“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is no one else.” – Isaiah 45:22
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the name of Christ! This is my first official newsletter as an NALC Global Worker from the mission field in Belarus! For those who I was not privileged to “meet” at this year’s NALC Convocation in Nashville – please feel free to learn more about the work being done in Eastern Europe: Update from Belarus. It is a great privilege for me to become a part of the mission driven Lutheran Church body of the NALC! This summer was full of events. We pray that the Lord shall receive all the glory as the result! This summer we hardly had any warm weather. The temperature was surprisingly lower than usual, with much rain. Our Bible camps were not in the usual place, in Dolsha. This was a great blessing. Instead of living in tents, the kids lived “under the roof,” so to say. We had three Bible camps in three different places. The Lord, by His wisdom, decided it should be this way!
In Saldus, Latvia, we had a marvelous Bible camp for the children from Belarus. A team of American brothers and sisters came to tell Belarusian and Latvian children about Jesus and the Bible. The Bible teaching was in English. The camp was international and that was exciting!
The children learned about God’s grace, love and mercy through the story of Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers. It was exciting to see the Latvian kids making friends with the kids from Belarus. Singing together, playing sports together, and reading Bible stories was so much fun. As for the kids from Belarus – we had an outstanding event for some of them. Five children participated in Holy Communion for the first time in heir lives! So, the angels were rejoicing in the sky for this happy event. The children formed personal relationships with Christ!
The second camp for the youth was organized for us by our friends in Sweden. A group of eleven people visited a beautiful place in Sweden called Prasebo. We took the opportunity to visit our friends in the local Lutheran congregation. I was asked to share the Word of God, which I did with great pleasure. Also, two young people from Belarus were baptized. What a glorious event! Thank you, Lord!
The third camp was organized by Kristina and Tomas, EEMN workers to Belarus, from Slovakia for twenty young people. A group of youth from Slovakia came to Belarus to participate in the Bible camp. The purpose of the camp was evangelism and education. Seminars, quests, sports, fishing, witness – all of this was to God’s glory during the camp. A time of prayer and fellowship around the bonfire was extremely valuable. Thank you Lord for this friendship.
Another critical facet of our work is the Book Ministry, which is very important for the post-Soviet states. The camp in Latvia was a good opportunity for us to deliver a good amount of books in Russian to the Latvian Lutheran Church. A gift that we received for the children’s work, just before the trip, helped us to pay for the transportation. We were able to rent a big bus for twenty-one people. Crossing the border can be challenging, but the Lord was gracious to us, and we had no questions asked about the books. Thank you to all who prayed. Thank you Lord for the gift that we received, in good timing, just before the camp, from your people, to make this Bible camp possible.
A theological seminar took place in Vitebsk. The seminar was dedicated to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and its biblical grounding. Our friend and theologian, Valery Volodin, was our teacher.
The participants were representatives from BLMF congregations. The participants were reminded of the historical background of the Reformation, the role of Luther in this important historical event, and its importance for the Church and the modern world. More importantly, we were reminded of the Biblical grounds on which Luther built the Reformation: the main principle of salvation by grace alone, other SOLAS, and theses. The time of fellowship and prayer is very valuable at these events. Therefore, we are grateful to God, and our Swedish friends, who made this seminar possible. After the seminar, there was a church service with Holy Communion. We pray that this, and other educational events, would be for the glory of God, for the strengthening of God’s glorious kingdom and the restoration of Lutheranism in Belarus.
We continue with the youth gatherings on Thursdays, building handshake relationships with the youth in Vitebsk. We watch educational movies and then discuss them. It is great that we can exchange views and, as Christians, acknowledge the Biblical position on everything that is going on in our lives. Movies are very good starting points for such discussions.
We took part in a charity project, called Vitebsk SOS. The project is connected with the children from the orphanage in Gorodok (40 km from Vitebsk). Children in orphanages usually feel abandoned and are very sensitive to the world. A little attention and love means a lot to them. This was the purpose of the project: to show love! God loves these kids! The children’s ages ranged from five to sixteen years old.
Golden Gate music group took part in the annual international music festival, held in Vitebsk. It was a great opportunity to witness to many people about God and spiritual things. Please thank the Lord for this ongoing opportunity.
Sad news. Registration of the garage congregation was denied for the fifth time. The authorities say that they do not believe that we want to register a Lutheran congregation. They do not understand why Belarus citizens want to be Lutherans (a “German religion”). It looks like we need to take another approach in regards to registration. We are planning to visit some officials in the capital to explain the situation. Please pray for a good outcome to these visits.
Please thank the Lord for all BLMF partners and all the projects this summer! Everything that was planned was accomplished! May the Lord’s name be glorified!
- Please pray for the general mission fund, as at this moment we have a deficit of about US $ 500 every month.
- Continue to pray for the registration of the garage congregation.
- For the book ministry: distribution and production of the new material.
- For the renovation fund for the church building in Mazolovo.
- For the camp site building project in Dolsha.
- For new opportunities for Christian witness.
- For the new partners in ministry.
For more information about Pastor Valery’s work or to partner with him today, please visit: Pastor Valery Hryhoryk – EEMN.