For decades under communism, Russia recruited third world students to St. Petersburg to indoctrinate them in Soviet Universities. Today students still come from abroad to study, but they are no longer indoctrinated with communism. Some of the world's brightest come to study business, medicine, science and law in the Russian Universities. Charis Bible College graduate Carrie Pickett has been in St. Petersburg for ten years, preparing some of these aspiring professionals to return home with more than just an academic degree, but also a firm foundation in the Word, and an ability to minister the almost-too-good-to-be-true-news of the Gospel.
Carrie and her husband Mike, both originally from the United States, met in 2004 on the mission field of St. Petersburg, where Carrie was directing Charis Bible Training Center (CBTC), a Charis Bible College affiliate school. The two were married in 2006 and since then have been working to transform the lives of the students attending CBTC, sharing with them the message of God’s unconditional love and grace.
Mike and Carrie currently co-direct CBTC. The school offers two years of Bible training, a third year of Leadership School and a fourth year apprenticeship program before the students complete the curriculum. The Picketts and their four other staff members are presently ministering to, and equipping, 62 students from over 15 nations at the training center. These students represent multiple churches and denominational backgrounds. The Bible school in Russia is literally touching the world through its multi-national graduates.
Together the Picketts oversee a number of other leadership training programs beyond CBTC, under the banner of their own ministry called Equip Ministries International (EMI). The vision for EMI is "to equip and mobilize leaders to reach the nations." The fruit from CBTC and their ministry efforts indicates that they are fulfilling this mission.
One of the unique aspects of CBTC is that the majority of the students are from other countries. Carrie had this to say about the unique atmosphere at CBTC,
"We have Russians that study with us, but we also have students from Nigeria, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uganda, Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, America, Uzbekistan, Sweden, Tanzania, and Latvia. Most are studying in the Universities here in Russia for their medical, engineering, or economic degrees. Once they finish their Bible School training they head back home to their nations. It is in this unique aspect that we see our vision of equipping leaders to reach the nations being fulfilled."
In the eight years since CBTC was established in St. Petersburg, hundreds of students have received solid Bible teaching and become strong, mature ministers. As Carrie and Mike continue to minister in the multicultural setting of Charis Bible Training Center many lives are being changed in Russia and around the world.
In the video below Carrie shares more details of the Pickett's missionary efforts in Russia. For a more in-depth look at the Picketts and their ministry be sure to watch the Mike and Carrie Pickett Destiny Story.