It will be hard to describe today in words. All of us were blessed to have the privilege of worshipping with our Russian brothers and sisters in Tambov. We were overcome with many emotions as we spent the day with the members of Spring of Life Church, the baptist church we support through SGA.
We started the day with a 9:00 a.m. service in the building of a local pentecostal church. We met here so that we could use their baptistry and praise God for the testimony of four individuals who obediently entered into the waters of baptism as a declaration of God's saving grace in their lives.
Following the baptisms, we traveled across town to the main church building. This is the building that they have been constructing for the past three years and it is nearing completion. Much to our delight, today was the first day they have used air conditioning since it was installed. And it was needed! The building was packed out. Every seat was filled. Then they brought in additional seats - and those were filled. And still many more stood! Regular attendees, out of town visitors, students from camp, and many unbelievers (including two we invited on a bus at 11pm last night!) came to hear the Word preached! And God answered prayer in sustaining Pastor Bill and allowing him to clearly present the good news of the gospel from Ephesians 2:4-5.
As Pastor Bill stated during the opening of his sermon, all of the days' events were a testimony to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: from the baptisms, to the fellowship we shared together around the Lord's table, to the preaching of the Word.
We encourage you to watch the recording of the service below. While we believe you will be blessed to watch the entire service to see how believers in the Lord Jesus worship in another culture and language, if you wish to skip to the English portion and Pastor Bill's sermon fast forward to approximately 1h 22m. (Yes, nearly 90 minutes before the sermon even starts! Who said our services were long???!)
After church everyone stayed for a meal where we had many more opportunities to continue discussions with individuals we met at camp. The gospel was shared time and time again. Please pray for those who heard it and yet still do not know the Lord Jesus as their savior!
We spent the rest of the day walking around Tambov and enjoying a meal together. Despite being in Tambov we are having a hard time finding WiFi to upload photos. Here are just a few from yesterday: