Grace and peace to you, fellow workers in the field of God!
First of all, forgive me for not getting in touch with you during these past two months. That stretch of time, by the will of the Heavenly Father, has been full of various events (some important, and others not so much.)
There was a meeting of pastors with three friendly churches in Isilkul. Each summed up the results of the pastoral conference, discussed current issues, and outlined plans for a general conference in Kazakhstan. Immediately after that, I went to Novosibirsk for an operation on my veins. I need to go again, but there is no time yet.
In Novosibirsk, with a grateful heart to God, I have started leading the children’s ministry of the Peter and Paul Church, who provided me with housing. It was there that I met with Sasha and Louise Zimens, who left our church because of Louise’s health. Let me remind you, Sasha is excommunicated, and his spiritual condition has not improved. He came to the apartment where I lived to chat, but he did not want to answer serious questions. I had to tell him that since he was going to meet me, he had to understand that our conversation would be serious: about his spiritual state and personal relationship with the Lord.
Sasha, as before, trusts not in Christ, but in his deeds.
“What happens to a person after turning to God,” I asked.
“They’ll read the Bible, pray, go to meetings, et cetera,” he replied.
I asked this question several times in different ways, giving hints the whole time, but he never answered correctly.
Louise’s condition is not much better; she couldn’t help her husband. I had to answer the posed question: “The most important thing that happens to a person after conversion is that he ceases to live for himself, submits to the rule of the King, and gladly submits to His will.” I continue to pray for them.
God gave us a good time at another conference I taught at recently, and there was a lot of deep communication that benefited the attendants. It was a great encouragement, and I even met many of them. I pray for them but don’t know them personally.
I preached on Psalm 83, and in the evening, almost immediately after the sermon, I held a seminar called “Bliss in Prayer.” It was more like a testimony of God’s action in my life and our church, but those who heard it found it encouraging.
I talked a lot about trusting in God. We can’t only accept the good from the Lord, but also the bad, and I found comfort in the Bible verse that I preached on at the conference: “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You and whose paths are directed in his heart [to You]. When they pass through the valley of weeping, they open springs in it, and the rain covers it with a blessing,” (Ps. 82:6-7). We cannot find an explanation for everything, but it doesn’t matter; how we react to what happened is the important thing.
Thank God for everything! That’s what Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks for everything: for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”
- Your brother, Zhenya.