To Russia with Love

This summer, thousands of people will be traveling to Yekaterinburg Russia to watch several matches of the World Cup. Over 20 years ago, James Gillespie and members of his mission trip got off the train in the same city… by mistake. The grace filled result of that trip has led to a relationship between Broadmoor United Methodist Church and First Yekaterinburg United Methodist Church that continues to this day.

First Yekaterinburg now shares its building with another congregation, Holy Trinity, who joyfully work to invite people into a relationship with Christ.

This Advent season, Olga Fateeva, one of the members of Holy Trinity had the opportunity to visit her friends in Louisiana. She was able to visit with me on Friday to connect and share what’s going on in Russia. She was excited to share about the home groups her church is growing. They are a wonderful way to grow leadership in Christian communities. She and James also shared the plans for an upcoming Mission Trip to Yekaterinburg, Russia.

This year’s trip will coincide with the end of the World Cup in Yekaterinburg. Our mission team plans include visiting home groups that practice speaking English, assisting with Bible Camp (known to us as Vacation Bible School), and offering support to a leadership retreat hosted by the United Methodist Bishop of Russia.

I asked Olga what we could do to support her and her church family. Without hesitation, she asked us to pray for them. Prayer is a powerful way to keep the connection between our churches strong. We can also support them with supplies for their Bible Camp. In addition, Olga emphasized the importance of us visiting our Russian brothers and sisters. As Olga began attending church she remembered how important it was for her to see guests from other countries. There is great support found in fellowship as Christians from around the world share their beliefs and their struggles.

This Advent season, remember to pray for Olga, Holy Trinity, and First Yekaterinburg United Methodist Church. Take a moment to see how the Spirit is calling you to strengthen our connection with a church on the other side of the globe. If you’d like to hear more stories and get connected to this ministry in any way, contact James Gilespie at wgilles293@aol.com.