Can God work in -30˚C?
Russian Federation | Peter WhitingPete Whiting, from Australia, visited Novosibirsk in October 2011 on placement for his Bachelor of Intercultural studies through Tabor College Adelaide. Here he shares about his time with the OM team in Novosibirsk:
Can God work in -30˚C (-22˚F)? Thankfully I never had to find out! But this was one question a friend asked when I said I was going to Novosibirsk in Siberia. This question may seem silly but it does have some merit. How can you go and minister when you are snowed in? How can any outreach event be organised when everyone wants to stay inside? These are just some of the challenges faced by the OM Russia team.
But the truth is God is working in Novosibirsk! He is using ordinary people from all over the world—and of course Russians—to change lives and grow His kingdom. During my visit I met former criminals who are now running ministries, drug addicts now healed and teaching others, young people using their talents to serve God instead of the world, and people with a hunger to know God more intimately.
OM Russia runs a discipleship centre for Russian believers of all ages and backgrounds. Imagine a six-month course where students learn theology, personal development and communication skills, plus discover their personal and spiritual gifts. From this, many students go on to plant churches, serve overseas, join the OM ships, serve their local church or are better equipped to share the gospel with their community.
Out of the discipleship centre there have also been several ministries birthed, such as an outreach to TB patients and orphans. It’s cool that OM Russia is not about telling Russians how to be Christian and what they should do. Instead, OM Russia is about listening to Russians and hearing what they feel called to do. OM Russia trains, equips, resources and supports Russians as they share the gospel in their country and beyond.
OM Russia is growing immensely, but help is needed to sustain the growth. They need financial assistance and people to come and serve in a variety of roles. There are positions working directly with Russians but also positions to support the OM team, such as teachers for the children of team members. There are many short-term opportunities also available.
If you have a desire to serve overseas but Africa or Asia doesn’t seem to click, then consider Novosibirsk. It’s in the centre of Russia and is a very modern city. There are plenty of parks, museums, galleries and the famous Russian ballet. With over a hundred tertiary institutes and universities, it is a youthful city with passionate churches that have a heart to bring people into relationship with Christ.
But before brushing up on Pushkin, learning to whistle the Russian anthem and buying that travel book, visit the OM Russia website to learn more about the work: www.ru.om.org.
No matter what your background, age, qualification or language skills, God can use you in Russia. Forget those spy films or cold war novels—come and see the real Russia. And once there, I promise you that the beauty and mystery of Russia and her people will forever sear your heart.
The viewpoints expressed in this article are solely those of the author.