The last month of the year 2007 was extremely joyful and busy with the planning for the next year and catching-up with the last projects of the one that is at the end.
Great news has come from our Far East regional coordinator: 20 persons signed up for the Science and the Bible workshops leaders training course in Amur region! This is 3-4 times more then we expected! In the contrast with general apathy at Central Russia, the enthusiasm for the solid biblical truth in the rural areas is amazing! Please pray for us to use most effectively every opportunity the Lord provides!
Please join our prayers for other great opportunities opened for our network expansion at the Far East and China. The door has opened for our coordinator there Igor to move to in-land China with the family (before he was staying at the Russian-Chinese border traveling there occasionally). Now Igor explores this opportunity and instructs a new team leader to be a coordinator at Russian Far East region. Please pray for the Lord’s guidance in it.
We have finally completed the Atlantis show Russian dub, and it is available on DVD now. The work like this will be much faster and easier soon, when we complete the sound recording studio. We anticipate it with a great joy! The second floor of the building (the coordinators apartments and guest rooms), is done (see the pictures attached). The Tsaritsons (Vadim, the international coordinator and Irena, children ministry coordinator) have moved and celebrated Christmas there already!
Right after the Christmas brake we have started the inner works at the first floor – office/studio area. We are so excited about how it comes out! It will increase the effectiveness of our ministry in a great way.
We were pleased to find out that the CNL world-wide Russian language satellite Christian TV company keeps using our materials for the broadcast! So, the ripple effect is going on. I have no idea how do they rate the programs for the broadcast, but I believe that their first priority are the ones someone pays for the broadcast of (that is what they expected from us first). But the second priority, most probably, are the show people would like to see their channel for. Therefore, our videos are the ‘second priority’, i.e. the most appreciated by the viewers! That is encouraging!
At the same time we have started the project of short videos ‘Simply Essential’ to spread challenging messages in the format of TV commercials. The shooting of the first one is completed and we are doing voice acting for it now, as well as about to start the shooting of the second one.
The book Vestigial Organs are Fully Functional by Bergmann and Howe came off the press – so, we have published 12 books in 2007 in total!
Also, the last day of the year we are doing the intensive details planning for the next year key projects: International video production workshop, Regional video production workshop, Eurasian regional coordinators retreat, ‘Creator’ children summer camp
Please pray for the Lord grant us wisdom and creativity to do the best we can for His Kingdom
The beginning of the month was pretty special: a terrible storm hit the country. Dozens of the trees are fallen on the streets. 2.300 settlements were left out of power, as well as most of our city regions, including our rented office and the one under the construction (praise the Lord – we have power at our home!) The hardest storm was at the sea shore of the Kerch strait. According to the news report the wind speed was up to 35 m/sec, the waves high up to six meters. Six boats sank in Kerch and Sevastopol, seven more run aground. Several lives were lost there, couple hundreds tones of mazut and sulfur poured to the waters of Azov and Black sea.
All businesses at the city were coping with the storm consequences for a while, and all the projects were delayed because of this. Nevertheless we have got off the press the books:
Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton Eternity in Their Hearts by Don Richardson What We Believe In by Sergei Golovin After the Flood by Bill Cooper
The later book was not printed in Russian for a decade, the first two – for a couple decades. Those books are extremely great tool for spreading the Truth of the Gospel. Please join our prayers for them to be used powerfully for our Lord greater glory!
Another great news: the CNL world-wide Russian language satellite Christian TV company keeps using our materials for the broadcast! So, the ripple affect is going on.
At the same time we are working on the new videos production. The voice acting for the Atlantis show Russian version has started already; the Black Sea show Russian script is made and the editor is working on it this week. When these two show Russian versions will be completed we are going to promote them with the third Genesis Veracity show Ice Age Civilizations as ‘Submerged Mysteries of Human History’ trilogy.
We have physically started the project of short videos ‘Simply Essential’ to spread challenging messages in the TV commercials format – the one the world is accustomed the most now. The shooting of the first one is completed and we are doing voice acting for it now, as well as about to start the shooting of the second one.
I am back from the trip to the Donetsk-Kharkov oblasts (state regions), so-called the Red Belt – the most pro-communist and most corrupted part of the country.
I went there with Vadim, our International Coordinator, because of a teaching commitment at Donetsk Christian University. Having now a great transportation flexibility the vehicles provide, we were open to any teaching and preaching opportunities at the region. We had no an idea going there that two of those ‘fringe opportunities’ will be the greatest reason the Lord made us go there.
The first one was an invitation to make a two days intensive course on the Biblical worldview persuasion strategy at the local church of a very small working people town Balakleya in the middle of nowhere between Donetsk and Kharkov. We never before receive such a request from any well developed well educated churches in a big cities (the interest in evangelism, Christian training and education declines in our country in general regretfully).
We were a bit skeptical about going to that place, but hesitate to refuse any opportunity to equip at least couple people for effective evangelism. Our skepticism grow even more when we arrived to the place at first – not much change at the town in a last twenty years, and people are still living there the same way they did under the communist regime.
However the skepticism has melted down next morning immediately when we entered the poorly heated rented class room (see the picture attached). We found so great thirst, desire and enthusiasm for study, we did not see even at the Christian colleges and universities for a decade! Fifteen of fifty students were taking the class for an academic credit from DCU, the rest thirty five came as an independent listeners. But all of them were extremely keen to know everything that could help them to build and spread sound Biblical teaching! The students show as well the greatest interest to our books and videos we ever see (see the picture attached). This small group with an extremely modest income have purchased more materials then we sale during the pastors conferences usually!
Two days at Balakleya gave us a great joy and hope. Who knows – may be within local churches of the Red Belt small towns the seeds are growing for the real post-communism awakening! Please join our praises and prayers for it.
The second event was the Sunday night Urok movie presentation at Donetsk. About 150 invitations to the churches youth leaders were sent out. About 50 persons were expected to come. How great our surprise was when 350 persons show up – mostly teenagers and young adults. There were not enough room at the DCU chapel and people had to stand in the hall – the glass wall between them was very handy (see the pictures attached).
The presentation turned into the pro-life forum. Young people – boys and girls – was coming forward and, confessing their falls of the past, were proclaiming the biblical moral principles and the commitments for the sexual purity and pro-life values. The Biblical Creation account was declared as the only real foundation for the family and sexuality. Many copies of our materials on the issues and the Urok DVDs were taken for sharing at the churches, schools and with friends. It looks like the seeds of the youth movement for purity are growing, again surprisingly, at that most pro-communist and corrupted in general region! Please join our praises and prayers for this as well.
The greatest lesson I learned over again during that trip was: “So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear” (Mk.4:26-28). The greatest fruits are coming out the parts of the field we would expect them least. Great is the power of our God!
The experience of the month became a great confirmation on the right direction of our tactics change for preparing the small mobile leaders teams who can serve as an “apologetics training landing troops”, who are able to come to a various places for intensive training and equipping local body of believers for effective evangelism.
That makes us pray even more intensively for our long-term dream/vision of starting a self-supporting multipurpose Recourse Center where additionally to other ministries we can do an intensive training for regional and local leaders who can entrust it to other reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others (2Tim.2:2). Please find to pray for the Lord’s guidance and timing if the project is in His will.
The months was replete with the events and opportunities.
On the first weekend our development team went to the conference of the Novomedia – an association of Christians who works for secular media to make a presentation of The Lesson video as well as promote the documentaries we have available. Many showed the interest to use our materials through secular media whenever they have an opportunity. Please join our prayers for that door to spread the message.
On the next week we had very joyful and fruitful visit with Anderi, an Apologetics society regional coordinator for Uzbekistan, and worked on the apologetics ministry in Uzbekistan strategy development. The strategy is going to have three levels. The first level is building the bridges for the personal evangelism. The second level is a national network of the apologists development. We are starting the preparation for the first Uzbek apologetics national retreat. The third level is training and equipping the leaders of the leaders alongside with other regional and national coordinators. We plan Uzbeks to be actively involved in the coordinators retreats, media production workshops, international summits and symposiums, etc.
At the same time our coordination/support team went to Kursk, our base for the ministry in Central Russia, for the meeting with leading Russian apologists to supply them with the new materials we have available as well to update them and be updated on the partnership the ministry and further development in the region.
The Symposium, ‘a short-term mission to the tribes of intellectuals’ was very successful. We can admit that after the decades of intolerant atheism in the areas of academia we have developed the culture of respectful and constructive discussion on the issues of faith. Been responsible for the technical support of the symposium, we are working on its growing as a recognized academic event. This year for the first time we were able to distribute a wireless internet access to the participants – a service very few highest level conferences provide in our part of the world. At least this increased the quality of the translator’s work considerably.
Right after the symposium we (our international coordinator Vadim and I) went to Kiev for the Theological Education conference by Euro-Asian Accreditation Association that involved the representatives of every Christian and para-Christian colleges and universities of former Soviet Union (see the picture attached). As an opening plenary speaker, I had an opportunity to address the gathering with the message ‘Worldview Foundation of the Theological Education’. In brief, my goal was to challenge the schools leaders with the image of academic standards as a roof of the theological education building. It is important to have reliable roof, but if the walls are supported by the roof only without the solid Biblical worldview foundation, the entire building is in the danger of collapse.
The message had the effect of shock. For some it was exciting shock (one person told me afterward: “It is hard to believe we have started to discuss the real issue after all!), for some – a shock of the frustration (“Why should we listen something that has nothing to do with the academic issues?”), but it was definitely a challenge. Thanks to the Lord for giving me the right words in right moment.
The EAAA leaders have showed their interest in involving me into the work of the Association board, but I had to refuse that privilege at least till I complete my doctorate studies and have some more time to be considered for any new commitments and responsibilities. But I have assure them that our ministry is going to continue equipping schools, teachers and students with the resources for effective Biblical worldview persuasion. We have supplied every school representative with a set of our books and videos for the schools libraries.
I have wrote you in August newsletter how God used for the outreach opportunities increase the necessity to change our regular broadcast from Zhisa to Neapolis channels. This happened to be not the end of the story: Zhisa has decided to broadcast our The Lesson movie any way, free of charge for us! Isn’t it amazing? The loss keep turning into the gain!
Please pray for our ministry, for our team, for my family, for all the activities and projects, for God’s guidance in everything we do.
The greatest event of the month was Good News Production Intl. regional directors meeting at Thailand (see the pictures attached). My trip there was safe and smooth – thank you very much for your prayers. The meeting was very productive time of discussing how we could use media more effectively for the spread the Gospel. We shared materials and experience with fellow media producers from India, Kenya, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, USA. It was extremely helpful in expanding the vision on how the Kingdom grows around the world and what is our specific place in that big picture.
On of the relieves we got during the meeting was finding out that many Christians all over the world face the same problem we do: young gifted believers hesitate to develop their gifts for using media in evangelism because they do not have the access to the kind of the equipment movies industry does. We got an encouragement from the brethren in following our vision:the equipment is never as important as the message. After all, isn’t most of videos are watched through the Internet nowadays? And the sites like youtube.com there is no difference whether the video was taken with high-definition camera or with the cell phone. The message makes difference. As a result we have decided to share that encouragement with many young gifted Christians by starting the contest for the best video on apologetics shot by the cell-phone. Please pray with us for this idea development.
At the same time it is great encouragement to see how the materials we have released before produce a ripple effect. A Christian cable TV network is going to be started in Galicia, Western Ukraine. We have supplied them with the complete set of our video materials (all in Russian) for the broadcast. They plan to dub them into Ukrainian and Polish eventually.
At the same time the chief editor of ‘Faith and Life’ conservative evangelical magazine printed in Russian by the ministry Eastern Light has asked me to write an interview for them on the problems and challenges of evangelism in post-communism world. The magazine has 100 000 copies circulation in 62 countries (including the countries closed for personal evangelism) and it is also a great opportunity to spread a word about the recourses we have available.
At the same time we have developed a new aspect of the ministry – ministry to the prisoners in the partnership with the Christian prisoners rehabilitation mission (the picture is attached). The mission helps the prisoners who are in jail, about to be released or were released recently to make proper documents as well as find housing and job after the release. Those people would be homeless jobless, without a legal status, and well could be return to the jail soon otherwise. We are supplying the mission with the appropriate materials to make not only social aspect but the evangelism aspect of it be more effective for the Kingdom.
A big sign of our work importance was the fact that Taurechesky Christian Institute, one of the oldest Christian Schools in the former SU has invited our representative to make a presentation of our materials at their 10th birthday celebration.
Regretfully our publishing project got slowed down for a month because of the regular out of order parliament elections in our country on September 30. All printers were busy 25 hours a day printing the rally material for various political parties (the elections is a harvest time for the printers, you know). However the elections dust is settled down by now, and we expect the printers to catch up with the scheduled projects pretty soon.
As for us, our autumn harvest time is at the hand, and the symposium Man and Christian Worldview is a key upcoming event. Except Zhenya presenting the paper, our team is responsible for the technical support. For the first time we are going to provide Wi-Fi Internet access during the sessions.
In general our prospective projects plan looks following way so far:
2007 October 12-13 – Uzbek ministry coordination retreat October 18-19 – The Symposium October 22-25 – Eurasian Accreditation Association conference on education November 19-30 – Teaching at Donetsk Christian University; ‘The Lesson’ movie presentation for Donetsk region churches December – ‘The Lesson’ movie presentation for Lugansk region churches
2008 January – ‘The Lesson’ movie presentation for Melitopol region churches February 24 – April 6 – My studies at Asbury Seminary April 11-19 – hosting MediaCallenge international workshop April 21-30 – hosting MediaCallenge regional workshop May 18-20 – Eurasian Apologetics Society regional coordinators retreat
2009 October – II Eurasian Apologetics Summit
Please pray for all that projects. Please pray with us also for our dream – a self-supporting multi-purpose resources center, where we could do all our intensive training ministries without wasting the funds for the facilities renting
The month was full of the evidences on God’s power and mercy and how He uses everything for His purpose in a long run!
A couple months ago I have reported that Zhisa private TV Company we broadcasted our materials at weekly for many years have been sold out, its entire staff was fired, and the new owner refuse to partner with us because he ‘did not want to do anything with any religious propaganda’
As a result we had to switch our broadcast for another company, Neapolis. It use to cover the same residential audience (about 1.5 millions), but in the different region. It mostly covered Southern Coast of Crimea (Yalta). We have lost some audience in the central regions, however got the access to the millions of people from Russia and other former Soviet countries who are coming there for the vacations, and it increased our audience few times during the summer season.
Any way, we were sorry to loose our audience in the Northern region. However now, after few months, Neapolis TV company experience considerable development. They have launched a powerful transmitter in the northern part of the area this month and cover all the territory Zhisa used to! As a result what we considered a minor lost turned out into a great gain we would not have keeping to stay with Zhisa! Praised be the Lord! “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Another good news: CNL (New Life Channel) has started broadcast our materials! CNL (http://www.cnl.info/) is the greatest Christian television channel in the Russian language. They say they are reaching 300 million Russian-speaking people of over 100 different nationalities throughout the world with the gospel. They broadcast through four satellites and many regional air and cable broadcasters. We tried to develop a partnership with them for many years, but without success. Finally we just sent them our materials with the rights for broadcast with no strings attached. And now through responds we got we know that at least some of our shows were broadcasted there. The message is spreading, praised be our Lord!
Additionally to those news, we have received very good feedback on Urok (The Lesson) movie from Rev. Timothy Alferov, a leading apologist of Russian Orthodox Church:
“The most valuable merit of the movie is its persuasive but unobtrusive style. The audience is not getting moralized, but simply clearly reminded of the consequences of the sin. The message is expressed not through the words only – there are perfectly arranged sequences of visual images and byplays. The Lesson is made in the way so the audience would experience a simple human compassion towards the characters and according to this could reevaluate their own actions and motifs.” Timothy Alferov (Novgorod region, Russia). Russian Orthodox Church priest; author of the books on apologetics, ethics, ascetics, general and comparative theology.
Such a review opens a wide door for us to spread the message, regardless of many of Russian gentiles’ tendency to relate to ROC culturally and refuse any work done by evangelical Christians as ‘sectarian’ by definition. It is also ironic now to recall the problems we have with the cast during the production because the actor’s parents (mostly – unbelievers) did not allow them to work in the ‘sectarian’ project.
Another portion of the extremely encouraging news is coming from the Uzbek team leaders of Eurasian Apologetics Society. After field testing of our camp curricula at their children day camp, now the apologists travel across the country to various children, teenagers and college students summer camps with the workshops on creation, age of the Earth, the flood, dinosaurs, science and the Bible, problems of the school textbooks, etc. The workshops are accepted with a great interest (see the picture attached). This is a great opportunity to reach the youth in the country practically closed for the Good News! Please join our prayers with us for the harvest those boys and girls produce growing mature.
The next news from Uzbekistan is almost unbelievable: the Apologetics Society activists there have started Creation Park right in Tashkent, the capital city (see the pictures attached, the info in Russian is at http://www.church.uz/page_id1168/)! It is suppose to be a families’ recreation zone, but everything is going to work for spreading the Biblical Creation ideas. The officials look indifferent to the idea, since nothing there opposes Koran as well as it is about recreation, not salvation. But this is a great opportunity to tell people about the Bible and Biblical view of the creation, fall and need for the salvation! The evidences on the local initiatives like this one encourage us considerably! It is a good sign that we are going right way in the next generation Biblical apologists who care development.
The new multimedia production facilities roofing is completed right before the rainfalls got started. Or, in other words, the rainfalls did not start till the roofing was completed! God have His perfect timing for everything. The facilities are getting its shape already (see the pictures attached).
One of our first publishing projects ten years ago was ‘After the Flood’ by Bill Cooper. Our publishing skills were very immature back then and the publication was pretty modest. However we run out of the book pretty fast and were thinking about the need of the reprint for a while. The impact that finished our hesitation was finding out that there are several people whose opinion I respect were positively impacted by the book in their spiritual journey. We finally decided to reprint it.
At the same time our Russian affiliation has received the rights on the reprint of two other books that impacted many, but was published in Russian across the ocean during the times of communism only. The books are ‘Eternity in Their Hearts’ by Dan Richardson and ‘Everlasting Man’ by Gilbert Chesterton.
As a result, we have decided to print four back-up projects all together: Cooper, Richardson, Chesterton, and my book on the basics of Christianity ‘What We Believe In’ (we run out of it as well, but it answers the questions people who are convinced with apologetics but ignorant in the Bible ask). Printing four different books covers from one mould will reduce the individual book price.
As you already know, the biggest and most unexpected challenge of the month was Olga’s gall surgery. We highly appreciate your care, prayers and the words of encouragement. Praised be the Lord! The surgery was fast and easy. And it was extremely timely the doctor says. There were three ball-shape pebbles half-inch each blocking the bladder for a while. No gall was going in and no liquid out, and the gallbladder hydrops was progressing.
After the surgery Olga staid one day at the intensive care room, one more day at the regular clinic room, one more day she staid in the bad at home and next morning she raised up for the house cleaning and shopping, which I consider as a sign of pretty good recovery :). Thank you very much for your prayers!
The biggest blessing of the month was the Aesthetic Apologetics college students camp (see the pictures attached) we run at Kursk (Central Russia) in the partnership with our regional coordinator Andrei and his ministry there.
Aesthetical Apologetics is, alongside with the Creation Evangelism, one of the most effective way to communicate the Gospel both to postmodern Western and postcommunist Eastern cultures – both culture types are suspicious to the ideas of absolute and very close to the Greek world of the apostolic times in the approach to the truth. People think real what they feel real. No wonder Paul used a mixture of both Creation Evangelism and Aesthetical Apologetics in his Athens address in Acts 17.
Despite of the effectiveness of the approach, it is underestimated and underdeveloped in the modern evangelism, and this is the gap we want to cover. The camp was the very first event of this kind in the former Soviet Union.
There were about 26 young people in the camp – apologists from various cities of Russia and Ukraine, students of humanities, science, music, medicine, cinema etc. Most of them were college students, but some graduates and high-schoolers. Various thought-provoking seminars and workshops were provided on the evangelism issues related with movies, poetry, fine arts, etc.
Our team was specifically responsible for the camp technical support, for worship and music, for several seminars and workshops. The greatest interest was raised by the seminar by Zhenya and Lena on the ways of reaching the modern subcultures of teenagers. There was a great interest among the youth, many questions and interesting discussions followed. The main point of the workshop was to challenge the Christian youth to open the doors of church for those who are not like them, to get the Message out of Christian ghetto and make it available for everyone, regardless of their views, dress style or ideology, however not handling the word of God deceitfully and not compromising the truth.
On the day right after the camp the participants were able to practice communicating with those subcultures at the central square of the city, where all the youth usually hangs out. The encounter bore good fruit: fourteen new young people came to church following Sunday.
The most exciting part of the camp was The Lesson film presentation. The participants were in fond of it! The presentation run into a small conference, where singing the songs from the movie was alternating with answered the questions about the film-making.
Right before the team has left for the camp we have issued a ‘Special edition’ of the Lesson movie DVD with various bonus materials – interviews with the actors on issues the movie deals with (love, premarital sex, abortions); my sermon on the foundations for marriage in the Creator’s design for it; Zhenya’s presentation on the purity before the marriage commitment; talks with the recognized religious leaders; a talk of the crisis pregnancy counselor (our ministry former staff worker) on the medical aspects of the issues. Since our target audience is nonbelievers, the movie does not provide direct answers but raises questions mostly – the modern pagans would not watch it other way. However with the bonus materials the right answers are provided for those who seek them. So, that made project complete.
Overall the camp was really successful and the participants went home encouraged, inspired and equipped with new ideas and methods for the Kingdom message spreading. And this is exactly what we are here for – to train and equip a bunch of young Christians who would not compromise the truth of the Bible, and able to teach, train and equip others. This is exactly what we trying to do training local coordinators who can lead regional youth that way. Our generation came out from the Egypt of communist and Darwinian dogmatism slavery, and this is our task – to bring the next generation through the desert of apathy to the promised land of the biblical truth!
God keeps working in calling young faithful workers for His field! Our volunteers in Uzbekistan just have done with two children daytime camps on our curriculum materials. I even did not know they are going to do it. That encourages me most of all – the guys who care and do not hesitate to take an initiative and do whatever they can with the recourses they have.
In the same time Igor, our coordinator at Russian Far East and Northern China reports on a great success of the training course on apologetics for 18 youth leaders of the region. They have understood now how important standing in the biblical truth without compromises is.
On the other hand, our previously published materials keep producing the fruits as well. Below is the clip from the letter we got from a Religious Studies student at Northern Caucasus (close to Chechnya):
“I just have read your book “The Global Flood: Myth, Legend or Reality” and have finally found the answers to the questions that troubled me for a while. Since I am a Christian I have always considered Creationism, however I have never before encountered such a clear, scientifically-grounded apologia of the biblical teaching. Thank you so much for the work you have done in the book.” Alexander Beldy, Northern Caucasus
The ripple effect keeps going!
I am glad to tell also you that the production/distribution facilities remodeling has reached the phase when the changes are the most visible in time. The old roof construction is demolished, supporting concrete pillows and perimeter belt is done, and the second level basic construction is raised (see the pictures attached). The new roof is practically erected, and it makes the biggest one-time part of the project completed. Now we will be able to continue step by step according to the funds available. We hope to finish with the second level by September, to move the guest rooms and apartments there, and make the offices and studios at the 1st floor completed by Christmas. Please keep praying with us for the funds to continue.
Whatever planning of the ministry we are we doing, we should be ready for the surprises the Lord provides. The greatest surprise of the month is a wide open ‘new old’ ministry opportunity – spreading of the Gospel message to people with the sight disorders.
We did plan a ministry like this about a decade ago, developed a lot of good audio materials, and got good audio cassettes duplicator. However we did not managed to reach our main goal – unbelievers with the eyes problems back then – they mostly all were involved with strictly closed totalitarian organization ‘The Blind Society’ (what a considerate name!). The Society was established by Stalin in 1925 for using people with the sight disorders as a slave manual labor.
In exchange for the cheap manual labor the society was providing its members a sort of fellowship as well as provided everyone with a cheapest one frequency radio receiver in the beginning and with the cassette player later on supplying them with the particular propaganda cassettes for the brainwashing.
The Society exists by now as a mean of fellowship and has the same strictly atheistic secular leaders who are strongly against any ‘religious propaganda.’ They refused any of our materials, while still supplying the members with the ‘bestsellers’ audio versions when got a grant for it. For instance the only book they got last year is DaVinci Code 🙁
Having no access for our materials spread at the society, we were providing the audio materials to churches for people they have connections with as well as for track drivers. However the cassettes ministry has declined eventually with CD and MP3 players replacing the cassettes players, and we did not even use our duplicator for a good couple years already.
Nevertheless the Lord has provided us with a new start of the old project! A brother in Christ Dmitry Polynnikov, the society member informally connected with the leadership, has moved to our city and became our church member last year. We have ordained as a on of the elders recently. He has a passion to spread the message and he volunteers for this ministry. We have found out the common vision and understanding of the ministry with Dmitry, and he is going to be our coordinator at the Society. We will do it on the project by project basis. Dmitry is going to distribute 26 copies of every audio book for the former Soviet Union regional centers of the Society and 15 for the local groups. The ministry will be more effective in the new materials production when we have our own studio after the remodeling done, but we will see the opportunity to make some new records made at rented studios even this year.
On June 15 we have made the presentation of ‘The Lesson’ movie at our headquarter upper room. We have invited 35 persons including youth leaders of several churches of the region, and everyone told how much they are touched by the movie. Many had tears in their eyes. They told them sorry they did not have a video like this before. During the presentation we have shot interviews with the leading actors; Zhenya told about the purity commitment; I have preached about Biblical concept of the marriage covenant (http://www.scienceandapologetics.org/engl/g11.html). Everyone got a book ‘Taking Truth Next Door – offering honest answers to 21st-century seekers’ as a gift as well as a copy of the movie DVD. People are keen about using it in churches and schools immediately.
However the greatest adventure of the month with no doubts was the ‘Creator’ children creation evangelism camp (see the pictures attached)! The camp was extremely blessed time of fun, recreation, studies, worship, training, fellowship, etc., etc., etc. We had children of age 8 – 12 with very mixed and diverse background. Two thirds of them were from various churches, the rest – from unbelieving families; some children were from regular families, some – from foster families, some – from incomplete and/or indigent families. Some of the kids do not have proper regular meal and decent living conditions usually. Just imagine: in the beginning of the camp some of them were taking their shoes off entering public restrooms – never in their life they see such a clean place and hesitated to enter it other way!
The main goal of the camp was field testing of the ‘Beginnings’ curricula that builds a worldview foundation in young minds. We were afraid that with so much scientific terms it could be too hard for the understanding in the target age group, but everything was very successful!
Please join our prayers for the seeds planted during the camp as well as for the testimony the children could be to their parents. Now we will spread the curricula for various churches ministries.
The venue for the camp was a rented motel at a small village at the sea shore. The price was reasonable and the owner gave us a lot of freedom to use the venue in any way we want, but since it was initially built for different purposes many ideas were left aside and many more ideas we got how to build our own retreat/conferences/training/camps center if this is the will of the Lord to provide us such an opportunity. We keep praying and dreaming about that vision.
Please pray for our ministry, for our team, for my family, for all the activities and projects, for God’s guidance in everything we do.
Right on the return from Russia we got immediately involved into last preparations for the Symposium – a short-term mission to the tribes of academia.
Because of the symposium academic level recognition the door is widely opened for the Gospel spread in the secular colleges and universities of the region – the schools professors are glad to invite the guests who comes for the event to speak at their classes! That gives us the opportunity to deliver the message to the places we would never be able to get to otherwise! The pre-symposium lectureship week now becomes even greater outreach event then the symposium itself! More then 50 lectures on the essential worldview issues were delivered at various secular schools! Please pray for the growth of the seeds that were planted in the minds of the students and their professors.
After the lectureship week we have left to the sea shore for the symposium itself. As usually in May, we had 25 speakers with the papers on the worldview aspects in science, philosophy, medicine, business, politics, etc. Christian perspective was presented really great and in a multifaceted manner. Nevertheless the papers exchange was mostly an excuse for us to bring both Christian and nonbelievers professors together to build personal and professional bridges for the Gospel message. The variety of the books we had available gave us opportunity to avoid arguing in the areas people have major strongholds in – book work as a great silent opponent for these situations.
At the first time we had geography of where people came from to observe and be involved in discussions not less then the geography of speakers! People came from Russia, Ukraine, US, Germany and Poland. This is an indicator how big interest our experience raises!
Right one day before leaving for the symposium we have completed a short (35 min) movie ‘The Lesson’ on the teenagers and the challenges they face – love, friendship, sex, pregnancy, abortion, faithfulness, forgiveness, beliefs. The movie plot is a story of a girl’s journey from believing ‘love is god’ to understanding that God is love. The most powerful about the movie is the ending where the audience finds out that the narrator is the very baby everyone used to want to be aborted, but was spared by the mother.
At the Symposium leisure time we have presented the movie and the documentary Walking through the Past on Moscow Paleontology Museum to the participants.
But the most joyful news of the symposium for me personally was that the paper of our daughter Zhenya had been selected for it by the committee where both Christians and non-believers are presented for ‘fair game’. The paper dealt with the issues of aestatical apologetics and was on the Christian ideas impact in the work of Van Gogh. Zhenya has made a great job both in presentation and in the discussion the paper initiated. The experience of seminars with the students was very helpful to her. I am very proud of her as a father and praising the Lord for her.
Right on the next day after our return from the symposium we have started the production/distribution facilities actual reconstruction. The half of the roof is removed already and we appreciate prayers for good weather as well as for the family of Vadim who lives in the building and supervises the work there.
In the same time we have an ‘intensive lull time’ after all the back-to-back spring projects are over and before back-to-back summer projects got started.
Last week we have a church elders retreat. Our congregation is based on the lay ministry model. The facilities administrator is the only person on the pay roll; all other services and ministries are done volunteerly as an offering to the Lord. A group of elders shares teaching and preaching responsibilities. The retreat of the elders was a time of prayer, contemplation and sharing the vision how to lead the congregation to the Biblical way of how to be the church instead of how to do the church.
This week we have both the Apologetics Center team retreat (a fellowship for better team making as well as taking a breath between the projects as well as some evaluation and the vision for the development sharing time) and the children apologetics camp planning retreat (everyone who are involved in the project will come together for networking, brainstorming as well as to be on the same page).
The children camp ‘The Creator’ is going to be here in Crimea in June 20 – 30. Right after it some of its leaders leave for the students’ apologetics camp in Russia.
This month it became obvious that our new level strategies (internal teamwork development as well as external focus on teaching the teachers and leading the leaders) are already working.
The first week of the month Vadim and I spend in Kiev providing intensive training course Introduction to Systematic Apologetics for Christian leaders (ministers, evangelists, educators) of Ukraine and Byelorussia. It was a blessed time of mutual sharing and encouragement for spreading of the Good News of Jesus in the countries of total atheism.
Most of the month we were busy with day-to-day work as well as developing the network of the Apologetics Society, planning and preparing for the upcoming Symposium in May and the children camp in June.
But the greatest event of the month was at its very end. Our team went to Kiev for organizing and taking part in the conference on the people’s rights for equal presentation of the various views on the origins (i.e. both evolution and creation) in the state approved (i.e. the only legal) school program made on their taxes.
The day before the conference, on April 26, a press-conference was made with presentation of a good, however unrecognized, Biology textbook by Dr. Sergey Vertyanov (Russia), which provides a balanced approach to the issue. We have invited for the press-conference not only Dr. Vertyanov, but also Dr. Verves and his colleagues – devoted Darwinists, the authors of the school textbook officially approved by the Ministry of Education. Three state-wide TV and one radio companies and some smaller ones came to cover the event. Having no any valid arguments to support their rigid dogmatic position, the Darwinists have stalked out of the meeting. That made the top news on the media!
The next day when the leaders, the participants and the media thrilled with the intrigue came to the National University for the conference, they found out that the room reservation is cancelled! It made even more news for the media. One of the biggest national-wide TV companies has even intimidated the university administration with charging them for neglecting principles of democracy and freedom of speech. A national-wide radio station had interviewed all our leaders for the news program.p>Another venue was found very soon at one of the churches, and the conference was very successful – thanks to the Darwinists of the National University for the promotion they made for us! That was a considerable step for the future changes in the (post)-communist education system.
At the same time another part of our team – Zhenya and I – went to Kursk (Central Russia) to teach a two-week apologetics course to a group of local ministers at Trinity College. The religious freedom is much more limited in Russia comparing with Ukraine and the college had to change the location unexpectedly a couple weeks ago. Not everything is settled yet at the new facilities since they are still under the constriction; however the students accept the material with great enthusiasm. I am very glad that Zhenya was able to go with me and be involved with teaching and studying with the students, along with assisting me with this new way of life there.
The systematic problems evangelical churches and schools have with the officials in most of the former soviet countries – Russia, Byelorussia, Uzbekistan, etc. force us to pray even harder about our greater dream – to build a multi-purpose training center at the sea shore of Crimea, where the evangelists from all over the former Soviet Union could come for brief intensive training and go back to the field refreshed equipped and encouraged. The center that could be self-supporting by making money as a Christian family resort during the Summer high season and be used for the courses, retreats, symposiums, camps, seminars, conferences the rest of the year. We do not know when and where exactly it will be, but have a strong feeling this is what is extremely necessary for the Kingdom development in that part of the world. Please join our prayers for it.
The greatest event of the month was the youth conference on the modern issues of Apologetics we made in partnership with the Apologist ministry founded and led by our former manager and current regional coordinator for Central Russia Andrey Goorsky in Kursk (Russia). The objectives of the conference were to help young Christians in finding the answers to the questions that concern their coevals, to show them the ways of better understanding the Scripture and applications of the Christian faith to daily life; to be encouraged in faith through other young people, participate in discussions in order to hear out other opinions and share one’s own.
The conference was planned for 100 participants; however over 200 young people from various Central Russia regions (Kursk, Voronezh, Belgorod and Tambov oblasts) have came to take part in it. The final goal reached by the conference was establishing of Russian Science and Apologetics Society (RSAS) – a Central Russia brunch of our International Science and Apologetics Society (ISAS) our ministry coordinates.
The conference became a new milestone in reaching our goal of the teamwork and leaders development. It was a very first project for Zhenya in her new role as a manager on projects and development. Zhenya lead two seminars “The Role of Music in the Church History” and “The Impact of Christianity on Life and Art of Vincent Van Gogh” (see the pictures attached). The first seminar was especially interesting for the youth and there was a really good discussion afterwards. Zhenya was able to answer some questions about modern Christian and non-Christian music and its place in the church.
Also Vadim Tsaritson, our chief coordinator, was working first time without my direct or indirect involvement there. He was developing networking and shared experience of CCSA/ISAS for the sake of RSAS development as self-governed, self-supporting and self-propagating ministry. The most important discussion on the partnership development was between Vadim and Andrey (see the picture attached) since they will be the main bridge in the ministries work coordination.
Right after Kursk our team went to Odessa for Christian Schoolteachers Fellowship conference. The seminars we offered were providing the strategy on evangelism in the context of state school curriculum, especially on the Science lesson. The seminars were received with enthusiasm, and all the materials we had are gone.
Two major changes took place to our video production department. The first one is with the staff. Misha Klimov, a former part-time video producer became our full-time worker adopting also responsibilities of technical manager and distribution manager left after Timothy resigned. In the same time Mikhail Bankovsy, who was a head of the video production department as a volunteer for 15 years has also joined our staff. With having our own studio we expect soon with – God willing – the new office facilities remodeling, it will increase our production potential considerably.
Another change happened to our broadcast. Zhisa TV Company we partnered with for many years have been sold, its entire staff is fired, and the new owner does not care about local materials production and broadcast. Nevertheless the Lord has provided us the opportunity to have a deal on the same terms with another company – Neapolis. It covers the same residential audience (about 1.5 millions), however it has much better broadcast coverage at the Southern Coast (Yalta) area where millions of people coming for recreation every summer, and it increases our audience few times during the summer season!
The changes in the video production team give us more resources for the original production – not just weekly broadcast programs. The beta-version of the Urok (Tough Choices) video finally completed, and we came up with the ideas for some more changes, but we hope it will not take much.
The spring just started, but the summer is coming soon and we are involved already in the Young Defenders Camp ‘TVORETS’ (‘Creator’) preparation. We form the team; develop the program, searching for creative ideas.
My traveling schedule is following so far:
April 1 – 7 – teaching at Christian Leadership Center at Kiev April 21 – May 6 – Teaching at Trinity Bible College at Kursk May 16 – 19 – the Symposium June 20 – 30 – the camp
Please pray for our ministry, for our team, for my family, for all the activities and projects we are planning for the year, for God’s guidance in everything we do.
Usually February is a month of planning and deploying the projects for a year and it was in many ways. We have started the legal and architect paperwork on the office remodeling, planning the creation evangelism children camp for summer, May and October symposiums, brainstorming a new movie for teenagers we are going to produce. But first of all it was a month of great changes.
First, while my D. Min. program requires two more years, the end is seen forward. I have met with the mentor and we approved the dissertation draft version of the title – ‘Worldview persuasion as a missing link of Evangelism’ and I can work toward the final project now.
Second great change was the eye surgery. I had a perfect sight most of my life, but at the age of 40 it went down considerably. As a result one eye did not see properly at all, another – the middle distance only. However after the both eyes surgery on Friday February 9 I was even able to work with the computer without any glasses Monday! Isn’t it amazing?! No need to wear and take anywhere I go three various pairs of glasses anymore! What a blessing! Thank you very much for your prayers!
My return home on February 21-23 was quite an adventure – the first connected flight was canceled because of a snow storm, and instead of flying NY – Kiev direct I spend three sleepless days in airports approaching home step by step with debating the agents and waiting for the flights.
I had a great reason to hurry up home instead of waiting for the next direct flight (which could be more successful, but could be the same any way). A young man Sasha had to come from Kiev over again to ask my permission to propose our daughter Zhenya. It was his second visit (the first time he came right after I left to the States), and I did not want to leave my daughter without the father’s blessing second time. As a result I was right in time – we flew the same plane with the boy from Kiev to Simferopol. We had a talk during the flight and later on.
Sasha is a good godly young man, and he was in love with Zhenya from the first glance, but it took four years for him to win her heart with his care and faithfulness. Olga and I have given our blessing to the children with joy and tears. This weekend Sasha’s family is coming from Lugansk (Eastern Ukraine) to meet us. Probably during this visit the planned day of the wedding is going to be announced. Right now Zhenya works at our ministry as a projects and development manager.
Another exciting change – our video production team has showed me first 15 minutes of the Urok (Tough Choices) video. So the end of this project is really at the hand now.
I am still at the seminary, and it looks like our professors are really devoted to keeping us busy 25 hours a day. The classes schedule is pretty intensive, but we are making already first steps to the final goal. They say this session (the second one) – is the most hard since it includes both elements of the training and research. Since the next session we will focus on the research only.
In the same time I am constantly communicate with our team back in Ukraine since the beginning of the year is the most strategically important as a time of planning for proper planning of all the plans we plan for a year – the paperwork on the office remodeling (producing official architect plan and pursuing the officials’ permission for the building reconstruction), curriculum for children outreach projects and summer camp, our part of responsibilities at the symposium, brainstorming on a new video productions. We as a team study how to dream conjointly and practically.
As the outcome of the technical follow-up of the back-up projects, we have produced NTSC version of the Walking through the Past video with English subtitles. Let me know if you would like to get a copy.
Please pray for my upcoming eye surgery (IntraLASIC) scheduled for Friday February 9 and for successful recovery after it for I could be back for the classes following Monday.
Please pray for my safe return home on February 21-22.