From Siberian prisons to the Black Sea
The Alpha course is growing through-out Russia from Siberian prisons in the north to the
coastline of the Black Sea in the south. Conferences were held for 300 church
leaders in Moscow and Amavir, on the eastern side of the Black Sea, in March and there
are now estimated to be 134 Alpha courses running in Russia.
At the Moscow conference around 200 people came from all over Russia. One
delegate had travelled 2.000 miles to be there. The Amavir conference had 100
delegates. Speakers at the conference were Sandy Millar and Jez Barnes from Holy
Trinity Brompton, London.
Sandy Millar said afterwards, "At an earlier conference we held in Moscow there was an
American couple there who lived in a place far south of Moscow just north-west of Amavir
in the Rostov region. They started Alpha and for their second Alpha course
they had to rent a facility. By the end of the last year they were running six
Alpha courses in Russian and one in English. They had a celebration supper on
January 16th of this year. They expected 60
people and 120 people came. They reckon that over 100 people have come to faith
in Christ since September 1999. All this through an American couple who don't
speak any Russian."
There are now thought to be nine Russian-led Alpha courses running weekly in the area in
six different churches. Sandy Millar spoke of how moved he had been at the
faith of the people he met in Russia. He said, "We spoke to the pastor in
Amavir through an interpreter and he said to me, "I have prayed for two years to have a
conference in Amavir."
"'So', I thought to myself, 'that's why we're in Amavir.'
"He too had been to one of the earlier conferences we did in Moscow
and got so excited about Alpha that he came back and started the
course at his home church. Then he immediately set about praying
that we should go there. And what I loved about him was that he said:
"I couldn't believe and wonder that you'd ever come to have Alpha Conference in Amavir.
But equally I prayed for two years that you would." That's faith.
"It's faith-raising too, when you think about it.
He concluded, "What it told me again was that there is a community of saints that God has
all over the world - those who love Jesus. And there are saints in Amavir today
- I'm perfectly certain - who are praying for us, here in London. I was
grateful to God because
it taught me again in a tiny, tiny, tiny, way something of the costliness of it.
Because when we left on the Friday it was very hard not to cry.
They cried, we cried.
"We'd only been there two days but already in those two days we had experienced something
of the Spirit that binds us together with people thousands of miles away. They
may be infinitely poorer in material things, but they are very rich in faith.
It is the basic teaching about Jesus which they want and they love. They also
want the ministry of Jesus - not just instruction - and every time we asked the Spirit to
come they streamed forward with the light of faith in their hearts. And every
time, we believe, he came."
Source : Alpha news newspaper
Author : Unknown