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Dear Friends, (For those who read our print letter the first paragraph is repeated)
Our greatest need is prayer, and I will give you an example of last Sunday night. Since we moved back to the Mission we have been experiencing some difficulties concerning vandalism. This area is building up fast with new homes and the three years we were gone, along with losing our house, some of the young people didn't know us very well, so everyone has been adjusting to the new situation here. The church hasn't been touched since we fixed it up and started using it again in 2005! However, we have recently had some tires slashed, and our shop was broke into with several hundred dollars worth of items taken and before that we lost some tools, and of course our Outreach truck was taken. At 4:30 A.M. Monday I woke up and while I was laying there awake I remembered that I forgot to secure the shop door with the new secret locking system I made. I'm sure the Lord put that thought in my mind. I got up and went out and locked it. It also has an old fashioned padlock that serves more as a distraction since I rigged up a secret locking system on the sliding door made of 2 ½" thickness of plywood and no windows in the building. It frosted heavy and was cold, so I jumped back in bed where I am sleeping in the kitchen tent. As I was laying there warming up it was just a matter of "minutes" and I heard a car. We hear cars all night long and I wasn't sure where this one was but then I heard a noise which was someone prying the padlock off. So I jumped up and went out in my bare feet and caught two people breaking in the shop. They also had a stolen car they were driving. They had stole the car in Rocky Mt. House. I wouldn't let them leave in the car, which took some persuasion. They were using a knife for a key where they had torn out the ignition, and they did attempt to drive off but I was able to stop them. The owner was happy to get his car back. I was very deeply impressed that God woke me and put it in my mind to lock the door just minutes before the thieves got there. It was one of those 'encouraging' miracles that God is on our side! As the word gets around it also works to deter such things as people see that God is openly working in our behalf.
In July we had a team come from Pennsylvania to do our VBS's. They were sent by an organization called Priority 1, which is associated with the Brethren In Christ. There are other organizations with similar names and this is not to be confused with them. When I went to pick them up at the Calgary International airport I had been given the wrong time of arrival. So after a couple hours they went off to a waiting area to relax. When I walked into the terminal from parking, almost the first person who walked past me in the huge crowd of people, had a Priority 1 logo on his shirt. I had only heard the title briefly in past communications and I was comatose from driving 3 ½ hours. So the Lord had to knock me on the head and get my attention, after which I looked up at the "tall" young man and said, "Hey"! All this happened in just one step as we passed.
The team consisted of: Riley (who got called Wiley by some of the kids), who is about to graduate with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in December...Holly, the 25 yr. old team leader who has amazing musical talents...Megan, an athlete (and Princess) from the California desert on her way to college...and Elise, a High School student who has the sweetest spirit of any person on earth. The amazing thing about this team is how much they wanted to be "here". They loved these kids "fervently", to borrow from the King James. They never wanted to go to town. They just wanted to be with the people here. The first week we had the Sunchild VBS and it went very well. The enrollment was close to a hundred all together. The second week we had VBS over in the mountains at the Big Horn Stony Reserve where the enrollment was good and mostly teens. The team was here 2 ½ weeks. When they had free time they would go to the homes to spend time with the kids. They carried a real burden for them and tearfully prayed for them.
After many years in ministry, there is one thing that my dense brain has finally recognized. The people who come from the Eastern Appalachian mountains have a special God given talent to minister here on the mission field that people who come from other areas don't seem to have naturally. Anyone can learn, but they just seem to have it by nature.
We want another team next year, and any of you who are looking for a good organization to train and send out your young people on mission trips, we highly recommend this organization from Chambersburg, PA .
In May we had a 25 year old lady come all the way from Germany and was here all summer. She just left on September 9th. Gabriele had trained for a career in medicine but ran into issues that was against her conscience and decided to leave her job. She felt the Lord leading her to come here for the summer. Her father is a Lutheran pastor in Germany. Gabriele had never really worked much with children before, but she fell in love with the kids here. I can tell a personal story to show Gabriele's dedication, although I may get in trouble for telling. Recently there has been a rash of head lice in this area. Both Karen and Gabriele found that when they held some of the children the tiny parasites would end up on them. So the ladies spent a lot of time fighting the good fight on their heads! This didn't hinder Gabriele from loving and being close to the children at all. The last house she stopped at when she left was with one of the families that she especially loved. She was explaining to the Grandma that she was leaving and the lady has a difficult time with English. When she understood Gabriele wouldn't be back she cried. Now she is applying for her passport and wants to go to Germany to visit Gabriele! In all our years on the field I've never had hair bugs because there is just something about me that they don't like. I've always hoped that its the same with the bears, and it does seem to be, that they just don't like the way I smell.
This week we have a Japanese fellow who is coming to help until December. He is a Bible College graduate who has wanted to work on the mission field. So the Lord has been answering prayer for workers and we need all the help we can get. Update: Max is here! Just arrived and we will be posting pictures soon.
After much agonizing we finally replaced the Outreach truck that was stolen. We found a Dodge Diesel in Rocky Mt. House that had only 30,000 Km on it and has an extended warranty that will last for several more years. We used the Insurance settlement, that was less than 1/3 of what we had in the truck we lost, plus about $4,000 that had been sent in to help with this, and then Karen & I had to make up the rest but it is paid for. We still have to put a canopy on the box and I have to have the arctic engine heater installed which runs off diesel fuel. This very much reflects our long range commitment to this ministry. The Arctic, where we do our Outreach, is a very hostile environment. We have learned over the years that it makes a huge difference if we are using adequate or inadequate equipment in ministry. When we are trying to operate with inadequate equipment we spend so much time and energy in the logistics that we often can not accomplish much of our intended purpose plus the detriment to ourselves, and we have a lot of stories to tell on that. This truck is a very long range investment that is the most cost effective that we can get and we are thrilled at the prospect of what we can do with it.
Now we have to deal with replacing the Student Ministry van that is kept at Three Hills for the Bible College students to come here every Sunday. The current van they are using is a 1985 Caravan. It is often overloaded with as many as 8 students for the 3 hour trip up here. As long as the College students are willing to give their entire Sunday to come here and minister we are committed to providing their transportation. Friends have offered to sell an excellent low mileage 2005 Caravan at a reduced price. Our plans are to use that for our mission travel van (not to be used on the Reserve dirt roads), and Karen & I will take the current van ( we paid $10,000 for about 3 years ago) we have been using for travel and donate it for the Three Hills team. We have to personally borrow the entire amount to do that but we don't want to miss this opportunity and feel it is the right thing to do. So this will cover our vehicle needs for several years into the future. We will continue to use older donated vehicles to take the rough wear and tear of the horrible dirt roads here on the Reserve to extend the life of the newer vehicles as much as possible.
Over the years we have had so many short term workers come from Europe and they almost always invite us to come and visit them. So this week Karen is leaving to do just this for one month – Sept. 18 to Oct. 16. We dread trying to run the Sunday School that long without her. Two weeks ago we had about 90 here on Sunday, so please pray for a large team of help each week. All the expense of her trip is coming from the O'Chiese Education Authority. Karen has been helping them part time and it has opened many doors for ministry and been a means of connecting with the families on O'Chiese.
This wouldn't be complete without a report on the housing situation next door. This has been a great, merciful answer to prayer. No one has been staying in the house all summer, giving us a break from that situation. Please pray that we can soon get this facility back and be able to move on with that project.
These next several months we are meeting with church leaders and striving to increase the mission finances to handle the growing aspects of the work. Karen & I no longer do the actual hands on teaching and leading services. The Three Hills team does all the classes on Sunday and the music. We have had two families from Rocky Mt. House come the last year to do our teen event each week. They will continue to do this weekly and the Alliance church will hold one teen event each month, and the Nazarene church will also come a few times, plus we take a van load of teens to the Nazarene teen service in town. And some other churches are in the planning stages to get involved. The Tabernacle church in Three Hills will continue to send a team one Sunday each month. The Rocky Mt. College is coming to minister to the youth and teens for one week November 9-13.
We built a 16x24 Gazebo to use as an outdoor facility for VBS, picnics etc. We recently had to replace the submersible pump in the well, and the Crossroads church is making plans to add a 12 x 14 Sunday School room onto the Church.
I haven't been able to make a trip to visit Mom for nearly two years, so as
soon as Karen gets back I hope to travel to Cumberland for a couple of weeks.
Reuben and Jennifer are expecting their new baby this month also.
(Update: Jennifer had a baby boy Sunday Sept. 20.)
Perhaps this is too much information for most people to get through? Some feedback will help us to know if most people really want to know all this? Maybe we should just post a few pictures? I know I have trouble reading a long letter unless I'm "really" interested.
We have also posted a letter that just involves finances. So if you are interested in that aspect of the work it is listed along with our current newsletters.
In His Service, Rodger & Karen Rinker
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