At 08.30 on the Sunday morning I was collected by the Pastor of the church in Pervomaiske and driven for an hour to the small town of about 9,000 people. In the photo above,the Pastor is on the left at the front. After the worship I preached and then several in the church took part, reading scriptures or singing songs. My interpreter Julia said this was usual for them at Easter, Pentecost and Christmas. Here are four of the ladies who read scriptures about Christ being risen.
After the meeting the church were having lunch together just as the church in Balaclava had done, but I was whisked away with the pastor and Julia and her husband Roman to lunch in a nearby house.
Here are Julia and Roman. It was Julia's first time to translate in a church meeting.
After lunch I met up with Martyn who had preached at the church in Armyansk, and we travelled back to Simferopol to a Tartar church led by Andrei, photo below. Historically the Tartar people are Muslim.
For worship the women singers and musicians wear their national dress and they sing in the Crimean Tartar language. All other speaking and preaching is in Russian.
The children were invited to recite a verse of scripture. If they could do this in Russian they received a chocolate bar, if they could speak it in Tartar they received a Kinder surprise.
Again Martyn spoke on the fact that Jesus has risen from the dead, and then we prayed for sick people to be well and prayed and prophesied over people.
A year ago when in this church we heard the remarkable story that the lady below has to tell how Jesus healed her and her son. Briefly, she was in hospital to give birth to her 6th child by C section, when the nursing staff gave her too much anaesthetic. She went into a coma and was put on a life support machine. During this time Jesus came to her three times dressed as a doctor and told her not to fear as she would be healed. When she awoke from her coma she began to disconnect herself from the life support machine, and told the medical staff of her vision. They thought she had lost her mind. Then some Orthodox believers passed by her room door carrying an icon of Jesus that was exactly as she had seen in her vision. She exclaimed that this was the man she had seen during her coma and in that moment believed on Jesus. Later, she prayed for one of her sons at home who had never walked from birth. That night her husband heard movement and going to the bedroom door found their son who had never walked, walking. Many in her village have come to Christ and her story has impacted many other Tartar people.
Her remarkable story brought our time in the Crimea to a close. It was home to my host, yet another meal, and a very early start on Monday morning getting me back to Gatwick by midday.
A video clip of a Tartar girl dancing during worship.
Some of the varied Books I've read recently in no particular order....
The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni. Another one of those books I wish I could have read 20 years ago. Excellent about how to achieve organisational health.
The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware. very helpful in helping to understand Orthodox history and thinking. The Orthodox Church is the main church in Serbia and Macedonia.
Austria-Hungary and the orgins of the first world war. Helps with the historical background to the Balkans. The Powers at work then are still at work today, politically, economically. Samuel R Williamson Jr
Bradt Guide to Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia etc (excellent and sometimes the only guides avaiable for lesser known countries)
Jesus through Middle Eastern eyes. Opened my eyes to see the Gospels in a new way. Kenneth E Bailey