Voices from the Field Jeff & Sonya Kilmartin Get to know Jeff & Sonya

And That’s a Wrap…

Published on February 12, 2024

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When we last sent out our quarterly newsletter, we were catching our breath from one whirlwind travel itinerary and were prepping for another short foray to see some more of our American churches. As I write this now, that newsletter seems like an eternity ago, but it’s only been three months!!

We have really enjoyed being able to share about the ministry. We forgot to take pictures at many churches, so forgive us if yours is not featured here!! Sharing continues to be a lot of fun, and people have responded very positively to what God is doing in our part of the world. We are also happy to report that there is a lot of healthy prayer going on in the churches.

The first Sunday of November, Jeff went to Hillview Baptist without me, as I finished a COVID quarantine. We interact with a lot of elderly folks, so a little extra caution seemed in order. We then headed to Northern California for 17 days, where we had some time with Kerry Bender and Caryn Young at the International Office, lunch with numerous IO staff, three church visits, and American Thanksgiving. Plus I (Sonya) spent a great afternoon with Caryn Young, although the Beach Hut restaurant we went to is as close as we got to a California beach.

One of the best parts of this NorCal trip was finally getting to two more churches who have supported us faithfully for over six years without us ever having been there in person (Quail Lakes Baptist in Stockton and GracePoint in Lodi).

In addition to presenting in Sunday services, we greatly enjoyed some adult Sunday school classes and young adults meetings at Quail Lakes and GracePoint. We enjoyed the amazing hospitality from our Lodi hosts (although even I chickened out of using the unheated swimming pool in November), as well as their staff and missions team. I realized for the first time that even though fall is different in California, deciduous trees do lose their leaves there, and so we were treated to the lovely fall colors I miss from prairie falls. We got better acquainted with some folks at Antelope Springs (and their youth) and were graciously invited to join Lovina and her family for Thanksgiving dinner. (People have asked if we planned it so we could get multiple Thanksgiving dinners. The answer? Not exactly…but we might do it again!!)

Arriving back in Alberta for a pleasantly mild December, we enjoyed some more time with friends, morning and evening services at Parkland Baptist in Spruce Grove, a dual visit to West Meadows (including their Christmas banquet – more food!), Calvary Baptist in Wetaskiwin, and two services at Steele Heights, including what I believe was a memorable presentation for the children. I was able to swim regularly and spend a fair amount of quality time with my Dad, as we were staying in downtown Edmonton, only a 15-minute walk from him.

Optimistic that we would not have to cancel any more visits due to weather, the last few weeks have been a crazy montage of just missing some major weather issues. Just before Christmas, as we prepared to leave Edmonton, we saw a freezing rain forecast for the morning we wanted to leave, so we accelerated our departure and headed out a day early. We had only a skiff of snow and mild temperatures for a wonderful Christmas with our three boys and their significant women, and some extra quality time with Daniel while we got accustomed and made some improvements at our ‘new-to us’ house.

We thought maybe we were going to ‘miss out’ on a real Winnipeg winter, but the Alberta clipper came our way, dropping some snow and then temperatures, by at least 20 degrees. (But it was not as cold as Edmonton, so we were still grateful.) The hardy folks from Rowandale Baptist ventured out for a number of different missions-focused events, as did youth from four churches for a multi-church MBA youth gathering.

We slipped away a few days to Vancouver while temps were still quite frigid in Winnipeg. In Vancouver, a big dump of snow canceled a pile of flights…a few days before we went! So although we stomped and drove around in slushy conditions, major roads had been plowed and rain melted a lot of accumulations in other places, so we made it to both of our planned churches (Sunshine Ridge and Rose of Sharon), plus family and friends.

We were also delighted to visit Bernie and Lilly Lemke there, although we wish it could have been longer. I was very happy to be able to discuss and report some things about some water projects that are very near and dear to Bernie’s heart. We want to thank those of you who recently raised and sent some substantial funds for water projects, which should allow our partners to finish one project and get started this dry season on another.

Please contact us if you would like more information on helping provide clean water in communities as a bridge for the Gospel. Donations for that, and much of the work we help our national partners do, is made through our Least Reached People Group NAB special project.

As we close this letter, we are sitting under grey Scotland skies, spending a week with our daughter and son-in-law, where the narrow ‘lochs’ in this area remind us of the Lake Okanogan area – albeit decidedly colder at the moment!!

Seeing all the stone buildings – castles, churches, government buildings, and even everyday houses – many over three or four hundred years old, reminds me of Jesus’ parable about the man who built his house on the sand and the one who built on the rock. May we all be reminded to hear the words of Christ and put them into practice and build our lives on the rock that is Jesus Christ.

Jeff & Sonya Kilmartin