The month has started with a sort of adventure. The owner of the studio we rented for the soundtracks recording have canceled the agreement as soon as he found out what our videos are about – he happened to be a secular humanist, and found the videos dangerous for his self-comforting worldview. Isn’t it a great approval for our materials?
It took a time for us to find another studio – there are very few in the area and they are booked months ahead. Nevertheless we have found one (however – with limited access), and have a progress with the video production finally.
Science and the Bible Lectorium (the workshops by leading Russian and Ukrainian creationists in Kiev) video are completed and available on 4 DVDs already.
Audio files for ‘Walking thru the past’ documentary on paleontology and ‘Ice Age Civilizations’ Russian version are done. We are doing our best to complete the postscoring by the Eurasian Apologetics Summit (October 6-9) and make a presentation of both videos there. After that we will concentrate all our efforts on completing ‘Urok’ (the lesson) video for teenagers.
The great encouragement for us now is that in a year we will have the production studio of our own if the Lord provides us with the funds for the new office reconstruction. Please join our prayers about this.
We almost finished building a warehouse at the new office property and have moved most of the books there already. After the Summit we are going to move old shelves there and see how many new ones we will need to arrange the storing space most effectively.
We have received ‘Refuting Evolution 2’ book by Jonathan Sarfati and Michael Matthews off the press, and this is the first book that went to the new place directly from the printer.
However the most special adventure of the month was our trip to Uzbekistan. Alongside with Turkmenistan, the country has the least level of religious freedom and highest level of corruption in former Soviet countries. Russians can worship at the legal (registered) churches there, but preaching the Gospel to Uzbeks and inviting them to the services is strongly prohibited. Any illegal religious gatherings are persecuted, but it is required to have 100 signed up church members to get a congregation registered for making the gathering legal. No wonder no one national church is registered in a few years. On the contrary, many churches has lost their registration in the same period since they should reenlist the members regularly and update the officials on the list, but many people afraid to be reenlisted. Nevertheless the Body of Christ is growing in Uzbekistan constantly and considerably thru the underground home churches and cell groups.
Accordingly to the situation there were two main aspects of our ministry in the country – legal workshops delivered thru the registered churches on the one hand, and underground training of the home churches leaders thru personal fellowship and on the informal occasions (see the pictures) on the other hands. For instance, in the area of Qoqon/Kokand (one of the Great Silk Way ancient trade centers the word ‘cocoon’ came from) we were invited as a special guests for the believers couple’s ‘Wedding 3rd day’ celebration. According to the local tradition the newly-weds do not receive any guests or visitors for three days after the wedding, but on the third day they call for all their married friends for a special party. We have used this tradition as a formal excuse to bring together young married couples from a local network of underground home and cell churches and to do workshops on the Biblical foundation for the marriage and on the strategy and methods of using wedding traditions for bringing people to Christ.
The most amazing and encouraging experience of the trip was meetings with various people, whom I never knew before, but they are using our books, videos, tracts, curricula etc. for the seminars they are doing – at the churches and schools, with children and incapable people, legally and underground – for training God’s people for right understanding and effective spreading of the truth about the world, the Bible and Jesus (see the pictures attached). This is a great sign that we are going right direction implementing the vision we have for encouraging and equipping local national leaders. Our goal is for every church to have at least one lay person who could train others for effective Christian worldview persuasion
The Lord has guided and protected us during the entire trip providing the wisdom and the vision on how to do the ministry without giving the officials any excuse to accuse us or the people we were serving to. The only and the last chance Satan took to intimidate us was at the airport on our way back. We have passed already flight registration, customs, residence permits inspection, passport control, and were approaching flight security check-up, when suddenly we were taken to the terminal supervisor office and informed that our tickets (purchased out of the country thru other carrier then national air company) are not valid for the national air company flight. They knew from our customs declaration we do not have any money to buy new tickets (we left for the local ministries all the funds we had), our visas and registration was canceled already. So it looked like we were driven into a corner and could be easy provoked for a confrontation or ‘cooperation’.
However we have had a complete peace about the situation. Our tickets were refundable if we cancel the trip before the plane take off (however the funds should be collected in Ukraine only). We reasoned the passport control guys to cancel our visas cancellation, and then we called our regional coordinator, who came and loaned us the funds to purchase new tickets for the next day flight.
After this we have restored our residence permit by registration at the downtown hotel, and spent the rest of the day without arranging any other meeting or workshops – just exploring the town as tourists. Next day we flew back home without any problems. Thank you very much fro your prayers!
On the return I became immediately involved in the last preparations for the Symposium and the Summit. Please pray for these extremely important projects.
Pray also please for my preparation and the trip to United States in January-February to continue my doctorate studies at Asbury Seminary.
Please pray for our ministry and all the projects mentioned above. Pray also for my family and for our team.