The new Russian outreach in Denver officially began in January 2014 and the Lord has opened many doors already. Using the three-month window (Oct.-Dec.) in order to build a foundation, God has helped us to establish contacts in multiple places and His Providential Hand has been seen everywhere. As stated previously, the first and most important place is right where we live, since many Russian-speaking people live in the apartment complex where we are located. This has been such a blessing in so many ways and it is certainly by no accident that this occurred. Not only have we been able to make contact with many folks, but are now hosting a Bible study in our apartment on Thursday evenings.
Our goal in the beginning was to show that the Bible is inspired and that we need to trust God’s Word only. Interestingly enough, almost all who have come already believe this and so we are moving on to establish God’s plan of salvation. Using some inspiring examples of how great men of faith in the Old and New Testaments lived (i.e. - Noah, Moses, Daniel, Jeremiah, Paul), we hope to show how complete obedience is the only way we can pleasing to the Lord. Of course, from week to week, there is some fluctuation of who is in attendance and so we constantly pray for hearts of all of these.
Our first Bible study on January 2, 2014
Another major opportunity that God has given to us in reaching out is teaching at the Russian-English center (REC) in Glendale. This group services the Russian community and many people who immigrate to the U.S. who do not know English, come to these classes for free lessons and to have fellowship with others. The center was in desperate need of teachers and so I inquired about helping out. They asked me to teach two classes, one on Tuesday morning and another on Tuesday evening. Being able to communicate in Russian has opened many doors already after just two full days of teaching. This past Tuesday evening, one man, Vladimir, wanted to talk for a long time. I finally had to say goodbye at 9:15pm and told him I would call him. As we have more time to spend with each of them, we pray that we will be able to invite different individuals to personal and/or group Bible studies and also to a worship service that we are hoping to begin soon.
Regarding the worship service, we ask that you pray about this, that we will have wisdom about when and where to have this. While it was our intention when we first began to have the worship service in English, it is looking more and more like a Russian format may have more appeal to many of the people. Perhaps it can simply be translated and so we just need to know which manner would be the best to approach it all. The Difference Between A, An, and The Like in some other languages, in Russian there is no use of the articles a, an and the. When they speak, Russian speakers think about these but simple do not say them. During the English classes at REC, we have already discussed these words because much of the way we phrase English sentences is with articles. We have spoken about what the difference is with “a” or “an” meaning non-specific and “the” having specific meaning. A simple example we might give is, “This is a dog” compared to “This is the dog.”
In all reality, this is what the ultimate goal is in teaching the difference about God’s Church to the Russian-speaking people. It may a bit of a surprise to Americans, but many of these folks are religious, some even knowing the Bible pretty well. They may be wondering why there is a need for another church. Our intent is to help people not to be part of a religious group, or to be associated with an organization that is following the Word of God in part, but to read the Scriptures and be completely convinced that we must be the Church that we read about in the Bible. We must teach and preach how one becomes a Christian accurately, then how one is able to remain faithful, and finally how we must worship the Lord the way He intended. It is very important people understand that we do not get to decide how we want to worship Him, rather, to respect and obey the ways God wants to be worshiped. No more and no less. While we can never be perfect, God’s Word is and if we simply read it and obey it, all people on this planet can be a part of His church, the Church that Jesus died for and established (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23). Just as Aquila and Priscilla took Apollos aside and taught him the way of the Lord more accurately (Acts 18:24-26), so we too want to do the same, so that as many might be saved and have eternal life.
Our Family Contacts with Russian speakers have been given to us everywhere, even among our family. Two families in the apartment complex where we live have children who are spending more time with Timothy and Andrew. In addition, Timothy is playing on a basketball team at the YMCA and one of the boys is Russian (we are just getting to know his parents) and Andrew was blessed to enroll in gymnastics and it is completely run by Russian speakers. The instructors all teach classes in Russian and everything is structured like it would be in Ukraine or Russia. Marina is still attending classes at REC and is doing a great job of handing out business cards when she goes to places like book or clothing stores where they speak Russian. God has been so good!
Attached is a recent trip we made to the Colorado Train Museum in Golden. It was a fun day. We are truly grateful to God for the ways He is working and pray that we will have the strength and wisdom to reach out to as many as possible. Please continue to pray about this work of the Lord. We are forever thankful for these because it is the unseen power that truly helps in many, many ways.
May God bless His work and efforts!
Love in Christ,