Eastern European Summer Bible School
With an attendance of 85 Russian speaking contacts, brethren and sisters from Belarus, England, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine- and the USA- the Summer Russian-speaking Bible School for the brethren and sisters of the former USSR was a great success. There was not only great fellowship between all present, but a total of 11 baptisms also: GALINA, (wife of brother Vova, from Israel), SASHA and DANIK, grandsons of sister Luba from Moldova; TATYANA, LUDMILA, VALENTIN and OKSANA [wife of brother Igor Bakai] from the Ukraine; NIKOLAY and TATYANA from Russia [sister to sister Valya from Latvia]; and LUDMILA and OLGA from Kazakhstan.
Newly baptized brethren and sisters from throughout the former USSR.
After nearly 25 years of preaching work in the former USSR, we can say that the community the Lord founded has come of age; Danik and Sasha,grandsons of sister Luba from Moldova, are now the 4th generation of the Meshkov family to have been baptized. Sister Luba's faithful parents were baptized in the early 1990s, then Luba, then her sons, and now her grandsons.
Sister Luba commenting on the daily readings with her grandsons listening.
Many talks were given by local brethren with some, such as brother Kolya, making their debut. Sister Vanessa Boler and her Russian daughter-in-law were present from England, and sister Suzie Lange from the USA. They made a deep impact on everyone, entering fully into conversation through translators and with sign language as they shared their own lives and Biblical thoughts in a very helpful way.
The total amount of effort made by so many to be present must have been noticed with pleasure by the Lord we all serve; some travelled for three days to be present, including sisters from Kazakhstan, where our community is under pressure and persecution from the local Moslem authorities; Brother Valerij from the very far north of Russia arriving with nothing but a small bag, his Bible and his crutch [with an umbrella strapped to it]; 84 year old brother Pavel from Siberia, who spent days on the train to be with us, and still participated in the play; and brother Vova and Galina who came especially to the Bible School at their own expense, Vova having been baptized by us in the River Jordan in Israel in 2000- 12 years ago. It was a great pleasure to baptize Galina.
Old brother Anton plays Job and 84 year old Pavel plays one of the friends in the presentation on Job and his ecclesia; The play took the approach that the "sons of God" were fellow believers, and opened with a presiding brother giving an opening prayer and welcoming all to the ecclesia. Then there was a discussion about Job, who was then struck with illness and began scraping himself at the meeting, with his wife commenting
But the hardest journey to the School was surely made by sister Viktorija from the Kuban area of southern Russia. A refugee from Chechnaya, she has no documents and is in very frail health, walking with pain on two crutches, and surviving by selling hot potatoes on the sea front of the Gelendzhik resort. Our sister was baptized many years ago, but had never been to a Bible School; she begged us to meet her off the train in Moscow as she wanted at least once in her life to come to a Bible School. She needed transport by taxi as she cannot manage much walking or steps. She thoroughly enjoyed herself- and the amazing thing was that whilst at the Bible School, flash floods hit the very town where she lives in the Krasnodar region, killing 200 people and leaving 120,000 people homeless, becoming one of the biggest disasters in recent Russian history. With her limited mobility she may well have perished. Those who survived in her area did so by climbing trees or onto roofs. Along with her, we watched with amazement the news coming through on the large screen TV in the reception area of the facility we used for the Bible School. Her coming to the Bible School may well have saved her life. This was clearly the hand of providence and a great encouragement to us all that really God is active in the world today. Sister Viktorija took a full role in the Bible School, and playing Naomi in the play on Ruth.
Sister Viktorija as Naomi with Sis. Vera as Ruth; who then slept at the feet of Boaz [Bro. Anatoly]
In last Summer's Bible School report we mentioned the baptisms of three teenage sisters, two from Kazakhstan and one from Ukraine, who became best friends at the Bible School; they have kept in touch with each other and it was great to see them present again, all having made huge journeys to be present.
There have been a number of baptisms in Russia and Ukraine recently and it was pleasing to see some of our new sisters and contacts present at the school. Sisters Tanya and Ira both gave spirited testimony as to how their rejection of the dogma of Satan as a personal being had led them to such great peace. God willing, the next major Bible School will be held in Poltava, Ukraine at the end of January, where we look forward to brothers from the UK speaking; and then in Moscow, Russia next Summer. Do come along and experience the extraordinary activity of God amongst His people in this part of the world.