Sunday, November 23, 2008

Good Day at Church in Cheboksary

Today we visited one of the 3 Baptist churches here in the capital of Chuvashia.
The church was filled with young people, the music was lively, there was one sermon and 3 testimonies. There were Russians, Chuvash, Tatars, Mari, Mordovan, Udmurt, Mexicans and Americans all worshiping together in that one small rented room. God is Good . . .

During the testimony time two of the guys who spoke talked about critical moments in their journeys to Christ.
One said it was an American volunteer who visited him in a Rehab center in Udmurtia, that shared his testimony which the Lord used to bring conviction on his heart. That American volunteer later asked him if he could pray for him and later that evening the young Tatar drug addict prayed to receive Christ. As he began to grow in Christ and as he was contemplating his future, he was invited to a seminar about working in Rehab centers, but he could not afford to go. He prayed that if that is how God wanted him to serve, then God would have to provide the way, otherwise he would go back into secular work. The next day an American volunteer visiting the center, not knowing anything about this, gave him $100 - because the Lord just laid it on his heart.

Another testified that an American volunteer, who came to help with an evangelistic outreach, saw him standing alone in the back corner of the meeting and approached him when no one else would. This volunteer asked how he could pray for him. That led to a conversation, to an introduction to the local pastor and to his salvation.

Both these guys gave praise and thanks to God for sending folks just like you guys to make a difference in peoples lives. Both these guys are now serving the Lord full-time by beginning a Rehab center here in Chuvashia!

I know that sometimes we wonder if all of the money, time, and energy spent is really worth it.
YES YES YES - We Make a Difference -
We plant seeds, we water, and sometimes - sometimes we get the Glorious privilege of seeing the harvest.
Thanks for joining us as we Engage Russia together!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Busy Day

Our day started early as our train arrived in Cheboksary just after 9am. After a quick video shoot a the train station we headed off for our hotel and to quickly unpack our gear before taking advantage of the falling snow.

Cheboksary is located on the Volga River, so shooting downtown on the banks of the bay fed by the Volga seemed like a good place to start. We selected a few locations and started to knock out some of the “stand-up” segments for our video. While the wind started to blow harder and the snow felt more like tiny ice pellets hitting our faces, we were able to get a good start. The monument to "Mother Chuvash" created a great backdrop for shooting.

Lunch (borsht at a local Russian cafe) was spent with Alexander, a local Baptist pastor who gladly agreed to meet us and bring us up to speed on local Baptist work and evangelism among the Chuvash people group. He invited us to join him later that evening for a Bible study group at a small church outside of town.

Then it was back to the hotel for some rest and a quick edit session.

Our evening ended at “Living Water Baptist Church” where we met spent the evening with a Bible study group in their new building. After a time of fellowship we stopped by Central Baptist Church in Cheboksary and spent about half-an-hour talking with several of the church deacons who had just finished their mid-week services.

Usually our video trips are marked with early morning and late nights, and tonight was no exception as we worked until after midnight on video editing and writing a few blogs.

We are looking forward to tomorrow when we will tour the Chuvash National Museum as well as visit some of the other sights around town.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

On The Rails Again...

When we travel by train we usually try to book ourselves on the night train, and this trip was no exception. We pulled out of Kazansky Station just after 8pm.and settled into our coupe (a compartment on the train that contains four bunks, two upper and two lower.) It will take us about 13 hours to get to Cheboksary, but traveling by train is one of my favorite things about life in Russia.

It finally started snowing this evening as I was making my way from my apartment to the train station and by the time we pulled out of the station there was already a heavy dusting of snow on the ground. Temperatures for this trip are expected to be around 0C during the day and -2C at night, so fairly mild for the latter part of November.

We are excited about this first adventure and are looking forward to spending time with our Baptist brothers in Cheboksary and for Saturday when we will meet up with Sergey, a young man from our weekly English Club who is Chuvash and has invited us to his home village. We know that God is already at work and are eager to see what he is going to do during this trip.

We have a long day scheduled for tomorrow, so we are going to take advantage of the train and settle in early for the night.