Rev. Katya Zoubkova

Rev. Katya Zoubkova is one of two missionaries supported by Alpharetta Methodist. She serves as pastor of Tyumen UMC of Salvation in Siberia. Here’s her most recent letter:

October 2017:

Dear brothers and sisters from AFUMC!

We trust that the church and everyone of you are well. We are sharing with you our latest church’s newsletter. You are a great part of our ministry here in Siberia. We appreciate your support, prayers and friendship. Recently we have purchased a new sound equipment for the church with the gifts that your church has sent us. We want to send you thanks from our praise teams and the whole church.

You are always in our prayers and thoughts. Here is our newsletter:

Thanksgiving in the U.S. is yet to come this year. We have already celebrated in Tyumen our Harvest and Thanksgiving on October 1. On that Sunday, we remembered all that God has done for us. We also remembered all our friends around the world and thanked God for all of you.

We have been in prayer as hurricanes hit the U.S. in Texas, Louisiana, Florida. We prayed for your people when shootings happened in Las Vegas. And we all are in prayer for the world daily. May God’s Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.

This was the first year under a new law concerning religious organizations and restricting missionary activity. The situation in Tyumen is peaceful and constructive, in that sense, and other than several strange visitors (“spies”) throughout the year – everything was peaceful. New laws prompted us to change the ways we share the Gospel with people. Now, each of our evangelism efforts is very well thought through. This helped us to become more serious and better prepared for the work of sharing the Gospel.  It is still mostly personal evangelism, which required much prayer and sacrificing of time. We were allowed to have two street evangelism campaigns (Easter and family awareness day), but it served more as advertisement than bringing people into the Kingdom. Almost every week we have some visitors.

Our children’s ministry is growing. At summer VBS we had 40 children and as many adult volunteers working with them. Throughout the year we have a group for toddlers and children with appropriate Bible lessons that are aimed to help children to have personal relationships with Jesus. Volunteers formed teams to work with different ages. This year we have started a teen age group. It is still in a phase of formation. Our prayer is to raise and equip a spirit-filled generation that will carry the love of Jesus in Russia and around the world.

International English speaking ministry in our church is growing all the time, attracting both foreign and Russian students. We have students from Ghana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Cameroon. We had some Spanish and French speaking students, but they did not stay due to the language barrier.

We continue to care as a church for the poor, widows and orphans that are a part of our church. We continue to serve in a nursing home in our community. We helped many elderly and handicap to accept Jesus. The administration of the nursing home is happy when we visit the facility. Our volunteers take time to listen to people, to pray with them, to entertain them with songs, riddles, puppets. A family in the church has personal ministry in an orphanage. We help them when they make trips there, with money or things. Sometimes we join with them. Today, religious organizations are restricted to visit those social institutions. But we can go as volunteers. We know that Jesus inside of us visits those children and blesses them. We hope that friendships that we make doing social work, later will allow us to share the Gospel with the words.

Our music program in the church is really growing. In spite of the fact that we do not have professional musicians or singers, there are four rather large praise teams in the church that alternate serving at the worship services in the morning and afternoon. We also have a children and teen praise group that performs occasionally. We had praise and worship nights several times throughout the year.

One of the greatest joys is the leadership team in the church — people who volunteer much and take responsibility to lead ministries in the church and outside its walls. It is not a small group of people that does everything. It is about 70% of all members who take responsibility for big or small tasks for the Lord.

Our biggest area of work this year is strengthening existing small groups and opening new ones. In small groups, people grow in faith and care for each other. With the changing laws it becomes a necessity for us. Another area of growth is the prayer life of the church. Almost all members and regular attendants have strong relationship with God, personal prayer life and personal time with the Scripture. However, we do not often gather corporately to stand before God in prayer. The only stable weekly prayer meeting is held by the foreign students and a small morning prayer meeting by the Russians. This year we plan to have prayer night vigils, prayer walks — we need to see what God is doing right now in Russia and in the world, what is our role and task and what is the next step for us in God’s big master plan. And we cannot do it on our own, we need His power.

As for our family, God has been good to us. Rouslan’s health is good — day after day, he conquers the territory of health from MS more and more. Matt is busy with school, music and wrestling. He joined a teenage group in the church. He is now as tall as me. I am on my last stage of studies — writing a dissertation. My prayer is for it to be done in a year. I still teach a class at Tyumen State University, which opens new doors and enlarges my territory. This past spring, I taught at Moscow United Methodist Seminary and enjoyed it.

We daily pray for all our friends, for our big family in Christ. As a church, we pray for all our friends, brothers and sisters. We hope that, in spite world news and new laws, we will continue to do Christ’s work together.

In Him,

Katya and Rouslan Zoubkov and Tyumen UMC of Salvation