May 2007

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.