Greetings from Ukraine

 

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Pastor Peter is currently in the second part of his evangelistic series in Mariupol, Ukraine.

The first part of the series started February 17th in Moscow. On that first night of the meetings those in attendance were blessed with a performance by the Moscow SDA orchestra. The beautiful music touched every soul. Unfortunately, we ran out of seats and had to set up a live feed into the basement hall. The topic for the first night was “Accepting the Gift of the Abundant Life.” Pastor Peter talked about the path leading to a life filled with meaning and truth. All week the Moscow meetings were broadcast by the newly launched SDA satellite channel blanketing Eastern Europe and
Asia. In addition, the meetings were broadcast on the Evangelical Trinity Broadcasting Network – Russia (TBN). TBN has an established audience of millions of viewers. This was certainly a historical opportunity of reaching many dear people with the message of the soon coming of the Lord. Each night of the series we received hundreds of prayer requests and questions related to the specific topic.

An in-depth Bible study and baptismal class have been established at the hosting site as well as in many other churches across the division.

On March 1st, Pastor Peter and the Light of Hope team journeyed first by plane to Kiev, Ukraine, followed by an 18 hour train ride to Mariupol, in the Donetsk region, to present another series.

The meetings in Mariupol are being held in two locations, three times a day, every day through this coming Sabbath.

Your prayers and support make a world of difference in these peoples’ lives.

You can follow along for more updates on Instagram.

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Pastor Peter preaching in Moscow, Russia. 

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Moscow blanketed by snow.

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Kremlin, Moscow, Russia

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First week of meetings in Moscow, Russia.

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First week of meetings in Moscow, Russia

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Part of our team in Mariupol, Ukraine.

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Streets of Mariupol, Ukraine.

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Mariupol, Ukraine

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Meetings in Mariupol, Ukraine

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Meetings in Mariupol, Ukraine

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MOSCOW 2017

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For the last several months the Light of Hope Ministry has been preparing for meetings in Novosibirsk. The church leadership was constructing a new church building and planning to open the doors with a series of Light of Hope meetings. Unfortunately, as the new law restricting religious freedom was signed by Putin, the building was seized by local authorities and  construction work was suspended. Please pray for our church in Novosibirsk.

Following these new circumstances, the meetings were moved to the Nagatinskaya Church in Moscow where Pastor Peter will spend a week in February followed by another series in Mariupol, a Ukrainian city bordering the war-zone. 

Below is an interview with the president of the Moscow Conference, Pastor Muzichka, giving us some insight into how the churches are preparing for the meetings in the new restricted reality.

What effect did the Yarovaya law have  on the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Moscow? Under this new law we are no longer able to work on organized missionary outreach on the streets of the city, hold visitations in people’s homes, or distribute religious books and magazines. There are also growing concerns for literature evangelists. Since the total ramifications of this law are not yet known we are focusing our efforts on more individualized outreach and that is what we are recommending to our church members.

Is there a place for public evangelism under the current social and political climates in Russia? Given the present circumstances, the available church buildings as well as the difficulty of finding the right way of reaching out and inviting people limit evangelistic programs. Adding programs such as health or parenting seminars to the evangelistic meetings has helped in bringing in more people from the community.

What preparations are taking place at the Nagatinskaya church for the meeting in February 2017? Our church has two children’s clubs that meet every week and which give us an opportunity to reach out to their parents.  In addition we have bible-study groups that are also meeting weekly. We have also formed a group of individuals working on plans and preparations for the meetings and are holding a special worship service on November 12th, 2016, dedicated to preparing our church members for evangelistic outreach.

What are the specific problems that the Seventh-day Adventist church in Moscow is faced with today? One of the major issues is the shortage of church buildings. As of today ten congregations in Moscow do not have their own building. For example the Nagatinskaya church building is used by three of those congregations. Rental prices for possible buildings are extremely high and place an almost impossible burden on the churches. This shortage of facilities also creates great difficulty for carrying out missionary work.

Please pray for our church family in Moscow and for this upcoming event.

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PRAY FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN RUSSIA

On June 24th, the State Duma of the Russian Federation passed a bill “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation to establish additional measures to counter terrorism and ensure public safety.” However, unexpectedly, several amendments were added to the bill including one titled “missionary activity.” This amendment is a complete violation of the human right to express religious beliefs guaranteed by the Russian Constitution. The new legislation defines “unlawful missionary activity” as any kind of religious practice that takes place outside special establishments, cemeteries, houses of worship, or religious schools. This applies to acts of worship, ceremonies, the distribution of literature, and preaching. Sharing of personal beliefs and religious convictions through mass media and the Internet is also qualified as illegal under this new law. This extends to private homes and private property. Christians in Russia will not be allowed to email their friends an invitation to church, or gather their friends for a bible study in their own home if President Putin signs this bill. Both chambers of the Russian Duma have already voted the in bill.

The law also prohibits the transfer of residential buildings into church buildings. During the years of the Soviet Union, most religious organizations lost their church facilities and to this day are using buildings owned by church members to hold worship services. This new law will leave thousands of believers without a place to worship. 

We invite Light of Hope partners and friends to pray for the Seventh-day Adventist church in Russia as this new legislature places broad limitations on missionary work including preaching, teaching, or any other outreach activity. This week our church members prayed, fasted, and sent petitions to President Putin. If the law is approved, many Seventh-day Adventists will find themselves in exile and subject to reprisal because of their faith.

With these new restrictions on the horizon the Light of Hope is committed to expanding its work by producing DVD sets of past evangelistic events and distributing them among the lay members of our church. This will be a helpful tool as they continue to share their faith privately with their friends and neighbors.

We are asking for your help in producing 3,000 new sets of DVDs of our last meetings in Siberia. The total cost of this project will be $10,000.

Our fathers lived through the dark times of atheism and communism and were not afraid to risk their freedom in sharing the Three Angels’ Message. We pray that we can help our brothers and sisters in Russia to continue carrying the torch with the light of hope.

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Our Family in Prague

2L0A3710Eastern Europe is facing many challenges as  new political developments threaten the disintegration of the European Union. Millions are in a state of confusion and uncertainty about their future. At the same time, thousands of refugees from the Middle East are trying to find shelter in these European countries. All throughout the region people are pulled from pursuing spiritual values by these political changes and growing materialism. However, I was pleased to see that our Seventh-day Adventist church in Eastern Europe is active and committed to sharing the message of hope.

Galena and I were invited to speak for revival meetings in Prague as a part of our Light of Hope ministry. After the break-up of the Soviet Union, many Russian-speaking Adventists moved to other European countries searching for jobs to support their families. Hundreds of them gathered together for the meetings. Some traveled from western Ukraine, some from Greece, and others from Germany.

I chose to speak about the spirit-filled life and the three days of our meetings were packed with preaching and singing. Once again I could see that Slavic-speaking people are not in a hurry to leave when it comes to spiritual matters. Every part of the service lasted several hours. They want to get solid, thorough food from the Word of God.

Each day of the meetings we were inspired by the promises given to us by Jesus, that our life can be transformed by the Spirit. He can give us guidance in our daily decisions and equip us for victories in our earthly battles.

The weekend culminated in a beautiful baptism. Afterwards, I made an appeal and was excited to see a group of young people step forward asking for continued Bible studies.

Thank you for supporting our ministry in that troublesome part of the world and please continue to pray for our churches in Europe.

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Light of Hope for Siberia

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The Hope Channel Russia crew and Galena and I landed in Omsk early morning. Walking off the plane we were greeted by the cold Siberian air. These were still the dark hours of the morning, but the warm embrace of the West Siberian Mission administration already awaited us at the airport. We instantly felt their battle-ready spirit as they began loading all of the suitcases, cameras, lights, and equipment brought from far away to turn the local church in Omsk into an uplinking studio. Once everything was loaded they shuttled us and all the crew and musicians to the prepared lodging.

That same afternoon after an unsuccessful attempt to sleep despite the eleven hour time difference Galena and I took a walk to the Church where the meetings would take place. Traveling on foot through snow and ice covered roads we couldn’t help noticing that the church was located quite far from main highways and public transportation.  As we got closer to the building the huge piles of snow added to our concern for those coming to the first program and having to walk through the cold, dark night in these harsh winter conditions. 

Looking at the beaten up roads leading towards the church, we began the first evening filled with worry.  But an hour before the start of the meetings the auditorium started filling up with people who would not be turned away from the Word of God by any of those obstacles.

Each night the programs were recorded and transmitted throughout the expansive region. I asked Pastor Vasily how much time he needs to get to the furthest churches and small groups in his territory. He said that the territory is so vast that it takes two days of traveling by train to reach the members living by the frozen northern coast. And every night that I preached there in Omsk, I thought of those people scattered throughout this cold and bleak part of the world. They may have been thousands of miles away from our church in Omsk, but because of your support and prayers and each one of your donations they were still able to hear the Word of God.

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Light of Hope for Siberia

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Pastor Peter will be presenting a series of evangelistic meetings this March in the Russian city of Omsk. The meetings will begin on March 11 and continue daily through March 26.

Read more about the meetings here.

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Light of Hope for Siberia

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City of Omsk, Russia

We have been preparing travel to the city of Perm for our spring evangelism in March 2016. Just a week ago we learned that due to a complex political situation our church in Perm would not be able to host the event. Please pray for our brothers and sisters there as many of them are discouraged, but we still hope to travel there some time in the future.

The administration of the West Siberian Mission Conference demonstrated quick resourcefulness and after consultations with a number of large Siberian cities they chose the city of Omsk as the new site for the meetings. Omsk is the second largest city in Siberia, located near the heart of the region.

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Omsk Oblast, Russia is located in southwestern Siberia, 1,389 miles from Moscow. 

We are less than five weeks away so pastors together with their church members are diligently working and doing everything they can to prepare for the meetings. Even though this change brought many additional challenges, it may turn out to be a blessing. There is potential for a live satellite and cable broadcast of the meetings on the Evangelical television network. Powers of darkness may plan to stop the meetings, but God can turn the problems into opportunities. We will keep you updated as the time draws close to our opening might of March 11. Please keep us in your prayers.

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The average daily temperature in March is 20°F.

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Light of Hope for Siberia

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Pastor Peter with Perm SDA Pastor Evgeniy Shimanovskiy, EAD Television Ministries director Daniel Reband, and Voice of Hope Media Center director Vasili Nichik.

The Light of Hope ministry is continuing the preparations for the March 2015 evangelistic event in the Russian city of Perm, located on the edge of the Ural mountains. Vasili Nichik, director of the Voice of Hope media center, shares a little more about the city and upcoming meetings.

Why was the city of Perm chosen for the next evangelistic event? The history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Perm is inseparably tied to Peter Kulakov. The city of Perm was the location for evangelistic meetings held back in 1993. The meetings were organized by the Voice of Hope media center where Peter Kulakov was the director. Many of our brothers and sisters still remember those days and are overjoyed at the possibility of another such evangelistic event. Over the last 20 years many of those individuals completed a correspondence Bible-study course through the Voice of Hope.

What can you tell us about the current situation concerning religious freedom in Russia? On paper, freedom of religion is at a high level today in Russia. However, there are continuous attempts to introduce restrictive rules into the legislation and of course many authorities do not always act according to the laws, but are frequently guided by their subjective and often biased opinions. This issue is on the forefront during prayers of the faithful in Russia.

Tell us a little bit about the Seventh-day Adventist church in Perm. There are currently two congregations in Perm. Together that makes up about 200 members living in the city and another 100 living in the suburbs and surrounding villages. We have one church building that can accommodate 200 people.  We also have a health center, “Zhivoi Istochnik” which promotes healthy living within our community. As a result of this center a few dozen people have accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. The church in Perm is devoted to spreading the gospel.

How will the “Voice of Hope” media center participate in this event? The “Voice of Hope” is sending personal invitations to all the graduates of the Bible study course. There will also be a team from the media center responsible for broadcasting the evangelistic programs live during the event as well as future telecasts of the programs across the country.

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Light of Hope for Siberia

naberezhnye-chelny-russia-city-winter-viewIn March 2016 the Light of Hope ministry will be presenting an evangelistic series in the city of Perm, located on the outer edges of Siberia.  During this time the region is usually still blanketed by snow and the freezing temperatures keep it piled up to the roofs.  We want to bring the warmth of the gospel and use it to melt the atheistic propaganda that covered the city for over 70 years.

Even today the Russian Orthodox Church is discouraging people to read their Bibles to find the truth. At the same time the sanctions on the Russian government have led to a collapse in currency and people are losing their homes and losing hope. The Russian Orthodox Church is also using government media to create a negative view of Seventh-day Adventists because of their relationship with the USA. They portray the protestant SDA church as a foreign entity, creating fear in the minds of Russians and trying to turn them away from the church.  Through this evangelistic event Pastor Peter will show the true image of the Last Days Church that preaches hope and salvations.

The Light of Hope team will be presenting a series titled, “The Amazing World of the Bible.” Through historical events, archeological finds, and literary works, those attending will see the relevance of the gospel in our daily lives.

Perm mapWe are only six months away from this event! This October Pastor Kulakov will travel to Russia to meet with church leaders to plan for the event and begin ordering materials. We need your financial support! We are trying to raise $10,000 for this first stage to cover the cost of new Bibles, study-guides and other materials, and to begin reserving auditoriums. Thank you for your generosity and your prayers.

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Our New Odessa Family

The highlight of the Odessa Evangelistic Event was definitely getting to witness many new individuals dedicating their life to Christ. On June 6, Pastor Kulakov baptized the first group of those who expressed a wish to become part of the church family. Please keep these new members in your prayers.

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