“I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.”Psalm 13:6
As some of you may have noticed, we completely missed sending out the previously scheduled newsletter, and are therefore combining that one with this one. In all the upheaval and busyness of our lives this spring and summer, some things got overlooked and we apologize for that. Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support. It is more obvious to us than ever before that without you and the Lord’s sustaining strength, we could never do this ministry.
After Covid restrictions eased up, it did not take long at all for our schedule to fill up! It has been a very busy spring and summer! Between local events, a short trip to LaCrete, and the music festival in Bow Island, life was full and blessed. Because space here just does not allow us to go into too much detail, we will share just a few highlights of the two trips that took up most of our time these last few months.
Bolivia: In May, we (Diedrich and Nettie) made a trip to Bolivia where we took part in the Radio celebrations happening in several locations. It was a busy, exciting, and fulfilling time of worship and celebration. We were again reminded how the Lord is using the ministry of the local radio stations to reach the Low German people who are seeking truth and new life! Other events we participated in were the school fundraiser in Villa Nueva and singing at the rehab center. Spending time with local missionaries (such as Abe and Margaret Harder, Esther Fehr, Bill Kehler, all the RCB staff and board members) and seeing their commitment and love for the people was inspiring to us. These missionaries work hard and are often met with much opposition as they reach out and share Jesus with those who are seeking, as well as disciple and train those who are growing in their faith. It reminded us how important it is to keep on producing materials and resources in the language of the people. While in Bolivia, we were invited to several colonies where outreach is just beginning. The excitement on the faces of the new believers was precious to see. In spite of opposition and sometimes outright persecution, they have a joy that can not be contained. They welcomed us with open arms and were eager for every song and impromptu music lesson we could share! It was very obvious though, that while the harvest in Bolivia is plentiful, the workers are few.
1Gloowen Tour: (July, 2022) Since the beginning of 2022, much time was spent planning and practicing for this tour, which was organized by 1Gloowen (The Low German network of missionaries and organizations working with Multi-Nation Missions Foundation). It was a tour with the primary purpose of raising awareness and funds for work with Low German people around the world. Together with David Toews and his team of musicians, we as D’Friesens toured from Ontario all the way to Abbotsford, giving a series of 10 concerts. We were especially thrilled to share the stage with Andrew and Deanna at every concert, with Jason joining us for the Manitoba and Alberta concerts, and Mark helping out at the Manitoba concerts. It was a huge team of folks who were involved in the planning and execution of this event, and we are thankful for each and every one who took part and made it such a meaningful tour. Many friendships were made, renewed and strengthened as well as new relationships forged. We were encouraged by the response of the people who came to the concerts. Some had never realized before the huge need for resources and outreach in Plautdietsch.
On a Personal Note…
Although the past six months have been very fulfilling from a ministry perspective, they have also been very challenging on a personal level. Early in May, Nettie’s family received the heartbreaking news that her mother had pancreatic cancer. It has been a difficult time for the family, and it definitely brings a new level of empathy and depth of understanding to others going through very difficult times in life.
Also in May, an unusually rainy season for southern Manitoba, while we were in Bolivia, we got the news that our basement was flooding. Our offices are in the basement of our home, along with most of our equipment. While we sustained quite a bit of damage, we are thankful that our two sons who had stayed home, caught it quite early, and so avoided what could have been a much more drastic scenario. Thank you to all who helped the boys while we were so far away. This has affected our work quite a bit, as the recording studio was damaged quite badly and needs a lot of repairs. We are temporarily back in the offices, but more work will need to be done in the near future.
And Finally, on a Happier Note…
We have a new family member! In all the busyness, heartache and hassle, we took time to celebrate the wedding of our third son Matthew, to his sweetheart, Nikki! We are eternally grateful for the wonderful marriage partners God has granted our sons! Nikki fits right in with her optimistic personality and creative abilities. She is musically talented as well and is actually planning on joining our ministry! We are just in the beginning stages of figuring out how it will all work, but we are looking forward to working with her, and making her an official part of our team.
With looking after things at home and in the office while my parents were travelling, the flooding in our basement and all the work that required, joining my family for local events, (including several of the 1Gloowen concerts), and working on the activity books, these past few months have not been boring! While I enjoy a good challenge, some days felt a little overwhelming, and I am so thankful for the help of extended family during the flooding. It could have been a whole lot worse if not for their help…Jake and Ingrid, Grandma and Grandpa, thank you again! Because of several unforeseen circumstances, (including the flooding, Granny’s illness and my laptop crashing) I have not made as much progress on the activity books as I had hoped, but I believe I am now back on track. In all these experiences, I am thankful for the encouragement of our friends and supporters, and for God’s sustaining strength. As always, I feel incredibly blessed to be doing this work with my family!
We have intentionally kept events and bookings to a minimum for the next little while, because of all the office work that needs to be done, although several bookings are on the calendar. Our plan is to focus on rebuilding the studio, producing the next book in the Sunday School curriculum, putting out a new coloring/activity book and the next in the series of family devotional books. We also still have high hopes to release the Low German Christmas album before Christmas, so stay tuned for that!
The Plautdietsch music nights are scheduled to begin again at the end of October, we are taking bookings for the Christmas season, as well as working on a couple of videos to release to YouTube. We also have several huge projects that are ongoing (the notated songbook for example).
- The precious time we have been able to spend with Nettie’s Mom during these past very busy months.
- The fruitful trip to Bolivia, and the new believers we met, and their excitement in the Lord.
- The 1Gloowen tour, the relationships and outreaches made, the funds raised and the overall awareness that was raised.
- God’s continued faithful provision both financially and spiritually.
- The addition of Nikki to our family and her interest in joining our team.
- Nettie’s family as they cope with her Mom’s declining health.
- Workers to be raised up and sent out to the harvest field.
- The work of MMF and 1Gloowen and all the missionaries and organizations working with Low German people.
- Matthew and Nikki and their new marriage, as well as joining our team.
- God’s continued provision for our needs.