DSCN7278The purpose of this trip was to attend  a meeting for men, organized by Alamo Band of Brothers, Boot Camp Basic.  The leader of this ministry, Jay R. Heck, invited us after visiting Norway last May, where we had our international meeting for men.  This was my 3rd time to the US, and the 1st time with guys from our team. We were 4 – Sergey Latyshev, the pastor from Arkhangelsk, who usually leads worship at our men’s conferences, Sergey Barabanov, a man from our team in Murmansk, Sasha Streltsov, a man who just wanted to learn more about ministry to men, from Olenegorsk, and me.

We spent 4 great days in Franklin family Ranch, Blanco, TX, where the meeting was held. A new way to deliver familiar message, new vision, new ideas, new plans – God was doing all new things for me there. Blessed days.

After that we had 3 days of rest in our friend’s ranch.  One of the days we went to Corpus Christi. God blessed us with beautiful weather – it was sunny and hot, so we could bathe a little in the Gulf. Actually, no one wanted to leave the place. After that we had a tour at USS Lexington, an aircraft carrier museum – the actual purpose of our trip to Corpus. That was my second time there, and this time I enjoyed watching the guys explore this amazing part of American history.

Wednesday afternoon we met with my old friends – Madison Smith, Rick Archer and Tim Blonquist at Overland Partners office downtown San Antonio. It was so precious to see God bringing together my friends and brothers I work side by side in Russia with my friends and brothers in Texas.  I wish we had more time with them, but we had to leave for our adventure trip to big Bend later that evening.  That trip was a part of our program, organized by Jay Heck, the Leader of Alamo Band of Brothers.  To tell the truth, nobody knew what to expect from that trip. Some of us were excited about that, and some even were afraid.  We were going to spend 3 nights in tents, 2 of them in the desert, and one in the mountains. We were going to climb the highest peak there. That was going to be a serious test for us.

We were 7  – we 4 guys from Russia, Jay Heck, who initiated this trip, Larry Heller and his 23 year old son Zhenya, adopted from Russia 10 years ago. He was coming from California to be with us on this trip.  Thursday morning  brought us a huge surprise – all Fort Stockton, where we stayed a night in a motel room, was covered with snow, and it continued snowing.  Fun, but we were not prepared for this kind of weather. Anyway, that became a part of the great adventure we were about to dive in. The next night we spent in tents in the middle of desert, with our food in the bear box (a steel box where people lock food and packs in order to prevent attracting bears to the tents).  The next morning we could fully appreciate the beauty of the place. Indeed, that was one of the most beautiful places I ever saw. When I saw those rock formations, I was wondering, what forces shaped them to be the way they are. Some powerful catastrophic events, the Great Flood came in mind, something dreadful and powerful.

Early in the afternoon we started our climb to the Emory peak, the highest peak in the National Park.  It was a long climb. We were hiking up 7 hours, with packs stuffed with tents, sleeping bags, spare clothes, food and of course water! That was very much new for me – we never carry water in our trips – there’s plenty of water everywhere, and all of it is good enough to drink without filtering or boiling.  The climb was difficult, but incredibly beautiful.  Eventually, when the Sun was already leaning to the horizon, we reached the peak. Everybody made it, nobody complained, and the men who were weaker in the beginning of the trip looked strong and encouraged.  That night we spent up in the mountains, among the herds of curious white tail deer.  After the long hike we were sitting around a tiny gas stove (making camp fire is strictly forbidden in the National park – not fun), watching the coffee pot boiling, and sharing our hearts with each other. That was the night of God’s wonders. Zhenya, who didn’t know Jesus, prayed the first time in his life. He asked the Heavenly Father to be his father, and Jesus forgave his sins and gave him new life. We prayed over him together, and I saw tears in his eyes. I believe God started his miraculous work in Zhenya’s heart, and I’m praying for him to be responsive to God’s Spirit.

In the morning we continued our way, 8 miles downhill this time. One more great day in beautiful creation of our Father. In the afternoon, very tired, but happy, we arrived in our ground zero, where our cars were parked. We still had one more night in the desert ahead, and on the way to it we stopped at Santa Elena Canyon, a tremendously impressive place. I feel really weak trying to explain the beauty of the nature we were in the midst of. I really feel lack of words, especially adjectives, writing about it.

That night we were worshiping together under the stars, in the heart of the desert, which I wasn’t afraid of anymore. We were sharing what the Father was revealing to us during this trip.  It was such a blessing to listen the guys tell how God spoke to them on the trail, while they were carrying a heavy pack and praying for each step forward, how God spoke to them on the summit, where only sky and wind around, how God spoke to them through the brothers at nights after long hikes… Blessed time.

Monday morning, even though we were still tired, we started to Missouri, to visit David Sawatsky.  I must say, my mates were not happy about going there, and were trying to talk me to stay in San Antonio and relax a couple of days. So I stuffed them in the car Monday morning, whining, complaining, angry at me.

But I must say a couple of words about David, the man I wanted to visit so much. David was the first man, who introduced me to the ministry to men. Back in April 2011, I attended his meeting in Ulan Ude, Siberia, on the shore of Lake Baikal. That was the revolutionary time for me.  There I first saw Father ministering to the men’s hearts, how men really changed and opened their lives to each other.  That was what I wanted to do, where I wanted to be, where I wanted to invite other men.  So, you might understand that I couldn’t miss this chance to see David, being on the same continent with him.

We arrived very late. The road was very difficult – snow, ice, fog all the way. But when David met us and treated us with borsch (traditional Russian/Ukrainian soup) everybody engaged in conversation with him and didn’t really want to go to bed, even though it was very late.  The next morning we continued our conversation. David gave us a tour around the campus (he teaches at New Tribes Mission school at the moment). And talking, talking, talking a lot.  No one wanted to leave!

It was so good to spend this time with good friend, a brother-in-arms. But we had to go. We had to be in Dallas Wednesday afternoon.  Even though we started early in the morning, we arrived in Dallas late, at about 9 p.m. The road was icy, slippery and very dangerous. On the way we saw many rigs and cars on the roadsides, but God kept us, and we made it to Dallas safe, but late. As the result, we could only spend a few minutes with Jim Cote’, the leader of Master’s Men Ministry, who I first met 2 years ago during my second trip to the US.  Jim was one of the men, who came to Norway to support our international men’s meeting in Lakselv. I wish we spent more time together! The next day was full of meetings with men of Master’s Men Ministry.  Great time, great men! Friday morning we had the biggest meeting with Master’s men Focus group, at Gold’s Gym. We all had time to share our testimony, to tell what God is doing among men in Russia and how we together can reach the men in Russia and Scandinavia. I believe we will be together with M3 in Father’s work in Russia.


Friday evening we arrived back in SA, to stay in Jay Heck’s house. That was great time to stay in his house, to get to know his family. He is truly a brother-in-arms, and staying in his home was a great honor.

The thing God was speaking to me about this time was THE TEAM.  At the Boot Camp I saw behind the message a powerful team work. I really enjoyed seeing them work together, encourage each other. God was speaking to me about that during the whole trip. And I hope and believe that the guys who traveled with me will become a part of this team. At least some of them. And the good thing is that one of them is already a part of the team.

I want to express my deepest appreciation to the people whom The Father inspired to make this trip possible. I appreciate and value everything Larry did for us during this trip.  He was so brave and let us drive his wonderful car – knowing that we were going to drive far, provided gas, phone and food for us during all our journeys… Larry, I fail to express how grateful I am. Just thank you!

Jay Heck and his team – only because of them we were able to make it to the US. I may not understand completely what you have done for us… Jay, thank you, bro! Thank you for your friendship; this is the most precious thing! I believe we will do much for the Kingdom, in our Father’s work.

I thank Jim and his team, who welcomed us in Dallas, provided all our needs there and let us speak at all events during those days! Thank you Jim, thank you Tim, I wish we had more time with you!

I thank all other guys who helped us, provided for us, prayed for us, talked with us and spent time with us. I express appreciation from myself and from all the guys. We have been blessed, blessed indeed.