Thursday in Elista

07 Mar

On Thursday, I began teaching the class on the life of Moses. The students arrived about 10am. We broke for lunch at 2pm, and then continued on until 6pm. There were 16 people in the class, 11 men and 5 women. Rather than limit the class to men as we did at House of Grace, John allowed Sandzhik to invite whomever he thought would benefit from the class. Three of the men came from Tsagan-Aman, about three hours away by car. The men traveled by bus which made the trip even longer. The city sits on the Volga River. The rest of the group came from Elista.

The group is led by Sandzhik. I have gotten to know him over the years through the Moscow seminars and the classes at House of Grace. He is one of the more effective evangelists and church planters I have ever met. During dinner on Tuesday evening, he showed us a picture of a young couple he led to Christ the day before. He planted his first church Tsagan-Aman and his second in Elista. The church in Elista could not afford to keep renting their meeting place, so they now focus on meeting in small home groups. Once a month, they gather as a large group for corporate worship. They started a family service on Sunday afternoons to focus on teaching marriage and parenting skills to young families.

I knew several of the group—Kolya, Slava, Mergen, Igor, Erdnya, Sandzhik, Sergey, and others—from previous Moscow seminars and classes at House of Grace. This allowed me to reconnect quicker and build on previous relationships.

Today, I taught from Moses’ birth through the 10 plagues. After chapter 3, I asked if there were any questions. They asked a couple and then one person said, “We have no comments, let’s continue.” OK, so I pressed on. It was obvious they were hungry to learn.

At the end of the day, there were a few more comments and questions. Slava, who attended last year’s class asked one of the more perceptive questions, “Have you had a desert experience?” referring to Moses’ 40 year experience in the wilderness. I shared how being fired from my first ministry taught me about leadership and how losing my hair taught me to find my identity in God rather than my appearance.

As he was leaving, Sandzhik shook my hand and said, “Good teach.” I’m guessing he meant good lesson, but I caught the gist of what he was saying and the sentiment behind it. It’s nice to be affirmed.

I gave the class a homework assignment for the evening. I asked them to read through Exodus 12 and note all the instructions about the Passover. Once they made their list, they were to look for how those instructions were ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

In the evening, we had dinner at the home of Mergen & Elza, along with Elza’s mother and aunt. Mergen commented that he appreciated the personal life lessons I shared with the group today. We closed the evening by praying for some of Elza’s relatives who need the Lord and for the small home group that Mergen leads. It was an encouraging evening.

Thanks for praying.

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Posted by on March 7, 2015 in House of Grace, Ministry, Russia


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