Jesus is Lord Church, Kingisepp

The Russian government having decided not to put the clocks back last autumn meant we flew into St. Petersburg at 5pm instead of 4pm this year.  It is a two hour drive to Kingisepp and the first seminar was scheduled to start at 7pm!  Hmm!  Fortunately start times are flexible (where have I seen that before?!) so we arrived at the church centre just after 7pm, slid over the ice and snow into the building, were provided with a quick meal and got straight on with the teaching.We taught each evening Weds – Fri and Saturday noon till 4pm ish.  Attendance varied between 20 – 40 from the congregation, representing all age groups in the church.  The teaching was well received and testimonies to the impact of the teaching shared at the Sunday morning meeting were very encouraging, for which we are very grateful to God.  We were determined from the outset that this would not simply be the passing on of good biblical teaching and doctrine alone.  At different times during breaks or at the end of seminar sessions people asked for prayer.  On one occasion a 17 yr old young man had come with his girlfriend who had a blinding headache.  He suggested he take her home during the break, but she asked him to ask us to pray for her.  We encouraged him to take the authority of Jesus’ name over the pain and command it to leave her.  He had never done this before and was evidently nervous, but agreed to go for it.  We stood and watched as he stepped out and saw the pain go instantaneously. They agreed to share about what God had done on the Sunday morning and he challenged other young people to believe that God wanted to do miracles in their lives too  - that these are not fairy tales or the experience of their spiritual fathers.  So we asked a younger generation if they were up for the challenge and those who wanted to respond came forward and the young man prayed for them.  So exciting!  A pastor friend of Sasha from Estonia had asked to meet us and attend one of the sessions and the day after meeting him I received an email asking if we would consider teaching in his church on our next trip.

New Covenant Church, St. Petersburg

We were welcomed as last year into Pastor Alexander and his wife Valerie’s home, with their 5 children, the oldest of whom had just celebrated her 16th birthday.  The journey from their home on the outskirts of the city to the church’s new rented accommodation (a large room, a small office and access to an old theatre for the mid-week and Sunday meetings) near the city centre is 45 -50 mins outside rush-hour.  Arriving from Kingisepp in the late afternoon we had a quick meal and then headed into their centre for the first teaching session, passing the frozen river Niva on the way!  The  American young woman, Angelina, who had worked very hard on translating the notes interpreted for us the first evening.  She did very well, but having to think and interpret on the spot proved challenging and progress was slow, so it was agreed that the church would hire an interpreter for the rest of the week.  Olec proved a complete blessing and coming from another pentecostal / charismatic church in the city flowed very well with the teaching.  These evening sessions were part of their monthly Bible School and were attended by 20 – 22 members of the church, mostly young men and women, and as last year their hunger, alertness and knowledge of the Bible really impressed us.  The teaching was well received, with a number of the students asking questions before or after sessions.  We also had the privilege of preaching at their mid-week church meeting and their Sunday morning meeting, before being whisked off to the airport for our trip home.
We were grateful for the privilege of serving Jesus and his Bride in this rapidly developing nation, confirming a long-standing relationship in Kingisepp, developing a relatively new relationship in St. Petersburg, and wondering if a new opportunity in Estonia is right to pursue.

Mark Churchward

Date:       March 2012

Location:   Russia

Teachers:  Colin Cooper,  Mark Churchward

Subject:  The Person and Work of the Holy Spiri