During the month of August at Zaoksk Theological Academy, seven young people from different parts of the former Soviet Union--from Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia--were trained in the skills of ministry and youth evangelism. The project "Mission of Abraham" in Samara, Russia, has been growing since early 2021. G.G. Kasap G.G., A. Boykov, and O.V. Kharlamov were involved in the active work of writing this project.
The teachers of Zaoksky Adventist University, pastors, administrators, and heads of departments of the Western Russian Union and the Euro-Asian Division have worked to motivate the youth team in Samara to serve and testify about Christ to their peers.
It should be especially noted that the church in general--and the administration of the Euro-Asian division in particular--actively support the youth ministry, realizing the enormous potential of this focus. Thus, Mikhail Kaminsky, president of the EAD, and Viktor Alekseenko, Executive Secretary of the EAD, approached the young people to start the project, encouraging them to be actively involved in the ministry in order to taste its joy. And when they had been thoroughly trained, Kaminsky again addressed the young people with parting words for the upcoming 9-month ministry project, inspiring them to be courageous, creative, and energetic in service.
By the end of the training, pastor-mentor Armen Matevosyan had also arrived, with whom the children began to hold meetings in order to get to know each other better, and to plan, dream, and build a team together.
The culmination of the team's training was the last days when young people reflected and defined their expectations from the project. The focus of the ministry for the coming year was set by the members of the team itself as a result of prayer and reflection on the following:
- Organize a powerful youth leadership team;
- Contribute to the development of the youth movement in Samara;
- Guide young people toward personal development and a strengthened relationship with God;
- Create a new community based on the Influence Center in the city center - create a dream church;
- Develop social service and conquer the city for Christ with the motto: "Give us Samara or give us death."
On the last Saturday of summer, August 29, at divine service in the Church of Zaokskaya, a youth team was dedicated to the ministry. Pastors Kasap and Zaitsev performed dedication prayers, and the pastor-mentor and the team read the dedication litany for the ministry. Young people sang the well-known hymn "We Are One Family," inspiring believers and themselves to a dedicated ministry.
On Friday and Sunday of that same weekend, the youth team was involved in two social projects. The first was social activity with children in the Komsomolsk park in the village, and the second was a bike ride in Polenovo, organized at the level of the Tula region with the participation of the administrations of the Tula and Moscow regions. Volunteers of the Abraham Mission project and students of Zaoksky Adventist University helped at the stations, registering participants, distributing water and bananas, chipping the participants' bicycles for the ride, taking pictures of the run itself, and more. Members of the youth team received volunteer books from the Tula regional administration, which will help them in their ministry in Samara.
“I would like to become a family team,” says team member Sofia Chumachenko.
“I will try to do a lot of good deeds for society this year,” Lilia Teikhrib says.
“And I will try to make friends with new peers,” adds Elvira Shishkanova.
“This year I will try to learn how to communicate with children,” says Svetlana Savina.
“And I want to see the Gospel in action, not in words,” says Ivan Danilov.
“I would like to test myself and see if I am ready to go to the pastoral ministry,” says Maksim Matyash.
“I would like to rededicate myself to God and improve my relationship with him,” Albert Akhtareev reveals.
With new ideas and a warm heart, the youth of the Mission of Abraham project came to Samara to fill the city with an evangelical and social ministry, to inspire the church and other youth to serve, achieve, and act.
The 8th member of the team, Vitaly Ovchinnikov, came from Astrakhan, and will also help with the project. They have already begun to gather for organizational and support group meetings to take place as a team of volunteers and community ministers.
May God help the Abraham Mission project to reach many young people who want to enter the Kingdom of God and accept Christ!