Summer 2015 review


It’s been a busy summer for us, I believe, as for everybody else, too. But now the last event for this summer is done, and I have a few days when I can focus on emails and communication, before I go to the Seminary in the beginning of September.

Let’s start from the very beginning.

In the very early June, right after a short, but very successful trip to Norway, we as a family went to Saint Petersburg to have a couple of weeks of vacation. I must say a couple of words about this Norwegian trip before we get into Summer stories.

Norwegian trip 1

arneWe made this trip together with Vitaliy, my partner from Nickel. We went to visit our Norwegian friends to discuss our idea to start a formal organization for the men’s ministry in Norway.

We met with Arne Skare, a Lutheran priest in Lakselv, and Steinar Sivertsen and his friends, ministers from a Pentecostal church in Alta.  Our idea was strongly supported by all the men we shared it with. We prayed together for that, made plans for the future, when we could meet again to work on that.

We also invited the men to the Nordic Men’s Base Camp in Hatteng. That was a good and very fruitful visit.

The Vacation

We spent a couple of weeks of June in Saint Petersburg, trying to have a vacation. I must confess, that was my mistake to have a vacation right before a big event in Norway. All of the time I couldn’t quit thinking about it, talking on the phone, Skype, FaceTime with the men in Norway, Finland and Russia, composing and answering emails. Also I spent a lot of time speaking in local churches about men’s ministry [ministry for men is still a new thing for Russia. There some men’s meetings happening randomly here and there, but no established ministry for men with serious vision, program, and goals] and inviting the men to our summer Camp in Teriberka. I had some lessons from last summer, and next summer we will go on vacation AFTER the Nordic Men’s Base Camp, which will be in Lakselv this time, June 17 – 19.  So after we do the Base Camp, we will freely go on vacation, without being preoccupied with preparations.

Norwegian trip 2: Nordic Men’s Base Camp 2015

base camp 2015In late June we drove to Norway, to the area of Tromso, to a small village called Hatteng, where a YWAM base is located. The leader of the base invited us to have a big men’s meeting there a year and a half ago. Now we were ready.

I was preparing the program for the Camp together with Jay Heck, my friend from San Antonio, a leader of Alamo Band of Brothers, which is a bunch of men leading retreats for men (Boot Camps) in Texas. I must say, it was a true blessing. That was the first experience for me like that. We were discussing the topics we were going to share, the order of classes, prayer time, the whole progression of the meeting. We prayed together, fasted together, shared the same passion for this work. As the result, we had a gathering of 25 men, from Norway, Finland , Russia and Germany.  That was a wonderful time, for me, and I believe, for everybody. It was loaded with the message, ultimate Word of God for the men, lots of time for prayer, great fellowship. Breath taking nature around, snow peaks and bright blue fjords… Amazing. Cod fishing at the last day, and delicious cod dinner in the end.

heck and yuraAfter the main program was done we went hiking in the mountains, surrounding the village. We were 11, the route was short, but very difficult. We climbed a snow ridge, had hurricane wind, fog, unset rocks under our feet, sleet and rain. In the end of the day we encamped in a vast valley, just on the snow line. We were all wet, tired, but happy! In the morning some of us woke up in the tents full of water, because it was raining all night. All clothes, sleeping bags and gear were soaking wet. But a strange thing – that didn’t make anybody sad. What we did – we helped each other, sharing dry clothes with those in need. We climbed on the top of a nearby mountain and walked to our cars after that.

Everybody was terribly tired, but happy indeed. We made it! It was hard, for some it was on the edge of their ability, but we all made it! That’s a team work, that’s brotherhood! That was a good practice after the theoretical part.

The work in Russia

jay preparingAfter we got back from Norway, we had a very busy time here in Russia. The first thing we did (Jay Heck  came to Russia with us) – we drove to the Rehab and together with Jay we led 2 classes for the men there.  I love teaching at the Rehab. It’s so encouraging to see how these guys need this message,  to watch their lives change.

Next Sunday we drove to Monchegorsk, where Jay preached. He was speaking about The Larger Story – one of my favorite topics.

During that time we had a big work to do – to locate a spot for our Summer Camp  – Tundra Rock. We spent 3 days with Jay, hiking in tundra along the Arctic Ocean coast. And we did it, we found a little gulf, just like we needed – with large flat spaces for the tents, with creeks with fresh water, a few lakes around, and a lot of wood, brought there by the sea, which we could use for firewood.

That was a blessed time – we could enjoy the nature and hiking with Jay, share revelations God had been giving to us, share our stories, pray together and worship our Father together, just being in His beautiful creation and seeing His glory.

Norwegian trip 3: Team meeting

After Jay left home, I had one more trip to Norway. That was our plan we made with our new Norwegian team before. We decided to meet again to pray and share what God was revealing to us in order of the ministry for men in Norway. We met in an empty church not far from Russian border, in a small place called Varangerbotn. We were just 3, me and 2 Norwegian men, but we spent 5 hours praying and talking and sharing. We all had questions, we all had ideas, but the main thing, we all are sharing the same passion to reach the men here in the North. Help them overcome passivity, realize who they are, accept that truth and live it.  We also had a phone conversation with our fourth team member, who couldn’t make it to Varangerbotn. He sent some points of the plan he has been working on, so we could discuss them, correct them and add something.  So, as the result – good news – there is a good team in Norway! I am so happy to admit that. Our next step is registration of a formal non-profit organization.  This organization will be in charge of all work for the men in the Nordic Region – Norway, Finland and Sweden.  Arctic Men Fellowship – that’s how we decided to name it.

We will meet over Skype every 4 weeks, and in person every 3 months. More often,  if possible. We live pretty far apart from each other.  The distance between Polarny and Alta is about 700 km, or 500 miles. So, when we met in Varangerbotn, each of us had to travel about 350 km each way.

Annual Summer Camp in Russia: Tundra Rock 2015

DSCN8143On Thursday, August 20, 25 men (again!) gathered at a gas station near Murmansk to go to Teriberka, a small fisherman’s village on the coast of the Barents Sea, 130 km from Murmansk, to have already a traditional men’s camp in the heart of tundra.

This time we decided to start with an outreach in Teriberka, where most of the men are always drunk, and the whole place is pretty miserable. We arrived in the village – 25 men from different towns of the Murmansk Region, and one of us even from 3500 km away, from Naberezhnye Chelny, a Bishop from our denomination. We flooded the streets of the village, and there was no person who we did not talk with. I personally could pray for a few people and had very interesting conversations with several men.

11908293_1040939482613281_1966149843_nAfter that we headed to our destination – a small gulf on the coast of the Barents Sea. We had to hike 12 km through rocky tundra, to cross a river and a few bogs, climb many rocky hills. We had to carry all supplies for 4 days in our packs: food, clothes, tents, sleeping bags and pads, cooking gear, etc. It was hard. But that was an important stage of a men’s camp. We overcome difficulties together, we reach our goal together. We know we can’t stop until we reach our destination, and we must do that together. And we did it! To make a long story short – everybody was excited about the camp. There are some ideas about the camp next year. We will go to Naberezhnye Chelny to spend a week there with Bishop Vasiliy and his family, so there we will discuss our plans for the future events.


Next steps

Very soon, September 5, we will have the first team meeting in Russia. There will be men, who want to serve to other men and share this passion with me. I don’t think there will be many, maybe 4, but this will be the beginning of the team.

Right after that, September 7, I’m going to Moscow for my next Seminary course. Late in Fall I will focus on building the team here in Russia and in Norway, leading small groups and working on the site.

I want to express my deep appreciation to all who helped this work to be done. To all men in the US who have been helping financially. To the Master’s Men Ministry, which donated us a great teepee tent, which sleeps 10. We are blessed indeed! To all the folks in Norway, who helped us in July to come to Norway, to be there, and to get back home. We love you, guys, and we are praying for you.

Current situation

Right now our financial situation is dangerous.  As I have mentioned, I need to go to Moscow soon, but I have no money for the airplane tickets and for tuition. Besides that, my car didn’t survive multiple drives on those rough roads of Teriberka, and many thousands of kilometers of regular roads this summer. It died. It needs now about 25% of its cost to make it work again. There also many other challenges we are facing, but these are the most soon ones.

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