A couple years have passed since fall of the Soviet Union in 1993.
A young pastor in his 20s, with a heart for people far from God, decided to move back to his home in Russia after spending time in North America where his family had emigrated when he was a teenager.
His motivation came from his passion to plant a church in his home town in Russia, and reach people for Christ.
Growth in the beginning was slow. He felt alone, but he pressed on.
His small church moved 11 times in the first six months, once to an unheated warehouse in -40 degree weather!
Church growth came from what some might think is an unlikely group.
He decided to work with local alcoholics and drug addicts to help them with rehabilitation. Addicts, alcoholics and their friends and family members started attending his church. People found healing, and discovered Jesus’ love.
They became his church.
Since those early days, the church has grown to more than 1,000 members today, 30 percent of them are former alcoholics and drug addicts. The church continues to grow.
They now are an active, innovative parent church with five affiliate church plants in Russia. They’ve also helped plant 15 churches across Russia, Crimea and South Korea.
In 2006, this pastor was key in bringing the first GLS event to Moscow. Since then, the GLS in Russia has experienced a rocky road due to the political climate. It was particularly difficult this year, and most of our planned events in Russia were canceled due to security concerns.
But at a recent GLS in Moscow, the GLS blessed 120 leaders, who were eager for inspiration and encouragement in their current context.
We’re praying for the Church in Russia.
We’re praying for its leaders. We’re praying the GLS will be able to continue to equip, encourage and inspire them in their context, providing them with hope for the future of the country.