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.