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Saturday, October 01, 2011

Baptisms, Bibles and Babushkas


Today the three area Cornerstone Churches held a joint water baptism service. It was held outside the city in a sanatorium, or a "rest house".  A sanatorium is certainly not a resort, but it is a place to go relax and get away from things for a while.  This sanatorium has a large indoor pool so it was an ideal place to hold a large baptismal service.  A large place was need because nearly 50 people were being baptized!  Last week both Karen and I taught on the subject of water baptism in the churches.  Because  we both participated in the actual baptisms we have no pictures, but here are two photos of the teaching.  Karen baptized many of the women, and I baptized guys from several rehab centers.

The Baptismal Candidates.
 Almost everyone in this photo has been an addict, a criminal or homeless, or a combination of these.  The Cornerstone Church Movement does a great job reaching, discipling and releasing these men and women.  Many of them will either serve in a local church, minister in a rehab center or homeless shelter or join a team to plant new churches.

 Pastor Dmitry Zaborski
Teaching on the meaning of water baptism.
 Dmitry was part of a team which planted this church 6 years ago.  He is now the senior pastor.  8 new churches have been planted from this congregation and at least 100 leaders have been trained and released into ministry.  All of this and Dmitry is only 32 years old! We are honored that he calls us his friends and has asked us to work alongside him.

After the baptism we all shared a meal together.  It was wonderful to see the men and women from the Homeless centers.  Many of them have not been in a setting like this for many years.  They lived on the streets, ate garbage, and lived under buildings and in holes in the ground.  Today they sat at clean tables, enjoyed good food and were treated with real respect.  For many of them this is an awesome experience!


As we were leaving to go home we were walking to our car with a group of young leaders.  We could see them discussing something among themselves and finally one asked, "Karen, could you guys help us get some Bibles for the rehab center, we really need them."  We were happy to tell them that we had a box of about 40 Bibles in the car with us, and that they could have as many as they needed.  They were really happy to hear this.  The main church rehab center has a bunch of new people and consequently there was shortage of Bibles.  They took 16 Bibles and thanked us over and over again.  We would like to say "thank you" to our American supporters who helped us purchase these Bibles.  In December we will make another purchase of Bibles thanks to a $400 donation from one of our supporting churches.  There is a continual need to buy Bibles.  We could easily distribute 100 or 200 every month.

The team with the Bibles


On the drive home we decided to stop at a small grocery store to buy ice cream bars.  Seated on the steps of the store were 4 older ladies and a girl selling their garden produce and mushrooms that had been hand gathered in the forest.  I hopped out of my car with the camera because this is such a classic Russian site. Michael strode over to them and proceeded to charm them by talking to them.  Of course their objective was to sell something so as soon as he bent forward to pat one of the cats sitting in the center of the photo they announced that everything was for sale.  They would even be willing to sell him the 2 stray cats if he wanted them!

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