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Recent trip to Siberia by Rick Ives and Denis Kozlov

15 December 2014 No Comment

Iliya

Early Christmas in Siberia by Rick Ives

As I write this article, we are rapidly approaching Christmas 2014.  Just few weeks ago, I was near the Chinese border in southern Siberia ministering in the city of Novokuznetsk (New Blacksmith). This city, with a population exceeding 5000,000, is a heavily industrialized and polluted city built during Stalin’s mad race to bring Russia into the industrial world. It already looks like Christmas there–snow and ice everywhere–in early November! Though it was frigid, the Christians we met were warm and wildly in love with Jesus! Our small team ministered in 14 ministry venues in just 5 days. Our ministry ranged widely: Preaching in churches large and small, ministering to male and female adult drug addicts living in Christian rehab homes, teaching First Steps one-on-one discipleship to groups of hundreds at a time, youth group ministry , and much more. Our first time to Novokuznetsk was wonderful and we thank you because your prayers and financial support make all this possible, and we’re excited because we have been invited back by Senior Pastor Ilya Bantseev, and we look forward to fostering a significant relationship with Pastor Illya and his people. On the way home, we stopped in Moscow to meet with several, long-time RRR leaders from other parts of Russia including Saint Petersburg and Yaroslavl. During our time together, we planned major trips to Russia in 2015. Open doors to major cities with

novokuznchurches of over 1,000 continue to open up to RRR, and, with your help, we can make an eternal difference for the Lord.  The Lord is manifesting Himself powerfully in Russia. In fact, I was stunned to find a Russian New Testament in the bedside drawer in my hotel room in Moscow. Now, that’s a miracle!  God is good! We are so thankful to and for you.  God Bless You – Rick Ives

Ministering to Addicts by Denis Kozlov

During our November trip to the city of Novokuznetsk in Siberia, we were privileged to minister at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center started by the church that was hosting us. It was a very encouraging albeit sobering experience. For years now, Russian evangelical churches have been pioneers in ministering to people addicted to drugs and alcohol. They have been very successful and, for many churches, establishing rehabilitation centers has become a church-planting strategy. Churches send teams into cities and towns afflicted by drugs and initiate deliverance work. Within a short time, a church composed of former drug addicts and their family members would be planted.

In recent years, new developments  have brought unique challenges to these type of ministries. As we spoke with one of the ministers at the rehabilitation center, he shared some of these challenges. First, new forms of destructive, synthetic drugs are making their way into Russian cities, and it was his opinion that heroin addiction pales in comparison to the severity of addiction these new drugs create. The formulas for these new drugs changes monthly and the affects have become increasingly more devastating, and addiction can occur after the first usage, resulting in deep depression and obsessive behavior that “old-school” heroin users would develop over a period of months and years.

American team prays for the minister at the rehab center

American team prays for the minister at the rehab center

The people who make and sell these drugs use new technologies such as text messaging, social media and online payments forms, and the dealer never has to meet the buyer. They negotiate by anonymous text messages and once the online payment is made, the dealer lets them know where to find the stash, and that makes it nearly impossible to catch dealers.

Moreover, traditional methods of rehabilitation are not effective in treating addicts using these new drugs. As this minister shared these new challenges, he asked us to pray for him to receive wisdom and power from the Lord to know what to do, and I would like to include you in the circle of believers who pray against this horrible plague and wisdom for those on the front lines. I know the Lord provides answers, even when things seem impossible. Please join us in this prayer for wisdom and power to overcome this scheme of the enemy.

I believe we will hear soon about what the Lord has done..

Thank you so very much for your interest and support!

Sincerely, Denis Kozlov

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