News from Yura Belonozhkin:

We had a men’s group meeting in Nickel. there were 11 men from Nickel and Zapolarny. The men were from different churches, 2 guys were from the world. unfortunately, nobody took pictures during the meeting.  The topic was “The heart wound” (from Robert Lewis’ the Quest for Authentic Manhood).

Masha was there also, and she led a meeting for the women. it was the 1st women’s meeting in Nickel, but it was interesting and fruitful, and they decided to continue meeting. So whenever I go to Nickel for a men’s group, Masha will go there with me for a women’s group.

The next day we went to Olenegorsk (300 kilometers [200 miles] from there), where Masha had a 9-hour long class for the women in the church. There were about 20 women, and 10 of them were from the world. Some of them have been attending Masha’s classes for a few times, and some new ones decided to. Good thing is that the women from the church can build relationships with the women from the world, and lead them to Christ.

Before and after that we had 2 smaller retreats. There were just 3 of us in the 1st one, me and 2 guys from the church in Murmansk. Both guys attended almost all our big retreats and small groups. This time it was something like a team-building event.

Just a couple of days ago I got back home from another small 3 day retreat. We were 6 this time, 3 guys from Nickel (one non-Christian), 1 from Murmansk (the one who accepted Christ at our winter retreat in Rickolatva), 1 from Olenegorsk (ex-drug addicted), and me. Both times we walked far (skied actually), got completely exhausted physically, especially the 1st time, when it snowed hard all 2 days.

But it helped us get real, and that is the main goal of those trips – help men get real. When you are so tired that you think you are ready to fall right here and never get up, it’s hard to keep on wearing all the variety of your masks. In these situations a person shows who he really is. That’s what I love most, and the most important thing for me – I want to get real myself, I want to lose all my masks, whatever they are.

The unbeliever guy who was with us at the 2nd trip, accepted Christ there, on the 2nd day. He had been at church meetings before, but he always felt as if something was fake, or false in people there, and he didn’t want to go there again. One this trip it was easy for him to get rid of that phobia, because no one was fake around him. He prayed his first prayer with me, and made a decision to be a disciple of Christ – he will attend church in Nickel, will go to a Bible school, will attend our men’s meetings.