For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.
- Genesis 18:19
In these words the Lord showed Abraham and us that one of the main purposes for Him choosing us to believe in Him is that we may raise up generations of righteous descendants, children and grandchildren. Titus 1:6 requires that the children of elders and overseers be faithful to the Lord. Therefore, the staff, professors and curriculum of the Hope Russia seminary regularly teach the biblical call to Christian education for all covenant children. The students of the seminary are encouraged to begin homeschooling and/or Christian schooling their children and 2 elders are now homeschooling. (Read below for more on that!)
The emphasis on children in the church began with the Purcells moving to the Soviet Union in October of 1990 with 3 children and a 4th on the way.
The Purcells then gave birth to 3 more children, all of whom were raised in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Purcells taught and modeled from the beginning the reality of Psalm 127, "Your children are a heritage of the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward." Students of the Navigator ministry from 1991-1997 have now all married and have had 2-4 children each. The average Russian family only has 1 child.
The Purcells have had their 6 children only in homeschooling and Christian schools since 1996. Cathy and Blake served on the board or taught at the International Academy, a Christian school for missionary children in St. Petersburg, from 1996 until their youngest child's graduation in 2015.
Secondly, the Reverend John Mahon has been the professor of pastoral theology and has taught his seminar on child rearing from the book of Proverbs every other year.
Thirdly, the seminary hosted a Classical Christian Schooling Conference in 2008 with Patch Blakey as the key speaker. The seminary curriculum requires that the students pass courses on biblical child rearing and marriage.
Finally, Blake Purcell in his pastoral letters and courses on covenant theology teaches on the need to have all children attend the Lord's Day formal worship and that parents are 100% responsible before God to raise their children in the Lord, and to give their children a Scripture saturated education based in the home as much as possible.
After he heard from Blake at the seminary about the Biblical practice of requiring children to obey the first quiet command of a parent, based on Prov. 29:15, Pastor Evgeni Kruzhkov shared that his three children were shocked. But now his home life is orderly and peaceful and his children are happier and obey the first time they are told to do something.
Blake and Cathy Purcell also always include a seminar or discussion on Christian education and homeschooling every time they make a mentoring trip to the pastors and their families and churches. One such trip was in May of 2012 when they visited with Masha, pictured below, about how to start schooling your children at home.
Almost all of the pastors in the Hope Russia-influenced church movement have now included all the children in the congregation in Lord's Day worship, and have weekly communion and young child communion.
Blake and Oleg Volkov have been leading a Bible study for the young men in the church in St. Pete and are working to begin a Eurasia wide connection for the children in the Hope Russia churches to meet and court under the leadership of their parents. Pray for this effort as most of the teenagers in these churches know almost no other believing teenagers. Only 1% of Russia is Protestant.
Pray also that parents would be as faithful as Vlad and Ella Nebzhidovsky, who homeschooled their children Alina, Pavel, and Evalina in St. Petersburg before moving to the US in 2016. (Cathy taught English to Alina and Pavel on Saturday afternoons.)
Vlad Nebzhidovsky shares in his testimony that he heard about the need to homeschool in 2008 for the first time when Patch Blakey and Eric Sauder spoke at the local conference in St. Pete. But he did not believe it was Biblical nor necessary at the time. Four years later he shares that he realized that the world of his children's public school was influencing them more than they were influencing that world. Also, he began to realize that his children were literally learning nothing in Russian public school. He told his wife Ella that he wanted to pull the children out of the schools, but was afraid that they would not let them join the "Extern Program" in which children take public school tests every semester, but study only at home.
He and his wife braved the ire of the "all competent" public school administration, and began teaching their children at home in February of 2012. Since then Alina and Pavil passed their exams with 4's and 5's even though some of the teachers administering the test said that they were sure that Ella, who only has a 10th grade education herself, could not possibly be the only teacher who taught her children. She wasn't. Vlad also helped. The teachers were shocked to see "a simple uneducated" mother do a better job of teaching her children than "professional" public school teachers. Such is God's way, that those he calls to educate, educate better.
Public schools with no call or authority from God to teach cannot replace the influence of godly parents in the home.
Hope Russia believes that it is only as our pastors and churches in Eurasia raise up godly faithful children, who raise up godly children, that the culture of Eurasia will be transformed to a city on a hill, that glorifies God, and that a godly family is not competition for the church, but the foundation of the ministry of the elders of the church, as I Tim. 3 tells us.
Click here to read about Scott and Andie Davidson's homeschooling ministry in Russia and beyond.