Friday, May 23, 2014

March-April Update 2014/ Exciting News!

We have had a lot going on these past couple of months! We took a quick trip back to the States for visa situations. Thankfully, we had that all worked out and landed back in Russia on May 1. Then we were able to secure an apartment and move in the day we arrived. And now we have a special little lady that will be joining our family come beginning of September. So please enjoy the video update and attached prayer letter!

Vimeo Video Update:

February-May News Update 

For a Fun Video about Missions as told by Flat Stanley click here:

Flat Stanley visits Siberia

Dear Pastor and Co-laborer, April 30, 2014

It is hard to believe that two months have passed since our previous prayer letter. Our lives have been so busy these past two months that it seems hardly possible that many events could possibly fit into just two months. Praise the Lord for His protection and provision.
As you may remember from our last prayer letter, on February 28, our family had to return back to the US to apply for new visas. Although the trip back to the US was an unexpected trip, it was a much enjoyed reprieve from the work here in Russia. Within a few days of our arrival back we were able to send off our paperwork for our new visas. Within three weeks, we were approved for our new 3 year visas and were able to return to Russia on April 2. What a blessing and a relief it was to have our visas in hand.
After a long thirty-two hours of traveling, we arrived safely in Krasnoyarsk! Later that day, we were able to get the keys to our new apartment which was an unexpected blessing. We began to move in immediately. We couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by God’s goodness to provide us with our new home. We haven’t had a place to call home in over 2 1/2 years. Our landlord also rents to another missionary family here, and sought out this apartment and purchased it specifically for us to rent. This is unheard of here in Russia. Most people would choose not to rent to foreigners because it can be a hassle with paperwork. She goes above and beyond to take care of everything for us. Our apartment hunt consisted of looking at one place and seeing it for about 10 minutes and closing the deal. We were thankful to have found a place before we left for the States, and it was all ready for us when we arrived. Praise the Lord!
Since we have been back, Amber has started Russian lessons. She says there’s nothing more humbling than a Russian lesson! Also, the Sterling family has arrived back to the field and we have transitioned from working in the village of Elita to here in the city at Krasnoyarsk Baptist Church. This church is an established church with a vision to reach the surrounding towns and villages with the Gospel and see churches planted in those towns. While serving at KBC, our ministry focus will be to see a strong youth group established, teaching, discipling, as well as assisting in every way possible with the two existing church plants out of KBC. We are very excited about how the Lord is going to use us here in Krasnoyarsk as He prepares and equips us for the ministries He would have us start in Eastern Russia.
In closing, we have a “little” blessing to share with you all. Come the beginning of September, we will be welcoming our daughter into this world. Jacob is excited to be a big brother and we are excited to meet her. We are humbled by God’s goodness, provision, and blessings in our lives these past couple of months. We are thankful for the opportunity to serve God on your behalf on the field of Russia. Please pray for us that God will give us wisdom and direction in all things. That God will be honored and glorified in all that we say and do, and that souls will come to know Christ. 

Until Next Time! 
James, Amber, Jacob, and little lady Pranger 

Monday, February 17, 2014

America--Here We Come!

We want to start off by saying how good the Lord has been to us. We praise the Lord for the many of you who have lifted our family up in prayer as we have been through the grueling process of turning in our paperwork here in Russia. The good news is we were able to send in all of our needed documents to apply for our temporary residency permits. We will find out in June if we are approved, it takes up to six months to process. This is especially good news because we were not able to get an extension on our visas. Which means, we have to leave the country by March 3 and re-apply for another visa while we wait to get approved on our temporary residency permits.  

Although we are excited, this complicates things just a little but nothing the Lord can't help us with. We would appreciate your prayers as we will need to find an apartment within two weeks of getting back to Russia. We believe the Lord is working on this need already. We have a few possible choices and a real estate agent who really wants "the Americans" to rent from her. She is diligently looking for a place within our price range to rent out to us. There is another missionary family who rent from her and she is a huge help when it comes to turning in paperwork needed for visas. This would be a huge burden lifted as most Russians are in no hurry to process anything on our behalf if they choose to rent to foreigners.

We would also appreciate prayers, that the Lord would provide the needed finances to make this trip. With moving here to Russia, purchasing a vehicle, and settling in- we weren't planning on this expense quite this soon. We know the Lord knows and He will provide. We also will need a vehicle while we are home and are hoping not to rent one. Another blessing is that we have found a tutor for Amber, of course right in time for us to leave the country! But she will start lessons as soon as we get back. A huge blessing for her as she has been itching to learn the language.

That all being said, we can't wait to be back home! My wife is looking forward to ordering Starbucks and running in temperatures above 0F! We appreciate your prayers as we leave on February 28 and return April 2. Please pray for Jacob on this long trip- for long naps and easy travels! We thank you all for your friendship and prayers on our behalf. Thank you for holding the ropes back home. We can't wait to be home and we will be counting down the days until we return to Russia.

God is good! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Our First Three Months in Russia

It's hard to believe we have been here for almost three months now. What a great three months it has been, and God has been faithful. Our first update we did via video. If you weren't able to watch it click here. 

What a great God we serve! For those of you who don't know, we are in the village of Elita taking over the ministry for David and DeeDee Sterling while they are home on furlough. I won't be redundant since we say most of that in the video update. But in a few months we will be looking for housing in the city of Krasnoyarsk. We are looking forward to having our own place and being able to settle in. We haven't had a home since we started deputation almost two years ago. For me, that's been the most challenging. But God has always provided a place for us to live. And maybe one day when we retire, we will have a home all to ourselves, but that's boring! Living by faith literally is way more exciting.  I do look forward to one day settling down if that's God's will for us. Anyways, back to the update.

Here's our last prayer letter that was sent out:

January Prayer Letter:

What a great year 2013 was for our family. The Lord safely moved us here to Russia and we have been busy about the Lord’s work. We have been serving in the village of Elita taking over for the Sterling family while they are home on furlough. It is hard to believe we have been here for over two months now. Life in the village has had it’s challenges, but it has been great.

One of the blessings about being here in the village is the great opportunity to build relationships with the neighbors. The Lord seems to be working in the hearts of the two adults, Alexander and Galina, who faithfully attend services both on Sundays and Wednesdays. They are both saved and seem to be growing as we disciple them in God’s Word. The youth and children’s services have been going really well. We are working hard to build relationships with them and see them accept Christ and grow in the Lord. We have also been able to drive in to the city and help the church there with their remodeling. It’s been a blessing to help out where we can. 

Russian Christmas is coming up on January 7th. Since Russia used to be an atheist country for 70 years, Christmas is recognized but not really celebrated. We hope to use this opportunity to bring baked goods to some of the neighbors and introduce ourselves and invite them out for church services. Please pray that we can see relationships built and souls come to know Christ. 

As we celebrated Christmas here with our family, life here went on like normal with the Russian people. I can only imagine that that is how the first Christmas was when Jesus was born. Everyone was busy about their normal business and too busy to notice that the Messiah had come. Our prayer is to spread the great news of the Gospel throughout Russia. Hopefully, one day the Russian people can celebrate the great joy that comes from knowing the one true Savior of the world. Then they can truly celebrate Christmas like they never have before. 

We appreciate your prayers as we serve here in Elita and seek the Lord’s will in the upcoming months. We praise the Lord for three new churches taking us on for support, putting us close to the 100% mark. God has blessed our family in many ways this last year, and we know He will take care of us beyond our needs in the new year. What a great God we serve. We look forward to serving the Lord more this year and pray He can mightily use us for His honor and glory. 

Hope you had a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year!  

Unworthy Servants,
James & Amber Pranger

Thank you all for your prayers for our family. The emails and messages we receive always lift our spirits. May this New Year be a fresh start for God to do many great things in and through your life. It is our goal to keep our blog more updated with what's going on here in Russia. God is good all the time! Lord bless you!

Until next time!

If you would like to read Amber's personal blog on running in Siberia and what the Lord is teaching her  click here

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Road to Russia Update #4

July Update:

Miles Driven: 4,470-MTD &  16,393- YTD
Churches Visited: 3-MTD &  21-YTD
Support: 28% (at least!! God has truly been blessing!)
Months on the Road: 4
Weeks Until Baby Jacob Arrives: 12!

After a few weeks of no meetings, we were very ready to be back on the road traveling! Our first stop was at Southwest Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Pastor Jason Gaddis. After attending Heartland Baptist Bible College and Southwest for four years, it was weird to be one of the "special guests"! We had a great time spending the day with them during their Mid-Summer Missions Sunday. It was such a blessing to be around old friends and church family!

Our next stop was in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee at Calvary Baptist Church, Pastor Ayres. After presenting our ministry on Sunday, we helped out with their Vacation Bible School all week long. It was such a great time, and the Lord truly blessed with seeing five souls saved. James and I both had the opportunity to lead a young person to the Lord. The young lady I led to the Lord, Maria came back the next day with her cousin. She said to me, "Can you tell her how to get saved too? You explained it so well to me and I thought you could help her understand what saved means." It was such a blessing to hear that. She was so excited to tell her cousin about salvation and she truly understood. Praise the Lord!

We finished off the month in Lewisville, Texas at Liberty Baptist, Pastor Dick Webster. We had a wonderful time getting to know Bro. Webster and his wife for the couple of days we were in town. He was truly an encouragement to us! Missions has a special place in his heart as he too was a missionary, and his children also serve on the mission field.

As August is upon us, we look forward to staying busy! By the end of this month we will be Alaska bound! We appreciate your prayers as we travel. The Lord has truly blessed and taken care of us as we serve Him on the road of deputation! We can't say enough, how amazing is our God!

VBS on Deputation

It's summer time and that usually means the "busy" season for most churches, camps, VBS, youth conferences, retreats, etc. We have been blessed to be pretty well booked throughout most of the summer. By the end of summer we will have been able to help out in three Vacation Bible Schools. VBS is such an exciting week and we are thankful to be a part of them! This past week, we were at Calvary Baptist Church in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, helping out with their VBS.

With an olympic theme, their theme verse was 1 Corinthians 9:24, 25 "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible." 

James and I had an especially nice time that week for a few reasons. One being, the new youth pastor and his wife were newly weds and had gone right into the ministry, like we had. So it was neat to spend time with them and be able to encourage them in the ministry. This was their first VBS to put on and they were happy to have helping hands! Since James had done a couple in the past, he had all his materials to help out. After the decorations were all set up, it was time to get ready for the kids to show up!
Registering the kids.

James preaching on the final night

After all the kids were signed up and registered, they marched into the auditorium to kick things off! I was able to help out with registration, keeping track of points, skits, taste testing the snacks and altar call work ( my favorite!). James led the song services, preached every other night, and filled in wherever else he was needed. There was another missionary family there as well, the Lyons family to France. Bro. Mike Lyons also preached on the nights James didn't. Each service was kicked off with songs! And James did a great job getting the kids excited about the night!

James with the young man he helped lead to the Lord, Bryan.
Me with the young lady, Maria far left that I was able to help lead to the Lord.
These last two pictures of VBS, with the children we were able to help lead to the Lord, are my favorite. Maria came back with her cousin the next day so she too could learn how to be saved! She didn't accept Christ as her Savior but the seed was certainly planted. It was so sweet to see her excitement about being a Christian! It made the whole week worth all the hard work that was put into it! There was a total of five young people who accepted Christ that week, and one assurance of salvation. Praise the Lord! We had such a great time getting to know all the children throughout the week and the church family. God truly blessed their Vacation Bible School! And we look forward to hosting VBS in Lake Milton, Ohio at Lake Milton Baptist Temple August 13-17!  Our theme will be "The Amazing Race!" Can't wait to see what the Lord will do!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Road to Russia Update #3

June Update:

Miles Traveled: 11,000
# of Churches Visited: 18
Total Support: 22%

Happy 4th of July to everyone!
This year seems to be flying by. The month of June was a slower month for us. Many churches have a ton of things going on in the summer so it was hard to book meetings the end of June and beginning of July. But that didn't stop the Lord from blessing us! We had four churches call us to tell us they were taking us on for support! Praise the Lord! It is always an encouragement when we get these phone calls. One step closer to being in Russia!

We had a great visit with James' parents, Jim and Laura Pranger. They are missionaries to Budapest, Hungary and were in the states for a few months. We were very thankful for the time we had with them! Just when we were getting used to having them around, we said our goodbyes as they boarded a plane back to Budapest. We were sad on this end, but know the Lord is using them there!

Since we have had a few weeks off, we have had time to get some things organized and in order which has been a blessing. We have officially transferred to a new midwife in Cleveland from our previous doctor in Youngstown. (So now we don't have to drive 68 miles when I am in labor!) We have the hospital all picked out as well. It is a nice feeling to have those things settled. We are still praying for a place to live when we come back to Cleveland at the end of October through November to have the baby. We would appreciate your prayers that the Lord will work that out for us! (And prayerfully, we won't have the baby on the road!)

We have had a couple doctor's appointments, and baby Jacob and mommy are doing great! There was only one minor thing, common in boys, that the doctor was concerned about. It has to do with his kidneys, and Lord willing, it will work itself out by the time he is born.

We were also able to help out with our home church's, Cleveland Baptist Church, Vacation Bible School. James drove the bus, while I helped out on the route, and in the crafts department. It was a great week! With a total of 505 kids and workers, $816 raised by the kids for a building fund in Africa, 27 souls saved and 2 assurance of salvations! We were so blessed to be a part of it all! Praise the Lord for all that was accomplished!

We are looking forward to hosting another Vacation Bible School at Lake Milton Baptist Temple in August. James is busy preparing for that as well. (That is the church we used to be on staff at.) We are blessed to help out in the weeks we have off from traveling. We are antsy to get back on the road again! Our next meeting will be at Southwest Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on July 15. And we are thankful to be booked in meetings all the way until the end of October when our son is due to be born! We look forward to seeing our friends and family along the way as well!

A special prayer request for our nephew Gabriel Michael Pranger, born June 10, 2012, to Amos and Liberty Pranger. After a traumatic delivery, Gabriel was diagnosed with NKH, the same disorder his oldest sister has. He is now breathing on his own and has opened his eyes! Currently, he has a blood clot on his brain that we are praying will go away on it's own. Please keep this little guy and his family in prayer as they trust the Lord to take care of him each step of the way. Everyone is doing well right now but eager to get him home! We praise the Lord for the progress that has been made so far. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Road to Russia Update # 2

April & May Update:

Miles: 7,648
# Churches Visited: 14
Total Support: 18%

   It's hard to believe tomorrow starts the month of June! The Lord has truly been good to us as we have been on the deputation road for the past eight weeks. Every church we have been in has been a huge blessing to us. The Lord has blessed us with five churches committing to take us on for support! There are a few churches who have taken us on but we are not sure of the amount yet to calculate into our percentage. We are excited at the faith of these churches to get behind us as we strive to be in Russia by fall of 2013.

  This month on the fifteenth we happily celebrated our two year anniversary of marriage. God has truly blessed us beyond our expectations and dreams. We would have never guessed that two years ago when we said our "I do's" we would be on our way to Russia as missionaries! And as many of you know, we are expecting our first child the end of October. We are very excited to find out if it's a boy or girl tomorrow morning. Living by faith is the most exciting journey anyone could live and we are happy to be living it!

David, Charity, Anna, Gracie, Jon & Davey (This was Jon's 6th brithday!)
Charity and Ambe
 Life on the road has treated us well. We have been in Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma and Kansas thus far. It has been nice to visit family while we have been traveling. My brother and his family have been sweet enough to have us in their home for the past two weeks. We will miss spending time with them and their cute kids; but are looking forward to spending time next week with my oldest sister and her family! Who said deputation couldn't be fun?! It has been wonderful to be with family and we cherish every moment! (We know there will come a day when we will be separated by many miles for a season.)

Prayer Requests:

* Safety as we travel and for the pregnancy
* To fill up some meetings in the end of June and beginning of July

  We are looking forward to heading to Missouri this Saturday then off to Indiana! We will continue to be in the midwest region throughout the summer and look forward to all the Lord will continue to do. Thank you for the prayers- we covet each one! And we will keep you posted as we travel on our road to Russia!