When I said yes to travelling for 26 hours to the largest nation in the world to see the Kingdom of God come on earth as it is in heaven, I never expected God to do such a miraculous work in my own heart too.
My ‘Four12 Russia Outreach experience’ can be summed up with the following words, advice that a very wise Russian lady shared with me during our trip: “seek first the Kingdom of God in all that you do and everything else will be added to you. It is like the law of gravity, it will certainly happen”. From our first week in St Petersburg to our last week at a Bible School in Moscow, I witnessed how people came alive at the very thought of a loving God that speaks and wants relationship.
In a small town in Moscow we met up with Corrie and his wife that lead a Bible school called Motivitri there. There were 12 high school students from different nations (even a 13 year old girl from Uzbekistan) gathered together there wanting to know more about God.
When I look back at our Four12 Outreach into Russia I cannot recall one day that God did not provide or answer our prayers. Instead, I saw Him show up every time, day after day with lavish provision.
It is said by some that the Russian people are not the most hospitable people you could encounter….the church in Obninsk (a small town outside Moscow) definitely defy this generality. For four days we had the privilege of staying with some of the families from the church. Myself and another girl in our team stayed with a single mother. Although she had very little she lavished us with food, served us, gave up her room and made sure we felt welcome even though she did not understand English. When I spoke to her (thanks to Google translate) she told me that our visit had brought her lots of joy and that God healed her heart by having us in her house (how incredible is God? Further confirmation that seeking first the Kingdom brings great rewards).
We ended off our last week back at the Bible School. This was a very special time as we ministered God’s heart to every student and staff member through personal prophecy. Each member from the team got the opportunity to share their testimony of how God saved them. The rest of the time was marked by foundational truths sown into the lives of these young men and women who want to change the world with God’s enabling. When I look back at our Four12 outreach into Russia I cannot recall one day that God did not provide or answer our prayers. Instead, I saw Him show up every time, day after day with lavish provision.
Sadly while we were in Russia, the government implemented a new law. In short, this law is labelled as an anti-terrorism law, but is very directly aimed at Christianity. This law states that any Christian activity that is not related to the Russian Orthodox Church is seen as extremist, and therefore an act of terrorism. The result: Any Christian activity, whether it is a church meeting in a school hall, a home group, worship evening or youth camp…if it takes place outside of an official church building, it is a violation of this law and punishable with a large fine or with up to 15 years in prison.
This change of law happened almost overnight, and came as a huge shock to all believers within Russia. However, even in this we something of ‘seeking first the Kingdom of God’. Even though this huge threat was now looming, the saints continued to gather together daily (Acts 2:42-47). We learned something from this, and for us seeking first the Kingdom of God got a whole new dimension.
Going forward, we will have to be very wise in how we approach travelling into Russia, but we do trust that God has a plan for this wonderful country and will continue building His church in Russia.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lounel is a part of Joshua Generation Church meeting in Wellington, South Africa. She has a deep love for God and His people, with the privilege of living out this passion in full time children’s ministry at Salt and Light Kids in Paarl.
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