Sent To Siberia

Preaching the Gospel to the Rurals of Siberia

November 7, 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

The last month has been very eventful. First of all winter has come, it's now -10 outside and about -20 at night. But we are cozy and warm in our square log house, with a full woodshed of wood. God is Good!

After the last letter I wrote we were able to install our septic, thank you all very much!! We also had the excavator enlarge our moat" that runs along the front of our property. He also excavated a "sink hole" for our ditches to drain into. Our house in Takuchet sits in a bowl, and so the first few years we were hear we got flooded pretty bad. Every year I have improved the flood water management profile of our property and now, with these final excavations, I think we, and our neighbors should be dry this spring.

On the 4th of October Rebecca and I and the girls all went to the city. This was a planned trip, I need to renew my residency permit in November but I need to get all of the documents together for that permit in the city well in advance. We also needed to file to get a permanent residency permit for baby Kirsten. Normally this process, at least in the past, has entailed a long list of documents. Financial reports, AIDS test, venereal disease test, drug test, TB test, and so on. For an adult these can be intrusive and exhausting. For a six month old baby they are completely beyond the pale of tolerance, not to mention the trauma to the babies parents! So you can imagine our elation, our ecstasy, our complete sense of relief when I was told by our helpful migrations officer that "the law has changed, all of those requirements are no longer required for extension or for minor applicants whose parents already have residency permits." PRAISE THE LORD! I wept from relief, literally when I heard that I wouldn't have to haul my baby through that ordeal. What a blessing. They did add an expensive Russian language and Social Studies test, which I aced with no trouble. Rebecca will have to take this test next year and I think she'll breeze right through it as well. What a blessing.

We were in the city for 13 days, as I mentioned primarily to deal with documents. But we also were able to do a lot of outreach as well. I ended up giving four lectures, two about home-education and two about farming (one of these was open to the public, one was for the students of the Krasnoyarsk State Agricultural Institute). I also had 8 media appearances (mainly TV but also a radio show which was fun). Through the "merry milk man" phenomena God has really opened up, and continues to open up, a lot of oppurtunities to speak into peoples lives. In all my lectures and media appearances I am unapologetic about the reasons why we are in Russia, our faith and the Gospel.

Speaking of media appearances I wanted to mention here how God is using our "virtual" presence in Russia as well. I just got news from the 11th rural missionary who has been inspired to move out to the village, or to start a work in a village where they already live, since last August. Most of the people who have written to me about starting a ministry are using our model, starting a farm as a "tent making" venture and starting a church in several villages at once. This year has really been a year of unseen multiplication. I have also received word from nearly 60 people (both believers and non believers) who were inspired to leave the city and start a farm. I believe that for the believers this is the first step towards active ministry in the nearby villages, and for the non believers who are beginning farmers, I pray that God would touch them and then eventually they may also begin to minister to the villages around them, in due time! So even though my farming or home education lectures are not strictly evangelical in nature, I take every opportunity to share the message of Christ and village missions, and God has been using that in amazing ways.

I was also able to preach in two churches while we were in the city. Please pray that all these seeds that are sown would germinate and sprout and produce a plentiful crop of souls for Christ and workers for the Kingdom!

While we were in the city we also put our farm/family/ministry vehicle through the gantlet of garages and mechanics. Keeping a vehicle on the road can be expensive, especially when your roads are dirt and the vehicles are old. But I couldn't imagine not having a good car, and I wanted to just say thank you to all of you who help us keep these rigs on the road. They literally help "drive" our ministry! So we got our Delica out of the shop, Rebecca and I drove home and then I let the work crew for the orphanage use it to drive up here to start the last stage of the orphanage construction.

Unfortunately, four miles from home somehow the antifreeze drained out of the Delica and the engine overheated. It blew a head gasket for sure, and we are now in the process of diagnosing the engine to see how much damage was down to the engine block and head itself. So exasperating to get the car out of the shop, a rebuilt fuel pump, a ton of work done on the suspension, breaks pads replaced, new tires, some wiring problems fixed, just to now be rig-less again! We actually have a second car, a Honda Odessey that was donated to us by a believer in Krasnoyarsk last December, so it was a good backup rig, except the crew boss (of the orphanage construction crew) had asked to borrow the Odyssey to go to a church conference in Boguchany and broke the ignition lock while driving it. So, we now have two cars, both in good "working condition", but neither work!!!

This actually is an area I need a lot of prayer in. I personally do not drive, and Rebecca can not drive every time we need something, so I end up relying on a lot of extra help to drive me, or to drive for us. Consequently I have a lot of people telling me that everyone else except themselves is an awful driver, or that their crazy and wild driving style is actually rational and calm and if I only drove myself I would understand. Well I do understand that these drivers have a cumulative tendency in destroying cars faster than I can repair them! So I need wisdom in how to deal with drivers, how to set up good rational guidelines for drivers and how to follow through with consequences when drivers destroy things. Please pray for this, that we can get the Delica and the Odyssey running with as little outlay as possible and that I would have wisdom to deal with my drivers.

As I mentioned above, the work crew for the Orphanage showed up in Oseenavy Mees to finish the work on the orphanage. Hopefull by the beginning of December the orphanage construction saga will be over! Five US teams, four Russian contractors, things done over several times, but we are finally on our last and final push! What we will have is a beautiful 2670 sqr foot facility, fully functional and capable of housing up to 20 children and their parents. The only problem? The parents. PLEASE continue to PRAY that the Lord would provide that perfect family, to use this facility. Back in 2007, I was naive, I sincerely believed that the problem with ministry was the lack of resources, facilities or and infrastructure. And while these are needs, more often than not the limiting factor is, as always, laborers for the Kingdom. So pray that the Lord of the Harvest, the Father of the fatherless, would send a family who would use this facility to minister to the orphans of this region.

On the down side, I have been having some health issues. I had a pretty bad asthma attack that started on the 24th of September, just a few days after I got home from Kemerova, and lasted till the 5th of October when Rebecca and I went to the city. I had another serious asthma attack on Oct 18, three days after getting back from the city with Rebecca and the girls. This attack was life threatening and I only got real relief by heading South to Krasnoyarsk. I stayed in Krasnoyarsk for the remainder of October, just about two weeks. Following the suggestions of a pneumologist, I borrowed an industrial Ozone generator from a friend and bought a pretty high grade three stage air cleaner and sent them home. Rebecca set these up in the house and cleaned the air in the house for about a week before I returned. I got back in the village yesterday and so things seem to be doing, although not a hundred percent better, at least controllable.

As I shared in my last email, I think the Lord is moving us from hear, and my continued asthma issues, which seem to only flare up when I am in Takuchet or Oseenavy Mees, seem to be confirmation of this, or at least more evidence on the side of moving on. Please pray for healing and for guidance as we pray about the next step. Please also pray that God would provide a pastor to lead the churches in Takuchet and Oseenavy Mees, both so that we can take a long overdue furlough in the US to see family and friends, as well as to free us up to make the next step. As always, the need is laborers.

Rebecca and the girls are doing very well. The girls continue to blow our minds with their memorization ability, they both recited 1 Corinthians 13 in church the other Sunday and are going to be reciting Ephesions 6:10-19 "The Armor of God" next Sunday. They are both learning to read and write and count and do basic math this year. We have been blessed with our girls! Kirsten continues to be a perpetual source of Sunshine! A happier baby I have never seen! Rebecca got a hand cranked carding machine and is merrily carding her way through two years worth of sheep wool, the little machine is an "industrial revolution" compared to the carding brushes she used to use! Rebecca has also started making soap for us, and to sell to our farm produce clientele! I really did get a Proverbs 31 woman for a wife! Speaking of which, she is sitting next to me as I write this prepping hides for tanning! So I'll wrap this up, let her read and edit for me and do some hide prepping myself!!

Thank you so much for your prayer! Thank you so much for lifting us up. As Paul says in Ephesians, pray for us that we may always open our mouths boldly to declare the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Justus Rebecca, Tirzah, Adara and Baby Kirsten

September 24, 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters In Christ!

It has been a while since I last wrote, largely because the summer months are full of farm work and usually very little of what is considered "ministry." Over the summer months we usually cut back on all church functions except Sunday Services and Wednesday night Prayer Meeting. But all the hay has been put up (almost 50 ton, loose), the potatoes are in the root cellars of both of our churches buildings (267 buckets), a variety of pumpkins, squash, carrots, beets, jars of jam and various preserves all squirreled securely away for the coming long winter. The lambs and kids have grown up and the last harvest, the butchering, will happen in November, when it gets cold enough to safely keep the meat in a barrel outside. Rebecca is carding the wool with the girls and she will be spinning in the long winter evenings. Summer has turned to fall and will soon pull the white sheet of snow up, and snuggle into the deep sleep of winter. And we will kick it into high gear ministry mode!!!

But even though during the summer our "official" ministry work is toned down a bit, God still opens many doors for serving others and proclaiming His Kingdom. During the summer months as we plowed and planted and harrowed and put up hay and wood, sheared sheep and washed wool, God brought some 50 people, hitchhikers, reporters, farm volunteers and just seekers from as far away as Krasnodar (Black Sea), and St. Petersburg. Some of these people came to make documentaries about us, some of them came to learn about farming, all of them heard the Good News, that God is our Father through the work of Jesus and that He wants all of us to turn from idols and serve the living God! It's funny how none of our neighbors will listen any more. They shrug us off with quips about "our crazy American's" and yet people from all over Russia show up, almost every week, to listen to what God has to say through us.

We had three boys live with us all summer, two boys lived with us for about two months and one boy lived with us for a month. This has become a kind of tradition with us, taking in boys over the summer and working, living and encouraging them in their faith.

One amazing thing that happened was a man from a few villages over, heard about us and came to talk with us. He had recently lost his wife and was fighting depression and alcoholism. I talked to him about God's will for his life and he received the Lord. A few days later he brought a woman who had killed her husband in a drunken fight with a knife and was suffering from shame and remorse. The court had ruled it self defense but she was tortured with guilt. We talked about the just requirements of God's law, that mans slayers do not enter the Kingdom, but that Christ took the punishment for our sins and suffered as a murderer, as a their, in our place. She also accepted the Lord. I was able to get these two connected with the local church in their town, a church we had helped plant years ago. Praise the Lord!

We've had a couple of new people coming to church meetings in Takuchet and Oseenavy Mees. The church body in Oseenavy Mees is always such an encouragement, and I have no doubt that they will continue to grow and to "reproduce", giving birth to spiritual children as the Lord adds to the number of those who believe. But for what ever reason Takuchet has been hard in that way. We have people who come consistently but only a few who really show signs of real spiritual life. It's not for me to judge, but please pray for the believers in Takuchet, that they would experience God in a way that is beyond their comprehension, and carry the message of Christ to the rest of the town. As is, our little group in Takuchet is very friendly, and if nothing else, very consistent. That is a blessing. May God explode their hearts!!!

Mid summer we had a big outreach in the town of Chunoyar. We used the new church building that was built largely due to help from our supporters, thank you!!!! Musicians came from the big city (Krasnoyarsk) and we had a great time. We had three car loads of people go from Oseenavy Mees and Takuchet to the event. There were non believers who heard the word preached and believers who were reminded that the Gospel is our bread, and sharing the gospel our food.

In the 20th chapter of John, Jesus calls out to his disciples in the boat, "Children, do you have any food?" What a strange question. You'd think you would ask fishermen, "do you have any fish?", "what did you catch?" But Jesus asks, children, do you have any food? What do John and Peter reply? No Lord, we're starving. No Lord, we're professional fisherman, we have nets and a lake and we're starving. Not because we can't catch fish (that too) but because the food we catch doesn't satisfy. It doesn't last. Peter dives into the lake, Drags the net of miraculously caught fish up on the shore, but Jesus already has breakfast ready. He didn't need the colossal effort Peter was willing to exert. What does Jesus want? What does the risen Christ need?

Peter, do you love me? Do you love me? Do you really love me? Yes Lord, you know I do, you know all things!! Stop torturing me, I'll do anything for you, I'll drag a half ton of fish up on the shore, I'll swim, I'll run….Peter, do you love me? Do this one thing. This one little thing. Feed my sheep.

So what is our food? In the fourth chapter of John, Jesus talks to the Samaritan woman, I will give you water! And she replies, well give it to me then? And He says, go tell your husband about me! And that was the water. When a child asks for bread does a Good Father give a stone? NO! She asked for the living water to flow. She had met Christ. All she needed to do was to believe and to go and share. Period. Life changing experience. But she got bogged down for another half chapter in theological, social and philosophical discourse! So fishing is good, and getting water at the well is good, and potatoes are necessary, and work is unescapable, but our food, our real food, is Christ and he is always present when we are seeking out a lamb, a lost sheep, and giving him the living water, sharing with her the bread of life. Child, do you have food? Feed my sheep. Are you hungry? Feed my sheep!

So we are also thinking about how we can "feed more sheep." The last couple of months we've really been doing a lot of soul searching as to the direction God is taking us and our ministry. I'd like to share with you a letter I wrote to my pastor as well as to some key councilors in our lives. Here it is:

Some Thoughts on Changing the Look and Feel of Our Ministry

First of all we have always wanted to plant new churches and open new ministries, to get a church started in all of the 27 villages of the Boguchany region. We also have always known that the long term future of village missions in Russia has to lay on the shoulders of Russians. That's why 4 years ago we moved to Takuchet and started the two farming experiments, one with cows in OM and one with goats in Tak. As you know our hope was to find a model for "tent making" that could theoretically support a farmer/missionary/pastor. We also started the RPTC in hopes of recruiting people interested in rural ministry.

four and a half years later we have a definite model that works, and a laundry list of requirements for success for a farm/mission endeavor. We realized the extent of the financial investments in starting a farm from scratch, even in Russia, as well as the realities of marketing product, etc.

We also found out
how very few people are interested in full time village ministry, especially when that means working with your hands. So we have come to some realizations.

1). Starting a church in every village is beyond the scope of the currently available recruits in Christian Russia. To reach the rural areas we should think in terms of strategically placing pastor/missionaries to be able to reach 3-4 villages at a time. This also makes sense if these teams are also going to be starting farms, the capital investment being substantial, allowing a pastor to reach 3-4 villages as opposed to 1. So the idea is to place pastors with their farms in locations where the "investment" of both very scarce human resources, and less scarce financial resources can do 3-4 times more than previously envisioned.

2). We are famous now! Funny, but this is a reality. I have almost 17,000 followers on Russian Facebook and over 32,000 subscribers on YouTube. Crazy as this is it has given us an unprecedented platform for sharing our ideas and for recruiting. I've gotten more response in the last 12 months from Russian Christians who want to go to the villages, who want to farm and open churches, than I have in the last 11 years of ministry in the Boguchany region combined. I've gotten encouraging letters about people who were encouraged to start rural ministries just by seeing us online, as well as people wanting to come and learn. Lots of people want to come out for a week or a weekend to "absorb" the idea, a few mention longer term internships (among non believers I have a list of over 100 people interested in coming to intern with us just for the farm side of things). However almost all of these believers already have a place their church is wanting to send them. No one, so far, seems interested in coming to the Boguchany region to start something here.

3). Takuchet is not an appropriate set up for exampling the model of ministry we have developed. We could of course build another building to house students (long term, live in, additions to the family have not been so wonderful for us), increase the size of the farm to support the increased personnel, start a church in Oktobersky to bring the number of churches we oversee up to the desired 3, but aside from all that, we are very far a away from, well, everything. We'd like to locate in such a way as to make ourselves available as an example to every and any potential recruit, even for a weekend or a week. We need to make ourselves available to serve the recruits where they can come, learn, and then go back and minister where God is leading them.

So we are praying and thinking about what this all means for us. Right now we are thinking that it probably means that we will be here in Takuchet and OM until we can find a replacement pastor to carry on the work and a family to work in the orphanage. After that we'd like to take a furlough in the US of about 6 months, to see supporters and family. After that we would then look where to set our next farm/church plant operation with the above considerations held in mind. It would most likely not be the Boguchany region, most likely somewhere closer to a city where national travel is more facilitated. We will not end up in a city, just try and make ourselves more available for people to learn. We'd still be doing village ministry, still be hoping to send missionaries to the Boguchany region, but also realizing our role as models and trainers for work all over Russia, wherever the workers can be found and to wherever they want to go.

So, that's what's on our minds. Nothing really to solid yet, a lot of details to pray about, a lot of things that need to come together first, but still, an idea.

What do you think? Love to hear prayerful feedback.
Pray for us that God would guide us, that doors would open and close as He sees fit. We also really want to come home for a visit, but can not do that until we get a solid replacement pastor in place. Please pray for this need.

Mid way through summer a church from the city of Kemerova asked me to come be a keynote speaker at their missionary conference. I was unable to go then, because of the farm work, but I recorded a video and sent that. Last week I was invited by the largest meat packing company in Kemerova to go and sell our cheese as well as to speak, twice, at their open air farmers market. I was given two 40 min spots to lecture on topics of my choice. I spoke about the future of farming in Russia and about family values. In both lectures I was able to bring things back to the Gospel. I gave 4 interviews for TV and the press. Sowing seeds. The next day on Sunday I spoke in two large churches, encouraging the believers to realize that now is the time to seize the day, start family farms and village ministries, feed the nation with both temporal and eternal food. The response was encouraging, people touched and motivated. Please pray that the Lord of the Harvest would truly send laborers.

In closing, I've left some of the most exciting news for last.
Our good friends, Dan and Joan Rulison, have made the decision to join our work on a full time basis. They will be doing mission advocacy in the US as well as traveling to Russia for semi long term trips to be involved in the work here. We are still praying for the Lord to show us how this new partnership will grow, so pray that God would guide us in this. And just send your thanks and blessings in the direction of the Rulison's. This has been something that has been in their hearts and ours for a long time. God is good to bring all things to completion!!!!

Sorry about the website being down! Our web hosting came up for renewal and I was in the middle of haying, by the time I got around to dealing with it, the host had deleted our whole site off the server. So I'll need to get it re-uploaded some time. I'm also building a Russian language version of our site. Pray for these technical projects to get done quickly, and not be a distraction.

Finally, I don't know if any of you have been following the news, but the Russian ruble has collapsed over the summer. ALthough this has caused a lot of hardships for our brothers and sisters in the Lord in Russia and is by no means a reason for any kind of celebration, it has provided us with a financial opportunity. Their are a few capital investment type projects I'd like to do in Takuchet. We need a new septic tank installed and it would be a major blessing to have a well, to not have to haul water. Drilling a well will now cost about $1200 as opposed to last years $2,500. The septic tank will now cost $500 as opposed to $1,000. This is a need, and an opportunity. If you feel led, we would be blessed.

As always, thank you for your support, your faithful prayers and uplifting of this work. God is doing something amazing in rural ministries, we are blessed to be a part of it, and we were here because we were sent by you. Thank you!

In closing…

Please Pray
That God would give us clear vision for the future.
That God would provide a family for the orphanage.
That God would provide a pastor for our two churches so we can move on and come home for a much needed furlough.
That God would guide and bless the Rulisons as they join our work in a more full capacity.
That all the seeds God has allowed us to plant will sprout and bring a good harvest.
That God would continue to open doors for us to speak, and that we would continue to be bold and speak all the word of this Life, regardless of persons!!!

Again, thank you for your faithful prayers and support! God bless!!

Justus, Rebecca, Tirzah, Adara and baby Kirsten!!!

Support Info

Currently our home church in Idaho handles all our tax deductible donations for us. Please send a check made out to Cabinet Mountain Calvary Chapel. Please attach a sticky note or a separate note, designating your donation for “Siberian Mission.” If you would like to give to a particular project, please designate that as well. Please do not make any notes on the check itself. Send your check to:

Cabinet Mountain Calvary Chapel
PO Box 461
Clark Fork, Idaho 83811



602328_10151982909718121_1151756877_ndan and joan rulison

June 19, 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Spring is passed and the hot, hot days of summer have arrived. How hot could it be in snow bound Siberia you might ask? Well the other day it was 98 degrees F, in the shade! So Siberia is a land of contrasts and contradictions, as our lives often are.

The last couple of weeks have been full of the Spring time work on the farm. I use my little farm tractor and a rotor tiller attachment to plow a lot of peoples gardens in both the towns of Takuchet and Oseenavy Mees. I usually plow for the church folk as well as for a lot of people in the communities. It's a nice way to interact with people, share the gospel and invite people to trust in Jesus. Can't say that there were any tractor side conversions this year but, a lot of seed was sown. One of the reasons I like plowing is that I can be a blessing to people in these two towns in need. Plowing the garden spot for a widow or for an abandoned single mother with two children, is a small way I can give a real helping hand.

Jordan and Janahlee are back in Russia for the summer, and have already headed up north to the Evenki people. They are planning on sending a few months in the Evenki territory before heading back to the US for the birth of their first child. Right now they are in a season of decision, praying and searching for what God has in store for them as a family, whether to continue the work with the Evenki as a family and in what capacity. Please pray for these two brave pioneers of the Kingdom, that the Lord would give them a real vision and a peace for what their next steps should be.

For the last several Sundays we've had a newcomer attending Church, reading, praying and asking questions in Takuchet. She makes a welcome addition to our little band of faithful believers. Takuchet has been an uphill fight, but maybe we will soon find that "man of peace" who will be a turning point in ministering to this town. Pray that the Lord would put a passion and an urgency in the hearts of the believers to share the Gospel with their friends and neighbors.

A couple of churches from the city have talked about sending outreach teams to us this summer to do youth and children's outreach. We would be so blessed by this so please pray that these events would really come about.

Last week I got news from our church in Idaho that the last of the money needed to finish the orphanage had come in!!! Praise the Lord! This building project will be 8 years old this August, and I personally am ready for it to be completed and launched. Last november a contractor friend of ours had pointed out some issues that needed to be addressed so that set the work back some. Right now we are pulling together a small work crew and hopefully will be able to start work in the first part of July and be done, finished, completely finalized by mid August. Praise the Lord.

We started the orphanage project in response to the Russian laws concerning foreign adoptions becoming ever more stringent between 2004 to 2008. I felt that we needed to continue to do something to aid the orphans and building an orphanage seemed like the best, long term investment we could make. We designed the orphanage to house 20 children, the maximum size of an "orphanage family" allowed for by Russian law in 2007. Back then the largest barrier for families wanting to start a "family orphanage" (much like a US foster home but more long term, more like adoption but with more than just a few children) was the rigorous home inspection and housing requirements.

We hoped to provide a facility that would fulfill those requirements and allow a Christian family to pursue their goal of helping children. Frankly I underestimated the enormity of the project, and if I had it to do over again I would have built using a different method on a smaller scale. But what we have ended up with is a 3000 sqr foot facility that is nicer than any home I've ever lived in! Now that the finish line is in sight, we need to be in serious prayer that God would send us the right family that can adopt the vision as their own, not just my idea, and really run with it. We have already had two families commit and then back out of the project, but I believe that this has been, although painful at the time, in the long run for the better. But as I said we are nearing the finish line as far as the construction phase goes and I want to see this building, so long in coming, to be put to good use immediately.

So please be in prayer that there would be no more construction set backs or surprises as we wrap up and that a family would step up in the near future to utilize the facility. And thank you, all of you, for supporting a project so long in maturing.

We have been studying the Gospel of John in the Takuchet Church and just went through Chapter 12, the anointing of Christ by Mary at Bethany. Two contrasts jumped out at me.

The first, the contrast between Mary and Judas. She is willing to sacrifice, even to the point of waste, to pour out her precious oils and spices and lavish it on Christ. She doesn't care for the scene she's making, she doesn't care for the gossip she's generating, she cares only to give her utmost for Him, because she knows that He is the real pearl of great price. Christ is not an end to a means with her, He is the final goal of all searches, the destination of all roads, the hero of every tale. He is the Beginning and the End, so in Him, she finds her end by giving all and receives a new beginning.

Judas, on the other hand is a thief and sees Christ as means to an end, a resource generating, revenue collecting mechanism for personal progress. But I have to not write Judas off so easily, because Judas is among the disciples, and Mary is not. Judas is an important ministry partner, the accountant, a trusted friend, a confidant, a team member, a chosen herald of the Kingdom. But Judas missed Christ. He proclaimed the Kingdom as Christ's emissary but never realized that the Kingdom of God begins and ends in Christ. Judas had confused the goals, not doing ministry but truly knowing Christ.

The other contrast (or even contradiction) that struck me was the nature of Mary's gift. It is spices and oils, worth a great sum of money, but it's a shroud, a burial poultice, a mixture for mummification, a choice collection of fragrances reeking of death and the grave. In the previous chapter Jesus had just raised Lazarus, Mary's brother, from the dead. Why did she still have these oils, these spices? Had she not been able to use them on her brother? Had she kept them in hope that Jesus would raise him? I can't answer that but I can say what leapt out at me.

Here is Mary, so lately bereaved and then relieved, so lately brought down to the depths of sorrow and raised to the ecstasy of faith. And what is her response? She gives her greatest treasure to Christ. But what is that treasure? Her treasure is the precious, priceless treasure of the grave, the mummification of death in overpowering dead aroma's.

Isn't it true with us all, though? Don't we collect our treasures of death and hide them away in our heart's most dear treasure trove, our offenses that our useful only to petrify the corpse of a relationship but which are so fragrant to our lacerated memory. Our secret sins and our not so secret bitterness. What to do with all this blessed death? We can take the road of Judas and mask our thievery with piety. Or we can pour it out on Jesus, lavish it on Him, empty the well of our sorrows and our delights on Him. What does he do with all our fragrant sin? He thanks us, blesses us, and takes it to the cross, dies with it on His shoulders, carries it to hell, and leaves it there.

What can we do for Him? What can we give Him? We can lay on him our burdens, our precious and costly graveyard burdens, and be free. And that too is a contradiction. God give us grace to lay all at Jesus' feet.

Justus D. Walker

February 19, 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ! Whether we do it on paper, verbalize or keep these thoughts to ourself, on New Years we all, I think, make some kind of resolutions. The New Year is too good of a natural delineation of time and events to be wasted on the everyday routine and, in and of itself, demands a sort of sanctification which arises with our solemn vows, resolutions, intentions, personal promises, goals or however else we want to describe those internal steelings of our will that we hope the New Year will bring. Having crossed, as we hope, the Rubicon we often find ourselves, very soon, far less steeled than we thought, less inclined to fulfill our good intentions than we had hoped or even thought ourselves to be. So it was with me. 

As the New Year came and went I made a resolution to write an email update once a week. It is now the 20th of February and this will be the first newsletter of the year. I am appalled at my own lack of discipline in this regard. We appreciate and depend on your prayers and involvement in this ministry and I do not mean to abuse your commitment by not communicating with you. Please forgive me

So Now I'll try and go over the past two and a half months and let you know what has been going on. It has been an eventful period, full of excitement, averted tragedy, ministry, doors opened and the Kingdom advanced.

In the first part of December, Rebecca, the girls and I were planning on a little vacation to visit family in the US. We were planning on leaving December 2nd and being in the US for three weeks. On the morning of our flight we got to the airport and could not find our flight displayed on any of the departure screens. I went to information and they said that the flight had been changed to an hour and a half earlier and that we had missed check in and boarding. I was livid. I went upstairs to try and figure out a solution with the Aeroflot company representative, the whole time grumbling under my breath about how I'd like to travel just once without incident. My internal dialogue went something like, "God, this is not funny. All I want is to take a little vacation with my family, visit relatives we haven't seen for three years, why can't you just help me out here?!" The Aeroflot representative was less than sympathetic, fined us heavily for a ticket change for four days later and told me we would have to take our complaint up with the regional office in Krasnoyarsk. More grumbling in the direction of heaven on my part.

So we hauled ourselves and our luggage back to our friend's car, who was luckily still around to take us back to the city. We decided to grab some breakfast before going back to our friend's house where we planned on waiting for our flight. At breakfast Rebecca started having some contractions, pain and troubling signs. We rushed her to the prenatal clinic and they got her on an IV, did an ultrasound and said we were showing signs of preterm birth. They suggested attempting to stabilize things with some meds and then to get us into the hospital and get Rebecca a cerclage put in. It all happened so quickly, and I began to imagine us, flying somewhere over the Ural mountains when this would have started to happen. My grumbling turned to thanksgiving, suddenly happy the flight had been moved and we had not been notified. Give thanks in all things. There is a power in that, which i know I often forfeit because I walk in my own understanding and not in humility toward His word. Give thanks in all things.

I went to the Aeroflot regional office while Rebecca was in the hospital and they were much more understanding. They refunded us our full ticket price plus the fines we had to pay for ticket changes. We were thankful for that. Speaking of tickets I am still trying to get United Air to return at least a portion of our continental US tickets and have not had the same fortune. Please pray that they would be gracious towards us and refund us the money for the US portion of our trip.

Rebecca spent seven days in the hospital after the she got the cerclage. After that we went home to Takuchet. So we didn't get to go to the US, but we were thankful that we had been spared another tragedy.

Jordan and Janahlee, who had been living in the woods with the nomadic Evenki people since August, came out of the woods in early December and made there way down south to spend Christmas with us! They actually came a day or two before Christmas and spent over two weeks with us! It was a great time of reunion, fellowship, mutual encouragement, good food and just good old fashioned fun. We opened stockings on Christmas morning, sang Christmas carols and rejoiced that the Light of the World had come, and that the darkness had not overtaken Him. Nor ever will.

Please pray for Jordan and Janahlee as they seek guidance for their further work in the Evenki Region. They are praying for specific guidance on how their ministry is to look. This is a crucial crossroads for them and I would encourage everyone to pray for this wonderful family daily as they seek to do God's work and gulfill his will in the far north. You can read more specifically about their adventures, hardships and decisions that need to be made at their blog here:

Another fun event that happened in December involved a car. Not a car wreck, just a car! I got a phone call from a guy who had seen in the news that we had wrecked our Delica mini van back in October and that we wanted to buy a new one. I explained that we had already been able to buy a new van and that everything was fine. He said that he had determined to give us a car and that he thought we could probably put two cars to use. A week or two later, a friend of mine brought the car up to the village, a 2001 Honda Odyssey! We were so amazed at both the condition of the vehicle and at the gift. So now we have two vehicles for ministry, the all terrain Delica beast, and the more urbane Odyssey. This summer when we built the garage for two cars, I was thinking about having somewhere to park a friends car, not needing the space tow park our two cars! This will prove very advantageous as you will shortly see.

While Janahlee and Jordan were still with us we did two large outreach efforts, one on the 7th of January and one on the 8th. The 7th is the traditional Russian Orthodox date for Christmas and we try to do an outreach event. The Church in Oseenavy Mees put together a full length theatrical production which we showed on the 7th in Oseenavy Mees and then again on the 8th in Takuchet. As always we had quite a few people show up from the village and this year we have even seen some of these people joining the fellowship on a consistent basis. Praise the Lord. Please pray that the believers, especially in Takuchet, would be convicted that making disciples is an essential part of being a disciple.

About this same time, on the 6th of January or so, a contractor friend of mine named Sasha Shahtaren (Sasha Sh. for short) showed up to help finish the orphanage. He had taken a look at our project in Novemebr during the big church conference and had noted things that had been done incorrectly and needed to be redone, as well as just some good advice on how to wrap things up in general. The orphanage project has kind of been at a stand still for the last two years, three different contractors taking it on to finish and really not getting much, if anything done. Very frustrating. Well Sasha Sh. came in like a whirlwind, organized the men in our church and attacked the project with a vengeance. There were quite a few mistakes that had been made and the crew spent a good month getting everything that had been done, redone in the correct way and making a lot of progress. We are now finally on, what I really do believe is the final stages of the orphanage project. Sasha Sh. estimate 6-8 weeks to get things completely finished, including all the cosmetic details, etc. Sasha Sh. estimates we need $15,000 to finish the construction side of the orphanage. Please pray for this big need. We hope to keep up our momentum and would like to recommence work in the first part of March so please keep this in your prayers.

Speaking of the orphanage, we have recently been contacted by two different candidates for people to run the orphanage. I believe that God is providing the workers right at the same time as we are finishing the project. This is very exciting, so please keep us in your prayers that God would give us wisdom and guidance in filling these positions.

After Janahlee and Jordan took off for the city on the 10th of January, the time on their visas running out, we were working on settling back into our normal ministry/work/life routine when once again things got shook up. On the 19th of January Rebecca had some serious contractions, tightening of the womb and cervical pain. We called our consulting doctor and our midwife and the suggested we needed medical help. We rushed Rebecca to the regional hospital in Boguchany, where they put her on an 8 hour IV and then flew her to the Prenatal Center in Krasnoyarsk. I got the girls around and had one of the brothers drive us down to the city to be near Rebecca. They put her on magnesium and some calming agent for her womb. She spent another 8 days in the Prenatal Center. Thankfully everything calmed down, the doctors sent us home with a firm recommendation of lots of rest. We began to think that this pregnancy had been kind of rough, so we decided to move Rebecca and the girls to the city to wait for the baby in close proximity to good medical care if the need arose. My mom, June, wanted to come and be near us and help, so she arrived in Krasnoyarsk on the 2nd of February. Rebecca, my mom and the girls will be staying in Krasnoyarsk until after the baby comes.

I spent a lot of time in December, and then Again in February going interviews, appearing on numerous TV and radio shows. I traveled to Moscow in the first week of February for a three day series of interviews, appearances, speeches, etc. Again, I do not exactly know what the reason for my recently found fame, but I see it as an open door that God has allowed me to enter into. I try to speak about the Lord and the message of the Gospel whenever I have the chance, to say things to prick interest and then on my YouTube channel I develop the ideas for people who are searching. Right now we have just over 24,000 subscribers on our youtube channel and I am trying to use that as a tool for spreading the ideas of the Kingdom. Thank you all for your long term commitment to our work. The reason we were "discovered" was because we were here to be discovered in the first place and your faithful prayers and support is what made that possible. Thousands of Russians are hearing a message they might not have otherwise heard, in the villages and now in the inter webs, thanks to you. Praise the Lord!

Invitations for teaching engagements have been piling up as well. In Late January I went and did two days of consulting work for two different farm projects, a Baptist based farm and a Pentecostal based church farm as well. The idea of using farming as a tool for village ministry is catching on. Praise the Lord. I also Did a three day conference at the end of January teaching on the topic of family. I have a series of 25 lessons on family, but in these small conferences I usually do about 8 to 10 hours of teaching. It is always a blessing to see people inspired to turn again to their own homes, to relay the ruined foundations and re-establish that "me and my house will serve the Lord." I have a large conference in March, as well as teaching opportunities in the Bible Colledge in Kansk, where I will speak on the topic of family and also village ministry. God continues to open many doors, and I believe here doors are not only doors for me to minister but also doors through which God will bring new partners into our ministry.

Like Volodya Y. Volodya saw the 17 second viral video of me laughing about the sanctions and got interested in this strange laughing American. He dug deeper and found that I was a pastor and a village missionary. He contacted me and asked if he could join our work. Now He has been with us for almost three months. We are studying the Bible together, he is learning the ups (has seen several births of goat kids) and downs (the other day one of our does failed to deliver and died) of farming and of the village life and ministry in general. Volodya wants to learn everything he can in the next year or two and then start a similar village ministry. Pray that God would continue to give Volodya a teachable spirit and encourage him through the ups and downs of the learning curve.

That brings us, more or less, up to date! As I said in the beginning of the letter, it has been an eventful time, several scares, lots of joy, many opportunities to progress the Kingdom. Keep us in your prayers, keep Rebecca and the new baby in your prayers, pray for the orphanage project and for Jordan and Janahlee, pray that God would give me grace and courage to use the open doors to proclaim his truth boldly, either in the village or on national TV. Thank you for your part in this ministry!!

Justus, Rebecca, Tirzah, Adara, (+1)!

01 New Car02 Volodya Y and I03 Going to get a tree04 Doing lessons withthe girls05 setting up for an interview05a doing a radio interview in Kras06 advent with the girls07 Christmas Tirzah08 Christmas morn09 Stockings10 christmas breakfast11 Jordan and me12 walker family christmas photo13 walker family christmas photo color14 Tirzah christmas photo15 Adara christmas photo16 the girls on christmas17 Rebecca and I18 Jordan and Janahlee19 Outreach in OM20 church in OM21 doing farm consultation

November 30, 2014

Dear Brothers And Sisters in Christ, A lot has been going on here in the last month or so, I'll try and do my best to bring you all up to speed!

First things first, last news letter I wrote about the opportunity, due to a matching funds donor in the US and the spontaneous outpouring from our "fans" here in Russia, to purchase a vehicle to replace the one we wrecked back in October. I am pleased to report that we were able to raise, along with what came in on the Russian side, enough money to purchase a new vehicle, do basic post purchase maintenance and repairs and put $2,500 in the bank towards future repairs. Thank you all so much for stepping up and helping us in this crisis. We will endeavor to stay right side up on the road from now on!!

The day after we bought the car, Andrey and I took it on it's "maiden" voyage (its a 1997 Mitsubishi Delica) to the city of Prokopevsk where I conducted two days of seminars on family and child rearing. It was a good time, well attended and even afterwards I continue to get a lot of positive feedback. There is a real hunger amoung the beleivers for solid teaching on the family. Praise the Lord! I'll be ring to the city of Kansk this January where I hope to be able to share my whole collection of teachings on the family, about 22 hours worth. Please pray that this event will come together smoothly. On the way to and from Prokopivsk, we stayed with Pastor Vlad in Kemerova. He has also asked me to come to Kemerovo in 2015 and do an extensive series of lectures on the family. God is opening doors.

My parents came to visit from the 6th of November to the 20th of November, two weeks that flew by as if it had been two days! They came to commemorate the 20th year anniversary of the establishment of the church in Oseenavy Mees, the first church in the Boguchany region. We had a three day long conference, guests came in from all over Russia. The theme of the conference (aside from being the 20th birthday of the church) was missions. A call to everyone to not look at oneself and see the reasons why not to go, but to realize that often the very reasons we have to not go or not serve are the very things God will use to glorify Himself through you. My parents shared how several missions organizations told them that they could never be overseas missionaries with four kids, but how that turned out to be one of our largest assets. The first people who came to faith were all our friends, children us kids had befriended.

Mom and Dad left on the 20th of November, but not before having to sit through a radio and then a TV interview in Krasnoyarsk. God continues to use the "fame" from last August to open doors for me to preach the word or at least sow seeds. Praise the Lord. Unfortunately, for the English speakers, all the content from these events is in Russian!

This week a man by the name of Volodya arrived to join the RPTC program (Rural Pastor Training Center). He has been in the Lord for some years and has been looking for someone who was working in the villages to work with and learn from. That's when he saw some news report about an American raising goats in the Boguchany region. He looked into it and found us! So far he seems very prone to learning and to helping. He helped me a lot over the last couple of days as we slaughtered and then butchered, packaged and stored seven goats and one sheep. I think if he can stomach that a few days after arriving, he can probably do most anything!! Please pray for Volodya that he would be able to lean what we can teach him, that he would then carry that knowledge forward and use it in his ministry in the future.

We are now getting our bags around to hit the road again! Back in July an anonymous supporter gave us a gift of a three week vacation to the US! PRAISE THE LORD AND THANK YOU! WE have not been back to the US as a family for about 3 years, so even though we are not in the position to come back right now and travel and see everyone and share what the Lord is doing here, we are very grateful for the season of refreshing this will afford. This vacation package includes two weeks in North Idaho where we wil be staying at my parents house, and a week cruise out of Miami. We are so humbled and blessed by this blessing. Again, thank you.

I need to wrap up this letter since it is already 7:30 AM. I still have a few chores to get done, then breakfast, a little last minute packing, two church services to do, then we hit the road for the city. Pray for traveling mercies!

Yesterday was -41 here. For our family devotions we read Psalm 147. In verse 17 there are these words, "He hurls down His hail like morsels, who can stand before His cold." As the cold literally crackled outside, I was reminded that the earth IS the Lord's and everything in it. Sometimes we see things that happen in our lives, like "bad" weather, as obstacles, burdens or hardships. This passage reminded me that there is a different perspective bred in thanksgiving; namely that the storm clouds are witnesses to His Glory. We can see His awesome power in -41, or in the darkness of the squall, or in the trials we endure only if we choose to walk in an attitude of submitsion to His will (because He is God and we are not) and thankfulness in all things. Thankfullness brings contentment, contentment born with patience brings peace, peace which passes all understanding produces joy. And the Joy of the Lord is out strength. We claim to need strength when the trials come, when the storm rages, when the world is dead with cold, but so often we turn away from the first step in the chain reaction of virtue which inevitably will bring us joy in which is our strength. For even Christ endured the cross, not out of sheer will power but "for the JOY which was set before Him."

Give thanks in all things, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:18

Justus, Rebecca, Tirzah, Adara (+1!!).

01 Choosing Delicas02 Our new Van03 in Prokopivsk with pastor valentine at the Jesus monument04 Jesus Monument in Prokopivsk05 Dad and I preaching at the Conference06 Sunrise in Oseenavy Mees07 Church Building in OM08 Group photo at Cnference day 209 worship team day three at conference10 meeting at the conference11 Borodino Group12 third day at the conference13 OM contingent at the conference14 Mom and Dad and Me at the radio station in Krasnoyarsk15 doing the radio show in krasnoyarsk

August 28, 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters In Christ,

Well I'm down with bronchitis in the middle of haying season, ordered to antibiotics and bed rest by the head doctor of our local hospital. So that means I can sit here, at my leisure, with the sun shining brightly outside and give you a detailed report on all that's going on in our corner of the world!

I hope, with Russia and the Ukraine in the media a lot more lately, that you all find it an easy reminder to pray for us. That God would give us all peace and that the Prince of Peace would bring peace and that the ambitions of men would not inhibit the spread of the Gospel. I think it's important that we filter every world event through the lens of the Kingdom. How is this effecting the spread, growth, and strengthening of the Kingdom of Christ? All the kingdoms of the world will fall. All the kingdoms are under the sway of the prince of the age, no temporal kingdom is an exception. Pray that God would give us peace, that the USA and Russia would find a way to peace, so that the Gospel can go unhindered! Amen!

Alright, back to our life! Summer is busy with farm work. As I relayed previously, our time in the winter is filled up with ministry and outreach efforts but our summers are filled primarily with farm work. Why "waste" time on our "hobby" farm? Because if we are really serious about Russian missionaries picking up and moving to the villages to serve the locals and open up churches, we need to have a tent making model that we, in good faith, know works and can say with surety, go, do this, it works. The first three years we spent in Takuchet kind of learning the ropes, finding out what could and couldn't be done, land laws, regulations, etc. We were further hindered by my health issues, attacks from some locals who slaughtered our animals and thought up various ways to inhibit the work. But God gave us faith to preserver and thanks to your prayers and faitfhful support we have two working farms. One in Oseenavy Mees and one in Takuchet. My farm in Takuchet is still teetering on the edge of solvency but I hope by this fall we should get the kinks worked out and a Russian missionary pastor could step into our shoes here and be fully supported by the farm. That's the hope for the near future! And it is exciting.

So since our last update we've been doing farm work. Had an infection in the goat kid population and lost about half the kids. That was a blow. But, we endure and learn and will avoid the situation in the future.

We also were able to get a van for our family this July. We had some issues with the bank transfer from the states, and a deal that should have taken a week ended up taking three weeks but when we drove our "new" 1995 Mitsubishi Delica 4x4 home from the city we felt it was worth it. Speaking of banking, as it turned out, a week after we got the van, finally getting the money out of the bank system, the US enacted sanctions against several Russian banks. The bank I use over here was one of them. We slipped in just under the wire. Yikes!

We are HOPING to go to Oktobersky to open a new Church there this fall. We wanted to do this last fall but we could not find a man of peace, someone to open their home for meetings. We continue to hope and pray for this man of peace. I am ready to start a new work in either Oktobersky or Novohaisk, we just need good contacts. So pray, pray for open doors. Hopefully this fall we will do two large scale outreaches in Takuchet and maybe in Oktobersky. Having the van will really help facilitate this. Thank you! PLease pray that we will be able to speak the word of this life boldly and that the hearers would be convicted and turn to Christ.

Most of August we've been trying to get in the hay. Dodging rainstorms and scrambling when the sun shines can get old after a while but it has been a good year regardless. Hopefully we'll put up enough hay this year for both the Oseenavy farm, the Takuchet farm and have extra, even though the year had been, up until haying time, a semi drought! So the Lord is Good.

My chinese tractor side bar mower keeps falling apart. It is a good thing I'm preaching through James in Takuchet on Sundays, count it all joy when you fall into various trials!! Patience having a perfect work in us makes us complete! But the darn patience has to work! And we have to let it. Count it all JOY! How can we do that? By being thankful for what we do have, by giving thanks for the many blessing and by focusing on Christ and the work he has accomplished and then our "trials" become a comic relief, and if not a comic relief, at least we keep in perspective that we have not "struggled to blood" against sin.

So summer is almost gone. My list of projects, somehow has grown by the end of the summer and not shortened. But God is good and has given me some good help this year and hopefully we can get the most important things done. I'm building a garage, or actually finishing the garage we started building last fall. The garage will house the ministry vehicle, our van that is, and my tractor. I want to put a rocket stove in so that will take some work. Finish up a few things on the greenhouse, put linoleum in the house, etc.

Please pray for Andrey, the milk man across the street.I feel like he is so close. He talks to me about God every time we meet up, and during haying season that was a lot because I was cutting his hay. He asked for prayer to get rid of a "curse" that he was afraid someone put on him, Please pray.

Near the end of July I was invited to Boguchany to preach to the church there. I spoke on the cycles of life and death, the two trees in the Garden of Eden, the two trees at Gethsemenee and the One Tree in the Garden which is the center of the New Jerusalem. How Christ is the Tree of Life, and religion is the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. Andrey and his church there are working on building a new church building. Please pray for provision.

We had two weddings in the Oseenavy Mees church this summer. No weddings for twenty years and here, two in a row. The cool thing was that the two couples each invited all of the non believing husbands of the believing women who come to church and we were able to more openly proclaim the Gospel to these men. three in particular that I would ask you to pray for are Volodya, Viktor and Sasha. All of these men, in various ways, seem close to the Kingdom. Sasha was spared in a near fatal accident last year which humbled him. Volodya has had a complete life transformation through the Biblical ministry of his believing wife, Viktor has undergone a similar change. These men would be an asset to the church if they would finally submit their lives to Jesus. Pray for them please.

One of our teens in the Oseenavy Mees youth group was attacked two weeks ago with a knife. He had a pretty bad wound to the leg. I do not think the attack was motivated by him being a Christian but then again it is hard to tell sometimes. Please pray for Sergey that God would teach him through this that bad company corrupts good morals. Pray that God would help his single mother make good decisions about bringing up a teenage boy with out a father.

Jordan and Janahlee Jonas are back! Jordan came over several years ago, worked with us for a while and then felt the Lord leading him to work amoung the native herdsmen up in the north, in Evenki territory. He recently got married, back in December in the US, and Arrived in Russia Aug 7th with his wonderful wife Janahlee! They ended up coming up to visit for almost a week and it was a blast. Please pray that Jordan and Janahlee would be given guidance on how to spread the Kingdom Message amoung the reindeer herders.

I'm planning on picking my English classes back up this fall, as well as the Bible School program. Sasha, one young man who really took learning english seriously, passed the high school English final exams this June with flying colors. 2014 was the last year that English was an elective for high school graduates. Sasha, who didn't know the alphabet when we started working in September, was so excited by the progress he made that he chose English as one of his electives! The English exams are infamous here. He is the first student in a three school area in four towns to pass the English exam in three years! Praise the Lord. Even though Sasha did not make an overt profession of faith, a lot of good seed has been planted into his life, and into the lives of many other English students here in Takuchet. The word has got around and a lot of people are asking about the upcoming season. We are able to plant seed because we are here. We can stay here because you have sent us. Thank you!

Rebecca and the girls are doing very well. Tirzah and Adara are, thankfully, so thankfully, in good health and for the most part seem to be very healthy! They are a real joy. They are just at that age where they can really start plaing together in a very meaningful way and it is, usually, pretty wonderful to watch. Usually they are not puling each others hair out! Usually. Rebecca and I made a make shift pool for them that they had some fun in over the summer days.

As I mentioned I'm on five days "bed" rest due to bronchitis! Who knows how I got that. I interpret bed rest pretty loosely though, and I'm still trying to get things done, albeit I'm not out in the fields where I should be. Rebecca has had pretty good luck this year with the green house. unfortunately while we were in the city trying to buy our van, our farm sitter either fried or flooded the green house, spider mites invaded, and it's been a downhill battle from there. Hopefully we can learn from this mistake and not repeat next season!!

Speaking of the girls we have to go to Moscow next week to extend Tirzah's passport. Her residency permit ends this February and due to the long sequence of necessary submission dates for different documents we basically have to get her a new passport now so as to safely get her residency permit extended. Long story short we all have to take a trip to Moscow to the embassy. This is a big financial burden, round trip for the whole family will cost $2,500. Pleas pray for continued provision and thank you for your support.

Rebecca has been feeling sick lately, but it's a good kind of sick. Morning sickness! Please pray that God would give her relief and a safe pregnancy. We feel at peace about having another child now and hope that you would continue to bear our whole family up in prayer. Our family is an integral part of our ministry, and as our children grow up I expect it will be even more so. Our testimony is supported by our family life.

There is an issue I'd like to talk to you about that is a little awkward. But I'll just dive in because I do want your prayers. As you may remember last year Dad and I went on a month long church tour all over russia trying to raise awareness for village ministry. So far, other than a few long lasting ministry contacts, there have been no direct results from that tour. However, I think God wants the word to get out anyway. In January a friend of a friend landed me an interview with a gourmet food magazine in Krasnoyarsk. I took the interview because I thought it might help to get me some extra clients for the farm products. They ended up not releasing the interview until June. Then the Boguchany regional TV channel came out and did a segment on us, our work, our family, our farm. Then a Moscow TV show came out, then the national evening news came out, then another Krasnoyarsk network, etc. Overnight, we've become famous. Some sites are claiming 2.3 million views of the "merry farmer" (the spontaneous nickname that has popped up for me) on YouTube. I've now been invited to several national and regional TV talk shows to talk about farming, Russian American relations etc. Here is where I want your prayers. I want you to pray that God would use this not saught after national attention for us to be able to get the word out about village missions. I'll talk about land reform and farming, but I'll also try and throw out shout outs for Christian workers to go to the villages. Those who are meant to hear this call, can then look me up later and get in touch. Please pray that God would give me the wisdom to use this media attention for HIS glory and to attract more workers to the field. And if your interested in getting a look at our life, even though most of you won't understand the language, sometimes getting to see our life is fun anyway. I've linked all the main videos that have come out about us on our YouTube channel:

Click on "playlists" it's the list with 4 videos in it.

As long as we are talking about the inter webs, I got our website back up and running at the end of June. Nothing really new there, I need to find a hassle free way of managing the thing, but it is a good resource for people to use to get to know about us and our work. Still working on a Russian version. Should have had that up before the media frenzy hit!

Anyway, about the site, please go to the site and go to our "support" page. It has an Amazon link that you can use to do your normal online shopping through and we get a little (very little) portion of the proceeds at no extra cost to you. My hope for the Amazon associate program is that we could fund our online presence (our website) and maybe in the future Russian language google ad words to help potential workers for the rural village mission field find us better. So that would help, an extra click or two for you and a little extra for us! Thanks!!

God is Good! Through ups and downs, drought and years of plenty, if we stay focused, somehow, anyhow, on the fact that He is good, we can get to the light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe the light is just the headlamp of the foreman bringing us more work, but that too is progress!! God bless!

Justus, Rebecca, Tirzah, Adara (plus one).

Andrey pastor in boguchany with building unfinished inbackgroundDelica in the fog hauling hayJordan and Janahlee learning to spin wool into yarnour girls in the poolRebeccas green house before the spider mitesTea in honor of JonasVan finallywedding feastWedding of Andrey and Tanya

August 10, 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters In Christ, 

It's been far too long since I wrote last. Funny how things like that work out. First you don't write because things are going along without much change, and you feel like there is no reason to write. Then things pick up and you don't write because your busy. Then tragedy hits and you don't write because you don't feel like bleeding all over everyone. But then you need to write, because you need people to know what is going on, because we need your prayers and because we are sent by you and do really want you all to be involved. So, please forgive me for not writing for so long. I hope than I can  be as brief as possible and yet bring everyone up to date. 

This whole winter was pretty busy. I think the best way to give you an idea of what we've been up to is to give an overview of our weekly routine, which held pretty strong and fast from the time that we got back from our trip to the hospital in January till the end of April 

Up at six with the guys who live next door (my two bible college students) to milk, water and feed the goats. Our goats started having kids in January and have been kidding ever since, no laughing matter! Every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday I would do a two hour in depth course of study for the guys in the bible college program. It's an open classroom so we had people from the church in Oseenavy Mees attending as well. For this course of in depth topical Bible studies I had 9 students pretty consistently. We covered Exegesis and most of the foundational doctrines this year. We'll pick it up next fall. 

I also started doing Youth meetings last September and have kept them up every Saturday. I do not have many kids in the youth group (5-6) but the ones who come keep coming back. We talk about their questions, rehash last Sunday's sermon or watch a movie (the last two have been Fireproof and The End of The Spear). I hope to, in the future, take them to some of the bigger churches down south like Kansk and Aban to meet other Christian youth. These kids go through a lot to have any faith at all, so pray for them, that they would continue on the path of faith. 

I also did two sunday services every week all winter (and continue to). One in Oseenavy Mees and the other here in Takuchet. Please continue to pray for God to raise up Pastors and send help. I also have been leading a sort of inductive method bible study and prayer meetings twice a week (one in Oseenavy and one in Takuchet) every week over the winter. These are always a blessing because the people get involved and get excited about seeing the word come alive for them.   

We did a big outreach on Easter and some people came to hear the word. Unfortunately no new commitments but then the Word does not go out in vain. I was proud of every one pulling together in the church to do the outreach concert (with an Easter play). 

As a result this winter several people in both churches who had stopped coming to church meetings started coming again. I also started visiting a few believers who are house bound who had been discovered by our Oseenavy Mees evangelist, Olga Alexeyevna. It is always a happy thing to find believers who have found faith, more or less independent of your work, and who are ready to learn and grow, are hungry for fellowship. Please pray for Andulina and Tamara, that they would come to a deeper knowledge of Christ even in their isolation, and that I would be diligent in visiting them in their need. 

I also did English lessons four nights a week pretty much all winter long. I like teaching English in a voluntary environment where the kids who are there come because they want to learn. With some of the older students I've had lengthy discussions about the Lord, faith and Salvation. Again, no solid commitments from this work but the seed is being sown. Please pray that Sasha passes his 11th grade English exams and that the talks I've had with him about the Lord will bear fruit.

My mom, June, visited us in the end of March beginning of April for about three weeks. It was a blast having her. Rebecca and I and the girls drove our Honda station wagon down to the city (8-10 hour drive) to pick her up and then the same drive to take her back to the airport and both occasions were kind of like mini vacations. And as I said, we had a blast while mom was here. It was nice to haver sit in on my bible lessons and "audit" them! And the girls had so much fun with her as well. I taught mom a few things about playing chess while she was here and that was fun. Mom went to visit a lot of people she had known when they lived here back in the 1990's and that gave us an opportunity to witness again to people who needed reminding that the only hope is in Christ. 

So praise the Lord. He does His Work. We preach the Word, we pray and hope and believe that He will bring in the harvest. 

On the down side one of my two bible college students went on a drinking  binge about a week before Easter. I found the hell hole he was drinking in with some other guys and literally carried him out of there, The next day he went back to it. In the course of a few days of drinking he lost all his documents and had spread rumors that I was using him as slave labor/ Without documents in Russia you could very well keep someone as virtually a slave, so I told him that I had to send him to a rehab center that specialized in helping restore peoples documents (a common problem among the down and outers of this society). It was so sad, because he had been doing so well and it seemed he had made some good decisions in his life. I've been in touch with Denis since he went to the rehab center and he seems to understand that we only wish him well. Please pray that God would continue to work with Denis, to mature him and grow him into the full measure of Christ.

Right after Easter Rebecca and I lost our baby. It happened so fast that even as I write there is a sense of unreality to the event. One moment everything is fine and you're planning to give birth. The next moment, like lightning out of a clear sky, panic, pain, fear, terror, and loss. No warning signs, everything was fine and then it wasn't. 

When Rebecca went into labor we called the local hospital for assistance but the doctors were not available, the doctor in the next town over was not qualified to assist and so they called in a medical flight from Boguchany, our regional center. In the mean time Rebecca gave birth. Christina Hope Walker was born to us alive and we held her and spent several precious hours with her, as we waited for the medical flight to arrive. As it turned out I would have done better (time wise) to have driven Rebecca to the regional hospital (where the flight was supposed to come from) because it took them almost three hours to make the 30 min flight. 

When they finally arrived they did do everything they could for our baby. The medical team administered a D and C to Rebecca in our living room on the couch, hooked Christina up to oxygen and hot water bottles and took them in the helicopter back to Boguchany. I was told I'd only be in the way and was not allowed to fly with Rebecca and the baby. I've never been so furious, frustrated, crushed and distraught in my life. I felt so inadequate, like I'd totally failed as that helicopter took off. 

I immediately got the girls things around and took them to one of the ladies in the church and went myself to Boguchany to be with Rebecca. I got to the hospital about 3 hours after they had taken off from our village. Rebecca was doing fine but was in the intensive care unit on an IV and Christina was in the incubator. She lived till 7:20 that evening. In total she lived for ten hours. 

I checked rebecca out of the hospital the next day. They wanted to keep her for no less than five days but we were adamant that she would recover better at home, and since everything was apparently in order with her health, emotionally we knew it would be best for her to be home. It all started happening on Friday the 25th of April and we were home again on Saturday the 26th. Andrey, my other bible college student, made a small pine box for us and a cross and the next day on Sunday we told the churches to hold their services without us, and we had a private family funeral. 

It's odd how ego centrical we are. How we can, with calm equanimity, look on at the suffering of millions in history, of the distant struggles and pain of those in our own time, and talk about fallen nature, and sin causing death in the world and free will. Even last summer when Natasha from the church in Oseenavy Mees, lost her nine year old son Stas to a swimming accident in the river, even then I spoke words, what now seem to me to be cardboard platitudes, about the sovereignty of God, about not knowing his mysterious ways. 

But then pain, sorrow grief, of which I have really known very little in my life, strikes home. It comes in great wrenching sobs. It comes at the check out counter for no apparent reason, it comes at night. Whoever has lost a child knows, I think, what I'm speaking of. And with the sorrow comes rage. Rage at a God who would allow such needless suffering. Rage at a God who says the harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few but who does not give the harvest and the laborers feel abandoned. Rage and a raised fist at heaven, and an echoing scream at an ashen sky, a single question, why? 

But back to egocentrism. The question isn't really why, the question is why me. Because when it is the lady in the other town whose son drowns, or old granny Paulina who lost a son, a granddaughter and great granddaughter in a house fire several years ago, when it's them, there is no question. It's just the way of the world. When it's missionaries of the past or martyrs of old who died in droves and in terrible circumstances the comfort is good enough that God is good and that He knows best. But when its you, when it's you and your own pain, then its suddenly skin for skin. 

God didn't answer my demands for an answer. God didn't come to me in the whirlwind. He never obligated Himself to us, to give an account to us for why things happen. 

So here is my take away. In the sorrow there can be honesty. Rage, if not very holy, is honest. I can not imagine God wanting us to lie about how we feel. after the rage there is submission. He is God. I am not. How can the pot condemn the potter. In worship of Him there is peace. In blessing Him, even in the pain, there is peace, a peace that passes understanding. From peace we gain strength to lay down our claims and our rights and our shattered expectations, we crawl back out onto the altar and we take up our cross. 

I don't mean to make more of this than is warranted. This is our pain, though, and even though I know there are many out there who have suffered losses far more than mine, this loss was our loss and the pain was the only pain of it's kind we've ever known. 

The only way to not be bitter, to not blame the Creator, to not demand answers until facts shatter your faith, the only way to move forward is to say to yourself that you know that God is good, that you have tasted and seen in years past his faithfulness and power and that even though these experiences and knowledge of him as good can not explain this pain, it can carry you through, it can bring your fist down, it can cause you to know that the Lord, He is God. 

I'm trying to say that this is how we get through anything he leads us threw that we don't understand. It doesn't have to be pain, it could be a matter of obedience or submission to His will, to His Word. Whatever it is, the only way to get through it is to say, sometimes with clenched teeth that I will praise Him still. Praise has the power to liberate, that I know now better than before. 

Here is a verse Rebecca ran across which ministered to us. 

Psalms 119:81-83
My soul fainteth for thy salvation:
but I hope in thy word.
Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?
For I am become like a bottle in the smoke;
yet do I not forget thy statutes.

So I still don't know why a loving God allows for pain, death and sorrow. I know the doctrinally correct answers but on the skin for skin level I can't grasp it quite yet. But I know that if I praise Him in the storm there is rest for my coal, and peace and a haven for my soul. So He is my soul's Anchor after all. 

And life goes on, and God brings joy to us after sorrow. Sasha from Oseenavy Mees, we affectionately call him "little" Sasha (he is somewhat vertically challenged) got married to Natasha, the lady who lost her son to the river and her husband to abandonment last year. The first wedding in our church in Oseenavy Mees in it's 20 year history. God is good. And another couple has announced their intentions for getting married some time in early July. God is good. 

We are in the middle of late sprain early summer work. Planting the garden, putting up firewood for the winter, preparing hay fields and trying to clear new territory to expand the hay fields we have. Preaching the gospel to any one who will listen and sowing seed both spiritual and physical. In all this, God is good. 

One last piece of news. Our Honda station wagon has served us so well, but it has run so many miles over such bad roads that it is time to turn the poor thing in and get an upgrade. We'd like to get a van for church work so I am planning on trying to sell the station wagon and an old farm truck we have and get a van. I hope to start preaching in Oktobersky this fall, finally, and a van would be a great aid in this, in transporting teams and equipment for outreach, etc. Please pray for this enterprise.

Please pray for us. Pray that God would give an increase in the harvest of souls, that people would be convicted and understand their need for Christ, for His peace and rest. Pray that God would encourage and inspire the believers who are following Christ to be bold to speak the truth of the Gospel. Please pray.  

Thank you all for your prayers and support. Please again, forgive me for not keeping you more informed. God Bless.

Justus Rebecca Tirzah and Adara