Russia Missions Trip  - Kingisepp:  Jesus is Lord Church
We had been asked to do some teaching on evangelism by the church leader, Sasha Panteleev, so for this first part of the trip I travelled out alone to join our friends in this expanding city.  I was warmly hosted again by Sergei and Natasha and their 3 sons Daniel, Timothy and Ilya. The seminars ran Thursday and Friday evenings and through the day Saturday.  A core group of a dozen attended the seminars and the Saturday afternoon session was given over to prayer walking various areas of the city, something they had never done before. I preached at the Sunday service and was asked to bring back greetings and love from the friends many of us have made over the years. 

And so the transfer to St Petersburg in sleet on the Monday where I was joined by Peter (Robinson). This was our first visit to New Testament Church, which draws its congregation of about 150 adults from across the vast area that St Petersburg  covers with its 8 million population.  Monumental buildings from the time of Peter the Great and his wife Catherine dominate boulevard after boulevard along with huge plazas and magnificent Russian Orthodox Church buildings with their distinctive ornate decoration and golden domes.  We were hosted in the home of the church’s leader. Alexander Tsvetkov and his wife Lerna with their 5 children.  We were warmly welcomed into their home and fortunately Anya had good English which kept our attempts at mime to a minimum!   Depending on the time of day and traffic conditions the trip from their home on the outskirts of the city to the church’s accommodation in the city is 40 mins-1 hour 30 mins!  The church is 4 years old and was a completely new church plant by Alexander, his family and a handful of rehabilitants who had come through a Betel rehab programme and given their hearts to Jesus.  The church is young both spiritually and in age spread with little evidence of “baboushkas” we have come to know and respect in Kingisepp.  It is a wonderful mark of God’s grace on their life together that most of their ministry team leaders and many of those involved in the various kinds of ministry have been saved from the ravages of drug addiction and are now married, many with their first children.  A number of them have drug controlled HIV+ infection, but looking to God for healing.  We had been asked by Alexander, on the basis of knowing how we introduced School of Ministries training at Jesus is Lord Church in Kingisepp, to take his ministry team and other leaders through one of the SOM leadership schools.  A core of about 16 stuck with us for two hours every evening Monday to Friday and for four and a half hours on Saturday, but the group expanded to about 25 at times. Although the church has many people who understand English well and some fluent speakers they have no-one who has ev er translated in a teaching/preaching context before which is a significant challenge for the most competent English speaker.  We were gallantly served by Lerna (Helen) who spent hours translating the student notes before we arrived and then further hours not only translating but meeting with us before sessions to clarify issues in our teaching notes which she also asked to be photocopied.  It was not always easy-going but Lerna did a great job for us.  We developed a very good rapport with the group as the days passed and many of them told us that they found the teaching very helpful and had given them fresh insights – for which we are grateful to God.  Peter left for the UK on Saturday leaving me to finish the seminars and preach at their Sunday celebration before heading for home myself. Peter and I were warmly received and looked after very well.  Pastor Alexander made it very clear that he would like to maintain contact between the churches and has invited us to return if we believe it is right – this autumn preferably!

Location: Kingsiepp and St Petersburg - Russia

Date: April - May 2011

Subjects: Evangelism and Leadership 1 - Discovering your Ministry

Teachers: Mark Churchward and Peter Robinson

Mark Churchward 08/05/11