Children’s Center

One of the facilities rented by one of our children’s clubs in Petrozavodsk was sold at the end of spring. Children were left without a place where they could get together. Because of that we decided to combine two clubs into one and just rent one big place for the ministry!

Children Cente in Petrozavodsk (1)SIt also was decided to have lessons five times a week and enlarge the ministry team and increase the number of helpers; in addition to that to also go work with the kids in the settlement of Meliorativny!

Today we have 40 teenagers from troubled families that we are working with! All of them are great kids, each with his or her own story and with their unique needs. Our constant expenses include spendings for groceries, travel expenses, buying materials for regular lessons and special events, conducting sessions with individual families and children.

All of these expenses are important components of our budget because there are real needs and problems behind each of the expense. Concordia Foundation gives for the needs of our ministry as much as they can.

Children Cente in Petrozavodsk (2)SNot too long ago we had our opening session. Our first gathering took place outdoors! We had so much fun roasting hot dogs and participating in the forest quest. In the meanwhile we are doing some remodeling of our new meeting place. Even though there are still things that need to be fixed and painted, our children and teenagers are already starting to come to the new place!

In any way, the foundation is laid and there is hope that a lot of people will join us whether in praying or by helping financially!

The Harvest Celebration in the Ture Parish

October 12 was a special day in the Ture parish located in the village of Martyshkino (which is in Lomonosov District of St. Petersburg, Russia). In addition to the usual worship service, the church was celebrating the end of harvest. That day, parishioners brought and placed at the altar the gifts that God blessed them with: Праздник Урожая3potatoes, apples, grapes, squashes, etc. The whole church lift up prayers of gratitude to God for everything He did. In essence it was a day of giving thanks to God.At the end of the worship service, children’s chorus sang two very moving songs.

Concordia Foundation’s staff visited the church that day; they brought new products issued by the Foundation: bookmarks, pocket calendars, flyers to invite people to study Discussions on Christian Faith. Everyone was very thankful for the presents. Also, a picture of everyone present was taken at the end.

A few interesting encounters took place after the service was over. One of the parishioners (her name is Luba) came up to Nataliya Savich—Concordia’s publishing manager. Luba expressed gratitude for the Biblical Праздник Урожая4calendars that the Foundation publishes regularly. She said that the calendars are very useful in her work with children, especially the quotes from the Bible. Her words were greatly encouraging for us.

While everybody was sharing some tea, another parishioner, Berta, told us her story. Even though she is more than 80 years old and can only move around with the help of crutches, Berta makes every effort not to miss any Sunday gatherings. That morning her cell phone refused to work and she had no way of calling for a cab. She lives in a small community outside Martyshkino which is about 25 miles away from the church building; she gets to church by buss, and she takes a taxi to get to the buss stop.

Праздник Урожая1So her phone was not working, but… an Orthodox priest who was driving by stopped next to her house. She asked if she could use his phone to call for a tax. She explained that she really needs to be at her church assembly due to a big celebration. The priest instead just took her to the bus stop in his car. Getting out of his car Berta wished him and his church all God’s blessings. She was especially thanking God for being able to come to church that wonderful day.

After listening to her story, the senior pastor of the parish said that whenever he drives through that community he often gives a lift to people who are on the way to the Orthodox Cathedral.

Yet another parishioner, Anya, told us about her older sister who has already passed away. In 1942 her sister was taken from Martyshkino to a place in Eastern Siberia. There in Siberia her sister went through some courses to become a radio operator, and then she went off to war. When the war was over Anya’s sister came back to her home village, and in 1992 she participated in the reconstruction of the Ture parish.

God moves in mysterious ways, but for those who trust in Him all things work for good.

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Plans and engagements

Prisn_14_10The author of the music program Standstill, musician and singer, Igor Baranchikov, and the founder of the Christian rock-group Druzki, Gera Alekseev, had some joint concerts in two prisons of the Leningrad Region.

Prisn_14_5The poet, Arkadi Byshin, was a special guest of that music program. He wrote lyrics to some of the songs that were performed during these concerts.

Approximately 200 men and 400 women were introduced to faith through these spiritual songs.

Also, with great enthusiasm prisoners received the new brochure published by Concordia Foundation called Is There Still Hope? They qualified it as their salvation book.Prisn_14_1

When the performances were over Gera Alekseev and Igor Baranchikov came to our office where, in informal setting, we got to talk about recent projects and make some plans for future.

We talked about music, about the upcoming projects, and about publishing Arkadi Byshin’s collection of poems. All his life Arkadi has been wheelchair-bound. It takes a lot of effort for him to say even a few words. In spite of all this, the author learned to rejoice. His poetry celebrates the love of life, the love towards Prisn_14people and their Creator.

This is what Arkadi wrote in the foreword to his collection of poems called The Way to Freedom. Presumption of Love:

By typing these fancy verses with just one finger of my left hand I am striving to encourage you to think that a wheelchair is only a means of moving around and not a mark impressed on a person with a second-rate fate. And if a person with such physical imperfection Prisn_14_9can be joyful and not fall into despair than surely you can, also!

Do not believe those people who insist that faith in God rids you from all of the problems. He did not promise us trouble-free existence.  But God does give every person strength to overcome hardships, at least that’s the conclusion I make from my life’s experience. Being in constant need other’s help I am always surrounded by their care and kindness. These people are sent to me by God as precious gifts.

Nevertheless, I do have times when loneliness flows over me, or when sadness freezes me up, or when angerPrisn_14_8 storms inside me. I do not equate apostle Paul’s words, “Rejoice always” with a social smile, but with the appeal to view even the most sorrowful events in life as the ones that God allowed to happen in order to test my faith. Such attitude allows me to find joy even in sadness. It is not easy but it is possible by trusting in the One who created me and who cherishes me abundantly blessing me with life.

Hopefully, we’d be able to help publish the new book of this amazing author.

ETS Seminar in Viborg

A seminar was successfully held in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the town of Vyborg. This Church is the only Church in the whole town; the building is situated in the center of the city, surrounded by a park. Such location is very beneficial in attracting new people.

The seminar was led by Igor Savich. He talked about the activities of Concordia Foundation. Communication and hospitality in the church were the main topics discussed throughout the seminar; the most efficient methods of reaching out to people outside the church were also named in addition to those discussions.

Participants asked lots of questions; several of them decided to become volunteers for Concordia Foundation. A lot of materials published by the Foundation were distributed at the seminar and some flyers that volunteers can use to invite people to sign up for the Correspondence Bible Courses.

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