For Cathy and I, one of the challenges of living stateside is the feeling that few people are willing to be vulnerable about their needs. But when we come to Russia, the Lord fills our lives with wonderful people who are not ashamed to describe their real needs, opening the door for us to tell them about how God can meet them.
1 Thessalonians 2:7 says that because the Thessalonians were so precious to Paul he was ready to share with them not only the gospel of God, but his own self. What we receive here in Russia often in just one day is so inspiring that it is easy to share not only faith, but friendship, too. With Paul we can say, "for you are our glory and joy".
Cathy hosting the Club Butterfly mothers in our home. All of these women have 24-hour-a-day responsibility for their disabled children, and have heard little about who Christ is. This time, one of the women shared that she felt their lives were being changed by the discussions that take place over tea and meals. Cathy got to share with all the women how Christ is able to change lives, giving beauty for ashes and hope for shame, from scriptures like Isaiah 61:3.
Our son, Lewis leading the college and career age of the Saint Petersburg church in the kitchen of our apartment. Nikita, a young man from Club Butterfly, joins them. iNikita's speech is difficult for most people to understand, but when Nikita reads scripture and shares his views in Bible study, he love of Christ gives a common language.
One of the couples who came over on Sunday shared with us that for the first time in their lives they want to study the Bible. After eight years of relating to them and their beautiful daughter Yulia, through camps, meals, outings, and prayer, God has shown Himself faithful.
The newest church in our mission is Kazan, the Muslim capital of Russia. In September, the former pastor of the Kazan church passed away, leaving behind a wife and three children. Our presbytery met to confirm Vlad, ruling elder at Kazan, so he can administer the Lord's Supper until the Lord provides a pastor for them. We currently have 10 men in training, any of whom could end up being a pastor for this church in Kazan. Pray for them as they search for their pastor.
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)