October 2000 – Vancouver, BC
October 2000… The time has quickly passed since the last time I communicated with you. It seems like I just returned from Central America. Upon returning from Central America, on Sept. 16, my grandson, Matthew Sharp and I ministered in the Vancouver area of Brithish Columbia Canada. We met some truly great brothers and sisters in the Lord there. One day on Grouse Mountain overlooking the delta valley, I believe I saw the Lord in a prophetic vision. He was moving powerfully in that entire delta region of British Columbia a move that would spread out all over the earth. I encourage you to be in prayer for that area and begin to watch as the Lord unfolds His wondrous plan. A great big thank you to Rev. John and Holly Roddam and the people of St. Davids Anglican Church who hosted us. Super very good abundant blessings to Pastors Randy and Christine Emerson and the saints of the Cloverdale Christian Fellowship. George and Libby Harris were part of the team as well. These two are the best. The Lord truly used George and Libby to touch many lives. Everyone treated us so well. We give praise and honor and thanks to the Lord for the work of ministry He did in the lives of the many people who were part of the meetings in the Vancouver B.C. area. We believe that we will hear the good report of what the Lord will continue to do in and through the folks there.
After returning home to Norwich, we were involved with our home church, the Norwich Worship Center, in an intense community outreach day of evangelism that saw 137 people repent and believe on the Lord Jesus and be born again. Yeh! Right in New England on a public Green, outside in the open. The church honored the city leaders and publicly blessed them. The people of the Norwich Worship Center are some of the best in the world.
Then we began the preparation for the trip to Russia. Thank all of you for your prayers. In a very quick time we were able to acquire our visas. Paul Hammand, a long time brother and one of the worship leaders in the Norwich Worship Center traveled with Matthew Sharp and me to Russia. For Paul this was his second visit. He went on mission to Russia in 1993. Paul speaks Russian, Matthew and I have trouble with English; well I do anyway. On 3 October we were off, heading for a great adventure for the sake of the gospel. We arrived in Moscow on 4 October. Thank God for Paul who was able to give us direction to get around the airport and customs. We came to Moscow to meet with Pastor Johannes Matutius of Berlin. He knew the pastors that were invovled in the conference we were to attend. However, 2 days before our leaving for Russia I received word from Johannes that he must remain in Berlin and we were on our own. PRAISE GOD! The brothers in the conference were wonderful in receiving us into there midst. After the first night we descovered that we had received some wrong information about the conference. We thought it was to last through 9 October. But In reality it was over on the night of 5 October. What were we to do? God is so great. He hooked us up with a young pastor named Yuri. Yuri spoke English and helped us so much. The Russian people are very friendly and helpful. We made it to RED SQUARE. I could not resist, I blew my Shofar! Many people heard the Shout of the Lord in the midst of Red Square. A police officer told me I must stop! Yuri helped us purchase our train tickets to Perm, a city in the North. It was then that we left Paul in Moscow. We made connections with the Bishop of the Moscow region at the conference and Paul was to minister in churches in Moscow. Matthew and I were off to the North. We missed our first train that we had tickets for and Yuri had to leave us on our own as he had his own train to catch. I left Matthew guarding the luggage on the platform of the train station amidst some 500 or more people. What a brave guy. Without whining or complaining he sat on the bags as if daring anyone to touch them. I went to the ticket booth that was about mile away and began communicating with sign language mixed with broken English and Spanish and traded our tickets for some new ones and away we went on a 24 hour train ride to the North. ”It doesn’t get any better than this!” Why Spanish you ask? Hey, when you are trying to comminicate you draw on every source you have. Who really cares if they understand or not, you are in a hurry! We arrived in Perm 4 days earlier than expected. Remember Johannes is not with us. He has the phone numbers of the pastor in Perm. Matthew and I get off the train at 11:30 pm. We do not know anyone in Perm. WOW! What a life. We walked around the train station for a short time. Perm is a city of 1.75 Million people, so you would think some one would speak English and be in the train station at 11:30 at night, but no! Then by God’s grace a young man named Alexander came near and I asked him if he spoke any english. He did. He tried to help us find the phone number of the pastor, but could not. He took us by taxi to a hotel and we checked in for the night, trusting God to work out the details. Early the next morning we received a phone call in our hotel room. The person spoke English! She was the secretary of the New Testament Church in Perm, our host church-the place we were looking for.
How she found us I still do not know. But now we were found and we were scheduled to travel even further North to some cities very near Siberia. We stayed with a pastor and his family in Solimsk a city of 110 thousand. Their church is the only church that preaches the gospel in that city. We conducted leadership training and preached in a Sunday service. We also traveled to Berezniki, a city of 180 thousand. In this city,this is the only church that preaches the gospel. We preached in a Sunday meeting,and many repented, believed and received new life in Jesus. There were a few healings, hearing restored to a deaf woman,an ankle bone straightened out in another, but most of all the people experienced the loving presence of the living God. We conducted meetings for the leaders in Berezniki as well. From there we traveled on to Gubakha, a very poor and depressed mining community of 50 thousand. This area was once very properous but the mines played out and now there are almost no jobs. The area also is the home for several prisons and orphanages. What a place of darkness. Thank God we are in the light business. The church there is called New Life Church and the pastor is a man who follows after God with his whole heart. We preached in a meeting and encouraged the people. Many responded to the good news and came to Jesus. What is so exciting is that it must be remembered that almost all of the people, the pastors included, are less than 10 years old in the Lord. All the churches, even the New Testament Church in Perm which has more than 2000 members, are less than 10 years old in the Lord. It is so refreshing to be with people who are excited at hearing the word of God; people who have sacrificed so much in life and now are experiencing the best of life in Christ. They may not have much materially but they believe that their freedom of life in Christ Jesus is the most rewarding of all. We traveled back to Perm and I taught one day in their Bible School. New Testament Church in Perm has planted 84 churches in the Perm reigon and in neighboring areas from the graduates of the Bible School. On Saturday Matthew and I were off again. We headed out North and East of the city of Perm going into the areas where there is almost no work of the Lord being done. We ministered the gospel in small communities ranging from 200 to 9,000. We worked with Pastor Andrey, a graduate of the Bible School in Perm. He would walk 25km to one village to bring the good news. There are yet places in this region that the community administration will not allow christians to come to teach and preach the bible. Matthew and I were able to go into one of these communities, Sadke a community of 250 people. God is beginning new things all over Russia. What a privilege to be a part of this work.
We closed out this incredible adventure with meetings in the New Testament Church, Perm. We preached in the three meetings they have on Sunday. Their meeting hall is about 40×110 and at every meeting over 800 people are crowding into the hall. We were blessed to see many repent and believe on the Lord Jesus. More than 200 people at every meeting responded to the messages. Matthew in the evening meeting shared a verse in the Psalm. 44:3 .it was by the might and power of the Lord who delivered the people because of His favor and not the strength of the people. The people were taken with emotion as the Holy Spirit was being manifest in their midst. An awesome presence of the Lord was in the meetings. Every place we went people where asking when are we coming back. RUSSIA WE WILL BE BACK!
In the first of November we are off to India. We will be ministering in the southeastern region near the city of Madras. We will be going into the rural areas once again. We will preach, teach, and minister the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. We are learning to make ourselves servants of all that we might win the more for the Lord Jesus. We will serve the people. build up and encourage the pastors and leaders conducting seminars and training. We will also be involved in a crusade in a rural area. Pray! Pray! Pray!