May 6 & 7, 2017
On Saturday, Fred and I travelled to visit Denis and Olga and their five sons. They are supported by Calvary. We received a warm welcome, and it was a joy to resume fellowship with them. They stay about 3.5 hours drive from Almaty which was our base of operations. Calvary had helped them restore their home, and they proudly showed us the improvements. How they praised God! We also had a church service in their House of Prayer, and I had the privilege of preaching. About 30 people were present even though it was in the middle of the afternoon. The church service was followed by tea and food! Denis has the responsibility of working with about 18 small congregations in the area. He does car repairs for people as a way of ministry, but it takes all of his skills to keep his own car functioning!
On Sunday we went to a Kazakh church where the pastor and most of the congregation are Kazakh. Previously we had been mainly in Russian-speaking congregations. They were still celebrating Easter and had a display of an open tomb. Written at the front of the church in Kazakh was “Christ is Risen!”. I preached on the risen Christ returning for His people from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Throughout the service there was considerable singing as well as special music–they had tremendous musical talent. It was a morning to remember. We had lunch there, including the believers insisting we eat horse meat!
On returning to Bible Mission we spent some time with Aleksey, who is the Director of Bible Mission as well as the Senior Pastor of the churches in the Southeast of Kazakhstan. He was very appreciative of our visit, and we went over the further opportunities for Calvary to get involved, including in other countries in Central Asia.
Thereafter we went to a church plant which was a daughter church of the one pastored by Aleksey. They were meeting in a dance studio, and could only get it at 4pm on Sundays. The music was more contemporary, and the congregation younger. I spoke on the importance of serving from Mark 10:42-45. Some of the young people spoke English, and clearly were delighted to interact with us as well as take many photos!
We then headed back to Bible Mission to pack and to get some rest before being picked up at midnight to head to the airport for our flight from Almaty at 2:38am on Monday morning. We finally touched down in Charlotte after being more than 26 hours on the road around 8pm on Monday – Charlotte time!
It has been an amazing journey! Fred and I had tremendous fellowship not only with each other, but with a large number of our brothers and sisters in Central Asia. The need is tremendous, and we praise God for the light of the Gospel in the midst of the darkness of Islam. How blessed we are at Calvary to be able to partner with our brothers and sisters there who continue to display and proclaim our Lord Jesus Christ.