First-time events are exciting, memorable, and faith-building. The first-ever Asian Youth Corps, held during the last week of July 2018 in stunning Cholpon-Ata, in the Issyk-Kul province in Kirghizia (also known as Kyrgyzstan, one of the former republics of the Soviet Union), was all of this and more!
Not to be confused with Hope Youth Corps, the Central Asian Youth Corps (pictured above) was the Central Asian churches' first ever teen and preteen camp. 43 preteens and teens (and a handful younger still) from the five Central Asian churches enjoyed days of spiritual teaching, fun and fellowship like they've never seen before in their lives. The Moscow church sent their best teen ministers, Sasha and Sveta Kotz and Volodya and Ksiusha Kolmakovi, to oversee the youth camp and to train local Central Asian teen leaders, who served as counselors during the week's activities.
(Photos above, L-R: Sveta and Sasha Kotz; a team of teens huddle before a game; Kotzes debrief local teen leaders)
A conference for small group leaders and anyone else who wished to attend ran simultaneously with the youth camp. Entitled, "Called," this disciples' conference was the largest gathering of Central Asian disciples in fifteen years. 63 adults attended, from Bishkek, Kirghizia, where the small church has only 7 members; from Dushanbe, Tajikistan, where there are 4 members (all of whom came); from Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (16 members); from Almaty, Kazakhstan (30 members); and Tashkent, Uzbekistan (32 members). Most all of the small group leaders from each church attended, thanks to generous Special Contributions from US disciples who give to Eurasian Missions.
Meaty Bible teaching was provided by Dr. John Oakes, Teacher and author from San Diego, California, who, as a recently retired chemistry professor, paid his own expenses to "drop in" to this remote location on his way back from teaching in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Andy and Tammy Fleming (Kiev, Ukraine), Kolya and Lina Morozov and Sasha Bazashvili (Moscow), Dima Mungalov (Ashgabat), Sasha Tsoi (Tashkent) and Vlad Abdullayev (Almaty) were also on the teaching roster.
(Photos below: Left-- Lina Morozova of Moscow teaching the women; Center -- Sasha Tsoi of Tashkent preached an excellent multi-generational sermon on the final Sunday to all the adults, youth and children together; Right-- Vlad Abdullayev of Almaty teaching)
(Photos above: Left -- Dima Mangalov of Ashgabat; Center -- Sasha Bazashvili of Moscow with John Oakes and Tammy Fleming; Right -- Andy Fleming)
A couple from Novosibirsk, Russia, Rashid and Natasha Sadikovi, came to Issyk-Kul to participate in the conference. Rashid's 90-year-old mother lives 10