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 - 2006For 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
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
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).
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.