Four big Russian-speaking men gave out 150 invitations to men on the street and in pastor Timur's table-tennis club (very serious players). 8 men came to the seminar: 4 were from Timur's friends at the club, 3 were from contacts on the street, and 1 (not pictured) from the bar in the next room over from where we met. Also in the photo is Sergei, a deacon at Timur's church. The 8 men listened and interacted from the very beginning to our presentations on what it means to be a real man. The Gospels tell us 2 times (Matthew 11:19, Luke 7:34) that the Lord Jesus was a friend of tax-collectors and sinners. Being Christ-like means we must be, too. In Latvia, we did our best, by God's grace, to love these men while we were with them.
I know that the presence with us of Col. David Briar (retired) was very powerful, too. In him the "Great Eight" met a man who flew 2 full days from Tok, Alaska to spend 2.5 days in Latvia, and fly back home for 3.5 days. His testimony of our time is on tape here.
In all the churches of the Russian-speaking world you will notice one thing:
There are almost no men in them.
Russian-speaking men do not go to church. That is why this year in all of our SRS churches we are trying to hit the streets and go out to meet and befriend men, and help them begin to study the Bible and get to know us wherever they are.
As in Luke 14:23, we are going out into the "highways and byways" to invite them to God's banquet through one-on-one discussions and small group Bible studies. We, as Paul described himself in I Corinthians 9:19-23, are attempting to become "all things to all men", that we might win the more.
SRS-sponsored pastors Evgeni, left, and Timur right, at the table tennis club.
Now we have to pray:
For God to raise up laborers for the harvest in Jurmala. Matthew 9:36, 37.
I thought I knew how unreached Jurmala was, with a population of Russians of about 20,000, but I had no idea. We saw in Timur's community that there was 1 Catholic church, of about 15 women, 5 men, a Pentecostal church of the same size, and a Lutheran church of the same size. Pastor Timur told us none of them is attempting effective outreach to the community with the Gospel.
Pray that pastor Timur will be able to deepen his friendship and witness to Sergei, Vitali, Michael, Sergei #2, Fyoder, Vladimir, Anatoli through one-on-one meetings.
Pray that these men will come to Christ and join Timur's church, to God's glory.
Timur and Olga Anichkin with their daughter Katya
Pray for pastor Timur, his wife Olga, and their daughter Katya to persevere in their love for these lost souls in Jurmala, Latvia.
Pray most of all for the financial support that Timur, Olga and Katya need to plant a thriving church in Jurmala, $1,000 more per month. The church is meeting in a room that is 12 feet by 15 feet. Their lack of a valid-looking place to meet is a complete hindrance to their church-planting efforts. Pray for God to raise up 10 folks or churches to support them for $100/month or more.
Pray for us all to imitate Christ in Luke 19:10, For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost.
The Slavic Reformation Society is a mission of North American churches initiated in response to the great commission of Jesus Christ, which is to make disciples of all nations of the earth. (Matthew 18:19, 20)