Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Still in love

after 15 years!!!

Not only am I still in love, but I am more in love with my hubby now than I was when I married him. Since married life gets better and better each year, I anticipate each new year.  I look forward to reaching 20, 25, and even 30 years.  
God has blessed me more than I deserve with an incredible man that I love and adore.  We have shared blessings and trials, tears and laughter, heart-aches and joys, mountain tops and valleys....and through it all, God has guided and directed our steps as we have served Him TOGETHER.  

This year for our anniversary, we did something that we have never done.  Earlier this year we did some remodeling in our apartment.  We decided then that we wanted to fix up our room in a color scheme that fit our taste and style.  Our goal was to be done by our anniversary, but I have just a couple more little things to do before it is completely done. I plan to show you our whole room once it's done - would you like to see it?  For now, here is a little sneak preview.

We were able to purchase this lovely table and chair set with money we were given from my in-laws. This balcony is off of our living room and is a perfect spot to have devotions, read a good book, sip some iced tea, or just visit with my best friend.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, Babe!  You are the love of my life.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Mother/Daughter Time

Has your heart ever ached really badly to see someone special?  I'm a grown woman with children of my own, yet I really needed/wanted a hug and some time with my mom (and dad).  Since God gave me a WONDERFULLY AWESOME husband, who was sensitive to my needs/desires, I made a two week trip back to the states.  We found some tickets at a decent price (especially since it was last minute) and I took my "favorite" daughter with me for some mother/daughter time. 
Sarah and I were giddy with excitement the entire trip because NO ONE knew we were coming - except for my dear friend who was picking us up at the airport.  We thought it would extra fun to keep our trip a surprise......let me tell you, we were not disappointed. 
I enjoyed some laughs and fellowship with Leslie Kellogg (whom I've know since before I was married) as she drove me from the San Francisco airport to my parents' house in Visalia.  She has been a dear, sweet friend to me for many years. 
Thanks for helping with my surprise, Leslie, and for being a blessing!

My trip was not entirely selfish.  Since our home church was having its annual Ladies Conference the week I was back, I wanted to be a blessing and help.  I was also looking forward to getting to attend the conference and the Mother/Daughter luncheon with Sarah.

I will treasure the time I had with my mom during those two weeks.  Several mornings we sat out on her back patio and just talked the morning away {smile}.  I also took her for a pedicure and manicure for Mother's Day and an early birthday present.  Of course, I didn't want her to do it alone, so I spoiled myself a little too (with my hubby's approval).
 My sister and I also managed to get some time together outside of church activities.  A special treat for me was getting to sing a duet with her in church - it's a blessing to serve the Lord together.
Sarah was blessed to spend time with other young ladies at church - especially her cousin, Emily!  With three brothers, she is thrilled when there is an opportunity for "girl time".
The theme for the Ladies Conference was "The Secret Garden".  The decorations were beautiful, the food was delicious, the fellowship was sweet, and the sessions were just what I needed. 
It did my heart good to see the dear ladies of Sequoia Baptist Church.  My dad has been pastoring this church since it's birth which was not long after mine.  These ladies' prayers help keep me going and on the field.  You can tell by their smiles just how sweet they all are. 
One of the days we were back, my in-laws drove up from Lancaster to spend the day with Sarah and I.   

As you can see, we did a lot in the two weeks we were back.  No matter how much fun we were having, we were missing our guys back home.  We had a fabulous time visiting, shopping, going out to eat, receiving hugs, seeing friends and family....but we were ready to get home.
I missed spending Mother's Day with ALL of my kids, but I did get my annual Mother's Day picture once we got back.  My life is blessed because four kids call me "mom"!
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April 2013 marked 10 years since we arrived on the mission field.  It was windy and cold when we arrived in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, in Siberia, with 3 little ones - ages 4 1/2 yrs., 3 1/2 yrs., and 8 months old.  

Winkler Family 2003

Immediately after our arrival we began studying the language while working with and attending a veteran missionary's church. Ron was very active in evangelism/tract distribution. As the kids got older, we joined him as much as possible.

Krasnoyarsk, Russia - January 2004

While out evangelising in surrounding villages and smaller cities outside of Krasnoyarsk, Ron and a fellow missionary came upon the village of Shela.  God opened doors for us to begin a weekly ministry with the children.

Shela Nursing Home Ministry - 2006
For a time we were also able to hold services in a nursing home in Shela. Many of them heard the gospel before we were told we could not come back.

After holding services in a public building as we began our ministry in Shela, God allowed us to buy a piece of property with a small building on it.  It was remodeled for a permanent meeting place to hold Sunday School for the many children in Shela.

Shela Village Ministry - 2007
Shela VBS craft time - 2007

Shela Village Ministry - April 2008
In July of 2008 God dealt with our hearts and moved us across the Russian border into Estonia.  Our village ministry was turned over to an Independent Baptist Church in Krasnoyarsk and services are still being held 5 years later.  To God be the glory, we know of at least one neighbor that Ron spent many hours talking with, witnessing to, and inviting to the weekly service that has been saved.
After a furlough, we packed our suitcases and left for Estonia.  
 Estonia/Russia border - 2009
We live in the city of Johvi - just 45 minutes from the Russian border.  Although Estonian is the national language, Russian is the second language.  It was not that long ago that the Soviet Union occupied the country and everyone learned Russian.  So, our years of studying the language is not in vain. 

first service in Estonia - 2010

building friendships

September 2011

English is also widely used here.  Those who do not speak English want to learn.  Offering English lessons has been a great tool to meet people.

Ladies Tea - October 2011

I have also been able to host several Ladies Tea/Meetings which have allowed us to share the gospel with ladies that have not attended our services.

As we serve the Lord, our goal has been to never say no to an opportunity or an open door.  We do not want to miss a chance to plant a seed.  Someday we trust that some of these seeds will be harvested - if not by us, someone else (maybe even our children).

Estonia 2011

Estonia 2013

As I reflect over the past 10 years I can say that God has been good.  Has life been perfect?  NO!  Have we faced trials?  YES!  Have we been discouraged?  YES!  Has God always provided and met our needs?  YES!
The Lord has allowed us to learn a second language, pass out many tracts and Bibles, start a village ministry, teach English, begin a ladies minsitry, work in a nursing home, raise our children on the mission field, see 3 of our children saved (the last one is close to that step), see adults and children saved, and plant the seed of the gospel in the hearts of the many, many people that God has brought into our lives.
Many of YOU play an important roll in our ministry - your prayers and financial support have allowed us to serve in Russia and Estonia these past 10 years.
May I implore you to KEEP PRAYING for us?  Your prayers are vital to us personally and to our ministry.  

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Frugal Friday - Shopping Part 1

I enjoy shopping (some times more than others).  Do you want to know what I like better than shopping?....finding a good deal!
Thrift Stores, Second Hand, Goodwill - or whatever you would like to call them - can be great places to find some awesome deals. 
Whenever we are in the states on furlough, I try to keep an eye out for thrift stores and see what good bargains are waiting for me.  If I have time, I look through the clothes, toys, shoes, games, DVDs, books, ets.  However, when my time is short, I usually look through the games first to see what I can find.  As our kids get older we play more and more games.  Most of my kids are very competitive - just like me :). 

When we were in Montana last year, I remember finding several thrift stores that had lots of games for just a dollar or two each. 

Over the years, my thrift store shopping has scored some valuable finds at a fraction of the cost on items such as roller blades, bike helmets, clothes, coats, shoes, books, DVDs, games, and toys.

Thrift stores.....gotta lov'em!!!

What do you like to look for at thrift stores? 

What are some good bargains you have discovered?

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