March was a month of conferences for the Eshelman family. The Assemblies of God missions department put together a leadership training conference for missionaries who serve in Russia. Bob taught "Four Faces of Leadership." We were encouraged and even challenged to keep working on our leadership skills, as we strive to become more like Jesus, the greatest leader of all times. It was our first time in the Holy Land, and thinking about Jesus and His leading came very naturally. It was very good to see our missionary colleges in AGWM who serve all over Russia. Being somewhat remote from other workers in Russia, we don't get a chance to see them very often.
On the way back to Khabarovsk, Tonya stayed in Moscow for four days to attend the conference "Russia Without Orphans," where she got a lot of new insights and practical connections for our orphanage ministry. We plan to use it as we continue to increase the ministry. ( rossiabezsirot.ru )
Three days after Tonya arrived from Moscow we took another trip. Cecil was invited to preach at a pastors' conference in Sovietskaya Gavan (Soviet Harbor), a small town located on the shore of the Tatar Straight. Twenty years ago it was a vibrant city, a naval base. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Soviet Harbor has been struggling both economically and spiritually. Our friend Sergei, who recently became a pastor of a Pentecostal Church there, believes God can change the situation. We were blessed to be a part of God's revival plans for the small town, preaching his redemption and hope.
That's us preaching in Sovietskaya Gavan at a pastor's conference.
We've been taking our ministry team to an orphanage and teaching children about important things in life.
We have lessons, and then play active games.
The Khabarovsk extension center for Kiev Theological Semiary (at Hope Center) is in session.
Here is Pastor White (from Morganton) teaching a class on change and conflict management. All the students are already in ministry and are serious about their studies. We're always looking for qualified instructors, so let us know if you feel God calling.
On Sunday he preached at two Russian churches. One of the sisters at the second church was inspired by the sermon to write a short poem. Tonya translated it into English, and here it is:
He crushed all the powers of hell on the cross!
He took all the cares for you not to worry,
And this God Himself lives forever in you.
Just praise Him! To Him be the glory!
(it rhymes in Russian)
Стояньем славы на кресте
Он сокрушил все силы ада,
И Этот Бог живет в тебе.
Ему хвала и вся награда!
Well, we don't have plans to travel for a while, except for Timothy, who plans to go to the States and study at a community college in Virginia. He has tickets to fly on the 24th of April. Please pray for his travel, and adjustment after arrival. Wow, our kids are growing up!
Shortly after Tim leaves, we plan to start working on construction of a small half-way house for young men who graduate from orphanages in Khabarovsk. This will take a lot of our energy and attention. We also hope to keep our other ministry (and personal lives) going at the same time.
O.K., so it just looks like a field next to a pipe outside the city. Well, that's because it's just a field next to a pipe outside the city. And it's less than half an acre. But we have a dream. The land was given to us for free (just lot's of paperwork). Please pray as we start new construction on this project, that this land will soon have a rehab center built on it. Prayer is powerful.
On Thursdays we show Christian movies at Hope Center; and Game nights every Tuesday continue...
In Russia, the game of chess is a serious matter.
Please pray for the students who have gathered for the Bible School, for the teacher who has traveled so far, for the orphan ministry, and for the new land that we plan to build on.
Cecil, Tonya, and the Eshelman kids
(on the Sea of Galillee during a break time at the conference)
P.S. a little Russian news -
One way to trash a Russian bus