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Entries in Europe Trip 2012 (11)

Tuesday
May292012

Russia Trip 2012: The Road to Izhevsk

A rest stop on the highway, we discuss our ‘sweet Jesus’ moments. (Click to enlarge)A three hour drive on the Russian highway from Naberezhnye Chelney to the city of Izhevsk gave us yet another look of the old and new Russia. Mike and Carrie had scheduled a Gospel Truth Seminar in this city, where they hope to establish an extension school of Charis Bible College. When we first arrived, Andrew was to sow the seeds of the almost-too-good-to-be-true-news with a group of local Charismatic pastors.

The distance between the two cities was merely seventy miles, but the travel took three full hours because of the narrow two lanes, rough tarmac, and hazardous mix of trucks, cars, and farm equipment. We hired a Russian driver to haul us and our luggage in a Russian Lada van. Russian drivers are quite skillful. We speculated that ours might A better rest stop, where Mike, Stephen and Andrew discuss the unique overhead infrastructure found throughout Russia. (Click to enlarge)qualify for the Daytona 500 (or was it the Hazard County demolition derby? He certainly sharpened our prayer life.) As David Hardesty put it, “There were a number of ‘sweet Jesus’ moments on that ride.

Our arrival at the Charismatic Church shocked us even more. Travelling through the city of 1.5 million people, we passed ornate Russian Orthodox churches. But the Charismatic Church was located on the undeveloped side of town—the part with no pavement. That is because in the new Russia, the old Orthodox Church is using its political clout with Putin’s government to pass laws against the rising tide of non-Orthodox Christians. They refer to them as “cults,” and laws are passed to forbid them assembling in public buildings, or even in some of the better private places. We were appalled at the location of this vibrant community of believers in Izhevsk.

Filed May 29, 2012, by AWM Media Operations Manager, Stephen Bransford.

Slow moving farm equipment on highway to Izhevsk. (Click to enlarge) City of Izhevsk in the rain.
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Russian Orthodox Church in Izhevsk.
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Russian Orthodox splendor in Izhevsk.
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Russian Orthodox Priest in Izhevsk.
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Typical old style Russian home in Izhevsk.
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A typical Russian broom from Old Russia.
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Street leading to Charismatic Church in Izhevsk.
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Charismatic Church in Izhevsk.
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Mike, Carrie, Andrew and Volodya address pastors in Izhevsk. (Click to enlarge)

Tuesday
May292012

Russia Trip 2012: CBTC-Naberezhnye Chelney

Andrew, Stephen Bransford and Will Graham walk to the theatre in the new Russia. (Click to enlarge)Naberezhnye Chelny is the second big [sic] and high-populated town of Tatarstan and the most dynamically developing one of Russia." These words, written in limited English, greeted our team as we arrived in our rooms at the Kamaz Hotel in central Russia. Here, as in much of Russia, the old world built by Communism is being renovated and replaced by an aggressive new Russia, built on the principles of Western capitalism. In this environment of competition, each community advertises its merits to the world— “…the most dynamically developing one of Russia.

But we had not come to build a business, or to correct anyone’s English, rather to meet with Victor and Natasha, Charis Bible College grads from St. Petersburg. Mike and Carrie Pickett had spoken of them often but this would be our first meeting. After years of conducting Discipleship Evangelism home groups, Victor and Natasha have established a Charis Bible Training Center in this city of a half million people. Their first class was set to graduate, and they were overjoyed that Andrew would be there to honor them.

The graduation was conducted in a local movie theatre, where Victor played a video profile of the school that filled the huge movie screen—and the surround sound system—with the story of CBC Naberezhnye Chelny. Victor had simply copied the style of video storytelling that he saw on Andrew’s website while editing on his laptop. His media presentation rivaled those produced by students in the Colorado Springs Media School. This confirms that media will continue to play an expanding role in the future of Charis Bible Colleges worldwide.

Filed May 29, 2012, by AWM Media Operations Manager, Stephen Bransford.

Andrew prepares to speak in the Russian movie theatre. (Click to enlarge)Students cannot believe they are seeing Andrew in the flesh. (Click to enlarge)

Student led praise & worship. (Click to enlarge)Andrew addresses the students and their friends in the theatre. (Click to enlarge)

Victor & Natasha, Andrew, Velodya, Mike & Carrie Pickett adress graduates. (Click to enlarge) Graduates and first year students, CBC Naberezhnye Chelney 2012. (Click to enlarge)

Friday
May252012

Russia Trip 2012: Andrew Meets Local Pastors

Andrew and Volodya speak to Russian pastors in St. Petersburg. (Click to enlarge)Before leaving St. Petersburg for meetings in central Russia, Andrew held a special morning session with a group of local pastors. He pointed out that Andrew Wommack Ministries and Charis Bible College exist to provide support for the local church, not to replace it. He explained that he encourages Charis Bible College directors not to become pastors for this very reason. He does not want them to appear to be in competition with local churches.

After speaking, Andrew opened the program for questions. Many of the pastors wanted to clarify his message Pastors were allowed to ask questions. (Click to enlarge)and its implications for them. Wherever Andrew travels, he finds that not all pastors are happy to hear the Gospel of grace. This is especially true for those who attempt to control the behavior of their people. Teaching about the true nature of God’s love sets people free from the condemnation of failure. This properly makes them immune to intimidation and fear, which in turn, causes controlling pastors to lose their hold over them. In St. Petersburg, as in most places, the pastors left the session with mixed feelings. Many received it, and others remained skeptical. Still, Andrew Andrew believes it is important to communicate to local pastors.
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believes that it is important to support them and to communicate with them whenever possible.

Filed May 25, 2012 by AWM Media Operations Manager, Stephen Bransford.