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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Ministry in Dzerzhinsk

Recently we were invited to Dzerzhinsk, the city where we church planting in 1994-96. The church was having an ordination service for the young pastor who has been laboring there. Pastor Lonya Vlasyuk is married to Olga, the young woman who was our friend and primary interpreter in 1994-96. They have pastored the church for the last few years without the benefit of formal ordination. We were pleased to be a part of the service which formally recognized the gifting and callings on these two young people's lives.
Ordination Service

The gentleman in the middle is an African missionary to Russia

This church, like many Russian Protestant churches is very small. The congregation numbers about 12 adults. Protestants are a despised minority in this country. They are treated as outcasts, members of cults or mostly just ignored and marginalized. Despite the many obstacles they face, Russian Christian leaders are faithful to preach the Gospel, reach out to their communities and plant new churches. A large part of the strategy of Foursquare Missions in Russia is to come alongside Russian pastors, provide mentoring and help and encourage them as they seek to reach their country with the Gospel.

This is Karen with Katya, the recently adopted daughter of Lonya and Olga

Katya is a lucky little girl. Most unwanted children in Russia are aborted. The average Russian woman has more than 5 abortions in her lifetime. Those children who are not aborted but are placed in an orphanage are rarely adopted. There is a stigma in Russia which prevents Russian families from adopting babies or older children. Lonya and Olga took a courageous step when they adopted this little girl.

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