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Snow Day

snow-day.jpgSo far this winter we have not had any snow. In fact, last week we took a four hour drive up into the mountains looking for snow but didn’t find any. The kids have been anxious for snow and a snow day. Today, they got their wish.

There isn’t that much snow it’s really more icy than anything. The roads are very bad in this kind of weather. But just after 7 AM we got a call that school was canceled. They enjoyed getting outside and sliding around in the yard. The wind is quite cold and made it much colder than the -3 degrees it was. This afternoon it has remained cold but the sun has come out. The kids are hoping for another snow day tomorrow but I doubt it will happen. Well, once a year it’s a treat but too often would become boring.

Prayer Request

We do hope and pray that 2010 is a great year for our friends and family.

I will at some point write a proper introduction for the year but I wanted to ask today for your prayers. Our church, Baku International Fellowship, was required to re-register with the government in order to continue our legal status. However, we have had some discouraging news about our registration and really need to pray that we will have favour with the authorities and be able to re-register. Registration allows us to hold services, enter into rental contracts, hire local workers and issue visas for foreign staff. At the moment, it is not clear to us what the status of our registration is. But you can see that is necessary for the church to continue.

Our family and two others need new visas this month in order to stay in the country. We are awaiting word on whether or not we will get our visas. One of the other families was denied due to the legal status of the church. This is a period of instability and uncertainty for our church and our family.  We have been having good prayer meetings about this issue but would ask that you join with us. Please pray that our church will be granted registration and our visas will come through. We will keep you updated. Thanks, David

Erika Comes for a Visit!

Rhonda’s mom came to visit us in Baku just after Christmas. The kids have been looking forward to her visit for some time. It was like having a second Christmas when she arrived. She sacrificed her luggage allowance in order to bring more gifts and supplies. This is her second visit to Baku and she really likes the city. The lights are up for New Years and everything is decorated very nicely. Her favourite place is the new Airport Bazaar.You could go shopping in there for a month but we manage to pull her out after a few hours at a time. She has no trouble dealing with the sellers and negotiating her price.

The kids enjoy having her in the house and there have been several rounds of ‘hide and go seek.’ Nanny seems to find the best spots. The other night we had to start dinner without her because the kids couldn’t find her and she didn’t want to give up her good spot. There is no school for three weeks so its great to have company and family here. While she is visiting, Grandpa John is putting in a new bathroom at the farm. We all think that’s a great idea and look forward to see the new room in the summer.

Thanks for coming Nanny. You were a great Christmas present this year!

Dinner with The Elders

elders-xmas-09.JPGSaturday night we enjoyed a great evening with the elders and staff from Baku International Fellowship. We met at a good Chinese Restaurant here in the city and had a variety of food from the menu. The gift exchange game is always a lot of fun and you never know what you might take home. David thought he had won a box of chocolates but inside the box was a bottle of Sparkling Date Juice.

If you have been following this blog you know that we love our church. The elders and spouses are an amazing group of people who support and encourage our ministry here as well as care for the needs of the congregation. Thanks to all our leaders for their great service this year!

Jacob Turns 8

jake-8th.JPGHard to believe but the baby of the family is now 8 years old. We had a party for Jacob today and several of his friends came over. 8 year old boys know how to have a lot of fun. They played outside and I tried to guide them through some relay games but they have a way of making them much more adventurous. Inside, they had a couple more games and supper. The cake was a ‘Candy Cake’ in honour of Jake’s love for candy of all kinds. He was blessed by some great gifts too.

We feel blessed to have Jacob in our family. I’ll never forget the excitement of his birth and finding out I had a son. It’s been quite a change for our family. We love his creativity, inquisitive nature (lots of questions),his keen eye for observation and even his endless energy is a gift. He is a hard worker, loves the outdoors, is excellent at doing math in his head and puts himself to bed if he gets too tired. Jacob loves his mother and while he thinks part of his purpose in life is to bother his sisters, he is quite protective. He’s popular with other children, handsome, thoughtful and easy going. In short, a joy to have around. We love you Jacob, Happy Birthday.

Love Dad

Prayer for Churches

prayper.jpgI knew that the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church was in November and I was planning to do a post on it. However, I missed the date, it was held on November 8th. None the less, I think it is an important topic and thought I would just bring it to everyone’s attention and let you follow some links.

There are many ways that people can be persecuted for their faith. We in the West don’t really understand how significant and wide spread this issue is. Losing your job because you follow Jesus is not uncommon for people in this part of the world. Having to move from your home or building because of your faith is persecution. Not being able to send your children to school because you are a believer, that is persecution. While there are concerns over those who are sent to prison, millions of others Christians face a more difficult life because they trust in Jesus. So take a moment to look at some of these sites and pray for some of your brothers and sisters.

www.idop.ca

www.forum18.org

www.opendoorsca.org

Thanks, David

God is Faithful

gods-faithfulness.jpgA few weeks ago a started a new sermon series on Faithfulness. The first sermon was called “God is Faithful”. I just looked at various passages of scripture that remind us of the character of God. I had the points and verses printed up on a bookmark so that people could easier refer to them. I think it is important to learn these verses of scriptures so that in times of need and discouragement we know the truth about God’s character. The points from that sermon as listed below.

Since September the sermons at BIF have been available on the church website, click here. Follow the links for podcast and you should be able to find the audio version.

Blessings, David


God’s Faithful to Forgive Sins

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9

 

God’s Faithful Presence

Jesus said, ”I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

 

God’s Faithful Power

Fear not, for I am with you;

Be not dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you,

I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10

God’s Faithful Provision

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

 

God’s Faithful Rest

 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

 

God’s Faithful Goodness

 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;

The Lord will give grace and glory;

No good thing will He withhold

From those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11

 

God’s Faithful Guidance

The humble He guides in justice,

And the humble He teaches His way. Psalm 25:9

God’s Faithful Future

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:3

 

Visit to Sheki

img_2099.JPGThe mid-term break was last week and so the kids had no school. On Thursday we loaded up and drove to Sheki, a beautiful little town in north-west part of the country. It is situated in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains and has a very ancient history. There is a new and modern hotel there which is a great place to stay. The distance between our house and the hotel is about 310 kilometers and takes about 6 hours to drive. Although they have improved the road greatly it still takes a lot of time. Road signs are not popular here and I missed an important turn which added an hour to the trip there. (So that meant a 7 hour trip rather than 6).

It was a perfect weekend weather wise. The leaves were turning colour and the sun was shining all the time. We had a great hike in the town of Kish. Kish is located outside Sheki and has a small church building that dates back to at least the 5th Century. However, there was probably a church there long before then. The building was fixed up a few years ago and is a great reminder of howimg_2192.JPG early Christianity reached this part of the world.

After lunch on Friday some friends joined us from Baku and we hike to some other ruins that once served as a military outpost in the 15th century. Then we had an amazing drive up a very small and narrow dirt road. We needed our 4 wheel drive for certain and we were on edge for all 7 kilometers. But the view at the top was amazing. We were way above the clouds.

The weekend was a super little great away for our family. We came back by Saturday evening with a smooth trip home. It is always good to get

out of the city and see more of the country. It was beautiful.

img_1980.JPGAlthough we are in Azerbaijan we still manage to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving. This year we had a smaller party but just as enjoyable. It was a work day but we had a great turkey dinner with all the trimmings. It’s never hard to find reasons to be very thankful for all we have and have been given. Our lives are rich with God’s blessings of friends and family. We hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving Day and offered some prayers of thanks for your blessings.

Mud

About once a year the kids want to go and img_1933.JPGvisit the Mud Volcanoes. Last Monday was a national holiday so we decided to head out to where the mud flows like…well mud. This was our third visit as a family and the place never gets old. It’s in the middle of nowhere and there is nothing else around, the Caspian is off in the distance. The volcanoes are just fascinating. How do they form? What is the stuff that bubbles up from them? Where does all the mud go?

Walking around them is a danger in itself. We are growing smarter with each visit. We take old shoes, walk barefoot, have lots of water. It had been raining so the drive out was a little dicey. You can only really do it if you have a four-wheel drive. However the Tiners made it in their GMC van. At one point I was really afraid I would have to get out and push in all that mud. In addition to the Tiners going, the Blains, the Carlsons and our new youth pastors, the Gilboys went. It’s never too soon to get out and see the sites in Azerbaijan. As always we had a great time but were glad to get home and clean

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