. 


Here is our love story.

We met just over 21 years ago on a blind date.  Yes, that's what I said, a blind date!  Ron was my brother's college room mate and I was a senior in high school.  My dad and brother thought I needed a date for our church's first Valentine Banquet.  


During the months following the banquet we had a few more dates and wrote letters to each other.  To be honest though, I was not ready to be in a serious relationship fresh out of high school.  I had a lot of growing up and maturing to do.  


We ended up attending the same Bible college for my sophomore, junior, and senior years.  During those years I watched Ron.  I saw that he was a young man of character, commitment, and faithful to his classes and job.  Each week I watched him serve the Lord by working on a bus route, cleaning and helping prepare the church for Sunday, helping in a Sunday School class, and playing the trumpet during the services.  I saw his love for the Lord in everything he did.


 It was during my senior year of college that I realized God had given me feelings for this incredible young man.  Over the years we had both grown, matured, and become friends.  But now I didn't know how to let him know I was interested in him.  So I prayed.  I didn't talk to anyone about these new feelings I now had toward a certain young man, but I told the Lord.  You'll never guess what happened next!!!   Just two months before graduation, he asked me to a banquet. ♥

   
Over the next several months we fit in as many dates as we could.  After graduation, we both took jobs in different states.  I wrote him letters (daily) and we enjoyed lots of phone calls.  He flew in to see me for Christmas and that is when he popped the big question.  Of course, I said YES!
  

Words can not express how grateful I am that God brought us together in His perfect timing.  I love being married, love the man God gave me, and love serving the Lord together. 


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Birthday celebration

Monday, April 14, 2014

Earlier this month I celebrated my birthday.  As a young person, I remember thinking that 40 was so old.  I mean, really, what fun would life be at 40?  But now that I am so close, I have a very different opinion.  Life is exciting!  I still feel so young that it is hard to believe that next year is the "big one".   
After spending the morning in school, I was taken to a little cafe for lunch.  That is just one of the many things I love about my hubby....he is so thoughtful.  He didn't want me to have to cook on my birthday.  Not having to clean up was another bonus :)


 The kids did a great job of decorating the house with signs, balloons, and streamers.  All the gifts that were secretly wrapped in the bedrooms were waiting on the coffee table to be opened.  It didn't matter to me what was inside (even though I did like everything I received), the thought and love with which they were given far outweighed the gift.

Instead of a birthday cake, I made my very first cheese cake.  My mouth watered as I sliced each piece.  Then I scooped a spoon full of strawberries on the top.  Some even wanted chocolate syrup drizzled over it (not me though).  I'll sum up how it tasted in one word....
yummy......wonderful.....DELICIOUS


I'm already looking forward to my next birthday......mostly for a good excuse to make that cheese cake again *smile*.

I love my family so much!  They did an awesome job of making my day special.


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Introducing....

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Champ


The evening of March 7th Ron and I went out to run an errand.  We returned with a brown box that I carried inside of a large plastic grocery bag.  The bag was sat in the middle of the living room and we told the kids we picked up a surprise for them while we were out.  They gathered around the box to open it together.  As the flaps of the box were pulled back, a puppy's eyes were looking up at them.


The kids were shocked, but thrilled.  Let's just say, Champ does not lack attention and love.  He is a very playful little guy - he loves to chase the kids, chew on his toys, and snuggle in someone's lap.


I am proud of my kids for being so responsible to take care of their dog.  They are doing a great job.  Champ seems to be happy and I think he has fit into our family quite well.


Training a dog is new to me.  Any tips for....
*house training
*obedience
*teaching "stay", "sit", "come"
*any other helpful information
He is doing well on a couple of these.  Other things I haven't even tried yet.  Any advice, tips, or links would be appreciated.

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