Strengthening the Church through Education


God gives us gifts we don’t understand at the time.  Little did we know how significant getting a hair permanent would be.  Thursday, October 15, we arranged for Lisa to get her hair done and time together with Art’s family in Michigan.  All five siblings were together, which turns out to be the last time until eternity.  We laughed and had a sweet time before our planned departure for Russia.

Saturday we had a great time with our four adult children and there spouses and friend.  It was a great time to be together one last time for now.DSC09834

Sunday was a precious time also with close friends for lunch and a round of memories and fellowship.   These dear friends have linked arm and arm with us for years, our bond with them helps us during these times of separation.DSC09872

On Tuesday as we finished packing things and weighing suitcases preparing for our flight on Friday, we had little warning of the week that lay ahead.   We had planned to leave after Anna came home from work and travel to Indianapolis for time with Lisa’s brother and family.   I (Art) had a difficult emotional time saying goodbye and finally had to turn away and just go.   With eyes full of tears, we managed to drive to Indianapolis.   Dinner was fine and time to talk was enjoyable.

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The next morning, Wednesday, we received a phone call from my sister saying that my oldest brother Wayne had a heart attack at work, was rushed to the hospital, and had died.  What a shock, we quickly traveled to Michigan, mostly legally, and helped with funeral and emotional needs with my family.  My brother’s two children are grown but it is still heart wrenching.   Leslie, my niece, was looking through drawers at Wayne’s house and “randomly” found his high school class ring, just one of several little love notes sent from heaven on a very hard day.   We cried together and prayed together a lot on Wednesday and Thursday.   Please pray for Leslie as a few other emotional events from the summer are making this time especially hard for her.    Ralphie, my nephew, is the name bearer as he is Ralph the third and now alone carries the name.

Through all of that day, the one central comfort was knowing that Wayne had put his faith in Jesus.   Although he wasn’t perfect, he did love the Savior. Since he did, NOW he IS perfect, and one day we will see him that way.

We had to leave before all the final services and get on a plane to return here to Ulan-Ude.    Although we can Skype in, it is still difficult to leave behind those so dear to us.   Our trip was uneventful which is good because God knows how much we can bear.    Praise the Lord for his blessings.   In these times you can choose to look at the loss of your dreams and plans with a family member or reflect on the blessing of the time you had,  I am sure we will do both.  So for now, I bless the Lord for my 52 years with my brother who was only 57 laughing a little, crying a lot and looking forward in hope to a time when I will never need to say goodbye again.   Thanks to all who pray for us.  Please carry us especially in the next few days.

IMG_20151007_191255A huge thank you to all those who prayed for us as we traveled to Colorado this last week! Traveling the 2300 miles with truck, trailer and returning with a horse went smoothly.

Rejoice also that our support need is just $190 short! While we were traveling, we received several email responses. THANK YOU!

IMG_20151007_095310Generously missionary friends from our home church, who were at the PVBC mission conference, invited us to stop in Kansas City, MO about the half-way point for the night. Laughter being good medicine was happily swallowed as we reminisced over old times when we were all a lot younger and not so experienced. Before continuing our journey, they gave us a tour of the Avant-Crossworld’s campus where they now serve and extended a second invitation to stop again on our way back even with the horse.

IMG_20151011_190428Although Anna has moved back to Indiana, we had graciously been invited to participate in her Colorado church’s three-day mission conference at Falcon Baptist Church. Our involvement included 5 sessions for the children’s program, Art preaching, ministry updates, lots of good food and sweet fellowship.

IMG_20151010_115239While we were in Colorado, we were also able to meet up with former teammates from Ukraine whom we had not seen in 5 years. Many things have happened for them in that time not the least being that their boys have grown!

IMG_20151012_071411This trip was a turning point for Anna and for us.   A single puzzle piece, a cross and a thousand pound animal given to her to train and keep were her last possessions still left on the ranch. And although the horse is pretty special, the training and friends she made in those transition years will remain dear and draw her back for visits and maybe even another move someday.

IMG_20151015_194931For Art and me, it marks the last days before our journey back to Ulan-Ude, Russia, the saying of good-byes to family and friends, the finishing of projects, and the packing up of things. We are still hoping and praying to be at 100% before flying next Friday, October 23. Please pray with us that the Lord will provide through his people.

IMG_20151002_193507 Missionaries typically have a sending church or home base. Ours is Pleasant View Bible Church which we started attending when we first arrived to the Warsaw area in 1989. Although the Lord has given us the amazing privilege to fellowship with His people all over the world, just a small glimpse of what heaven is going to be like described in Rev. 7:9, returning home has its own special memories. This is the first time since Pleasant View sent us out 7 years ago that we have been able to participate in their yearly mission conference which we used to help facilitate by serving on the mission committee.

IMG_20151004_175813Traditionally, the week-long conference begins with a big flag ceremony to introduce each of the missionaries and the countries they serve in. The upper elementary children are given the privilege of carrying in the flags which is a great way to draw their active interest into missions. Some other key activities are the Bonfire, Munchies with the missionaries, a mid-week prayer night and children’s program, men’s and ladies’ meetings with food of course, and the finale on the 2nd Sunday evening—the Taste of the World.

IMG_20151004_165939What Russian cuisine did we serve? Пельмени (Pelmeni)- “ear bread” – are Russian dumplings: small portions of ground meat  wrapped in a thin, noodle dough and boiled. Possibly an adaptation of the Chinese wonton, the Russian version originated in Siberia and was considered a “hunter’s food” and way to preserve meat. “Giant sacks of frozen пельмени would be carried by Siberian hunters when leaving on winter expeditions (where they would stay frozen, of course.” (  Of the close to 300 we made only a small portion was left so it was a welcomed foreign taste.

IMG_20151004_194438We mentioned doing the Children’s program using our old camp material about “The Missing Missionary” in the last blog. You know children have listened well when they come up to you later in the week, recognize you, and answer questions about the lesson. The Bonfire the first night and the Taste of the World finale were like attending a family reunion since the missionaries present this year were home-grown and sent out before and during the time when we were sent out.


  • Being with the local body of believers and spiritual family reunions
  • New and increased support partners–only about $300/mo shortfall
  • a truck and  trailer to transport Anna’s horse from CO to IN

Prayer Requests:

  • Good connections with the Falcon Baptist mission conference in CO Oct. 9-11
  • The Lord’s provision of the last of our support
  • Safety transporting the horse and its transition to help Anna’s complete transition back to the mid-west.


October is here, crisp and clear. We are just coming down from Jonathan and Cassie’s celebration. DSC09669

It was a wonderful day, and I was so proud to hear both of them honor Jesus Christ in their vows to each other and through taking personal communion right after their vows.DSC09714

It did not earn them any merit, but it was a great picture of Christ being central in their new family.


We really have not had much time to bask in the light of the wedding as Pleasant View Bible Church’s mission conference started on Sunday. We have had the chance to see other missionaries sent out from our home church at about the same time as us; and although we all look a little older and our children don’t look like children any longer, each of our missionary friends have shared how God is greatly using them.


We enjoyed Wednesday night’s Kids Action Club as Lisa and I helped the children find the missing missionary.   It took the form of a skit from our CEF camp days. Lisa was the missionary detective, and we found clues that helped us teach the children that they can be a missionary right where they are and maybe somewhere else sometime in the future.

Rejoice with this exciting note, we are currently at 92% of our support! Through several people responding this summer, our beginning support need of $1250 has been reduced to around $450/month to finish the task. Please continue to pray for the remainder needed. If the Lord leads you to help, please act quickly as we leave in just 22 days and would love to have this cared for.  Send us an email which we can relay to SEND, and we will quickly be at full support.

Time sure flies and soon, so will we.   Praise the Lord for His great love and for all the good times with family and friends this summer.


The pedal to the metal and not letting up.   The summer continues into fall as we try to finish up all that has been packed into this year’s home service.   We need to pause long enough to bring you up to speed.   Our daughter Elisabeth’s wedding was right after our last post.   God gave us a beautiful day, all went well and of course the bride was stunning.   It was a little non-traditional as the couple chose a three-sand ceremony to represent each of them and Christ in a three strand commitment (Eccles 4).IMG_1772

It was also different because they chose to have rice crispy treats in place of a cake. The treats were stacked and decorated with flowers.   One more thing, instead of rice, bird seed, or even ice shavings, the couple was celebrated by the releasing of helium balloons as they arrived at the reception. The balloons looked sparkly floating into a clear blue sky.   So now Elisabeth Brown faces the challenges and joys of married life with Brandon.


We have also continued our travels to churches and times with individuals. We have enjoyed meeting new pastors and friends of friends, building relationships, and seeking funding.   Praise the Lord for those who have joined and increased their support. To date we have just below $600 per month to raise with five weeks left and two mission’s conferences ahead. We are trusting God to finish providing the last of the needed funds. We do enjoy so much getting back together with all the people who have built into our lives.


One of those people graduated to heaven just after we last posted. Janet Perzee was a dear friend we worked with during our Camp Good News days. After a battle with a blood clot disorder, Janet went home August 21.   Art was asked to officiate the memorial service which he did. It was bitter sweet as we celebrated Janet’s life and ministry to the Lord. Please pray for our friend Tom as he grieves, that the Lord would draw him closer and deeper in this time.

We plan some good family time this week and still anticipate one more wedding. But all too soon October will be here and we will be on a plane. We don’t want to miss one person or one thing God has for us while we are still here.   If you have a chance to catch up with us, we will be in Warsaw Indiana at Pleasant View Bible Church’s mission conference starting September 27 through October 4.   If you are in the area, stop in to see us.


The last week in July was a busy one for us. We helped our daughter Elisabeth as she directed Vacation Bible School at her church First Baptist of Mentone.   The VBS had a summer camp theme: “Camp Sonset” which had the children run through a mini camping experience each night.   Borrowing from our camp program themes and experience, Lisa and I pitched in. P1070720

Lisa had a great time with the youngest group, 3-5 year olds, teaching, doing crafts, and simply loving on these cute little ones.   I, Art, played a dramatic larger- than-life host in the most exciting game show in Mentone, “Who wants to be a Missionary.” It was a fun way to teach and challenge children about missions.   The show featured crazy characters each evening, who purposely gave us less than accurate answers to questions about missions.

P1070610Monday, Brenda Bugworthy, ornithologist , visited our lesson time to help us explain, Who can be a missionary?, What is a missionary? And What is the message of a missionary?   She was great, but she came up short behind one of the children.P1070620


Tuesday, Molly Mallhopper, shopping enthusiast, came with coupons for everything imaginable thinking the show was Who wants to BUY a missionary? She helped us explain where missionaries serve, rewards of being a missionary, and the power missionaries need for service.


P1070909Wednesday, Professor Edward Egghead, mad scientist, explained in detail his theories of missionaries, their characteristics, age, and how churches are planted. We discovered you don’t use church seeds to plant a church and that even people as old as Art can still serve.P1070919 (caption: It must have been exhausting!)

Thursday, P1070980Pete Patcher, construction worker, showed us that not all missionaries preach and that they face difficulties.


P1080046Friday, Harley Davidson, biker dude, road in to help us challenge the children about personally being a missionary and how you can know if God is calling you.P1080036

Each night also had a serious guest as four of the church’s missionaries joined us along with Pastor Mike Wilhite.   Thank you to the great young people who were willing to be a little silly so that the children had a fun time learning Only eternity will tell what an impact was made.   The whole team of workers, teachers, snack people, MC Brandon and Director Elisabeth made the week a successful time.

On our event line, this Saturday, Elisabeth and Brandon will be married. Pray for us in all that pertains to the starting of their brand new family.

Please respond to this especially if you would like to meet with us while we are home. Our September schedule still has room for individual meetings.   Our departure, October 23rd will be here before we know it and we still have much to do.   Looking forward to seeing many of you. Help us make that happen.

DSCN4522So much happens in a month, we have had a great few weeks meeting with churches and individuals, some of whom we have just recently met and others we have treasured for years.


After Olivia and Daniel’s wedding, we once again settled into ministry mode. We have been able to share in churches who have faithfully supported us from the beginning and also in brand new churches. These times have been sweet. We also have had times with individuals that care for us some who support us financially others that love and pray for us regularly. We have been greatly encouraged.DSC08969

We have traveled to Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, across Indiana and even into Canada. Along the way we have enjoyed rich times sharing life and ministry. We did have some vacation time along the way to enjoy God’s beauty and see special historical sites as well.DSC09173

We still have much to do this summer, two weddings ahead and much support to find. We have many more churches to report to and still need a few more presentation opportunities if we are to be successful.   Please pray for us as we try not just to ask for help but also to be a blessing to the people we meet and to the loved ones we reconnect with.


We still have time for one-on-one meetings. Send us an email or give us a call: Art’s number is 317-801-3022. We still want to hear from you and see as many of you as possible. Help us redeem the time with you this summer before October comes, and we once again return to Russia.


Please consider helping us make additional connections. For example our friends in Canada had a few of their friends from church over. We had a barbeque and shared our ministry video.   Simple to do, no surprise sales pitch just an opportunity to let God connect others with our ministry.


Next on the schedule is helping Elisabeth, our oldest, with Vacation Bible School (VBS) then her wedding later in August. In between we plan to attend the Blaker Family reunion Aug. 2 in Michigan to see family members we haven’t seen for several years. We are enjoying the time and trying to balance responsibilities of work and family which is not always easily done.


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