20,000 Miles, 2 Bombs,
82 Demonstrations, 400 New Souls, 1 Beautiful Opportunity for the Gospel
The board of the Slavic Reformation Society is grateful to God for His blessings on the Making Missions Great Again campaign, and thrilled with the impact of this trip through our field leader Blake Purcell and his wife Cathy. Here are highlights of their report:
The 2017 Making Missions Great Again Trip Itinerary
Mile 5,353: Jurmala, Latvia - February 26-March 5
Mile 5,659: St. Petersburg, Russia - March 5-30
Mile 9,712: Romanovka, Far East, Russia - March 30-April 4
Mile 9,860: Kavalerovo, Far East, Russia - April 4-7
Miles 9,860-20,297: 4 flights- Kavalerovo - Vladivostok - Moscow - London - Dallas/Ft. Worth - April 7-9
We made it!
Blake Purcell writes: Thanks to your prayers I stayed in good health while flying 20,000 miles! Five years ago I flew 9 hours to Vladivostok from St. Pete, and when I tried to drive to Kavalerovo with pastor Kiril, I got dehydrated and very ill and never made it. This time, drinking water by the big bottlefuls and flying on a Twin Otter, I made it there and back without getting nauseous. Thanks for the prayers!
Since most of the 20,000 miles Cathy and I traveled were in the clouds, this verse is an appropriate reminder of God’s goodness to us on this trip:
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. (Psalm 57:10)
2 Bombs, 82 Demonstrations
Tragically, during our trip, St. Petersburg was hit with a terrorist attack for the first time. One target was very near our seminary’s facilities, and the other near our home. I had used Ploschad Vosstaniya metro station 5 times the week before the unexploded bomb was discovered there during the attack.
Just the week before the bombing, demonstrators against government corruptions met in 82 Russian cities. Over 1,000 were arrested. Near our home in St. Petersburg 10,000 met. This was the most widespread demonstration since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Demonstrators 2 miles from our house in St. Petersburg,
March 26, 2017.
The Lord answered your prayers for safety for us, our family, and friends in St. Petersburg
O God... who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples. (Psalm 65:6, 7)
400 New Souls Under the Influence of SRS!
Not since the founding of SRS in 2005, or the beginning of our ministry to the USSR in 1990, have we ever had 400 new believers come under our influence at one time. But that is what happened during the 3rd and 4th weeks of our trip. As our last newsletter explained, pastors and ministers Nikolai, Andrew, Yan, and Victor, from 4 new cities, enrolled in our seminary and attended our 2 week intensive course in St. Petersburg. A total of over 400 people attend their 4 churches.
Seminary graduates and new student-pastors (some with their wives) enjoy Cathy’s chili in our home in St. Petersburg during our Make Missions Great Again trip.
O you who hear prayer, to you shall all flesh come. (Psalm 65:2)
1 Beautiful Opportunity for The Gospel: If You Build It, They Will Come
Romanovka, the red dot, is a one hour drive from Vladivostok, about 60 miles from China, and 100 miles from Sonbong, North Korea.
Resulting from this trip, the SRS board asked me to choose a ministry for us to focus on. I chose Romanovka because with the least amount of help, the most good can be done. Romanovka, my next-to-last stop on our 20,000 mile odyssey, was an airforce base during the Soviet Union days. Pastor Ruslan and his wife Olga have ministered there for 8 years. Their passion is to reach the lost and bind up the wounded. In Romanovka, that’s about all there are!
Ruslan, Olga, and I, with the congregation in Romanovka.
Above, Oleg, one of the local fathers Ruslan has sought out and met with personally every week and helped in every possible way. He is now taking responsibility for himself and walking with the Lord, and raising his 5 children in Christ as he loves his wife.
As they have poured out their lives for people like Oleg in this area of 20,000 folk, God has blessed. Sasha, Oleg, Alexander and others have come to the Lord and are studying the Bible with Ruslan 6 days a week! The people in the area are some of the most needy in all of Russia.
When their church building is finished, it will be the only church building in their village of 2,000. The local folks have promised to begin attending when it is finished.
This faithful group of believers, in the Far East of Russia, has now worked over three years on building their church facility. They have over $30,000 tied up in it, but need $30,000 more to complete it. What a blessing it would be for them to finish the building by Sept. 1, 2017!
They need only $30,000 from May-August, 2017, for that to happen!
If you would like to give to this need, please visit our website. Click "Give now" and choose Ruslan Moroz (Far East) from the drop-down menu.
They need only $30,000 from May-August, 2017, for Romanovka to have their first church building with a vibrant congregation!
From the Board of SRS We were aware before this trip started that Russia is dominated by anti-American propaganda, so we were not sure if our efforts to spread the Gospel through Blake and Cathy would be welcomed. What the Purcells and those ministering alongside them found overall was that the Holy Spirit is building His church, and that men's, women's, and children's lives are being transformed through the ministries of our SRS-trained pastors, and more men (representing larger churches than ever) long to learn the historic Christian faith and practice, through and with us.
What possible power could be causing addicted men to become faithful family men, serving God in the Church? What draws middle-aged men to want grow and study even after they have been in the ministry for years?
And what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places... (Ephesians 1:19-20)
Thank you for your obedience to the Gospel through giving to SRS!
Pastor Thomas Memorial Presbyterian Church (PCA)
Chairman of SRS Board
The Slavic Reformation Society is a mission of North American churches initiated in response to the great commission of Jesus Christ, which is to make disciples of all nations of the earth. (Matthew 18:19, 20)