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Gratitude From Russia by Grant Edwards

25 November 2012 No Comment

I am grateful to be the pastor of Fellowship*! I love my job, to be able to preach, and being sent by this church on short-term mission trips. I was in Russia recently and as I worked with the pastors there my gratitude increased for my ministry in America. The Russian churches have access to a meeting space for two hours a week. Can you imagine being able to use our building for only “two hours” a week? That would mean no week day programs; no space for funeral or wedding services; and no offices. The evangelical church in Russia is only 20 years old. This means there are no established seminaries for training pastors, no long term magazines or publishing houses, and few pastoral leaders with decades of experience. The church in Russia is young with none of the maturity of the American church. I am grateful for my seminary, for my mentors who were there when I was young, and for parents who were Christian. Religious freedom is diminishing in Russia. Often the persecution is instigated by the Russian Orthodox Church against the fledgling evangelical church. To be Russia is to be Orthodox, with anything else criticized by both the government and the Orthodox Church as cultic and anti-Russian. How grateful I am for the freedom to worship in America. Gratitude is a key aspect of prayer. The Bible says, “present your prayer requests with thanksgiving.” (Philippians 4:6). I have been thinking … especially during this Thanksgiving week… that I have many things to be thankful about. I can be frustrated with personal trials. I can be impatient with American politics. But I am a citizen of America. My Father is in heaven. Jesus listens to my prayers. The Holy Spirit resides within me. I am grateful to be the pastor of Fellowship*. I am also thankful for America.

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