Yura Belonozhkin ministers in the Far North of Russia, doing great work in many areas.

February retreat preparation

I’ve been driving around the Region meeting with pastors, presenting the Forge (as we call it) ministry to the churches and pastors. Although I did it already last summer, most pastors take it as something new. But anyway, I’ve met a lot of support from them. I will even have a chance to preach in one of the churches on Sunday before the retreat. That’s what we discussed at pastor’s meeting mostly.

This time we will have the retreat at a new place, together with new people, so it all is going in some different way. I will have to go to Rickolatva, the place where the retreat will be, on Sat, 4th. The people there, who are helping this time, seem to be not understanding exactly what it is going to be. we need to discuss some issues in person.

Men’s meetings in Monchegorsk and Zapolarny

We had 2 small group meetings this month – in Monchegorsk and Zapolarny. There were 11 men in Monchegorsk and 12 in Zapolarny. Monchegorsk meeting looked more like a core team meeting. There were men who have always attended all the meetings and who share the vision. we discussed the Feb retreat, set out the agenda for it, made the schedule for all 3 days. One of them will lead a class in Feb, he took a topic about the “Father wound”.

vWe also agreed to collect funds, we set out the minimum sum we pay every month – 500 rub (app $17). So that day we collected 2000 rub. we will use those funds to cover somebody’s expences to attend the retreat, if this somebody is not able to pay for himself, or purchase gear – tents, sleeping bags and mats, ski, etc. I want to collect enough to buy a rubber boat by summer. We are planning a rafting trip in July.

The meeting in Zapolarny was different. There were many new people, whom I’d never met before. There were 3 of us from Polarny, and the others were from Zapolarny and smaller towns around. we had an “All alone wound” class, which caused much discussion at the end. Some of the guys are planning to come to the retreat.

Our group in Polarny

Good news – a 14 year old boy accepted Christ 2 weeks ago. It doesn’t happen here very often, so we are really encouraged. Right after he accepted Christ he went to the men’s group to Zapolarny with us. He prayed and worshipped with us. Very encouraging. The family which had marriage problems is getting better. The guy looks like he is getting close to the Lord. Very slowly though, but he is moving anyway. Some outreach events are scheduled for later Feb and March (after the men’s retreat).

We are also working on Alfa project. it is new for us, but we already purchased the books and booklets for teachers and workbooks for attendants.

Some personal news

My father came to visit and stayed with us for 4 days. It was really great time. Really great. My father is a painter, and he brought 30 his paintings with him. Our local museum made a special exhibition of his paintings. The opening was on Jan 21. But it was way more interesting, because that day also was 45th anniversary of the naval academy which he graduated from back in 1975.

Our fleet commandment organized a celebration, where my father was invited, and it all was at the museum among his paintings. reporters from newspapers and local TV channel came to intervew my father. He said a speach before the audience of nearly 80 high rank navy officers. Some of them appeared to be his old classmates who he hadn’t seen for decades. I haven’t seen him that happy for a very long time, maybe never. And I was very proud of him. We organized an excursion for him to the ship where he served as an commander’s assistant. That was a surprise for him. It was a very, a truly blessed time.

Masha was recently in Polarnye Zori (a town 300 km south from here) right now with a master class. She helped the church there develop their women’s ministry. She also worked with the town crisis center, a municipal organization which helps people in crisis situations.