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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Leadership Camp

Part of my trip to Siberia (see entry below) included attendance at a camp for pastors and leaders. The camp was attended by about 75 people and lasted two days. We enjoyed teaching sessions, recreational activities, the Banya for men (in a tent in 90 degree weather), and swimming in the local lake.

Here are some photos from the camp.

Main Meeting Hall

Worship Time
Pastor Sergei-far left
Lead Pastor of the Cornerstone movement

Waiting for Lunch

I shared the floor, four thin mattresses
and four blankets with five guys

One of the Cabins

The Outhouse

My Best Friend at Camp

Siberian Trip

I have just returned from a ten day trip to the city of Achinsk about 2000 miles from Nizhny Novgorod, in the Siberian area of Russia. I attended a conference sponsored by the Cornerstone churches of Russia, an indigenous church planting group with whom we are working.

The whole trip was bit overwhelming as I saw and experienced so much. The most exciting thing I saw was a growing indigenous fellowship of Russian churches which is growing by conversion growth. This group is reaching those bound by drug addiction and the various problems associated with drug use. The conference was attended by almost 1300 people most of whom were former drug addicts or their families. The conference was a combination of intense praise and worship, teaching and fellowship. Here are a few photos from the conference.

A former Russian military training center
Now filled with Russian young people
worshiping the God the Communist government denied existed!

Over 1000 people
the majority former addicts, homeless people and criminals
Worshiping with wild abandon

Former Addicts
Worshiping the God who has set them free

Worship Team

Russian Pastors
Everyone (except for me) a former drug addict.
Now they each lead a local church and rehab center
The highlight of the conference was the setting apart of 7 new missionary teams to attend missionary school in anticipation of planting seven new churches in the next year.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Leaving on a Jet Plane, don't know when....

I am two hours away for leaving for a Pastors and leaders conference in the town of Achinsk, located 2000 miles away in Siberia. I just wanted to do a quick post because it will be about two weeks before I can post again.

We had a great time at church yesterday. Cornerstone church grows every week, by conversion growth. This week 6 people prayed a prayer of repentance. They each received a New Testament and an invitation to a home cell group. Sorry for not having photos I left my camera home today.

Two more people graduated from the rehab program. Maria entered 3 months ago. She was high, depressed and angry at everyone the first week. It was a joy to watch her over the last three months as she came to Christ and began to change. She is now a radiant young woman with hope and joy. She was at church the first time with her young daughter. This is another life and family restored by the power of the Gospel.

Ivan, received a 6 month certificate, showing that he had graduated from both 3 month courses. He came to me after church and said, "Michael....there is this young woman I have met and we are thinking of possibly marrying. Would you be willing to allow us to visit the pre-marrieds class even though the course has already begun?" Of course I said yes. We will be praying for and helping this young couple as they continue to mature in their faith and grow in their relationship with one another.

Thank you for your prayers for us, this ministry and the people of Russia. We are seeing some very good fruit here and we covet your prayers and support as we partner together.

Thank You

Michael and Karen