After getting settled into Ryazan and a good night’s sleep, today we hit the ground running. Our first stop was Globus, where we purchased gifts for the children in the orphanage at Novomirchurinsk. Globus is a testament to the power of capitalism in a formerly Communist nation. In a country where people used to stand in line for basic food items, now shelves and counters are brimming with a wide variety of food and other merchandise. Even our mighty Wal-Mart pales in comparison to Globus. After getting all the items there we needed, we began our considerable drive to Novomirchurinsk.
We were greeted warmly by the staff at the orphanage, and quickly shown to a room in which we could assemble a bundle of gifts for the children. Actually we used orange Gospel frisbees as gift trays, not having anything else to hold all the presents we had for each child. We distributed the frisbees full of gifts, and picture cards from the children at Nitro First Baptist Church. We photographed each child with his/her card, so both the Russian and American children could see that they were special to another child in a distant nation. After distributing the gifts we had lunch with the children, and enjoyed seeing them eat the fruit and candy we had brought for them. On behalf of Pea Ridge Baptist Church and Nitro First Baptist, we also presented them with the funds necessary to install hot water tanks, showers, and additional toilets. Money was also given to purchase athletic shoes for the children in the spring.
After leaving the orphanage we went to the home of Pastor Valery Severin, who leads the church in the same city. He explained to the team how God has been moving through his ministry and congregation. Although the church is meeting in a school, we learned that the church possesses an old building in dire need of repair. Over $100,000 would be required to renovate the facility and make it usable, so the church has not taken any action on it. The lot on which the building stands is an excellent site, with a college nearby. The church at Novomirchurinsk is definitely reaching the community through their ministry, including their ministry to the orphanage, but they need a permanent meeting place.
We finally departed Novomirchurinsk after having been very well fed, and made the long drive back to Ryazan. We arrived at a decent hour of the evening, which gave us the time we needed to finalize preparations for the first evangelism seminar the next day. Good things are happening at Novomirchurinsk, but the church currently has no partner church in the WVBC. From my viewpoint, it has been very evident on this trip the churches that have WVBC partners and the churches that don’t. The churches that have partners are thriving, the others are just surviving.