“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” Joshua 24:15
That is a commitment we made many years ago, when we first got married. And we marvel at how God has led us and blessed us, and how faithful He has been and continues to be. He is our reason for existence, and He is the reason for what we do! He gives us His unfailing grace, love, mercy, protection, joy and strength, and we deserve none of it! Our prayer is that we could be found faithful,running the race He has set for us.
As many of you recall, in our last newsletter, we announced that,Lord willing,we would be going full-time into this work starting January 2016. We praise God that He has provided, and opened the door so that we were able to do just that. It has been a few months since then, and we have not looked back once! We firmly believe this is God’s will for us, and are so thankful for this opportunity. Thank you to each and every one of you, our friends, prayer warriors and supporters, for your part in making this possible. We pray God’s blessings and guidance will be evident in your lives as well, as you continue in faithfully serving our Lord.
We often get asked if there is enough work to keep us busy full-time. Let us assure you, there is plenty of work, more than we can handle at times. While it is true, that in the winters, we try to keep our long distance travel to a minimum, and we have to be sensitive to our boys who are at work and at school so that we don’t overbook them with singing commitments, there is plenty of other work to keep us busy. One project we have been working on earnestly is to finish the Low German song book that Nettie started several years ago, but could never finish because of lack of time. It is now in its final stage of editing and then will be ready for publication. It is the first of several volumes that we plan to produce. This first one consists mainly of older hymns and public domain songs, but also includes a few new original songs written specifically in Low German. In future volumes we plan to include newer praise songs, choruses, Gospel songs etc. In all these volumes, we are committed to making sure all songs are scripturally accurate, and that all the laws concerning copyrights are adhered to as much as possible. In this way we can distribute them wherever they are needed and not have to worry that we are doing anything illegal.
We have also ventured into the world of YouTube and posted a few simple videos on our channel. If you are interested, feel free to check them out at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcJsW-4uibqCK4gkLpOsBog Another new involvement is the Plautdietsche Sinjstund that takes place almost every other Saturday night at Central Station in Winkler. We have been surprised at the number of people attending. It is a wonderful evening of singing and praising God in the Low German language, sometimes we have spontaneous sharing, other times a guest speaker for a very short devotional, children’s feature, or a testimony, and then back to singing. The intention is to provide a wholesome evening of music and Biblical encouragement, in a non-threatening environment, where Christ’s love will be shared with all who attend. We always include an informal coffee time and visiting which everyone seems to enjoy heartily! This is something we cannot do alone, and we thank all those who have offered their help and involvement.
There are many other projects in the making, such as new CD’s we are working on, as well as translating articles or whatever missionaries working in the colonies ask us to help them with. And we are still working on the studio in our basement that will allow Diedrich to finally start putting together the radio program she has agreed to do. Our focus in the next few months will be to finish up as many of these projects as possible, so that we are free to hit the road for our summer bookings.
Diedrich: My personal goal is to work on short Low German devotionals for families. These have been a huge request time and time again, and we are right at the beginning stages of producing them. Our goal is to provide them in pdf format for printing as needed, but also in audio and video format. So many people have asked for them in a way that they can download and store on their portable and/or smart devices. Our goal is to have the studio in running order by summer time which would greatly speed up the production of all audio and video materials.
Besides all this, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel back to Bolivia this winter to reconnect with missionaries, churches, and friends there. My goal, along with our missions director from MMF, was to explore and strategize so as to produce materials that can accomplish the greatest good in the vast field of needs out there. That has really helped to focus our attention so that we can work on specific needs, which includes the short devotionals in various formats, as well as other written works for churches and schools, and radio programs for when that becomes available again.
Family News: It has been a busy winter for all of us. Our youngest, Mark, spent most of it practicing for his major role in his school’s production of Les Miserables. This experience stretched him a bit from his comfort zone, but he learned much, not just about teamwork, but also about music and singing and what he is actually capable of accomplishing. We were all impressed! Good job, Mark!
Matthew has been working at a construction company all winter where he seems to be doing well, adding to his skills, learning teamwork in a brand new way,and even taking on some leadership. He is also seriously considering and trying to discern God’s will for his immediate future as far as Bible College is concerned.Prayers for him in this regard would be much appreciated!
Andrew and Jason have been attending Steinbach Bible College this winter and have been kept quite busy with their various commitments there. They have each been singing with a group from the college and will be going on tour at the end of the school year. It is hard to believe, but Andrew is graduating this year! They both hope to work with us for the summer, if finances allow, and then Jason heads back to college, and Andrew will also have to make some big decisions about his future. Much prayer is needed for that as well!
1) For God’s faithful provision.
2) The many opportunities to reach out to others.
3) Our supportive family and friends.
4) For God’s protection on the roads and in all of our travels.
1) For God’s clear leading in the decisions our boys have to make this summer.
2) Continued financial support for full time work and travels (for the boys as well.)
3) Wisdom in knowing which projects and invitations to accept.
4) Continued family unity.
5) That we would be faithful, serving with humility and integrity, for God’s honor and glory.