August 2002 : Russia
I greet you in love of Jesus!
When I left New York City on 31 July it was very warm. When I landed in Moscow 1 August it was very warm. I traveled by train north and east for 24 hours to arrive in Perm and it was very warm. I thought to myself, Michael you have made a good choice to come to Russia in August. You see I like hot humid weather very much, I was feeling good. The second day in the Perm region the skies became overcast and it cooled off. I mean it really cooled off, at times it was down right cold. And it stayed that way for most of the time I was there. Well, enough of my whining in spite of my weather woes this turned out to be very good trip.
In Perm I was privileged to preach in the New Testament Church. It began on Friday with a youth rally then at the four meetings they have on Sunday. There was over 800 people at each meeting. Many are regular members but there are always people who come in to investigate the claims of the gospel. On that Sunday I was informed that 31 people received Jesus and many testified of the Lord healing them. Pastor Edward was away in the Ukraine and yet the work of the ministry he began just 10 years ago continued without a hitch. Early on Monday I was on my way further north and west to the Komi region. I met and ministered with Pastor Slava. Slava came to the small city of Kudymkar, 45,000 people, at the age of 18. He was born again at 15, went to Bible school and then came to this city 8 years ago and planted the church. There was no other church except the Russian Orthodox in the city. Since then he has planted 15 other churches in the region. By Gods grace we planted another in the village of Rakshino. This was the first meeting ever in the village of 6,000. 22 people came; they heard the simple but powerful message of the gospel and 17 repented and received Jesus. They all committed to gather weekly to be discipled in the way of Jesus. It was here in the Komi region where I saw a video of the continued pagan worship practices of the yearly bull sacrifice. Near the village of Kosca a bull is led through the streets and brought to the edge of the lake. The bull is then decorated and songs are sung. With joy the bull is slain and its head taken off. The blood flows into the water and many of the people present will wade into the water and begin to wash themselves with the blood and the water. The bull is butchered and its carcass is placed in a very large cauldron and all present feast on the flesh of the sacrificed bull. This video was taken in the year 2,000. We must realize that there is yet much of the world that is in darkness and needs the light of the glorious gospel. We later visited this village of Kosca and I took some pictures of some of the demon idols they worship.
I stayed in the Komi region with Pastor Slava for 7 days. My stay in the region seemed so very short. We were up and out each day at 8:00am and would be back each night at 10:00pm or later. We visited several of the young churches. I was called upon to teach, preach and establish some foundational principles for the church to be grounded upon. In almost each place the Lord added to the church those that where saved. These churches in the smaller cities and towns, populations of 25,000 and below, are being persecuted heavily by the Orthodox Church. Pray continually for our brothers and sisters. They are truly laying down their lives for their countrymen to be saved.
I will be at the Mariposa Revival Center Mariposa CA. Sept. 14 & 15 www.mariposarevivalcenter.org REMEMBER WE ARE IN INDIA OCTOBER 1-15 2002 Traveling from the Komi region, I arrived in Izhevsk the capital city of the Udmurtia Republic. Once again upon my arrival we immediately went to work. Man, I love It!! Pastor Vitali the pastor of the church in Votkins, and I ministered at the church operated drug and alcohol rehab center. Their recovery rate is 28%(Unheard of in Russia). Men and women ages 19 to 53 have come to receive a new beginning in Christ Jesus. May I remind you that your support of ELIJAH MINISTRIES gives opportunities to these and many more to experience a new life, a new beginning. From town to village throughout the republic I was humbled to be with men and women who are living on the edge to see the Life and Light of the Lord Jesus come to their dead, dark places of labor. Many of these dear brothers are under threat of death several have been beaten for their stand on the gospel. Pastor Zhenny in Cumsi has been threatened, beaten and told that if he finishes the church they are building it will be burned down. He continues! I met a man in his church who was the president of a local secular college. He started attending the church. He received Jesus. The word got out and the local government under the compulsion of the Orthodox Church told the man you have a choice, stop attending the church or loose your job. HE CHOSE THE CHURCH! We were blessed by Gods grace to see Him add to the church at every meeting. The days flew past, I needed to go. But I witnessed the hand of the Lord upon those who are willing to heed the call to deny self take up the cross and follow Him.
Thank you all for your prayers. Thank those of you who have embraced the vision of ELIJAH MINISTRIES and have planted seed. What you are doing is making a difference.