Me with Nikita from Kaliningrad
After living in Finland for over one year now, I have finally made my first entry into the great country of Russia. Pastor Schaller, Pastor Juha, Pastor Kimmo, and I went with a small team across the border to our annual Winter Conference in St. Petersburg, hosted by our Greater Grace church which is located there. It was an amazing time of fellowship, conviction, brokenness, and growth in the midst of such quality believers. We were together practically all day for three days, with services, raps, meetings, personal fellowship, and outreach filling up our tight schedule. On Tuesday night we had a youth rap with about 15 people on the topic of how precious Jesus Christ is to God, to the Body, and to the individual believer. Afterwards we sang and discussed different topics late into the night. It was so good to be there and to connect with such beautiful believers. We are praying to have a youth conference there in April with young people from all of our Russian churches. Also we have invited them to come to our International Youth Event that we will have in July with Pastor Love. I believe God has not finished with His work in the great land of Russia and the young people raised up in our churches there will play a major role in the furtherance of the Gospel in the coming years.
While we were there, I was thinking of how many years our ministry has had an impact in that place. The first time someone from our ministry went there was in the mid-70s, while a young Pastor Schaller was leading the church in Helsinki, Finland. Over the years we have seen the ups and downs of church work in that part of the world. However, most importantly, we have seen what the Love of God can do in Russian people's lives. Many of our leaders in Greater Grace have spent time preaching the Gospel in Russia and the former Soviet states over the past 35 years, including Pastor Chris Moore, Pastor Matti Sirvio, Pastor Walsh, and many others. It truly is a key place for the advance of the glorious Gospel of Grace as we carry it onward into the uttermost parts of this fallen earth.