Evangelistic meetings in far eastern Russia showed a blueprint of how to successfully combine health advice and the study of Bible prophecy and end-time events. The Health Department of the Far Eastern church region organized “Secrets of Prophecy” meetings in Magadan, a city of 100,000 inhabitants located by the Sea of Okhotsk, over 6,300 miles (10,200 kilometers) east of Moscow.
Every evening during the eight-day series, Sokurenko Alla, director of Health Ministries of the Adventist church in the region, gave short lectures and workshops on how to easily prepare safe homemade household items such as washing powder, soap, dishwashing detergent, and moisturizing cream. The easy-to-follow tips Alla shared are viable and economic alternatives to traditional products, he told his audience. “All of these recipes are easy to prepare, sufficiently effective, and can easily replace their store counterparts,” he told members of the community who attended the talks.
In the second part of every evening meeting, Far Eastern church region president Romanov Vladimir Petrovich unveiled the secrets of biblical prophecy. Topics covered sought to answer the most frequent questions people have, he said, such as “How will the end of the world be?” or “Why are there so many churches?” Titles such as “Where is hell on earth?” or “Rest for the soul” piqued the curiosity of attendees, including over 30 people who had never stepped into a church. “God has never hidden the prophetic word to His children,” Petrovich told his audience. “He wants dwellers on this planet to understand His warnings and revelations.”
Petrovich used captivating stories and examples from everyday life to get the biblical message through. “God has not sealed the future; it is us who sometimes seal God’s openness about it,” he said.
A week before the “Secrets of Prophecy” series, the regional church organized a special “Health Week,” where church members shared a set of techniques intended to promote a healthy lifestyle, including relaxing massage and Nordic walking, a total body version of walking that uses specially designed walking poles. During the two weeks before and during the prophecy series, the church also offered basic training in relaxing massage, which was well attended by people who are not members of the church.
To attract people to the various health programs offered, the church organized a health expo for families in the Magadan Cultural Center. Authorities of the center were so pleased with the event that they sent a letter to the local government, recommending their full cooperation. They also invited Adventists to organize more health initiatives in the future.
Now the Magadan Church has outlined its plans for transforming these health initiatives into long-term projects. They are planning to open a health office, to keep offering relaxing massages, as well as the opportunity of joining Nordic walking teams. Church organizers also plan to add healthy cooking classes, and other health-focused projects designed to increase the church’s visibility in the community.
From health principles to prophecy seminars, people attending the Adventist meetings were invited to question and assess their values and beliefs. “Why do I believe what I believe, and not something else?” was a question that triggered essential moments of reflection among participants. The church is already reaping the first results of the initiative, as some guests have asked for Bible studies and at least one is preparing for baptism.