IN THE SPOTLIGHT
MOSCOW, Oct., 25-27 – The National interdenominational prison ministry conference “Kept the Faith” took place in Moscow. 120 ministers from Sakhalin to Karelia came to participate, almost all regions of Russia were represented. The conference was the forth at this level, it gathered Christians of different denominations, who devoted their lives to ministering to people living in detention facilities and their relatives.
The goal of the conference was to unite the ministers, to strengthen their faith and trust in the Lord at this difficult time, when the admission to detention facilities is becoming limited for evangelical churches in Russia. But the Holy Scripture tells us that “the word of God is not imprisoned” (2 Timothy, 2:9), and the Lord is faithful to His Word!
The Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith was represented at the conference by Deputy Head bishop Vasily Evchik and Head of prison ministry department Sergei Konstantinov. Bishop Evchik shared the word about the faithfulness to the calling, encouraging brothers and sisters in Christ, who devoted their lives to the ministry, like Abraham, who by faith followed his calling, to remain faithful to the calling of God to the end.
The participants of the conference spoke a lot about faith as a trust to the Lord and His Word, about anticipation of His promises and being confident of things not seen. They shared their experience of practical ministry in contemporary circumstances, testimonies of God’s glory in lives and ministry, prayed for the development of prison ministry in Russia. As usual, there were new people, who the Lord calls to the ministry. The Lord makes all things new, opens new horizons of faith and new opportunities in the ministry. Glory and thanks to the Lord!
The Russian church of Christians of Evangelical Faith
ROSTOV-ON-DON (RUSSIA) – Southern regional conference of rehabilitation ministry took place in Rostov-on-Don on October, 26-28. More than 60 participants came from all over southern region of Russia: Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Krasnodar, Stavropol, cities of Caucasus and Crimea. Special atmosphere of God’s presence was dwelling at every service.
Bishops Alexei Rudenki and Vladimir Khvalov preached and ministered by prayer. As all participants stayed at a recreation complex, many of them were able to talk in person with the senior ministers, who prayed for them, prophesied and ministered to them.
Pavel Pigurski, regional representative of rehabilitation ministry in Omsk area, shared his experience of cooperating with the government and supporting social projects.
Sergei Kostyushkin, coordinator of “Every home for Christ” project in Siberia shared his experience of preaching the Gospel through printed media. Everyone interested were able to participate in an evangelism project and try to create their own booklets.
We express our gratitude to Christ the Savior Church of Rostov-on-Don. The participants of the conference expressed their desire to make the conference annual. It was suggested to begin to train rehabilitation ministers for the southern region.
Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith
CHISINAU (MOLDOVA) - “Micah” International Organization’s Conference took place on April 8 and 9 in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova. The conference was held for churches and social ministries of CIS, for Russian-speaking audience.
ROSTOV-ON-DON – An interdenominational women’s conference took place at Rostov-on-Don “Christ the Savior” Church on March 9. It was devoted to the International Women’s Day.
OMSK – Regional women’s prayer meeting “Prayers that were heard” took place on the eve of the 8th of March International Women’s Day celebration. Women from different churches of Omsk gathered to praise the name of the Lord, to stand before Him with their hearts open, to worship Him and bring their intercessory prayers to the throne of grace.
VOLGOGRAD (RUSSIA) – A women’s conference took place on November 23 and 24 at the “Grace of Jesus Christ” church of Volgograd. The key verse of the conference was Proverbs 31:25 “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future”. Sisters from churches of Astrakhan, Volgograd, Penza and Rostov areas took part in the conference.
ROSTOV-ON-DON (RUSSIA) – Vladimir Khvalov, bishop and senior pastor of Christ the Savior Church of Rostov-on-Don and his wife Olga celebrated 20 years of ministry.
In summer 1998, Vladimir Khvalov became a successor of the founder and senior pastor of Christ the Savior Church Pavel Okara. Before that the Khvalovs served as pastors of a large church in Krasnodar. Moving to another city was a challenge for their large family (8 kids!), however, having received the confirmation from God they made the decision.
While leading Christ the Savior church that has become one of the largest evangelical communities in the south of Russia, Vladimir Alexandrovich for 19 years was also an irreplaceable chairman of a non-profit organization “Association of Christian churches and parachurch organizations”. He has made a significant contribution into strengthening the brotherly relationships between churches of Rostov area.
As a bishop and a head of Family Ministry department of the Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith, Vladimir Alexandrovich and Olga Yurievna created a family environment in their church and visited many regions of Russia with a unique project to support the family values “Territory of the Covenant”. The encouraging authorial seminars and conferences of the Khvalovs helped to restore and support many Christian families.
The Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith
NORTH KOREA – One of the Russian Christian brothers went to North Korea for work. Here is his story.... We came on a working visa to the economic zone of North Korea, a rich region of this nation. Everything that we had heard before about North Korea, painted a depressing picture. Not all of what we heard was seen, but North Korea remains the most closed country for the Gospel.
Expectations were not met: I did not witness any horrors that I heard about. My phone and the Bible in Russian were declared while crossing the border. The border guards did not revise every page in the Bible.
In the country people move on bicycles, oxen, cars: simple electromobiles and expensive foreign cars. In my hotel room there were no portraits of the great leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
We toured around the city free, unaccompanied. Every Sunday, believers from different countries, except Koreans, gathered for the service, there were about 16 people. We openly praised God, prayed and listened to sermons.
We were in the North Korea for one month, building a dining hall. We and thirty builders from other countries worked from 8 am to 6 pm. Local workers worked from 5 am to 10 pm. Every day they received a salary equal to 130 rubles (2 US dollars). The Koreans called me «comrade». Korean workers were surprised that we were Russian Christians. At first they thought we were Americans and kept us at a distance. When they learned that we were from Russia, they began singing Russian songs.
On the second day Koreans invited us to have tea. In the morning that day we had helped them to do some hard work: to carry bricks, sand, to mix cement. I gave them my gloves, and this attitude ruined the wall. On the third day of work we bought them gifts — shovels and trowels.
Local people knew that we were Christians, they saw how we prayed before meals and worshiped God. We preached the Gospel.
In North Korea, I had my birthday: I cooked pilaf, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and laid out candy for Koreans. All this we ate with them at the construction site. The Koreans wished me a happy birthday. One worker put a candy in my mouth. In Korean culture this means respect.
A week after our arrival, we were asked to repair a room, which was intended for a chapel. In this room we build a new roof, because the building looked like a church. We worked on the ceiling, painted walls and laid the laminated floor. We returned to our hotel, covered with dust and smelling like cannabis, which the workers constantly smoked.
During one month we praised God in a closed country. Please pray that people of the North Korea will see the transforming power of the Lord, pray for brothers and sisters who are in prisons. Pray that the doors will open for the Gospel.
IZHEVSK (RUSSIA) – October, 10 became a special day for 17 people, and their families. On that day they made a covenant with the Lord by water baptism in Philadelphia Church of Izhevsk. The joyful event traditionally was accompanied by songs of praise to God. All 17 entered the baptistery, leaving behind their past life, to make a vow to God to follow Him.
God has prepared a wonderful destiny for everyone. He will never forsake or leave us. He will be with us in joy and sorrow. He will take care of us. We don’t know what happens in the spiritual world during the sacrament, but we know for sure that God rejoices. It is so wonderful that many of those baptized were young people.
After the water baptism pastors prayed for the Holy Spirit baptism for these people. After that all who were present at the event congratulated new church members.
Philadelphia Church of Izhevsk
The Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith
ASTRAKHAN – ‘One Year for Jesus’ Youth team from Perm – “One Year for Jesus. Youth” – has been visiting with youth of Astrakhan “Christ the Savior” church for seven days. The team came to Astrakhan on April, 3. And right away started to help preparing for “Time to Act” Youth conference.
PSKOV – On February 21 to 23, UPGRADE Youth Conference took place in Pskov. 420 young people from 35 cities and 8 countries gathered together. Those were three amazing days of the Holy Spirit movement. The conference was called “Reach out!” A powerful word of the conference speakers Andrew Gardner and Nikolai Zalutski took away young people’s hearts. Profound worship and prayers touched everyone.
IRKUTSK REGION (RUSSIA) – The regional youth conference “Reaching more” was held on November 23–25, at the Grace in Christ Church of Bratsk and on November 27 at the New Life Church of Irkutsk.
OMSK – On March 9, children’s Christian Festival “Rainbow of talents” took place at Omsk Harvest Church. Children from different churches of Omsk regional Association gathered to praise the Lord with their gifts and talents.
PERM (RUSSIA) - Round 3 of Children’s Bible quiz, which all participants looked forward to, was held at the New Testament Church of Perm on June, 4. This time children from churches of Kachkanar, Solikamsk, Tchernushka and Perm took part in the quiz. Children showed profound knowledge of the Bible, answered the most complicated questions (questions for 30 points awaited them this time!), displayed smarts and erudition.
We should note that children eagerly prepared for the round. To quote a verse from the Bible and name the chapter and number of the verse can be challenging even for an adult!
NOVOSIBIRSK (RUSSIA) - Children’s ministry of the Covenant Church of Novosibirsk organizes various events and one of them took place recently: children’s winter camp during winter school break. Children and Sunday School teachers went out of town and spent several days in the recreation center.
PERM (RUSSIA) – At the National Conference of the Russian church of Christians of Evangelical Faith in Perm that took place on September 7 to 9, President of Moscow Theological Institute Sergei Yastrzhembski and the Programme Director Aelita Zhidyaeva conducted a commencement. The graduates from churches of Perm Association — 17 bachelors of practical theology and 4 ministers of practical theology — received diplomas of higher theological education.
The MTI President Sergei Yastrzhembski congratulated graduates on behalf of professors and workers of Moscow Theological Institute and encouraged them to be even more humble before the Lord and serve the Body of Christ with boldness.
The Head Bishop instructed them, “I’m glad that you’ve made it, thank you for your commitment. There’re many people who possess much knowledge, but they don’t know God, and you will help those who seek God. I pray that you become gifts to people”.
Moscow Theological Institute web-site: http://www.mti-rc.ru/
BARNAUL (RUSSIA) – A regional seminar and training for Sunday school teachers took place at Barnaul Light of Revival Church on August 8 to 11. 33 Sunday school teachers and children ministers from Light of Revival, New Life, Kingdom of God, Peacemaker, Source of Life, The Corner Stone churches took part in it. Speakers of the training seminar were Tatyana Chernyavskaya, Olga Verevkina, Ekaterina Sukhotina.
Brightly, vividly and clearly theoretical and practical knowledge was presented at the seminar. All aspects of children minister’s character, the identity and age peculiarities, basic principles of children ministry and children worship were reviewed in all detail. The core of the seminar was the knowledge about how to arrange a Sunday school lesson: preparation, structure and visual material. “The most important part of ministry to children is to be able to schedule the time and pray for children” – the speakers taught.
The biggest interest was aroused by practical tasks with interactive methods “The hat pole”, “Whirlpool”, “Cinqauin”, “Expert evaluation”.
During the breaks the children ministers made acquaintances, communicated, shared experience. The instructors gladly answered the questions and helped to prepare for the exam.
The seminar showed new directions of the ministry to children, new conception of preparing for the lessons, helped to set new goals and purposes in the new school year.
The Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith
VOLOGDA (RUSSIA) – Media ministers of evangelical churches met in Revival Church of Tcherepovetz on March 9 and 10. The meeting was organized by Communications Department of the Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith together with the Revival Church. Sixteen representatives of five churches from Tcherepovetz, Vologda and Kaduy came to the meeting.
Anderi Derbenev, the editor-in-chief of "Primiritel" ("Peacemaker") magazine and "Faith and society" newspaper shared the tools of working with texts, explained how to write a press release and news, make a report about a mission trip. The media trainer presented practical examples of generating ideas and developing creative thinking.
The head of the Communications Department Irina Litvinova presented a review of the Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith media resources and during the meeting helped the participants to get to know each other and make friends.
Igor Bulatov, specialist in videography and smm, shared the knowledge about supporting accounts in social networks, gave some ideas of content for churches' accounts, presented elements of photoreports.
Media speakers focused on planning. During practice sessions the participants gained skills of media support of church's events.
Dmitry Molchanov, lawyer and representative of the Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith legal department, shared about the application of rules and regulations set by "Yarovaya law" in the media ministry. At the conclusion of the presentation the participants made an editor's check-list on the legalistic matters.
Similar media trainings took place since 2013 in Saint-Petersburg, Moscow, Perm and Krasnoyarsk. Media bfiefing is a format of gathering with coleagues, who meet, share experience, learn from each other.
The organizer of the meeting, media minister of Tcherepovetz "Revival" Church Artyom Vtorushin, said that he was glad to welcome guests from Vologda, Kaduy and churches of Tcherepovetz. Artyom was sure that as a result of the meeting new talents would be discovered.
"We've learned to generate and filter the ideas, - says Ilya Lamokhin, participant of the meeting. - I liked the "Six hats" method. Media ministers can help their churches in any ministry using it. Knowledge on media planning of a conference or any other event are useful to anybody".
"I liked to generate ideas using an "Octopus" techniqie, - says Leonid Chumakov. - I've learned how to write a news article, using a pyramid method. It was helpful to learn how to work in social networks and apply hashtags".
"New ideas and new victories in media ministry are guaranted. The Good News, properly shared, will be even closer to people", - Svetlana Vtoorushina summarized.
Artyom Vtorushin, Svetlana Vtorushina, Igor Bulatov
Photos by Igor Bulatov
The Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith