Nastya had two weeks off from work, so my task was to fill it, and full it did get. We had two basic goals:
- Connect with pro-life and post-abortion ministries for relationship;
- Connect with individuals interested in such ministry in Russia for prayer and financial support.
God gave us lots of new relationships, quite enthusiastic ones in fact. Among the highlights of her trip:
Nastya met with the leadership of the Richmond and Albemarle, NC Pregnancy Resource Centers. Both shared resources and excitement about her dream, which by now includes the formation (eventually) of just such a center in St. Petersburg. As of now, there are about 5 individuals involved in any form of pro-life ministry in our city of 5 million people. In a country that was the first to legalize abortion and where the abortion rate is the highest in the world, this is a tragedy that we must reverse.
Nastya met with the leaders of some post-abortion ministries, including Rachel’s Vineyard in Richmond. This is a ministry that provides, usually in retreat setting, an experiential healing setting for women and men. It came out of the Catholic church, but there is a Protestant version. Nastya also got to know about some excellent Bible study resources from experienced ministers.
It was amazing for me to sit in on meeting after meeting where I was involved both for my own education and as an interpreter for her. So many women opened up to Nastya about their own abortion experience and the tragic consequences that impacted them and those around them until (or if) they got freedom and healing in Christ. I saw more clearly than ever the strategic importance of this as a new branch of our existing healing and counseling work in Russia. The impact on the unborn child is only the tip of the iceberg of relational and social devastation.
Nastya joined us for 6 formal presentations of our ministry, where she spoke about her testimony and how she feels called to serve. These always generated interesting discussions and people eager to connect with her, pray for her, and support her work. One of these sessions was specifically organized for my intercessory team, which was a powerful evening hosted at the Richmond International House of Prayer and Encounter. Afterwards Nastya told me she now sees that our team in St. Petersburg is not alone in our efforts to reach the city.
A surprise connection was with some of the small Christian community of Russians in Richmond. Nastya met a group of new believers at a Bible study that I had just met, and they fell in love with her. She started talking about our ministry of healing through Theophostic prayer, and they organized another meeting where Nastya demonstrated how it works with one of the members. It was a powerful experience that touched not only that woman, but all who witnessed it. The lady said afterwards, “I feel like I’m different inside.”
Nastya seemed to have boundless energy and enthusiasm for meeting new people and to serve them. The favor she had and ability to connect with people was phenomenal, especially considering the language barrier. It wasn’t until the very end that she took me up on my offer to get her to rest some. She and Lydia went out for an afternoon of shopping, which was a big blessing for Lydia too – girl time.
Our financial goals are big by Russian standards, but not by American: $1000 a month to get Nastya to quit her job and be available full time for this ministry. She will raise some of her support locally, and she will make some money through the teaching and ministry she will provide. To help make this possible, click here and make a notation “for pro-life ministry.”
To read up on how we got to this point, read here.