Training and Encouraging Members ‘To the Ends of the Earth’

Adventist Church leaders reach out to one of the most remote areas in Siberia.

West Siberian Mission, Euro-Asian Division, and Adventist Review
Training and Encouraging Members ‘To the Ends of the Earth’
Local church leaders in Salekhard, at the Arctic Circle in Siberia, Russia. [Photo: West Siberian Mission]

From December 10 to 14, 2021, the head of the West Siberian Mission, Vasiliy P. Stefaniev, and his wife, Evgeniya, visited Salekhard, a 49,000-resident town in the far north of Russia. Salekhard is the northernmost community in the mission’s territory, located on the Arctic Circle, almost at the very end of the earth. 

Here, in the capital of the Yamalo region, Seventh-day Adventists are implementing the “Hope for the Peoples of Siberia” mission initiative under the leadership of Igor and Lyudmila Rogak. The initiative includes multiple evangelism and outreach events, leaders reported.

“I always like to come to Salekhard,” Stefaniev, president of the West Siberian Mission, said. “There is a very warm atmosphere here. Perhaps this is because here, as nowhere else, you realize how people need each other. We were surrounded by great love and care. We got a lot of inspiration from the visit.”

Salekhard is a 49,000-resident town in western Siberia at the Arctic Circle and represents a mission challenge for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. [Photo: West Siberian Mission]

A series of spiritual meetings evoked a lively response and deep interest from the participants. Spiritual sermons were based on Luke chapter 15 in the Bible, which reveals the character of God by the example of a father’s relationship to the prodigal son and the equally “prodigal” elder brother. The lyrics of the Christian song “Come home” well reflect the Adventist Church’s desire to reach the hearts of people enslaved by sin, leaders said.

“Today, we need to study Jesus Christ’s relationship to lost sinners so that we can get rid of indifference, criticism, and condemnation,” they said. “Looking at the character of the Father, we learn the practical embodiment of love, expressed in mercy, forgiveness, the ability to compassion and support any person.”

Under the theme “Laws of the Winner,” Evgeniya Stefaniev discussed topics of interest for families. Evgeniya is a Christian psychologist and leader of the Ministerial Spouses Association in the region. “As Christians, we can and must win victories in our lives,” she said. “The Bible contains a lot of practical life material not only for spiritual but also for everyday life—to walk with God every day, to apply His principles in life.”

Evgeniya Stefaniev, a Christian psychologist and leader of the Ministerial Spouses Association in the Western Siberia Mission, led the training for local church members in Salekhard, in western Siberia. [Photo: West Siberian Mission]

Evgeniya explained that it all starts with some important decisions: the decision to change your habits, the decision to master new skills, and the decision to grow spiritually and professionally. “Overcoming difficulties on the way to implementing your decision and dedication are important qualities of winners. The words ‘Never give up’ can become the motto of the Christian life,” she said.

According to Evgeniya, overcoming the negative impact of stress in the modern world is becoming increasingly relevant. Being able to react correctly in a stressful situation and using simple secrets to combat excessive stress is important for everyone, she said.

Evgeniya also performed spiritual songs in each of the meetings.

Local leaders and members said they sincerely appreciated the visit and the training they received. “For us, this is just as important, since guests do not often come to us, and even more so with musical gifts,” Rogak said.

At the end of the meetings, leaders announced their next meeting, which will include an evangelistic event. “We are already praying for it,” they said.

The original version of this story was posted by the Euro-Asian Division.

West Siberian Mission, Euro-Asian Division, and Adventist Review