“The church was built on a hill and was seen from everywhere in the village.”
Nestled among the natural splendor of Russia’s smallest region, you will find the tiny, rural town of Znamenka. Like many other places in Eastern Europe, Znamenka has been hit hard by an economic downturn that has plagued the region for years. Znamenka’s young adults dream of escaping the sleepy town in exchange for the big city, where jobs are more plentiful.
Znamenka holds one spark of hope: a church that the locals call “the light on the hill.”
In spite of its rough, wood panel construction, this church has been ministering to children and families since 1954. They have an Easter celebration. Summer camps. A fall festival. The church brings the local people together and gives them hope for a stable life in Christ. Other churches in nearby towns look to it as an example of faithful Bible teaching.
At least they did…until it was claimed by wildfires in early 2015. The wooden structure burned completely to the ground.
The loss was devastating. With other homes and businesses destroyed by the fire, the congregation couldn’t afford to rebuild their church. So they asked ICM for help. We said yes.
In November 2015, we asked our supporters to help restore “the light on the hill.” And you gave generously. The congregation got to work rebuilding their church. It quickly took shape.
Soon, we received the exciting news: the new church was finished! And it was beautiful. Gone were the drab, drafty wood panels. The new building stood strong and bright at the top of the hill, warm and welcoming.
On dedication day, the whole community packed the church to thank God for His provision. Though the average person couldn’t find Znamenka on a map, He had remembered them.
This event marked a new beginning for Znamenka Church. Over the next three years, they wrote,
“After the fall of the Soviet Union, people actively sought God. In Russia, a revival took place. In the time of 1986-1990, six people were baptized each year. This year, 2017, eight people were converted to Jesus Christ. They are preparing for baptism. We thank the Lord for the revival of the people around us!”
“On July 10, we had a baptism service at the lake’s shore. At first, we prepared two people to be baptized, but right before the event, another lady expressed a desire to be baptized.”
“Children are attending our Sunday school from two different communities. The Sunday school leaders support each other in the ministry, and they organized a children’s summer camp. Children are looking forward to this camp. There is a program for them, where they can hear the stories from the Bible and can get to know Jesus Christ. They can participate in various workshops such as sports, crafting, singing, hiking…”
“This period of the last six months, the house of worship was never empty!”
Your support didn’t just restore a church on a hill. It revived a community’s hope in Christ. Please keep praying for the believers in Znamenka, that the Lord would continue to bless them.