From Our Brethren in Russia
Pastor Roman G. Schurganoff, our dear brother in the faith, reports that his little congregation, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Yekaterinburg, now numbers about twenty-five members. However, due to extremely cramped quarters, only about half of the congregation has been able to assemble together for worship at any one time. This is, of course, most unfortunate. Therefore, at its recent convention, our Conference unanimously voted to defray the cost of renting more adequate facilities both for worship services and for Bible study classes and office space.
Since the pastor was relieved of his secular work by the subsidy which our Conference authorized at its 2001 convention, his full-time ministry of the Word and Sacraments has been richly blessed by the Lord of the Church. He and his people have been able to undertake intensive mission work in the city of Yekaterinburg, in one of the city prisons, and in a regional city about an hour away by suburban train where Pastor Schurganoff has established a preaching station. He is hopeful that, by God’s grace, another Lutheran congregation of our fellowship will one day be established there. The congregation also sends out Bible lessons by mail; and this effort too has been greatly blessed. Fifteen prisoners have been baptized, and four people reached through mission work in one of the city libraries are regularly attending services and have begun adult instruction preparatory to confirmation.
Pastor Schurganoff and one of his active members, Mr. Sergey Solovyov, have been studying English this past year at a special language school in the city. It is the fervent hope of both men that their work in English, underwritten by our Conference, will in time enable them to pursue further theological training at or at least through our Conference seminary.
The pastor’s family has been enduring severe crosses by reason of ill health. Their one-and-a half year-old son, Nickolai, suffers from developmental problems since his birth, including motor and speech difficulties; but he is progressing “normally” for his condition, the doctors say. His treatment is very expensive in terms both of medicines and procedures. Mrs. Schurganoff [Elena] has also been ill, suffering with heart problems which became aggravated in connection with Nickolai’s birth. Let us pray the Lord, for Jesus’ sake, to relieve these dear brethren if it be His will and to strengthen them not only physically but above all spiritually to bear with patience the loving chastisements of their heavenly Father and to rely upon His grace which is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Let us also cheerfully and richly support the Lord’s work in their midst with generous offerings for the mission work of our Conference and, if possible, also with special gifts for the needs of the Schurganoff family —all to the praise of God’s grace to us poor sinners in Christ Jesus, our Savior!