Yesterday was the day after Russian Christmas. As I stood in front of a Russian congregation for the very first time, I realized that this moment was the fulfillment of six years of preparation.
Six years ago, at Faith Center, we hosted our first Russian missionary – Jeff Roper (Jeff is the Area Missionary for Foursquare who oversees Europe and Russia. I have known and worked with the Jeff for about 20 years). A year or so later, Steve Cecil spoke at our Men’s Retreat. Steve and Kim and their children would later deploy for Sochi, Russia as missionaries.
Steve and Alexender Paschenko (the National Leader for the Foursquare Church in Russia) later visited Faith Center and describe their church planting strategy for St. Petersburg. At about that same time we trained, fundraised and deployed our own Teresa Repair to go to Russia as a missionary to assist the Cecil’s. Teresa was a graduate of NCBI and our internship (Teresa served in Russia for a year).
During this time my role has been to pray for and support the ongoing work that God is doing there. I had often considered visiting the work, or going on a team (Rachel-McMurray Branscombe, Leslie Lemmon, Tom McMurray and Dave Metsker had all taken trips there), but it never worked out, until now.
After just one year in St. Petersburg, the church here is vibrant and is growing. Today I will meet with the interns and some of the leaders for a three hour training. Tomorrow we have pastors arriving from around Russia for a retreat that I will be conducting. Then I will be home just in time for the weekend at Faith Center.
Whenever I am away from Faith Center, my heart, my thoughts and my prayers are still at home. This is my first mission trip in over two years. Thank you again for your prayers and support.