Into the North

murmansk 043 In the North
North of the Arctic Circle, near Murmansk

I’ve just returned from visiting Stoneworks missionary Yura Belonozhkin and see the work he’s doing up north. I met some wonderful people and saw an amazing part of the world.

vladimir marijana 003 300x168 In the NorthVladimir and Mariana Cizmanski were visiting from Montenegro. I met them in Estonia and introduced them to our friends and ministry partners there. It is always gratifying when our Stoneworks partners to meet one another. My wife Olga and I had a good time showing them St. Pete.

While Marijana stayed in St. Petersburg with Olga, Vladimir and I headed north. The first day, we drove 1300 km (800 miles) to Zelenoborskiy, where Yura met us at a Christian drug rehab center.

zelenoborsky rehab 300x211 In the NorthYura and I spoke at a men’s meeting at the rehab center. It’s a great group of people, and several local churches support the center. Yura has led men’s meetings there and has very good relationships with the leadership. Over the next few days, as we visited other churches, we continued to meet men and women who are either in the rehab center or lived there before.

On the second day, we drove north to Olenegorsk to attend a prayer conference. Several local churches participated. I was asked to speak at the afternoon session, and I did a teaching on intercessory prayer. Peter Makarchuk is the bishop of several churches in that area, and he made us feel very welcome. He and Yura have a good relationship.

olenogorsk 007 In the North
Speaking at a prayer conference in Olenegorsk, Russia.

We spent that night with Yura’s friends from that church; there we saw some Russian ingenuity. The next morning, Sunday, Vladimir was asked to preach the sermon, and he gave a sermon on self-denial that was warmly received. We then drove north to Murmansk. Continue reading

To the North!

As part of my role as Executive Director of Stoneworks International, I am planning to visit Yura Belonozhkin next month and see the work he’s doing in the far north, particularly his men’s ministry. Vladimir and Marijana Cizmanski will visit us from Montenegro in September, and Vladimir will join me on this trip. It gives me joy for my friends and co-workers in various countries to meet one another.

The route will take us from St. Petersburg to as far north as Vadso, Norway. Vadso is about 420 km (260 miles) north of the Arctic Circle. It will be great to visit our ministry partners and see Karelia, part of the Kola Peninsula and Lapland at that time of year.

I hope to speak at a conference in Olenogorsk, attend church in Murmansk and visit several ministry sites all along the way, with Vadso being our last ministry stop before heading south. We’ll stay in Rovaniemi, Finland, which is on the Arctic Circle (Santa Claus has a house there!). We’ll all spend a couple of days in Finland before going to Estonia to pick up Vladimir and Marijana’s car so they can head home. This should be fulfilling and fun in many ways.

Here is a map for reference (it’s not completely accurate but gives an idea of the route):