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Entries in Russia (23)

Thursday
Sep162010

The Ongoing Spread of Discipleship

Graduate of Charis Bible Training Center in St. Petersburg, Russia, Natasha Starikova. (Click to enlarge)Many years ago the Lord imprinted 2 Timothy 2:2 on Andrew’s heart. In this scripture Paul was writing to Timothy, directing him to take the things that he had learned, and commit them to faithful men who would be able to go on to teach others. In 1993 the Lord showed Andrew a way to conduct a Bible college that would change the body of Christ’s perception of God. This school would equip men and women to be sent out to do the work of the ministry by teaching them spiritual truths and biblical knowledge that would ground students in the Gospel message of God’s unconditional love and grace, all the while providing hands-on ministry training. What began seventeen years ago with one school in Colorado has expanded into a sixteen campus network world-wide.

As each school continues to share the truth and prepare students, new ministers continue to step out and share what they have learned, fulfilling the verse in 2 Timothy. A prime example of this growth can be seen in Russia, where Mike and Carrie Pickett have begun to see the fruit of the duplication process. The Picketts are the directors of Equip Ministries International, AWM-Russia and Charis Bible Training Center in St. Petersburg. One of their recent graduates, Natasha Starikova has taken what she learned and experienced through CBTC, and launched a new school in her hometown of Nizhny Chelny, Tatarstan, in central Russia.

Map of Russia indicating approximate location of Natasha's school. (Click to enlarge)After graduating from CBTC in 2006, Natasha returned to Tatarstan to share what she had learned. As part of her ministry efforts in 2009, she opened an unofficial Bible school in her home, and began teaching CBTC's first year curriculum to a class of sixteen students. The teaching has been well received, even by the pastor of her church. As Natasha has shared lessons such as: The Integrity of God's Word; Spirit, Soul and Body; True Nature of God; and The Personality of Christ, she has witnessed each of her students come to understand the importance of knowing God's true nature. Natasha said of her students, "They want to communicate with Him, follow Him, [and] want to know His will for their lives."

Natasha's pastor, Evgenii Anatol'evich Gorbov has been transformed by Andrew's materials. He told her he wished he had heard about Andrew long ago. (Click to enlarge)Natasha and her students have been ministering to a group of seven men from a rehabilitation center in nearby Naberezhnye Chelny. They have witnessed noticeable changes in these men as they have turned from their lives as drug addicts into new creations in Christ. Natasha's team spends three hours every Saturday with these men. "The boys are very interested, ask questions and talk sensibly [about] the many truths from God's Word," said Natasha. This ministry is near and dear to Natasha's heart—she was an addict and a dealer herself, before receiving Jesus as her Lord and Savior.

In July, Natasha led her students on their first missionary effort to Kyrgyzstan. The student team was eager to put into practice what the Holy Spirit had revealed to them, and to share what they had learned. The students set up a mini Bible school for the local residents, and held classes every night for three weeks. Over the course of those few short weeks, lives were touched by God's Word. Natasha held classes in her home for the past year. (Click to enlarge)Natasha said, "Some people expressed that it [was] like an explosion in their mind when they started hearing—things started to change in their relationship with God and people." She went on to say that it was amazing for her to watch the Holy Spirit lead her students, and to see all they received through this trip. As a result of the missionary journey, several of Natasha's students now have a desire to go back to Kyrgyzstan as full-time missionaries to continue the work that they started.

Natasha and her first year students.
(Click to enlarge)
The fruit of Natasha's ministry has become evident to the Picketts, and as the 2010 academic school year begins they have given Natasha their endorsement to open an official CBTC sister school. Natasha is now the Director of Charis Bible Training Center-Tatarstan. They will be assisting her with oversight, training and providing additional teaching staff. The Picketts are excited to watch the ministers they have been entrusted to train, rise up to become fine teachers, willing and able to disciple others. The 2 Timothy 2:2 duplication process continues.

"God is so good! I am very grateful to my Lord and those who taught me in the Bible School [CBTC] in St. Petersburg. Thank you for everything! And thank the Lord for His ministry through Andrew Wommack!" Natasha said.

Thursday
Sep092010

Mission Field: Russia

The CBTC mission team spent thirty-two hours on the rails travelling to their mission field. (Click to enlarge)Last Spring, Mike Pickett, Co-Director of Charis Bible Training Center (CBTC) in St. Petersburg, Russia, and CBTC staff members Mark and Sara Van Frachen, two apprentice leaders, an interpreter and thirteen students, set out on a missionary trip to two different areas of Russia. The team went to Izhevsk, located southeast of St. Petersburg (thirty-two hours by train) and Nizhny Chelny in Tatarstan, which is approximately an hour and a half southwest of Izhevsk. The team’s contacts on the field were local pastors in Izhevsk and the surrounding villages, Svetlana Holina and Pastor Alexi.

CBTC students had the opportunity to teach and minister in a variety of environments. (Click to enlarge)The students made use of the many hours travelling by train between St. Petersburg and their mission field destination by practicing their teachings with each other. On a Russian train, the compartments are all open, and since the team was spread throughout the train car, many people were hearing the Gospel whether they wanted to or not!

“The students literally ministered day and night on this trip,” Mike said. "Every morning and afternoon they were ministering in the local Bible School and in the evenings would split into different teams and teach seminars in the city and in the surrounding villages. Students ministered through Word and worship. (Click to enlarge)Each and every student taught past our expectations, and brought such life to all who listened to them.”

Students witnessed people giving their hearts to the Lord and receiving the Holy Spirit each day as they ministered. At one village meeting a grandmother who attended received complete restoration of her hearing, and another woman was healed of cancer.

Some of the villages visited had as few as thirty residents. (Click to enlarge)One day, the teams ministered in a small village of only thirty residents, and fifteen of the residents attended the meeting. Three of those gave their lives to the Lord, and the Pastor of the village was very excited and encouraged. CBCT missionaries gave the people of the village books and resources to further their understanding of Jesus and their relationship with Him. The team left the area believing that the residents would continue to be transformed by the materials.

After a productive time of ministry in Izhevsk, the CBTC mission team moved on to another Republic of Russia, Tatarstan. Students saw Jesus-like results as people were set free from cancer and deafness. (Click to enlarge)This is where one alumnus from CBTC, Natasha Starikova is now living and ministering. She started a satellite Charis Bible School in her city, Nizhny Chelny, and now has sixteen students enrolled each of whom is being transformed by the Word. Natasha and the missionary students organized a meeting where the local church body gathered for an all day seminar. Mike said that the people literally sat with their mouths wide open in amazement at the Word that came forth from the students. They had never heard about the goodness of God. Natasha has reported that as a result of the team's teaching, many more people are now interested in joining the Bible School this coming fall.

It was a blessing for the team to continue to nurture the relationships with local leadership that had been established by teams from previous years. The transformation in the lives of those who studied and received from the materials left by other CBTC mission students was evident. Area pastors testified to the fact that the materials have really impacted the way they are teaching the Word to their congregations. The students made the most of every opportunity to minister. (Click to enlarge)Svetlana Holina, one of the team's main mission contacts, is now overseeing one hundred and twenty village churches connected with the main church. Her goal is to start a correspondence Bible School in each of the villages. Svetlana has also requested that Mike and Carrie bring their leadership school curriculum to Izhevsk. She said, “We as leaders don’t know how to lead others with the Grace message. We’ve only led from law and works and we want to learn how to lead differently.”

Mike and Carrie are encouraged by these results, and are in the process of making plans to be able to visit Izhevsk more often throughout the coming school year. Follow the Pickett’s progress and updates by visiting, www.equipmin.com.

Monday
Apr192010

Called to the Mission Field

Sean and Lisa Michaud founders of Kingdom Equippers Ministries International. (Click to enlarge)Sean and Lisa met at a church in Mobile, Alabama. During their very first conversation, they shared with each other their individual calls to the mission field. The two quickly realized that the Lord had a plan for their lives—together. Before stepping into missionary work however, they both sensed God leading them to saturate themselves in His Word. Not knowing what to do next, they made an appointment with their pastor to inquire about how best to prepare for the ministry. Their pastor mentioned a new school that his friend, Andrew Wommack, was starting in Colorado Springs. Despite the fact that neither Sean nor Lisa had ever been to the Springs, or heard of Andrew, excitement stirred in their spirits about attending Bible college, and they knew that this was God’s plan. The first time Sean and Lisa heard Andrew minister was at the opening rally the day before school started, and both were blessed.

Sean and Lisa became Mr. and Mrs. Michaud in 1996, while attending Colorado Bible College (later renamed Charis Bible College). After graduation in 1997, the Michauds, now united in marriage and preparation, answered the call to the mission field—in Russia. A pastor in Ufa, Russia had contacted CBC because he wanted to have a Bible college in his city. CBC-Ufa was opened a short time later, and over 100 students graduated from first year classes the following Spring.

Sean and Lisa opened CBC-Ufa in 1999, and more than 100 students graduated from first year classes the following Spring. (Click to enlarge)Since the establishment of the school in Ufa, the Michauds have moved around ministering in various countries including Lisa's former home, the Caribbean Island of Trinidad. There they helped Lisa’s parents pastor a church for several years. In 2005, Sean and Lisa returned to Russia and not only directed CBC-Ufa, but also began taking students on missionary trips to other Russian villages and cities. Some of these places were without a single church or pastor, so their outreach to other Russian communities was particularly vital. It was during this time that the Michauds founded Kingdom Equippers Ministries International, a ministry whose goal is to train laborers throughout the world to carry out the Great Commission.

Sean (above right) leads a discipleship class in Venezuela. (Click to enlarge)Unfortunately, in 2008, Russia changed their visa laws. Regulations now stipulate that visitors may only stay in Russia for three months at a time, and then they must leave for three months—without exception. Sean and Lisa’s three children, Rachel, Abigail and Jeremiah, were attending Russian schools, and uprooting them every three months would have been very difficult for them. The Michauds knew it was time to leave. Sean recalled asking God to show Him where they would go next. “I sensed the Lord say, 'Africa,'”
Sean said.

However, Africa wasn’t in the Michaud’s immediate future. They returned to Colorado in 2008 for the annual CBC Director’s Meeting. Sean explained to Andrew about having to leave Russia, which led to two opportunities. Andrew suggested that Sean and Lisa move back to the Springs and work for Andrew Wommack Ministries World Outreach and teach at CBC. Andrew also extended an invitation to Sean to travel with him to South Africa in July. After this trip with Andrew, Sean decided it wasn’t yet time to move to Africa, so he took the position with AWM World Outreach and CBC.

Durban, South Africa (above right) is located on the eastern side of the the southern tip of Africa. (Click to enlarge)Again in the summer of 2009, Sean and Lisa traveled with Andrew to Africa where they connected with some ministers from Durban. Sean and Lisa sensed that Durban might be exactly where God was calling them, and one more visit in November confirmed it. “I was able to travel to Durban in November 2009 and was able to minister in quite a few churches. Upon returning to the United States, Lisa and I knew that the Lord was directing us to Durban,” Sean explained.

With their family now settled in Durban, the Michauds have begun leading a Discipleship Evangelism class, and plans are in motion to possibly open a Bible school in June of 2010. As Sean and Lisa faithfully respond to God’s leading, He continues to use them to bring His good news to the world.

The Michaud family, Sean, Lisa, Rachel, Abigail and Jeremiah, missionaries to Durban, South Africa. (Click to enlarge)The Michaud’s have seen God work in amazing and miraculous ways over the years; however, they have also faced many challenges as missionaries. Sean encourages others being called to the mission field with this, “Fear of the unknown causes many people to do nothing. 'Where's the money going to come from?' 'Where am I going to live?' 'How are things going to pan out?' Abraham went out not knowing where he was going (Hebrews 11:8). Abraham went even though he had many unanswered questions. The answers to many questions are on the other side of obedience. We have discovered that God never leads by fear. We had to make the decision not to camp out on our fears and unanswered questions, but camp out on who God is, His faithfulness and what He's put in our heart.”

Ministry pioneers Sean and Lisa Michaud were called to the mission field, and He who calls is faithful (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

Visit the Kingdom Equippers Ministries International website to learn more about the impact the Michaud's ministry is having in Durban, South Africa.