Since October of 2018, an ever-increasing number of our sisters in Russian-speaking ministries from churches in Eastern Europe to the Far Eastern Pacific shores have gathered across nine time zones, once a month, on a webinar designed to spiritually strengthen and encourage the faith and health of our women's ministries in Europe and Eurasia.
(On the call at right: sisters from Tashkent, Uzbekistan; Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, and Crimea, Russia; and Kiev, Ukraine)
We dedicate one quarter of our hour together on our monthly conference calls to a time of prayer together. We publish specific prayer needs ahead of time in an online chat and choose two or three women to pray through the list for the first fifteen minutes of each call.
Each month we have featured a different topic of interest to the women's ministry. We lightly edit and record the calls and then post them on youTube so that they can be shared freely as an online resource for more Russian-speaking women to hear and use. Our goal in choosing topics for each webinar, and for whom to invite to join the call (we can have up to 100 online at one time, using Zoom Cloud Meetings), has been to prioritize women who have some level of responsibility in their churches -- whether it's simply to disciple or mentor another sister or small group, or someone on paid staff. Currently we have an average of 15 participants per call, with many more listening to the recordings after the event. We love these innovative opportunities to learn from real-life Biblical examples of our sisters and colleagues in churches we may never have the chance to visit. This is one of the ways we are working to solve the problem of the vast distances between Eurasian churches and providing new ways to strengthen and encourage the women who faithfully serve one another in the name of Christ.
Our guest speakers generally teach a Biblical lesson with personal, real-life application, followed by 20 minutes of question-and-answer from the online group. In the photo above left, Elya Belanova, women's ministry leader from Novosibirsk, shares on the topic of Burnout; the center photo is Deanne Devries, a single women's volunteer leader and missionary from (currently) Maputo, Mozambique, on the topic of Keeping Faith Fresh; and, on the right, Olya Miheyeva from Moscow, on the topic of building strong faith in the hearts of our teens.
Another very popular talk was given by Leyla Ashikhmina, a Moscow psychologist, on her ongoing Biblical therapeutic program, Women, Confident in God.
This month's call (May, 2019) was on the topic of Overcoming Obstacles. Our guests were Jessy Tohme (above, center photo) and her mentees, Lilit Hakimian (above, left) and Daniella Rahbany Saad (above, ri