Wednesday, July 16, 2008

(Kira with our small friend Sonya.)

My time in Kirov has been a tremendous blessing to my life. There isn't one particular story that stands out, or one incident that is easily shared; instead it is the culmination of small events in daily life that point to God.

The work in Kirov isn't easy. Kira told me that, on paper at least, there has been a Methodist church in Kirov for 12 years. The church was non-existent when she showed up 2 years ago. The average attendance at the Sunday morning worship service is 4 or 5. If numbers were the primary indication of God at work, Kira and Kirov would be dismissed quickly. I wish I had the words and the time to explain the daily ministries of Kira Volkova. We have seen a glimpse of this ministry.

Yesterday we went to the children's ward of the hospital and told a Bible story. We made a craft. Kira and I were late meeting the rest of our group, but as we turned onto the long silent road leading to the hospital our quickened pace began to slow. She said, "I always pray when I walk this path. I pray out loud because on Saturday the road is empty. Will you join me, today?" We prayed for the children, their moms, and the nurses. We spend time meeting and sharing the faith with college students. Most of them are almost completely closed to the gospel message.

Kira has one of the hardest jobs imaginable, and I'm so incredibly proud of her obedience. I'm so proud that she was willing to leave everything behind to be exiled to a small city 14 hours North of Moscow to start a church. She went to the state appointed accountants office today to go over the books. Every day she is in ministry to those around her.

Her roomate, Zina, became a Christian in December. Zina is a ball of energy, so thirsty and hungry for God. Zina is a wonderful artist, and this week she made portaits of all of us. Zina is all the proof I need that there is hope for Kirov and for Pastor Kira Volkova's ministry here.

(Kira's roomate Zina, while painting a portrait of me.)

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