posted on November 01, 2011 14:31
The work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the East Russia Union Mission is relatively new; it was organized in 1994. Its territory is divided into three missions, namely, Central Siberia Mission, East Siberian Mission, and West Siberia Mission.
The work in this union is very challenging. In this vast territory with a population of 22,268,723, we have only 94 Adventist churches with 6,690 church members, with a ratio of one Adventist among 3,328. The total number of young adult Adventists in Siberia is 438. The report was given that during the year of 2010, they baptized 40 young people and in 2011, they baptized 35 people.
On August 25 – 28, 2011, the East Russia Union Mission held a Union-wide Youth Congress attended by 300 youth, which is 68.49% of the total number of youth in this territory. The congress was held at Novosibirsk, the third largest city of Russia. Thanks to Ivan Soklakov, the East Russian Union Mission Youth Director, for his wonderful leadership. The theme of the congress was “On the Same Wave” (with Jesus, with a friend, with the church, with time).
The Siberian youth are very friendly, hospitable, and spiritually-minded. They are very talented in music, singing, and arts. Besides the class modules and seminars on different topics, programs were filled with music, Bible Study, Bible Bowl games and youth testimonies. The testimony below was shared by a young adult named Shimkina Anastacia.
“I was born in 1984 in Barnaul. Jesus was a real friend to me when I was a little girl, because my mother read a children’s Bible to me so many times. Our family was very famous in our city; my father was a writer. But my parents divorced when I was 8 years old, and it destroyed everything. My father died soon, my sister moved abroad and I started dating a Muslim boy. He didn’t want to read the Bible, but told me that I was crazy if I believed in Jesus Christ. Then I lost two brothers (one committed suicide, another died because of the tuberculosis). I was depressed, I lost all my family, had no friends, and I couldn’t even cry. I had insomnia and was falling asleep only in the morning because I was afraid of something—something I didn’t know. I couldn’t breathe. I understood it was Satan; he was trying to choke me. Then I started reading the Bible. I was praying a lot. I asked God to show me His Church. One of my relatives was an Orthodox priest and I knew that God wasn’t in that church. And one day someone knocked on my door and gave me the invitation for a religious program. I knew it was God’s answer! When I came to this meeting there were lot of people from Orthodox Church, and they wouldn’t let people come inside. But nothing could stop us. I was baptized with my mother and become a youth leader. I married a non-Christian man, but now we are missionaries and I am so thankful to our God, who changed my life! And I am thankful for that angel who brought the invitation.”
On Sabbath, August 27, ESD Youth Director Gennady Kasap made a special appeal and thirteen precious young people gave themselves to be baptized on a very cold beach. This congress was strongly supported by the Union Administration through the presence of Pastor Victor Kozakov, the Union President, Mr. Anatoly Frolov, the Treasurer, and Pastor Andrew Kachalaba, President of the Rostov Kalmikia Conference. At the end of the congress these young people made a commitment to the Lord that as they went back to their respective homes, each of them would be a soul winner for Jesus. Pray for our youth in Siberia.
Report of Hiskia Missah
GC Associate Youth Director