June 2017 Prayer Letter
June 6th, 2017 Prayerletters 4 Comments


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

Where is Your God?!?!

Two weeks ago, these were the exact words that I heard screamed in anguish as a drunk man ran through his house smashing pictures and anything else he could get his hands on before he finally collapsed, sobbing, in a heap on the floor.

Just three weeks prior to this, he had approached me and asked for help with his drinking problem. He knew that something had to change in his life because he was losing everything that he held dear due to his drinking — family, friends, work, etc — and I knew that only a personal relationship with God could bring about any lasting change in his life. So we began to meet almost every day and study what the Bible says about God, man, sin, and how a person can restore his relationship with his Creator through the finished work of Jesus.

Over the course of those 3 weeks, things had been getting better in his life. He had a good job lined up and was ready to start working again, and he was understanding the Bible studies and we had just begun to study what the Bible says about repentance and faith when he started another heavy drinking binge.

As I knelt beside his sobbing form on the floor and put my arm around him, I began to realize just how serious is this battle for men’s souls. Satan will do anything to try to keep a man’s soul in bondage and prevent him from coming to repentance and the knowledge of the Truth; and, for the time being, he had succeeded with this man.

Thankfully, through our contact with Rosanna at the local hospital, we were able to send him down to Krasnoyarsk to a rehab center where he will undergo treatment and rehab for a full two months before he returns home.

Please pray with us for this man as he undergoes this time of rehab in Krasnoyarsk and for his family here in Vanavara. We will continue to minister and help as we are able, and we covet your prayers for wisdom about how to help and strength to serve.

Life after the Fire

First of all, we want to praise our Heavenly Father for how He has used many of you to help meet all of our needs after the fire.

Secondly, we want to thank each one of you that have given to help us recover from the fire and plan towards future permanent housing. Because of your loving sacrificial giving, we have seen the Lord provide above all that we ask or think and we are looking forward to how He will lead us regarding a new permanent dwelling here in Vanavara! All glory to God!

At this point, we do not have any definite plans for future housing, but most likely we will be looking to build a house on our own property somewhere in the village here. The questions of where we will build and when we will start building still remain to be answered. We have been talking to and working with the local administration and regional land office to see what our options are. We are praying that, if the Lord will allow it, we will be able to get the land and build on our old location.

After the snow melted off and the ground dried up from the spring thaw, we were able to dig through most of the rubble on our side of the building to see if we could find anything that survived the fire. Unfortunately, because of the type of wood that was used to construct the building (Siberian larch) and because of the age of the building, the fire burned extremely hot and consumed almost everything that was left inside. Not even a cast iron skillet or pyrex baking dishes survived the fire without being warped or melted as is evidenced by the pictures below. The only things that survived the fire were a cross decoration and a cactus that we bought as a souvenir from our trip to Arizona last furlough.

The Court Case

April 6, 2017 was the hearing in our local court regarding the administration’s refusal to provide us any monetary assistance for fire recovery. If you remember from the previous news update, their refusal was based on their understanding of a law in which it was not specifically stated that foreigners were eligible to receive this assistance. The court ruled in favor of the administration and against us, and after consulting with a lawyer in Krasnoyarsk, we have submitted an appeal to the regional court in Krasnoyarsk. The date of the appeal is set for June 19 at 2pm local time.

The decision to appeal the ruling was not based on financial need (our Heavenly Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills), but rather on principle. The law which was quoted as the basis for the ruling against us also includes some language regarding medical care and other kinds of help related to catastrophic events (i.e car crash, natural disasters, etc.). Therefore, this ruling sets a precedent which could be used to restrict other rights that are supposed to be ours as foreigners living with a permanent residency status.

Please pray that the Lord will turn the heart of the court on June 19 to reverse this ruling and clearly define what our privileges and rights are as foreigners living in the Russian Federation with permanent residency permits.

Family Corner

At the end of April, our family was able to get away to Krasnoyarsk for 11 days for a short vacation before the busyness of the summer set in here in Vanavara. We enjoyed a wonderful time of “not having to do anything” and spent the days exploring new parks, riding bikes on the island trails, visiting new kids’ attractions and just simply resting and fellowshipping with the other missionaries in Krasnoyarsk. It was a great time of refreshment and we came back with renewed energy for the summer months ahead.

Elliot finished 2nd grade this year, and considering all of the setbacks that we experienced (i.e. all of the school curriculum lost in the fire and having to get replacement books in order to finish the year), it was truly of the Lord that he was able to finish on time. Katie did a wonderful job readjusting the schedule once we got the replacement books, and worked diligently with Elliot, not only to make up the work which was lost to the fire, but also to make sure that he didn’t fall further behind for the year. The last day of school was celebrated with pumpkin pie and a supper menu of Elliot’s own choosing.

Gardening season has begun now that the weather has warmed up and the ground has thawed out. The Lord built many relationships last year with our neighbors through gardening, and He has already begun to open new doors this season as well.


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

Abundant provision in wake of the fire above all that we ask or think

A wonderful family vacation in Krasnoyarsk

The opportunity to live and minister in Vanavara

New relationships being built and existing ones strengthened

Prayer Requests

For the family that we are helping — salvation, the husband’s rehab, open doors to continue to minister to them

For our upcoming court appeal on June 19

For the Lord’s clear leading regarding future housing

For new relationships to be built with our neighbors this summer through gardening

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.


  1. Barbara Berard says:
    Posted on June 7, 2017

    I’m writing from Maine. Pastor Todd Bell is my pastor. We have certainly been touched by all you have been through and continue to pray for your family and housing situation. I’m checking in to see if your mailing information remains the same as before the fire. Have a wonderful summer. We are hoping it stops raining here, and it warms up a bit. Barbara

    • matt says:
      Posted on June 13, 2017

      Hello, Barbara! Our mailing address has changed slightly since the fire. I will send that out to everyone in the very near future. Thank you for your continued prayers for us. Greet Pastor Bell and the rest of the church for us!

  2. Danielle Greer says:
    Posted on November 16, 2017

    What happened with the court case?

    • matt says:
      Posted on November 23, 2017

      It has been appealed twice in Krasnoyarsk and the original decision upheld both times. It is now on it’s way to the Russian Supreme Court in Moscow and we will wait to hear their ruling.

Leave a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked with *