Since moving to Russia in 2007, I have used my background in coaching and counseling to invest in the transformation of people the Lord brought across my path. This has included city leaders, orphans, Christians, people of other faiths, and people with no faith at all. I have trained many people in counseling, prayer ministry, biblical peacemaking, team building, all the while building relationships and trust among these groups of people. God has been really good, for these peoples’ stories are of amazing and life-altering change.
We now have a core team invested in the personal growth of others and in the development of the ministry as a whole. And around this core are another half dozen who are serving as volunteers at some level. Several others serve as teachers/trainers, and others come for training or ministry of various kinds associated with our other ministries to the community.
The blessing of receiving our ministry facility (which is actually an extension of our own living space, but separate) has been one of the biggest miracles of our time in Russia. Our new ministry space was immediately put to good use, and it has increased our ministry activity dramatically. Russians understand as well as we do the importance of have a safe place to minister to God’s people.
The ministry center includes a private office where we offer counseling, and a large common living area used to conduct trainings, hold meetings, and to allow for fellowship. There is also a separate kitchen, a critical need in the Russian culture for relationship building.
Ministry-wise, my dream would be to fund a few more staff part or full time for a couple of years, so that we can both take advantage of some wonderful talent God has given us (where people are so strapped that their volunteer time is very limited), and so that we can get some more momentum going forward. We are building our infrastructure slowly but surely. Of course one always wants it to go faster. And I often think of how we can become more self-sustaining. We charge for our courses, but we don’t nearly recoup our costs, and in the provinces, where we have started to travel to minister, they are almost completely without the ability to compensate us, even for material to any significant extent. It’s a pretty tough situation. The silver lining is that a full-time person costs only $600-900 a month. Two of the team members are now committed to working to raise their own support over the next couple of years largely from local Russian Christians. What we need to that end is one-time of about $15,000 to match their own efforts, which would step down over 2-3 years to nothing.
Note: if you wish to increase your current monthly contribution, then you may do so through the above link. It will offer you the chance to mark it as a change (rather than an addition).
This video was made in 2013, but it is applicable in most respects, except that we are no longer raising money for Nastya, who has married and lives elsewhere. What remains true is that God has expanded our ministry and reach, and so with this expansion comes the need for more resources to make it all happen.