Monday, June 24, 2013

Celebrating....

10 YEARS!
 
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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10 comments:

  1. I enjoyed every part of this post!!! God is SO good, isn't He?! I really enjoyed the progression of pictures over the years. Isn't it such an awesome privilege and honor to raise our children on the mission field?! Congratulations on ten years! What a milestone!

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    1. Thank you for your sweet and encouraging words. God is good - even when we don't deserve it.

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  2. Thanks so much for sharing this, Mrs. Rachel! Praise God for your faithfulness over the years and for your willingness to give yourselves to His will. I can't wait to see how God is going to continue using your family in Estonia.

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement, but most of all for your faithful prayers. If we did not have people in the states to hold the ropes, we would not be able to do what God has called us to do.

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  3. I enjoyed seeing this idea implemented on Carole's blog and yours. What a great idea! I loved seeing your family grow larger and seeing your kids grow up through the pictures. Congratulations on 10 years!

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    1. Thanks, Jolene. It is our honor to serve the Lord and follow where He leads.

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  4. What a blessing it was to read through what God has done throughout the years and too see the pictures. Each one seems to speak loudly of God's blessings to faithfulness. Thank you so much. It was such an encouragement to me as we work toward 10 years (we have been here in Ukraine 6 years now). Also a reminder that, it doesn't matter how much fruit we immediately see, as long as we are faithful to plant the seeds and do what God has called us to do.

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    1. God has been faithful and good to us. Sometimes it's easy to think we are not making a difference if we don't see a lot of fruit. We were recenlty reminded that our job is to faithfully do what God has called us to do and leave the rest in God's hands.

      I look forward to the day when I will read about your 10 year report :)!

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  5. Wow, congratulations on your 10 years! You've had a very full ministry. Did you work with the Pranger Family in Suberia? Oh yea and too bad you didn't consider Croatia you know our languages are really similar. �� No, so glad God sent you to Estonia. Are there many missionaries there?
    Anyhoo, so glad your there being a witness for The Lord. Europe is tough all around so do what you can and let The Lord build the church! Again, ��CONGRATS!��

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    1. Thanks, Tori! The Prangers moved to Krasnoyarsk a couple of years after we got there. We did work with them in starting a ministry and then covered it for them while they were on furlough.
      Yes, I guess it is too bad that the Lord did not lead us to Croatia :(
      We only know of a few other Baptist missionaries in the country that have an active ministry.
      You are so right....Europe is a tough place. Thankfully we were called to be faithful to the work He calls us to and He will do the rest.

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An encouraging word is always welcome and much appreciated!

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