2017 Year-end Update
January 1st, 2018 Prayerletters No Comments


To download a printable PDF of this prayer letter with pictures and full graphics, please click HERE


“For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands.”

~ Psalms 92:4 ~

Looking back on 2017, this verse is an excellent summary of our year.  In all of it’s events, trials and testings, we can definitely say that the Lord has made us glad through the works of His hands.  While we may have not understood all of His workings at the time, we rest in the fact that our  Heavenly Father is all-wise and knows what is best for us.  We have triumphed in His workings in 2017, and we look forward to watching Him continue to work in 2018.

It is safe to say that nothing was as shocking or so thoroughly changed out lives as the fire.  As we watched our house burn to the ground on February 25, 2017, we never could have imagined how the Lord was going to so completely change us.  But in the ensuing weeks and months, the Lord did such an amazing work to draw us closer to Him and to each other that is still continues to amaze us even today as we talk about it with others.  It was truly the work of His hands, and we have been made glad through that work.

After the fire, it seemed like numerous other opportunities opened up which allowed us to further integrate into the community.  Many of these opportunities were not sought out by us, but the Lord brought them about in His timing and for His purpose.

In July, James and I were able to fly north to the village of Strelka for a week-long fishing trip with James’ neighbor, A—, and one other man from Strelka, K—.  During that trip, the Lord opened up several opportunities to share our faith with them as they asked many questions about the Bible and what we believe.  The fishing was great, but the sowing of the seed of the Word was even better. Please pray for these men, and that the Holy Spirit would continue to work in their lives.

Through gardening in a new location this year, the Lord opened up opportunities for Katie and the kids to befriend our new neighbors.  It has not been unusual to be startled by kids pounding on the door asking to play.  Several of Elliot’s classmates from English class and skiing lessons also live in neighboring buildings and they have also been frequent visitors to our home.

Another praise this year was that we were able to get Elliot into the children’s sports program, and he has thoroughly enjoyed the activities and learning how to ski.  The Lord has also given me (Matt) a chance to get to know the trainer, who is a long-time Vanavara resident.  Every lesson presents a new opportunity to chat with him and learn more about the area and the people, and he always has some sort of question for me about us, our life, our traditions, our beliefs, etc.

Linguistic help in English has also opened up several doors of opportunity.  The most recent being a request from the Tunguska Federal Nature Preserve which oversees the entire area where the Tunguska meteorite fell — which is not all that far from Vanavara.  In celebration of the 110th anniversary of the event, they asked us to translate and narrate some text for a short documentary film.  This film will be shown in several international conferences in Krasnoyarsk and other areas.  For our help with the project, the local administration awarded us a certificate of appreciation at the annual New Year’s tree-lighting ceremony.

More people have also expressed interest in studying English with us, so using English as an outreach tool seems to be a very good option for the future.

To view the documentary video for the 110th anniversary of the Tunguska Meteorite — CLICK HERE

To view the video from the fishing trip in July with James and his neighbor — CLICK HERE


For all of this we want to simply praise the Lord!  His grace and goodness is far beyond what we deserve and all glory is due Him.

  From the very depths of our heart, we want to thank each one of you for your faithful prayers and support that have upheld us and encouraged us throughout this year.


Prayer Praises

For the wonderful privilege to serve our God

For opportunities to interact with many in various ways in the community

For God drawing our family closer together and closer to Him through the fire and trials of our faith

Prayer Requests

Wisdom for how to proceed in the ministry here in Vanavara in 2018

Safety for the Deans as they finish furlough and travel back to Vanavara in February

That God would be glorified in every decision and plan that we make


Please be sure to download the PDF version of the prayer letter HERE to see all of the pictures and graphics in the print version.

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