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
SERBIA – In June, a team of 25 young people from churches of Perm and Kaliningrad went on a missions trip to Serbia. After six months of detailed preparation, prayers and steps of faith, missionaries spent two weeks in service, fellowship, new discoveries and witnessed an unforgettable touch of God on the hearts of people in Serbia and experienced changes in their lives!
ODESSA (UKRAINE) - “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit — fruit that will last — and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” (John 15:16 NIV )
KARELIA REGION (RUSSIA) – A few years ago pastors and ministers from seven evangelical churches of Karelia formed a joint missionary team to bring God’s Word to people. This summer the team responded to the invitation by distant churches and went 700-800 km to the north of the region on its mission trip. The first three days they held tent meetings in villages of Pjaozersky and Tungozero in Louhi district where Pastor Vasily Grudov ministers with his family.
GROZNY (CHECHNYA, RUSSIA) – The Interregional Charity Organization ‘Christian Relief Society’, which is based in Omsk (Russia), participated in a children’s festival in Grozny timed for the International Children's Day on June 1.
MOSCOW (RUSSIA) - The Moscow Risen Christ the Savior Church organized a concert for the WWII veterans and residents of Moscow on the Victory Day. The event took place in the Chertanovo district of the city on May 9. 120 people attended the concert.
On October 18, Philadelphia Church of Uva town (Udmurtia Republic, Russia) held a new type of meeting for parents. It was called ‘Parents’ Lounge’. Children’s workers from Izhevsk, the capital city of Udmurtia, Anna Zhelnovakova and Marina Nepomyaschaya came to Uva to organize the event.
On October 5, a special event for men took place in Bread of Life Church of Omsk, Siberia. Men were talking about themselves being role models for their families. Who is responsible for spiritual growth of wives and children? Why don’t men take time to be with their families? The answer could be easy – men have to work a lot and they don’t have time.
On July 22 - August 2 the "Philadelphia" church children's ministry organized children's playground in the town of Votkinsk. Children, ages 6 to 11, from the parishioners’ families attended the playground. The goal was to introduce children to the ministries of the church. It was a good time for fun games outside, for a variety of creative activities and also for discovering many truths of the Bible.
The Book Acts is full of stories of God’s Word touching people’s hearts and changing their lives. People came to believe and got baptized in water. These events still happen in lives of Udmurt people. The Word of God given out by a missionary group from Philadelphia Church of Izevsk that minister to Udmurt people, bring great fruit.
From July 30 through August 4, 2013 youth from St.Trinity Church of Smolensk made a missions trip to the neighboring city of Roslavl to work alongside with a newly opened church. For five days, young people held evangelistic events for youth, which included sociological surveys, home group fellowship, but the most outstanding event was a photo contest.
The second week of July 2013, became outstanding for many young Christians of St. Petersburg – «RE-formation» came back! The annual summer Christian camp was held from 8 to 12 of July in an unusual location – Recreation Park «LosevoDa».
Five days filled with fellowship. leisure, beautiful nature, devotions, prayers, music performed by incredible artists and even extreme, gathered young people from St. Petersburg, Samara, Yekaterinburg and from Belarus.
On July 7 - 13 the Northwest Association of the Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith organized a IN POWER 2013 youth camp on the shore of Soletskoye lake in Luga. The overall theme of the camp was evangelization. The main objective of the camp was that young people could find their identity in Christ, find their place in church, and learn to share the Good News of salvation with others.
On July 11 to 13, Open Air Christian Youth Festival was organized and conducted by several churches of the city of Novosibirsk in Siberia. Youth from several churches – Word of Life, Covenant Church, Tree of Life, New City, Exodus – gathered to praise Jesus and worship Him. More than 150 young people for three days settled in tents, wanting to share with each other the love of Jesus and the precious moments of God's presence.
Last week in Perm was marked by a significant event. On July 4th to 6th, the New Testament Church hosted the annual Youth Conference «LIVE». The conference was attended by about 250 young people from different parts of the Perm region and other Russian cities: Krasnokamsk, Dobryanka, Kungur, Kudymkar, Gubakha, Kachkanar, Uralskiy, Yekaterinburg, Izhevsk.
Last week, Good News Church in Tyumen (Western Siberia) hosted a Women's Conference. Larissa Grabovenko, leader of Women's Ministry and her assistant Elena Hooda, leader of women's and family ministry of the New Testament Church in Perm were the main speakers of the conference.
On Monday, January 28, volunteers from Source of Life Church of Syktyvkar (Komi Republic) held an outreach "Feed the hungry", the purpose of which was to minister to homeless people.
On January 18 and 19, Grace of Jesus Christ Сhurch in Volgograd hosted Children's ministry training. The training was held by the head of the Children’s ministry Valentina Fedorova. The main theme was Discipleship. «Do your best to present yourself to God as one appproved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth» (2 Tim. 2:15).
January 2-4, Khabarovsk, Far East of Russia – In the first days of the new year women's conference was held in Khabarovsk. About 200 women gathered at Grace Church to praise God and learn from His word.
Revival Church of Azov held a children's Christmas celebration called "Journey to Bethlehem." Children were asked to find a treasure. In order to do that they were to overcome seven obstacles, which they successfully accomplished. Children liked riddles and puzzles, they answered questions about the books and heroes of the Bible, played games, sang Christmas songs. Between different assignments they recited Bible verses, sang songs and danced. The children put together and read Bible verses from the book of Isaiah 9:6-7 and then thanked the Lord for His love.
On July 20 through 22, women's conference was held in Northern Ossetia, in the city of Mozdok. Women's ministry team of the Russian Church of Chrstians of Evangelical Faith came to this very unstable region of the Northern Caucasus region to encourage women. The head of the Women's Ministry Larissa Grabovenko and her team spent three days in the city of Mosdok, teaching, praying for women and their families. They visited homes and prayed for the sick.
Last weekend youth ministry team "Plug Into Heaven" of Izhevsk Philadelphia Church led by Youth Pastor Vladimir Batalov visited churches of the city of Bereznyaki in the neighboring Perm region.
On the 8th of March people of Russia celebrate International Women’s Day. Though the history of this holiday goes back to the Soviet times as a holiday for working women it became a wonderful holiday to celebrate the joy of spring and new life. All men bring gifts to their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters.
Childhood and prison. It seems that these two are not compatible, but the realities of this world show otherwise. In women’s prisons there are special facilities for children, who are born in prison and they stay there up to certain age. Another problem in our society is juvenile prisons. It’s hard to even imagine that young boys and girls live in barracks, wear prisoners’ robes. But what can you do – that's life. They committed crimes, and the society is compelled to take measures for their temporary isolation. Fortunately, other methods are being sought to change their behaviors.
On Friday, February 10, leaders of ‘RENEWAL’ drug rehabilitation ministry met in Tomsk, Siberia. The ministry belongs to Western Siberian regional association of the Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith, and includes 14 men’s and 2 women’s rehabilitation programs.
On February 4, 2012 Christians of evangelical faith organized a concert in Omsk juvenile prison. A group of children from Harvest Church and Tree of Life Christian choir took part in it.
On January 27, volunteers from the "New Testament" church located in the town of Linevo (Novosibirsk region) presented a lesson on moral values to kids from the local school #1. During the interactive lecture they spoke about the importance of choice in their lives.
"Therefore, since we have this ministry, as God has shown us mercy, we do not become discouraged" (2 Corinthians 4:1). These words of Apostle Paul became a motto for the three-day children's ministers’ conference which took place on January 8-10 at the Holy Trinity Church in the city of Miass in Chelyabinsk region (Ural Mountains area, Russia).
On January 14-15, a regional Children’s Ministers’ Conference took place in Astrakhan (city in the south of Russia). It was attended by 20 children’s workers from several churches. The Lord richly blessed us with His presence.
During the school break a unique event took place in Chita – the first teenagers’ conference. The conference brought together over 70 young people from the churches of Trans-Baikal region and the city of Chita. There had never been a conference like that before, and this was the uniqueness of the event.
The year 2012 is associated with a lot of frightening predictions. Hollywood movies portray disasters that will happen in 2012. Everyone is afraid of a doomsday that the ancient Mayans calendar supposedly predicted.
November 5, 2011 was the last day of the V Congress of Children’s ministry coordinators. While preparing for the Congress, God revealed His word to us: "And he built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord. There he pitched his tent; and there his servants dug a well." (Gen. 26:25).
On November 19, Youth Summit will take place in Izhevsk. Youth ministries of churches in the city – Work of Faith Church, Philadelphia Church, Church of God and Izhevsk Christian Fellowship, organize it. For the first time Church of Resurrection will be participating in the project. The organizers have chosen the theme for the summit, “Church and I”.