Russia – What comes to your mind?
“For me the name conjured up gray skies, gray buildings, serious faces, oppressed people, heaviness of every kind. The reality of what I discovered there was far from those things. Beautiful scenery, wonderful art, friendly people, new friends. I found committed Christians serving wholeheartedly and making a difference for the Lord in their part of the world. Men and women who were in need of time together as a couple and time with other ministry leaders. Christians who were stretched and tired.” Nancy
Want the quick version? Watch our Summary Video (4:19)
Our team of seven traveled 10,000 miles to serve a wonderful group of pastors and wives seriously committed to making disciples and spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout Siberia, an area 7 times larger than Texas. One of the couples commented how appreciative everyone was that we had come so far. “Nobody comes to Siberia,” they said.
A pastor’s work is never done. So this week, Pastor Rick gave them a break from preparing their next sermon and poured encouragement into their lives as he taught through the book of Colossians. Together we explored how Christ’s supremacy effects our culture, personal holiness, marriages and every other relationship.
“This week we heard some fantastic stories of God’s redemptive work in the lives of many of the couples. They are wonderful examples of Paul’s affirmation that God ‘has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin.’ Colossians 1:13-14” Rick
Dr. Jack Shirley blessed us all by sharing how important it is for us to be encouragers, in our marriage, at home, work and church. Nancy help us recognize the blessings and challenges that we have in our family and encouraged us to give our best to making our home a God honoring place for each member.
“I’m so grateful for this opportunity. It was so eye-opening, so vision-expanding, such a privilege to meet these dear Christians on the other side of the world. Their cities are beautiful, their smiles and laughs infectious, their zest for Jesus and their desire to have others know Him were all an incredible blessing.” Nancy
Many of the couples came tired from the challenging demands of ministry and family and without rest from the long distances that they traveled to attend. Pastor Jim and Arline Parris shared a variety of practical tools through creative teaching and role play on how to build a life-long, Christ-centered marriage.
“We watched these pastors and wives arrive tired, some heavy-hearted, some burdened down. As their bonds with each other grew, they seemed lighter in spirit. More laughter, more affection between them. Many said, “Thank you for coming- no one comes to Siberia!” Arline
Jay Phillips taught everyone how to greet people in Texas, “Howdy Y’all!” He blessed the couples as he taught on what it means to more fully abide in Christ and shared some key thoughts from one of his special mentors, Russell Kelfer, on Mark 4 and John 15.
“Truly, we saw first hand, what man intended for evil, God meant for good. Repeatedly, families shared history punctuated with vanishing fathers, barriers to worship and prayer. Every account ended with examples of how these challenges grew faith in those that remained, incredible testimonies of God’s grace.” Jay
Once again, we were reminded of how important you are as part of our team. Repeatedly, we were approached by couples to tell us how much it meant to them that people from the other side of the world would care enough about them to send our team and to pray for them. We can’t tell you enough how much your partnership means to these pastors and wives.
And the Shepherds’ Support Board:
Steve and Connie Troxel,
David and Beth Butler,
Lannie and Melba Green,
Jack and Nancy Shirley,
Sid and Zane Williams
We are already working hard on our conferences for 2019.
January – Peru. February – Cameroon.
May – Ukraine. August – Belarus and Moldova.
We are still forming these teams, so we’d love to hear from you if you are interested in joining with us to encourage, equip and engage ministry leaders.