After 29 hours of travel, Jeff Coward and I arrived in Ufa, Russia, late on October 24. We made our final arrangements in coordination with our hosts, and on October 26, the conference started with a Pastor/Church Leader Workshop for 20 leaders from five churches. We taught on why men don’t go to church and the three things every man wants. These messages resonated, helping pastors rethink their traditional approach, start men’s activities that meet their needs and interests, and enthusiastically engage men to achieve their vision for the church and community.
On Saturday we saw 30 men arrive to hear about a man’s position in Christ, his priorities, and his practices. We found the Russians to be marginally reserved yet keenly interested in the MOV teachings. Jeff’s session on the Five Roles of a Husband and Father of Valor generated many questions and side discussions. Many men provided heartfelt testimonies about what they learned, and following Brad’s message at House of Prayer Church on Sunday, one mother reported that her son was particularly impacted.
A month or so ago, Ufa Pastor/Missionary Andrei Dzyuba told us that there were no men’s groups in the Baptist Union (RBU). Imagine our praise to the Lord when four men stepped up to lead men’s discipleship groups, using MOV’s Bible study. Would you pray for these men?
As you may know, President Putin passed a law in 2016 barring mission outreach. That stopped plans for a conference then, and restricted advertising to unchurched men now. Our hosts, SEND missionary Matt Hutchcraft and RBU Bishop Nahil Ayupov, reported that a recent convert in Ufa was beaten by the police and hospitalized, and the police later came to Nahil’s office to discuss his activities. Nahil told us the timing was right for MOV, as he wonders how much longer events like this will be permitted.
We praise God that churches in the U.S. continue to partner with MOV.
This Russia conference, requested by Centreville Baptist Church, was the fifth one sponsored by a U.S.-based church. We deeply desire to support churches’ visions for the countries and communities they are investing in. Reaching men is crucial to community impact!