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It Began With a Phone Call

24 December 2015 No Comment

We continue to celebrate 25 years in Russia as we also celebrate Christmas! In this issue you will meet Doug Carson, a Christian Businessman and entrepreneur who has been my friend since late 1991 and who has supported and been part of RRR from the beginning. Doug’s involvement has even led he and his wife, Jayn, into a significant ministry in Russia! We are asking that you prayerfully consider giving a special gift to RRR as part of your yearend giving so that more Russians will be saved, equipped, and more churches and leaders will arise. We greet you with the birth of Christ! Rick and Heather.

Doug and JayneIn 2009, my friend Rick Ives called and asked if I was ready to go to Russia. I had not spoken to Rick about going to Russia for 15 years, even though we were both actively involved in the First Steps Discipleship ministry. In all honesty, I had taken going to Russia off my list more than 20 years ago. When I asked Rick why he thought I should go to Russia, he responded by telling me that, although he did not know precisely why, he felt God was asking him to ask me.

 I met Rick before he moved to Russia some 25 years ago, and have supported his work from the beginning. Rick visited our church on his annual furloughs, and stayed in our home many times. Throughout the years, I wanted to visit with Rick and interact with members of God’s family in Russia. My business was very successful, so I certainly could afford to go, but God said no, and He closed the door on Russia every time. The question for me was why.

 Back then, God knew that I was not ready to venture to Russia for His purposes . . . . I did not even understand what His purpose was for my life. I wanted to go to Russia for mostly selfish reasons; primarily to demonstrate to my church that I could be a missionary. Yet, I could not shake the sense that God put Russia on my heart for a reason.

 During this time, my marriage was falling apart and my church did not know what to do to help us. Our Apostle sent us to a ministry called Victorious Christian Living, which transformed us. It helped us in our relationship with Jesus as Lord of our lives, then in our marriage, our parenting, and every other aspect of our lives. We learned what being a disciple was really about, what serving others was really about, and how to minister the Gospel of Jesus to anyone experiencing challenging problems or circumstances.

 After Rick’s phone call, I went to Russia for the first time with a team that included Rick, Grant and a few others. During that trip, I met Denis Kozlov, a n umber of pastors, former pastors, visited inmates in prisons, began learning about the reality of the problems people and families face in Russia. I began to slowly ask if they had answers for the problems of failing marriages, failures in parenting, broken relationships inside the church and extended families. Their answers were basically the same we got from our church 15 years ago: No, we do not know what to do for these hurting people. And then they asked: ”Do you?”

At that moment, I understood why God said no to Russia 20 years earlier. God’s plan was to equip us to serve Him in the area of Biblical Discipleship Counseling. We could not pour out what we did not have inside us. None of us can.

 Because of Rick’s sensitivity and obedience to God over these past 25 years, RRR has had a significant and growing impact in Russia. I have been asked to travel with RRR teams for the past 6 years, to see the fruit of this ministry and participate in establishing solid foundations in people and churches.

 We now teach, preach and equip brothers and sisters for Biblical Discipleship Counseling in more than a dozen churches, a seminary, and numerous rehabilitation centers in 8 major cities/regions of Russia. In 2015, we took 5 trips to Russia to continue equipping the Russian saints for the work of the ministry.

 Please continue to pray for the harvest as we, in partnership with RRR, continue to prepare workers for the Kingdom in Russia.

 Just think, all this because of a phone call from a faithful and obedient man of God, Rick Ives.

Final note from Rick and Heather – as we celebrate 25 years and look ahead, RRR is asking you to help us to raise $50,000 above normal donations to expand our evangelism work (more people saved), expand into 2 new, significant areas of Russia with the Gospel and discipleship (more workers), and to help plant 5 new churches (more ministry centers). Your gifts of any size, and your prayers, are a real help!

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