Peace to you, dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Missionary work in our country is often not a “Christian pioneer mission” but the attempt to restore what existed a hundred years ago. Of course, we will never be able to restore that huge and great Lutheran Church, which was the second most important denomination (after the Russian Orthodox Church) in the Russian Empire. At present, Lutheranism is only a small religious minority in our country.
A hundred years ago, Lutheran churches stood throughout our country. And where there was no church building, there were parish houses where priests from neighboring parishes came to serve parishioners (to baptize, to give Holy Communion, to conduct weddings, and to instruct in the catechism).
Such a parish house once stood in the village of Oravka. It was inhabited mainly by ethnic Estonians who moved into Siberia from the northwest of the then Russian Empire at the end of the 19th century and brought their Lutheran faith here.
German-speaking Lutherans also lived in neighboring villages. (And many Russian Germans still live in this part of Siberia, and they also need to be reached by our mission. We are obliged to carry the Word and the sacraments to the people living in these places).
During the Soviet era, the parish house in Oravka was confiscated and destroyed. Then many people left the village, but many remained. And the priests from Novosibirsk began to visit the village regularly to remind its inhabitants of their Lutheran roots, baptize those who have not yet been baptized, and teach everyone the basics of the faith. And also to help them in their difficult life.
At the end of last week, two-day theological seminars were held in Oravka, and during a Sunday liturgy priest Andrei Lipnitsky gave the confirmation (by the blessing of our Bishop) to four parishioners.
All this took place in the village club. But the Lutherans in Oravka have a dream: to build a small new church. There is already land allocated by the local authorities, and even a beautiful architectural project. But the villagers are very poor so they ask you to pray for funds to be found, and if you can help please help.
And we ask you to pray for missionary work in Siberia.