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.