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special reports

NRB Wrap up

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It’s been a few days since I returned from the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. I thought I would give you all an update on what happened while I was there.

On Saturday, February 7, Mission Network News was awarded the NRB’s Short Feature Program of the year. We were nominated and selected by our peers to win the award. It was humbling and exciting. Afterward, during the radio reception, I was able to talk with dozens of radio stations who said our award was well deserved and shared their passion for what we were doing. Sometimes we feel like we’re an island. But on Saturday we didn’t.

MNN wins NRB Award

Sunday, I attended an incredible worship service. It featured Paul Beloche, Selah, and John MacArthur. It was an amazing service. MacAurthur talked about slaves to Christ. We’re selected, paid for, provided for, disciplined, and loved by the Master. It’s still amazing that God loves me.

Then on Monday, Mission Network News was given another award, this time by Open Doors USA. It was the first annual “Passion for the Persecuted” award.

Then, I came home. It was a great time to see old colleagues (and they’re getting older). There didn’t seem to be as many people as there usually is at NRB. Probably economic difficulties.

back home again…

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tricky internet connections made posting more often a challenge during the trip…but i wanted to share some afterthoughts about it.

Ruth in Uganda

Ruth in Uganda

one of the highlights was the kids in baale singing us into their home church.  it was such a blessing of worship, and i thought about these believers as i sang with our worship team on sunday.  i thought about how pure their worship was and how wonderful it is to share God with others halfway around the world.  one of the other highlights was my visit with my sponsor child, misac.  as we got acquainted, i found that although misac’s grandfather is a preacher, misac has not made a profession of faith.  now, i know how better to pray for him.

 

as we spent time together assembling a lego set (tell me i’m ridiculous for giving him a toy with a million tiny pieces to lose out in the bush), we talked about his family and his village.  misac had not been outside his village ever, so a bus ride into the big city, a stay in a hotel, restaurants,   elevators, electric lights, swimming pools and white people were a bit overwhelming. english is also not his first language, so the project worker who chaperoned him also served as an interpreter.

we ended our visit by exchanging gifts.  one thing i gave him was a soccer ball, covered with the colors of the wordless book.   i explained to him what the colors represented, and in so doing, also gave him the Gospel.  it was such a privilege, although misac didn’t seem like he was paying much attention.

still, as we parted with smiles and hugs, i came away praying the God would water the seeds that were sown…i left a piece of my heart in uganda, i think…

International Evangelical Missions Forum – Final report

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I would like to say how sorry I am for not keeping this blog up-to-date while in Ukraine. The only place I had internet access was at the forum, which ended Saturday. So, I wasn’t able to provide a complete report. However, there will be reports Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday about the forum and how it will affect outreach in the forum Soviet nations.

In the meantime, I’ve uploaded a video so you can see what took place during the historic two day forum.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5tmOmhPYB8

International Evangelical Missions Forum – Irpen, Ukraine — Day One

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About 200 leaders representing 16 mission organizations from six countries gathered this morning for the historic International Evangelical Missions Forum sponsored by Russian Ministries.

The morning started with greetings from the All-Ukrainian Union of Evangelical Christians Baptists, Bible Society of Ukraine, Feollowship of Independent Churches and Missions in Ukraine, Light in the East Mission and others. Without a break, Alexei Melnichuk, President of Connect International, began talking about the need for Christians to stop fighting over traditional and contemporary churches and evangelism. He says, “Coming to Christ is the most important thing. So, we need to stop focusing on who’s right and who’s wrong and go reach the lost where they live.”

Sergei Golovin, President of the Center for Christian Apologetics in Simferopol, Ukraine says the church saw incredible growth when the Soviet Union fell. “It was like a balloon. It was full of air and about to burst. Then Gorbochov broke the balloon and  MANYpeople turned to Christ. Because there were few strong believers, the church grew quickly, but not very deep.”

At that break I was able to interview a number of people about the forum. Already, people are blessed by what’s been discussed.

When the forum continued, they continued to talk about experiences and perspectives on missions in the CIS.

Lunch break at 1:51pm.

After lunch the group split up into two different groups — 1. Social Evangelism and 2. Planting New Churches.

Small group talking about social Gospel.I attended the Social Evangelism small group. Many attended this. Because there were so many, we split up into smaller groups to foster more interaction. Here are the top five social issues based on the discussion in the CIS — HIV/AIDS, drug/alcohol abuse, crime, lack of moral values, and the growing orphan population.

The group talked about how the churches can work together to help reach out to these stigmatized segments of society.  However, there were not concrete suggestions or proposals about how the organizations can work together. However, I’m told just talking about working together is a step in the right direction. Pray that the evangelical organizations who attended this session will continue talking about partnerships and begin preparing strategies to address these concerns.

Sergey Rakhuba prays during dedication service in Irpen, Ukraine.Following these small groups, Russian Ministries dedicated their new ministry center, the site of the forum. Russian Ministries Vice President Sergey says this center will be key for outreach. “This has become a ministry nerve center, not just for Ukraine, but for all the former Soviet Union and even farther. I truly believe that this place will be the  place for new initiatives to be developed, new vision will be offered and new strategic ministries will be started.”  

International Evangelical Mission Forum

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Organizations that have been involved in ministry in Russia, Ukraine or other former Soviet countries are gathering this weekend for the International Evangelical Missions Forum sponsored by Russian Ministries/Association for Spiritual Renewal on the topic: “Missions Today: History, Analysis, and New Approaches: Perspectives for International Partnerships in Countries of the CIS.”

This Forum will take place at Russian Ministries new training center headquarters located in Irpen (Kiev region), Ukraine on October 24-25, 2008, and will begin with a dedication ceremony for this new facility which is already serving as a national center for our national affiliate, Association for Spiritual Renewal.

During the International Evangelical Missions Forum, leaders and representatives from many different national and international organizations, missiologists and theologians will analyze the experience, results, new opportunities and strategies for ministry in the countries of the CIS. Specific goals of the Forum include:

• To analyze missions during the past 20 years of religious freedom in the CIS;
• To understand the reasons for the crises facing national evangelical churches;
• To outline prospects for partnerships between churches and Christian organizations;
• To study successful models of church growth and effective missions.

I will be there representing Mission Network News and will begin special reports from this historic meeting Friday night, October 24.  I’ll be featuring special interviews with mission leaders, videos and lots of photos.

Be praying for what God is going to do through this special forum.

Greg