It has been far too long since you heard from us and for that I apologize. To recap, starting in August, 2010, David and I were leading the Missionaries To Canada team until April 20, 2011. We were traveling from one community to the next across four provinces in Canada doing ministry—wherever the host churches arranged for us. On April 20, we crossed into the U.S. and continued our ministry travels in Ohio and Indiana. It was wonderful, exciting, busy, tiring, and yes, sometimes frustrating. We left the team on May 30 in order to prepare for our summer team. Fellow staff member, Ryan Fast, led the team so we could prepare for the summer.
We arrived in Merritt Island on June 1, and “hit the ground running”! So much to do in so little time! We had medical appointments, had to wash and pack away all that we’d been carrying on the road and then had to wash, inventory, shop for and pack all that we needed for our summer team. In addition, we were packing for the adventure that would follow our summer team.
We moved into Boot Camp on Saturday, June 11. Our 21 team members arrived throughout the day. I’d love to say all were thrilled to be there, but such was not the case. At least one or two weren’t so sure about it. However, through the course of our training, the Lord was working in each one and by the time we commissioned, all were ready and eager to go to Russia. Our first 10 days in Russia were spent at the Russia Boot Camp in Krasnaya-Niva, a community on the outskirts of the city of Shadrinsk.
The Russia Boot Camp had 52 team members and leaders to start, but two Russian team members had to be sent home. After they went home, the rest were able to focus on the Lord and their training. One pastor said it was the best Boot Camp he’d seen thus far. After the Russian teams commissioned, one of their teams joined with our team as we traveled by train to the eastern city of Irkutsk, near Lake Baikal. Both teams worked together doing street witnessing, as well as some work projects both around the property where we were staying and for a local pastor. After nine days of ministry and work, the Russian team left on a train headed back to Krasnaya-Niva for their Debrief and the following morning, we got on a train headed for Beijing and a couple days of sight-seeing. We THOUGHT we were traveling through Mongolia, but due to some sort of glitch, we were routed through Manchuria instead. The journey took something like 62 hours, and crossing the two borders took a total of about 13 hours! Part of the delay crossing into China is that the wheels on the train cars must be changed – the two countries use different gauges for their railroads. I guess the rest was good ol’ “red tape” of checking all the passports and luggage and whatever else.
We finally arrived in Beijing and what a surprise! I never thought I’d experience heat and humidity worse than central Florida – but we sure did in Beijing! I can’t tell you the actual temperature or humidity level, but it was almost unbearable! The humidity was literally hanging in a haze over the city. Some of the haze was pollution, but I’m telling you, most of it was humidity! In spite of it, we walked to Tiananmen Square, which was swarmed with people visiting Mao’s mausoleum. We also found some good souvenir shopping. On the way back to our guest house, we stopped and ate. Several team members ordered Kung Pao Chicken—and it was much spicier than in the U.S., and portions were more generous, so some had difficulty eating it all. The second day we went to the Great Wall. Again, the humid haze was an issue and made photography less than ideal, but we had a great time walking the wall. We rode up to the wall on a cable car, and came down on a little toboggan which didn’t go as fast as some might have liked, but it was fun. At the bottom, vendors were waiting, and more shopping was done. We had a delicious lunch at a near-by restaurant, then back to the guest house where we rested, did laundry and packed all our belongings, for the next day was the start of our journey back to Florida. In Florida, we had an enjoyable time at Debrief, relaxing, seeing friends on other teams, hearing their stories and sharing ours, and attending classes meant to prepare the kids to return home and encourage them to keep up with devotions, witnessing, and boldly living for the Lord.
Some of our team members went home July 29 after the “Bridging the Gap” ceremony that ends Debrief, the rest throughout the day on July 30.
Sunday, July 31, we were able to worship at our home church in Florida. Afterwards, we were busy packing and cleaning again! Washing and packing away our summer team clothes and equipment, as well as packing up the last of what we wanted to take with us for our time in Canada. Yes, Canada. In June, we met with the Director of Teen Missions International, and were asked if we were willing to step into the role of coordinator and office staff in the office of Teen Missions in Canada (TMC). We already knew that health issues resulted in the resignation of the previous coordinator and his wife, so David and I had already considered that we might be asked, had already prayed about it, and decided if asked, we would go.
After two days of preparation, we were back on the road with a final destination of Outlook, Saskatchewan. Along the way, we were able to see most of our family: Heather, Josh and kids in Indiana; Azzie and Olga & Jason in Michigan (where we were able to attend and share in our home church there), and Iva, Alisha and our great-grandson, Canten.
We weren’t able to spend time with Jenni this trip, or with Shad Rae, Talon and Shad. Jenni is in Arkansas, searching for a job and staying with friends and Shad is now stationed at an AF base near Las Vegas, so he and the boys live there. Another special part of our journey to Outlook was time in Renton, Washington, for a reunion of the church where I got saved. It was a blessing to see all who attended, and to share with my former Sunday School teacher, the pastor under whose ministry I was saved, and friends who made an eternal difference in my life. Though no longer an incorporated body of believers, the ties that bind us together are still very strong. While in Renton, we spent time with friends who have been more like family to me since I was a teen. It’s very difficult to put into words how special that time was for me.
So here we are, in Outlook, Saskatchewan, settling in to our new responsibilities. We’ve found a church to worship in, and because of our time here last year, we have many friends and acquaintances already. We love the town, and are excited about what the Lord is going to do through Teen Missions in Canada.
One big surprise is the increase in our cost of living. WOW! Our first grocery shopping trip was quite a shock—we’ll have to be more frugal, as virtually EVERYTHING is more expensive up here.
Many thanks to all who pray for us and who support us financially. Without you, our ministry with Teen Missions would not be possible. Our prayer is that the Lord will bless you as generously as you bless us. If you have needs that we can pray for, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We can be reached by e-mail at either [email protected] or [email protected] com , on Facebook, or by snail mail: c/o PO Box 415 Outlook, SK S0L 2N0 CANADA. We want you to know that you are important to us, and we care about your lives and want to be able to pray for you when you need it.
Thank You again for all you do for the Lord, we appreciate each and every one of you. It is a blessing and a privilege to represent you in ministry.
Together in His Service,
David and Stephanie Spindler Romans 10: 14,15