June 2016 Prayer Letter
July 7th, 2016 Prayerletters No Comments

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

Learning to Live in the North


As I sit down to write this update, I can’t help but be amazed at how fast time has flown by since we first arrived in Vanavara in the middle of March. From our first spring thaw to the heat of summer, we’ve already experienced a wide gamut of temperatures and seasons, and with that, the ever changing responsibilities of living and ministering in such a harsh environment.

Our first couple of months, while snow was still on the ground, were spent taking care of all the essentials for living here — finalizing documents, registering with the local immigration office, getting satellite internet installed, switching over our utilities, and finishing some of the interior remodeling in the apartment. Interaction with neighbors and others in the community was limited due to the cold, but with warmer weather, that has all changed. After a long, cold spring, the weather finally broke at the end of May and warmed up enough to begin working outdoors.

Due to the extremely short summers and harsh winters, summer is the busiest time of year as all outdoor projects, repairs and general work must be done before the cold sets in again. All of summer is spent preparing for the upcoming winter months.

Despite the fact that we live in the Siberian north, gardening is an essential part of summer life here in Vanavara. The Lord has blessed us with a large piece of property and we have been trying to work it the same way that our neighbors work their land by building a greenhouse, planting a large potato patch, and cultivating various other vegetables and herbs.

Planting in a new location for the first time is not without it’s difficulties, so we’ve had to seek much advice from our neighbors and acquaintances, and the Lord has used this in a great way to break down walls and build relationships with many. One neighbor graciously gave us 20 tomato plants, some rhubarb and multiple strawberry plants for our garden. Others have given green onions, garlic, and other vegetables and it has been a great blessing to see and feel a sense of community beginning to develop between us and the locals. It is this aspect of gardening that is the most exciting as we anticipate, not just a harvest of fruit and vegetables, but a harvest of souls.

Just as working the land and preparing for planting is the most difficult (but most vital) task of gardening, building these first relationships and showing that we are just real people, living and working like others in the community is just as vital as we work towards the establishment of a long-term ministry in Vanavara.

We ask that you please keep us in your prayers in these early days as we seek to build relationships with others and establish ourselves in the community. Pray for wisdom and understanding as we continue to acclimate to a new location and the local culture as well.

Family Happenings


Everyone is adjusting to life in Vanavara very well. The kids have made friends with the other children in our building and their Russian language skills have improved greatly as they have continued to play and interact with the others.

One highlight for them so far is that they have been able to participate in a local kids club on weekdays. With varying activities each day, from sports and exercise to visiting the local museum and children’s library, our kids have greatly enjoyed the new experiences and opportunities that life in a small community brings.

This summer also marked my and Katie’s 9th wedding anniversary. Since there is no place in Vanavara to go for fine dining (or any dining for that matter), we decided to take a family picnic down by the river. After fending off some rain early on in the day, the weather cleared up nicely and we were able to spend a relaxing day together as a family.

Life in the village is drastically different from life in the big city. Killing spiders and bugs in the house has become the new norm (even Kara does it now), as well as fending off hordes of mosquitoes and black flies, but we are adapting to the change of pace and loving our new location.

Ministry Plans

Although we have been in Vanavara for only a short time, we have been meeting on Sundays for Bible study with the Dean family and Rossana, who moved up 3 years ago from Krasnoyarsk to take a position in the local hospital. Bro. Dean and I have been alternating preaching responsibilities each week, and it has been sweet time of fellowship and edification together.

As we look forward and begin planning for future ministry and outreach, one thing has become clear from our interaction with others in the community — we need to be involved in a “recognized profession”, preferably in a way that gives something back to the community. Without an occupation (unfortunately a church-planter/missionary is not considered an occupation), it will be extremely difficult to garner any kind of interest for a future church plant because you will be viewed as a leech on society. We have already on multiple occasions fielded the question of “How can you live here without a job?”

Realizing that this could be a massive hindrance to our ministry here, together with the Deans, we have decided to try to open a children’s creativity center where we could offer English clubs, crafts and various handiwork activities, as well as other miscellaneous special events (read here VBS outreach). We believe that this option is best in keeping with our overall ministry goal of seeking to establish a local New Testament church, because it gives us an opportunity to invest in the children of the community, and through them, an opportunity to reach with families and parents.

With this in mind, we have been searching for a building or space adequate enough for the dual use of both the children’s center and a future church building. Finding such a location in a small village can be quite challenging, but we believe we have found such a property. It is in a prime location – located between the children’s library and the school on one of the main roads in the village. There are two buildings on a huge piece of property – one small building with about 550 sq. ft. of useable space, and one large, unfinished building with about 2000 sq. ft. of interior space. The small building could be used almost immediately with some work, and the large building could be completed sometime in the future. The location and the separate buildings would be a perfect setup for both the children’s center and a church building.

We have been in contact with the seller, and although he is asking a fair price for the small building, the large (unfinished) building is dramatically overpriced. He has stated that he wants to sell both buildings and property at the same time, but we cannot pay his current asking price. After talking with others here in the community, we believe that the property is only worth about 60-70% of what he is asking. We would ask that you pray with us that if it is God’s will for us to purchase this particular property, that the seller would come down on the price.

An Important Note

Following a merger with a sister ministry, our mission board, Points North Baptist Mission, has changed it’s name to All Points Baptist Mission (APBM). Nothing has changed at the mission, except the name. It is still a ministry of the Calvary Baptist Church of New Philadelphia, OH, and it is still under the same leadership.

All support donations should now be made payable to:
All Points Baptist Mission
PO Box 977
New Philadelphia, OH 44663

Please be sure to reference Matt & Katie Northcutt in the memo line on the check.

If there are any questions, please be sure to contact APBM directly at 330-339-1035 or www.allpointsbaptist.com

As always, we truly appreciate your faithful prayers and support of our ministry.  We are honored to be your representatives to the people of Siberia.

Prayer Praises

Relationships continuing to be built with neighbors and acquaintances in the community

Completion of some necessary repairs to the apartment

Our children are adapting well to a new home and are making new friends

Prayer Requests

Wisdom as we continue to make friends and integrate into the community

Preparations and plans to open a children’s center

The seller of the property to come down on his asking price

Strength – physical and spiritual for the work before us

Completion of all necessary repairs and projects before winter

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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