Monthly Archives: May 2010

Well-Known Pastor Beaten to Death in St. Petersburg, Russia

We just received this from a ministry partner.  Please continue to pray for Russia.

Dear Precious Partners in the Gospel,

Over the weekend, I received the shocking news of the beating death of a beloved Baptist pastor in St. Petersburg, Russia.  According to the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists (UECB) and published reports, 76-year-old Pastor Yuri Golovin, a preacher at the Central Baptist Church in St. Petersburg, was beaten by unknown assailants outside the home of an elderly church member whom he had intended to visit.  After the assault, Pastor Golovin managed to get the attention of the church member, who immediately called an ambulance.  Sadly, Pastor Golovin died of his injuries at the hospital.

There has been no confirmation of what motivated the attack, however a report in the International Christian Newspaper indicates that his assailants might have been local drug addicts.

In addition to his pastoral ministry at St. Petersburg, Yuri Golovin had been the head of The Gideons chapter in St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast (state).  Youth pastor Anton Tretyak said that Yuri had been a wonderful example for him.  “During my baptism in 1991, he heard my testimony about how I had come to know God and he invited me to participate in distributing New Testaments in schools and hospitals. It was then that I saw in his face an example of a living Christian, who was not ashamed of witnessing about Christ and living for Christ.  This was my path to life!”

Please join me in praying for the family of Pastor Yuri Golovin, as well as for his extended church family, in the midst of their deep grief.  Pray also that the Lord will bring those responsible for this horrific crime to justice, and that this tragedy will lead to many new opportunities for the Gospel in the St. Petersburg region.

For our Savior,
Bob Provost
President, Slavic Gospel Association

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Orphans and Us: Two Great Needs, Intertwined

Here’s a post by Jedd Medefind- President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans.  I thought his words were a great follow up on our April newsletter, and reinforcement for our call as the Body of Christ to serve orphans.

What do would-be disciples of Jesus most need? The list could be long, but one simple answer might be this: we need something that will invade our lives and homes, swing from the chandeliers, and jump on the furniture ‘til the stuffing comes out. At least, I often need that. To shake me from self-absorbed habits, numbness to my neighbor’s need, just-enough-but-not-too-much sacrifice, religion that’s more akin to personal development than to obedience and holiness.

It’s a bit provocative to realize that the greatest need of the world’s orphans and vulnerable children is often the perfect reverse of our own.

Yes, they frequently need food, water, shelter and clothing, too. (And for children in families that raw poverty could bring to disintegration, material help may be all that’s needed.) But while these tangible goods help a parentless child to survive, they rarely enable her to thrive. That’s because what every child’s heart most desires is to know love and family, to hold and be held by a deep sense of place and belonging. They need to be invited into a home, permanently, where they may just swing from the chandeliers and jump on the furniture ‘til the stuffing comes out. That’s why, as important as financial support of aid and development ministries often is, to truly care for orphans requires more personal involvement—engaged, active and doors-wide-open.

What a remarkable intersection: the great need of orphans and the great need of so many Christians, fitting together like a socket and a plug.

I often hear similar accounts from Christians who’ve opened their lives to vulnerable children, whether as foster parents, through adoption, as mentors, or in other meaningful, long-term relationships. They say it’s often been difficult, with real sacrifices along the way. Responses from the children sometimes have, and sometimes haven’t, been all they’d hope for. And yet, the journey has been among the most meaningful they’ve ever ventured. It’s been a discipleship journey, rich with growth and tears and celebrations they wouldn’t trade for anything.

As a friend who helps Christians become foster parents put it, “The kids are often really changed by it. But I think I see the parents changed even more.”

There’s no Scriptural reason to imagine every Christian is called to adopt or foster. But we are all called to care for orphans in their distress: from providing childcare to adoptive families that need a breather, to mentoring a fatherless boy, to inviting kids from the local group home over for holidays.

The result, most always, is transformation. In the child. In us.

So we ought never view caring for orphans and discipleship as separate categories—distinct from each other, or even competing. Rather, they are as intertwined as a tree and its leaves; mutually sustaining, one lifeless without the other. Said one pastor to me recently, “As the people in my church go deeper into adoption and orphan ministry, I see them grasping the meaning of the Gospel and God’s love more deeply than I ever have.”

Like our Lord, these children stand at our door and tap quietly. If we open, they’ll come in, swing from the chandeliers and trounce the furniture. They’ll never be the same. And neither will we.

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