This summer, two family retreats and a youth retreat were held by our partner churches in Russia, demonstrating the importance of family, as well as God’s care for individual families and His family, the Church. The first section below was shared by Deacon Vyacheslav Shadrin, head minister of Transfiguration Lutheran in Minusinsk and Holy Trinity Lutheran in Krasnoyarsk, congregations of Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod (LCMS) partner church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia (ELCIR). The LCMS supports projects with this partner.
A summer family retreat “Tropinka (‘Footpath’) 2013” was held in Khakassia from June 23 to 29, 2013.
The retreat’s motto was the words of Jesus Christ: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV).
During the week, the children and their parents learned Luther’s commentaries on the Ten Commandments from the Small Catechism and several Bible verses. Each morning and evening the participants prayed Luther’s morning and evening prayers, sang hymns and listened to a Scripture lesson. Before lunch, they learned songs that are commonly used in The Church of Ingria. The retreat leaders offered the children a science class, scouting and archery training, lessons in playing musical instruments and choir singing. The parents, too, used their talents to help lead the retreat activities.
The retreat concluded with a daytime hike during which the participants established a cross as a remembrance of the retreat time. As another keepsake, all the participants received bandannas and colorful retreat notebooks with important information. Praise God for this year’s retreat and please pray for the plans of the ELCIR Siberian District to conduct a new retreat next year.
This second section was shared by Rev. Yaroslav Boychenko, pastor with LCMS partner church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia (ELCIR). The LCMS supports projects with this partner.
From July 5 to 7, 2013, the Lutheran (ELCIR) Congregation in Nizhny Novgorod conducted an outreach and diaconal family retreat for church members and non-Lutheran families in Lukino, Nizhny Novgorod region. The theme of the retreat was “Family As the Fullness of Life and Joy.” This was the second retreat that had been organized by the church members Vyacheslav and Olga Lebedev. The retreat gathered 12 families totaling 44 people including 16 children. Besides the Lebedevs, the retreat leaders’ team included, among others, the newly-wed couple Sergei and Anna Tolochkov (née Kaprinina).
This year’s topics for the retreat’s adult sessions were “The six stages of marriage. Preparing our relationship for change” (based on an English-language Christian course for married couples); “How different are our characters? Taking into account our child’s character traits as we bring him up,” “Parents are human. Dealing with our feelings (guilt, shame, anger) as we bring up our child.”
The children’s sessions included skits enacted by the youth leaders on such topics as heaven, God’s creation, sin, the blood of Christ, purity of heart, and God’s gift of family, as well as discussions, crafts, games and singing. On Sunday, July 7, 2013, Rev. Boychenko led a worship service which included a special blessing for the parents and their children.
Deacon Shadrin also shares with us that a Youth Camp took place this summer in Khakassia. This information is from Deacon Shadrin and the ELCIR website.
A youth camp called “Polygon” was held in Khakassia from August 7-17, 2013. The participants of the camp’s first part were scouting groups from Omsk and Sayanogorsk while in its second part the camp was joined by youth groups from the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Transfiguration Lutheran Congregation in Minusinsk (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria). The spiritual aspect of the camp was Bible studies on the Apostle’s Creed as explained in Luther’s Small Catechism. The camp participants prayed Luther’s morning and evening prayer at the start and at the end of the day and sang Christian hymns.
After the morning exercises, breakfast and Bile study, the young people were divided into two groups: one prepared the obstacle course, the other cleaned and prepared the rock-climbing wall. At the end of the camp, the young people prepared and tested part of the obstacle course and two new routes of the rock-climbing wall– one for rock-climbing and the other for climb and descent with the help of an ascender (a jumar). The participants received the gifts of souvenir booklets with songs, T-shirts, sleeve badges with the Polygon 2013 symbol, and other “scout” things.
- Please pray for the families of these retreats that they would continue to be strengthened and grow in faith together.
- Please pray for the youth, as well, that they would be encouraged to live and grow in their faith.
- Pray for the work of The Siberian Lutheran Church and The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia, that it would continue to bring the light of Christ to all people in their midst.
- Pray for all families that God would strengthen and preserve them.