IN THE SPOTLIGHT
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
PERM – “Anything is possible” — the annual joint conference of the Challenge Rehabilitation Centers Coalition and the Rehabilitation Ministry of the Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith.
ULAN-UDE – On June 14 and 15, the East Siberian regional social ministries conference took place in Ulan-Ude. 90 participants came from all over Eastern Siberia: Buryatia, Chita and Irkutsk areas. It is safe to say that the presence of God was at every meeting!
MOSCOW, Oct., 25-27 – The National interdenominational prison ministry conference “Kept the Faith” took place in Moscow. 120 ministers from Sakhalin to Karelia came to participate, almost all regions of Russia were represented. The conference was the forth at this level, it gathered Christians of different denominations, who devoted their lives to ministering to people living in detention facilities and their relatives.
The goal of the conference was to unite the ministers, to strengthen their faith and trust in the Lord at this difficult time, when the admission to detention facilities is becoming limited for evangelical churches in Russia. But the Holy Scripture tells us that “the word of God is not imprisoned” (2 Timothy, 2:9), and the Lord is faithful to His Word!
The Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith was represented at the conference by Deputy Head bishop Vasily Evchik and Head of prison ministry department Sergei Konstantinov. Bishop Evchik shared the word about the faithfulness to the calling, encouraging brothers and sisters in Christ, who devoted their lives to the ministry, like Abraham, who by faith followed his calling, to remain faithful to the calling of God to the end.
The participants of the conference spoke a lot about faith as a trust to the Lord and His Word, about anticipation of His promises and being confident of things not seen. They shared their experience of practical ministry in contemporary circumstances, testimonies of God’s glory in lives and ministry, prayed for the development of prison ministry in Russia. As usual, there were new people, who the Lord calls to the ministry. The Lord makes all things new, opens new horizons of faith and new opportunities in the ministry. Glory and thanks to the Lord!
The Russian church of Christians of Evangelical Faith
SYKTYVKAR – On February 22-23, the annual regional conference for men “Reaching the Maximum” was held in Syktyvkar at the Source of Life Church.
BARNAUL – On February, 27th, the regional men's conference “A Man after God's Heart” was held in Barnaul, in the Light of Awakening Church. It gathered 96 participants from Barnaul, Belokurikha, Biysk, Mamontovo, Kamen-on-Obi and Pavlovsk. The conference was attended by parishioners of Light of Awakening Church network in Altai region.
PERM – On the first Saturday of October, an event, which is planned to be held every month, was held in Perm — prayer breakfast for men.
SAINT-PETERSBURG – On March 7-8, the First Federal Women's Conference of the Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith/Pentecostals in the Northwest of Russia was held in St. Petersburg under the title ‘Do You Know Him?’.
BARNAUL – The Light of Awakening Church of Barnaul held its second women's conference this year. Its slogan: BORN TO REIGN. The church in Barnaul gladly accepted 250 participants of different ages from cities of Altay region: Biysk, Belokurikha, Kamen-na-Obi, Mezhdurechensk, Mamontovo, Pavlovsk, Zarinsk, Troitsk, Rubtsovsk and others.
KAZAN – On May 8, the Gospel House Church of Kazan hosted a regional women's conference for the churches of Tatarstan. The main theme of the conference organizers chose Bible verses describing a wise and humble woman: “Strength and beauty are her clothes, and she looks to the future with cheerfulness. Her mouth opens with wisdom, and meek instruction is on her tongue” (Proverbs, 34:25, 26).
NOVOSIBIRSK – On September 2-4, the annual youth conference “Up to Heaven” was held at the Covenant Church of Novosibirsk. The organizers rejected the standard practice of inviting famous speakers to the conference. Their goal is Christ in the center and hours of deep worship.
BARNAUL – “This conference is not just a tradition. It was designed by God. He gathered us here because He has something to say”, said Pastor Vassily Pigeev said about the SVETPROYOUTH'21 Youth Conference.
PERM – The new year for the youth of the New Testament Church in Perm began with the LIVENTC Conference, which took place in Perm from January 2 to 5.
BARNAUL – On April, 23 and 24, Light of Awakening Church of Barnaul hosted a regional conference of ministers to children and teenagers.
ROSTOV-ON-DON – On December 21, in Rostov Christ the Savior Church Christmas events were held for children.
PERM – On the last day of April, New Testament Church of Perm hosted a reunion of 1997 graduates of its Bible school.
MOSCOW – Due to the well-known events, the Moscow Theological Institute for the first time held the defense of diploma projects in a remote format and organized graduation parties, taking into account the sanitary and epidemiological recommendations of regulatory authorities.
PERM (RUSSIA) – At the National Conference of the Russian church of Christians of Evangelical Faith in Perm that took place on September 7 to 9, President of Moscow Theological Institute Sergei Yastrzhembski and the Programme Director Aelita Zhidyaeva conducted a commencement. The graduates from churches of Perm Association — 17 bachelors of practical theology and 4 ministers of practical theology — received diplomas of higher theological education.
The MTI President Sergei Yastrzhembski congratulated graduates on behalf of professors and workers of Moscow Theological Institute and encouraged them to be even more humble before the Lord and serve the Body of Christ with boldness.
The Head Bishop instructed them, “I’m glad that you’ve made it, thank you for your commitment. There’re many people who possess much knowledge, but they don’t know God, and you will help those who seek God. I pray that you become gifts to people”.
Moscow Theological Institute web-site: http://www.mti-rc.ru/