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20th Anniversary of Russians Reaching Russians (by Grant Edwards)

19 March 2011 No Comment

Rick and Heather Ives began their ministry in Russia during the spring of 1992. When they first entered Russia there were few Christians – so they held crusades. Realizing there were no pastors – Rick and Heather started a Bible College and trained pastors. After reaching Russians then training Russians as pastors, they realized there were no churches – so they planted churches.
Russians Reaching Russians has always focused on helping Russians reach their own country. Through the years Russians Reaching Russians has planted over 60 churches, witnessed tens of thousands of conversions, helped start the largest prison ministry in Russia, trained and supported pastors, led dozens of short term missions trips from America, and worked in orphanages.
Recently at a meeting in Russia, the pastor of a large church in St. Petersburg, gave this message to Rick Ives and Grant Edwards …
The Russian pastor told the following story:
Two fathers were talking. One Jewish and the other Russian. The Russian father talked about how disobedient his son was. The Jewish father told the Russian how obedient his son was. When the Russian father asked the Jewish father why his son treated him so well, the Jewish father said, “In our culture our sons respect those who were here before them.” After telling this story, the Russian pastor said to Pastor Rick Ives and Pastor Grant Edwards, “I want you to know that I love you and respect you because you were here ‘in the Christian faith’ before us. Many Christians have come and gone from Russian, not only were you here before us but you have stayed with us and helped us for twenty years.”
Please pray …
• For new connections with pastors, churches and individuals.
• For the financial resources for Russians Reaching Russians to continue encouraging, training, and developing Russian leaders.
• For safety and good health for Denis while he is in America and for his family in Russia.
• For new churches and individuals to give monthly support to Russians Reaching Russians.

The Next 20 Years for Russians Reaching Russians
First, RRR preached the gospel; then RRR trained pastors; then RRR planted churches – now RRR continues to do all of the above, but also focuses on training Russian leaders of leaders. Most Russian Christian leaders are 20 years or younger in the faith – during the 70 years Russia was communist, the generation to generation of leaders mentoring leaders was lost! In Russia there are no Bible college campuses and seminaries with strong evangelical traditions and few pastors with Bible college or seminary training at all. While western Christians rushed to preach the gospel in the early 90’s in Russia, few stayed to plant churches and train leaders.
Today Russian leaders don’t have the financial, educational, or leadership training to lead and build influential churches and Christian organizations. This is the need today in Russia … Russian Leaders Developed to Train Other Russian Leaders. And this is the goal of Russians Reaching Russians for the next twenty years!

Denis Kozlov in America Now … Needs a Barnabas or two to help him make connections!
Denis Kozlov is in American now. He will be here till mid-April. He still has several weekends open to minister at churches and he wants to meet with any and all supporters of Russians Reaching Russians personally.
Recently Denis wrote … In Acts 11 Barnabas went to Tarsus to get Saul (Paul) to help Barnabas minister to the growing church in Antioch. Barnabas was Paul’s connection to the Gentile church that would later send out Paul in his ministry to the Gentiles. I now need a few Barnabas types who will introduce me to pastors, churches, and friends who are interested in learning more about reaching Russians.
You can contact Denis at reachingrussians@gmail.com or by calling 937-360-1272.

20th Anniversary Trip to Russia: October, 2011!
In October, 1992, my wife Barbara and I visited Russia for the first time. I still remember the day we arrived in Russia, in a town on the Russia/Finland border called Vyborg, when Rick Ives greeted us to Russia by saying, “This will be a busy trip for you. Eat when you can, sleep when you can, and shower when you can … because you won’t know when you can do these things again.”
Things have changed physically during the past 20 years in Russia. On my trip to Russia in May, I will be staying at a Marriott Courtyard in downtown St. Petersburg. But the spiritual condition is still difficult. This October, Russians Reaching Russians will be sponsoring a 20th Anniversary Trip to Russia. Tentative dates are October 17 to 26.
If you have wanted to go back to Russia or have wanted to go for the first time, this is the trip for you. We will be leading a Pastors training conference, ministering in churches, teaching in Christian re-hab units and visiting the Hermitage museum. Please pray about coming with us!
Financial Need … as part of the 20th Anniversary trip, $5,000 has to be raised to pay for Russian leaders to attend a leadership event in St. Petersburg. Please pray about contributing to this need and helping future generations of Russian leaders.

An Update on Pastor Rick Ives
Many of you already know that Rick Ives has been diagnosed with cancer. The prognosis for successful treatment is very good, with Rick’s doctors constantly confirming their expectation of full remission. Continue to keep Pastor Rick, Heather, and Anastasia in your prayer for his treatment and recovery over the next couple of months.
As mentioned in this RRR newsletter – RRR will be sponsoring a Pastor’s Training Conference in October of this year. We will be holding this conference as part of RRR’s 20th anniversary of ministry in Russia. We are confident that Pastor Rick and Heather will be a part of leading this conference.

PDF:  newsletter February 2011

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