Previous Letters from Katya

Letters from Rev. Katya Zoubkova and the congregation of Tyumen UMC of Salvation in Siberia. Read her most recent correspondence here.

June 28, 2017:

We wanted to share with you that dedication of the building of the church on June 18. Bishop, District Superintendant, President of Moscow seminary and many friends of the church came to be a part of this event. We know that not everyone, who participated in this project, could come. But you were with us in our hearts. Thank you for a beautiful letter from your church for our dedication and for a powerful pray that we have received.

We announced during the service all who participated in the long process of construction. No names are written on the walls of the church (because of laws and times in our country), but the names are written in the hearts of saved people and in heavens. We all are ever grateful for your part in ministry with us here from the very beginning.

The land was purchased in 2004 in the outskirts of the city and construction began in the summer of 2006. During these years the building was completed (except of some minor things), the city grew around enormously; the congregation grew in numbers and in faith. Many people have taken part in this project. And this is not an end, this is a continuation of what God has already started and the beginning of something what He has in His mind. During this process, friendships were made and strengthened; many projects have been accomplished; many souls have found life in Jesus. Our children grew up along with the construction – most of them teens or youth now. New children were born to first generation Christian families. It is exciting to see children growing in the church. For some – it is a usual thing, for us – it is a new experience! We wish we could send you many pictures and videos of dedication service, but with the new laws we cannot show much. But we want to thank you for your prayers, gifts, friendship and support. We are excited to see what God is going to do next! How great is our God!

This month we had several exciting events, besides dedication. Our church hosted regional meeting for 50 pastors of all Protestant denominations. We also hosted eight tons of Bibles and two tons of other Christian literature that has been distributed to all churches to be equipped for ministry in the region. We prayed, shared the Word and worshiped together. We could experience how beautiful is the Body of Christ.

 

Katya with the Bishop during the church dedication service.
Testimonies during the church dedication service.
Vacation Bible School

This month we had VBS. Because of new laws we cannot have camps for children. Thus we had a four-day children’s celebration. We had 40 children and about 40 adults who helped with the program, in the kitchen, etc. Children accepted Jesus in their lives and were touched by the Holy Spirit. Of course, they had fun and made new friends.

This month we had first farewell service for the graduates – foreign students who became a part of our church. Over 40 foreign students attend our church and actively participate in its life and ministry from Africa and South America. They will be great Christian leaders in their courtiers, and we are happy to be a part of their lives.

The building is being used by God’s people all the time for God’s ministry. We thank God for the freedom that we still have. We pray for more lives to be saved by Jesus. We pray for the maturity of all the church to be prepared to forward the Kingdom under any circumstances.

We thank AFUMC for the gifts towards musical instruments. At the end of the last year we have purchased a new mixer board, electric and bass guitars with all necessary equipment. Lately we have purchased a new nice keyboard (working station) and are about to buy a new acoustic guitar. We have now three praise teams, and we are starting a new praise team. This ministry allows youth, students and adults be active in church worship. The old keyboard was given to us by AFUMC in 2006; it is still working and will be used to teach children and youth to play music and worship. Thank you for equipping us for ministry.

Please, pray for us. Our prayers are with you. We treasure our friendship.

Katya and Rouslan Zoubkov and Tyumen UMC of Salvation

New Year 2017

Our dear friends,

We wish you a blessed New Year! We pray for you to be very fruitful in work, ministry, and family. We remember the Words of Jesus, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (Gospel of John 15:5)

We apologize for not sending a Christmas greeting from us and Tyumen church. My brother died right before Christmas, and I had to go and be with my mother to help and to comfort. I was back for the Christmas day in Tyumen. For the first time we had about 120 people over three services — Russian, children’s and English service (for students).

Katya, Rouslan, Matt Zoubkov and Tyumen UMC of Salvation

One of three praise teams at Tyumen UMC of Salvation.

One of Tyumen UMC of Salvation’s three praise teams performs.

 

Easter 2016

Dear friends!

Greetings from Tyumen UMC of Salvation!

We wish you more than a Happy Easter! We wish you to encounter and witness the power of the risen Lord daily! 

The Rev. Katya and Rouslan Zoubkov and Tyumen UMC of Salvation

 

We would like to join with the chorus from Jesus Culture:

The Greatest Day in History

Death is beaten, You have rescued me
Sing it out, Jesus is alive!

The empty Cross, the empty grave
Life eternal, You have won the day
Shout it out, Jesus is alive!
He’s alive!

Oh, happy day, happy day
You washed my sin away
Oh, happy day, happy day
I’ll never be the same
Forever I am changed!

Some news from still cold Siberia:

The best thing that the power that raised Christ from the dead is still resurrecting dead lives!

Alexi, who stood between life and death in his addiction, is free today, service the Lord. It seems impossible to turn an agnostic into a devout believer in Christ.

Every week we have first time visitors in the church. Lord help us to lead them to the Cross and help them to grow with You!

We were blessed to host several events – District conference, Brave and Humble forum for young pastors and leaders and a Women’s conference (Encounter).

Brotherhood is growing in the church. It is so important with a lady-pastor.

English ministry is growing. Strong leaders grow in this student ministry.

We have three praise teams in the church now.

The constructions stopped for the winter and we planned to do a parking lot. But then Eurasia UMC has announced a year of mission, and we decided to finish missionary rooms and a shower. Brown and pink missionary rooms are ready. Bright red shower room is almost done. We look forward to accept missionaries!!

Our prayers are always with you. Your thoughts and prayers for us are so important! Please pray for Easter evangelism (Easter in Russian is on May 1 this year), for children’s and youth camps in the summer. For salvation of people in Siberia!

 

Autumn 2015

Dear Friends!

We have already celebrated our Thanksgiving/ harvest fest, and there is much snow already on the ground. But we want to thank God with you for all that He has done and is doing in our lives. And we want to thank God for you, your friendship, prayers and support over the years. We want share with you what God is doing in Tyumen!

 

A short tour around the building “Dreams from God come true”. 11 years ago we purchased a piece of land in the outskirts of the city of Tyumen. Nine years ago the construction of a church building started. It was a crazy project. Little money, few people and a strong sense that it needs to be done. We thank all our friends, churches who felt a call from God to support this construction and the congregation over the years. Starting from this year, the building is fully functioning. We moved to a new sanctuary that is absolutely beautiful, full of light and warmth. There is a fellowship area for tea, coffee and group meetings. There are three bathrooms, one of which is handicap accessible. The ground floor has a little kitchen where food is cooked for children’s camps, youth conferences, pastor’s meetings and other church events; a youth room with  a ping-pong table, and a library/office room. The office area on the third floor is not finished yet and is currently used for humanitarian aid room, with clothes and other items. There is a large room used for Bibles and Christian literature. Pastors from other denominations come to us to get literature and Bibles. The fourth floor above the sanctuary with pretty fairy windows has three children’s rooms: one for babies, one for toddlers and one for older kids for children’s lessons. During the week, classes are used for free English lessons. On the top floor, little guest rooms are not done yet; we use them to store costumes, decorations, summer toys for a playground and other stuff.

This building is the only handicap-accessible church in Tyumen so far. There is a ramp for wheelchairs and strollers.

We plan, next year, to make a good parking lot and a nice path through the muddy area that leads to the building. The building is fully functioning and is busy every day. The congregation covers the utilities and up keep of the building with its offering. It is an exciting place. We invite all our friends who prayed, supported or invested in this project to come to Tyumen to see, to enjoy, to fellowship. This building is a miracle! We look forward to see many more miracles of God in the building and through it.

churchbuilding

Youth ministry: A few years ago, we realized that we do not have youth in the church. A few youth who attended were bored and left the church with the time. We did nothing for the youth because there were no youth to work with. We set a goal to bring youth to the church. Three years in a row, we organized youth camps and invited a team from Yekaterinburg to help us. We sent our few youth to camps and conferences to the churches that had mature Christian youth. This all was very costly and a lot of work, but we pushed it! This year at another youth camp, young people accepted Jesus and were filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they helped to lead children’s camp in the church. At the end of August we organized a youth conference in our church and invited guests. We had 50 people at the youth conference. Currently we have a home youth group and a youth praise team. This year we purchased a nice ping-pong table and put up a volleyball net (it was given to us by a mission team from WV many years ago). Young and old in the church enjoy playing. We were able to attract unchurched youth to use church facility to to play volleyball and ping-pong.

youthandkidskids

Our mission trips. It has been a mission year for us. Seventeen of us went to the city of Kurgan, and 15 of us went to the Yekaterinburg to lead worship service and encourage a Methodist congregation. We also went to encourage Pentecostal congregations in to Tavda town and  Shorokhova village – and we were encouraged ourselves by participating in missionary work. We continue to work with our own missions, with people in Reshetnikova and Kunchur villages. Our work in Molodyozhny village is done by a family that lives there.

Harvest in small groups. This year our Harvest and Thanksgiving celebration was casual – a potluck dinner and a program after church. We thanked God for blessings all of us beyond the measure. Our main Harvest and Thanksgiving celebration happened in home groups. Those who attend small groups invited their friends to their homes for a feast. It is in home groups we prepare mansions for Christ’s harvest. Besides five stable home groups, we have a young mother’s group, a brother’s weekly meeting, two intercessory warriors groups and two morning prayer groups.

adultspews

Children’s ministry: In the spring our children’s ministry was a mess – all ages were together; no discipline. Teachers were tired entertaining them. We were not able to teach any spiritual truth to them, because we always tried to keep them quiet. We thought of strategies to take back God-given authority over the kids. Children’s volunteers, parents, our helpers student’s from Africa and youth were able to deal with a discipline in the children’s ministry. It worked. New rooms for each age group also helped. Before finishing the walls, every member of congregation could write a scripture verse on the walls to bless children. Kids, themselves, wrote and drew their wishes and scripture verses. Now our children are learning scripture verses and spiritual truths in a Godly environment. Nina, children’s coordinator, educates parents how to bring up kids, so that they know the Lord personally.

Worship service in English: This service is attended by students from Africa and church youth. Rrecently we had visitors from Tajikistan, and even from Venezuela. Students from Ghana have become such a vital part of the church. They help with children, music, evangelism, youth, and intercessory prayer. Here in our church, they learnt to play music instruments and formed an inspiring praise team. Each of them takes turns preaching. Our prayer is that each of them will become a great Christian leader in their country, fully equipped to lead and serve. Soon, we expect the arrival of new students. But we also hope that our English service will be attended by those who travel from Europe and the U.S. for business to Tyumen. Share this with your friends who go to Tyumen. Our church is located at Shirotnaya street 180, phone – +7-912-383-6281.

africanworshippers

We have three worship teams now – a mixed adult/youth team, youth praise team and English team. All three are strong worshippers, capable to lead congregations in worship.

singing

We continue to seek the Lord. John Wesley also sought the Lord and finally found Him personally and was filled with extraordinary power to preach the gospel. We want the same. We have weekly morning prayers to seek God’s face. We had a spiritual retreat for church members in May with Rev. Bert Coffman of West Virginia and, lately, a prophetic conference with Rev. Willie du Toit from South Africa.

Religious freedom is getting tighter with world events. All religious organizations are closely watched. We are having less and less opportunities to share the gospel freely outside the church buildings. Leaders of Tyumen religious organizations were able to establish good relationships with the government. We still enjoy freedoms to have some open-air evangelism events. In neighboring regions, some Christian summer camps were closed. Some churches were refused rents in nonreligious buildings and had to seek refuge at other churches. Thus a Methodist church in Yekaterinburg now hosts two Pentecostal and one Baptist congregation. We know that it is getting harder to openly share Christian faith in yours and other parts of the world. Let us pray for each other so we can stand strong on what we believe is truth, so we can be bold and wise to share life and we have in Jesus with others, so that they also can have life

Some family news: As most of you know Rouslan had a difficult year. He was paralyzed twice and once he was in an intensive care, poisoned by conflicting medicines. He was able to experience God’s healing power. Today he feels even better than before. School is tough for Matt. The teacher is not able to give special attention to each of 36 kids, so I tutor my son in the main subjects myself. I am behind with my assignments in my PhD program. Right now I am doing a teaching practicum in a local Bible college, teaching sociology of religion. I was also invited to teach at one of the state universities next year.

Always praying for you,

In Christ,

Pastor Katya and Congregation of Tyumen UMC of Salvation

Great News from Tyumen: July 2015

Katya_2  Katya_4

While the whole world is stunned at war conflicts and moral situation in the world, we try to see what Jesus calls us to do in the midst of all of this.

Family Day evangelism. On June 21, our church actively participated with all Protestant churches in an evangelism campaign devoted to Biblical family values. Last year the program was so successful that city administration (which is always very reserved to support any Protestant minority activity) even supported financially. Protestant Christians put up a great concert from 2pm to 6pm nonstop in the main City Park. Each church had a spot, where we gave out literature, drinks, visited with people, played games and organized competitions. We were able to talk about Christ and Biblical family values to a great number of people. We gave out  New testaments, nice magazines with words of Scripture, booklets on family. Our youth performed on a stage, as well as our praise team.  We were so excited to be given free four hours to talk freely, loudly about Jesus in our city. We were happy to carry the verses of Scripture about family on the streets of Tyumen.

On June 22-24 we had a church camp for youth in the forest. There were 19 youth and 7 adults serving them. Great weather, great games, great fellowship. But the best part is that youth gave their lives to Jesus and were powerfully touches by the Holy Spirit. An inspiring story. Last year Nastya A, who used to come as a little girl to church children’s activities, accepted the Lord at the youth camp. She has become one of a very active leaders of the church this year. At this camp, another Nastya S., who also was taken by relatives to some of our children’s activities in the past, were invited to the camp. She accepted the Lord with her whole heart at this camp. Then she served at a children’s camp as a councelor. She says she feels happiness and gladly worships the Lord. I thank God that He let me see the fruits of our labor: we have been investing in children all these years, and now they are coming to the Lord as teens. I can’t tell you how excited we are!!!!!

On June 25-27 we had a children’s camp in the church – 12 children, 4 teens helping and 9 adults serving. The program was written by church members. It was interesting and exciting. At the evening kids hold candles and gave testimonies what God has done in their lives. It has been an exciting week!

There is one more joy we want to share. A Baptist pastor from Lugansk came to visit Tyumen. Lugansk is one of the hot regions in the Ukraine that is suffering from war. Members of our church made a collection for the saints in the Ukraine. I believe – this is our response to war – to continue to spread the Gospel over the land and to love one another.  We heard great news that a Methodist church in Lugansk is still very active – we were told before that it is not any more. We heard that their will have a children’s camp in Lugansk. We were moved by God to share finances with them for the camp for kids in the territory where there is war. We had tears when we received reports from a pastor of a Baptist church who sent pictures of children from the camp and words of thanks. We just wanted to say: How great is our God!

Thank you all, who pray for us, who support us, who love us. We love you! We are so to be in ministry together for our Lord Jesus!

Pastor Katya Zubkova

Spring 2014

Dear friends,

We hope everyone is well. I know many of you have prayed for us, our evangelism rallies and the construction of the church. I have been so busy with my doctoral studies, with preparation for several evangelism campaigns in the city and villages, and with the beginning of the construction season, that [I] just got to writing about what has happened since our Christmas outreach.

In 2013-14 we had 10 people baptized, and 1 renewed baptismal vows. Seven of them [were] from the villages. It is a lot for our small church. One of the inspiring stories — the story of Semyon, who was baptized this May. He is 26, served 9 years in prison and heard the Gospel in prison from Sasha, who also heard the Gospel in prison from Katya and Rouslan Zubkova when they preached in prison. Semyon is a social orphan, and before going to his hometown, he came to Tyumen right after the release from prison to meet with the church and be baptized. His faith is strong and his decision to follow Jesus is strong. Church members extended hospitality in their home for him. Brothers provided him a job for a week so that he [could] earn some money. He went to his hometown, Beryozovo, further into Siberia, with prayers and some funds. In Beryozovo, we could [find] only one Baptist church in the whole region, we suggested [he] join them for now. May be, he will start his own home group? When we preached in the prison 10 year ago, did we know that some seeds [would] grow in such a beautiful way! We praise the Lord for Semyon! Keep him in your prayers.

We had an exciting Easter evangelism rally this April. City administration allowed Protestant churches to have Easter celebration in the parks of Tyumen…. In the morning we had an evangelism concert in Reshetnikova village, where we talked about the meaning of Easter, called to repentance, sang songs and played with children. In the afternoon we organized a concert in one of the city parks not far from the church and gave away 500 sacks with New Testaments, booklets about the real meaning of Easter and addresses of all protestant churches in the city. We also gave our balloons with words: Christ is risen. Protestants gave away…25,000 bags with New Testaments in the city and villages around! This year our goal was not just to sing and give away literature. We talked to people, and some accepted the Lord, some just took literature and address of the church. In the main park our church prepared a table with Christian literature and refreshments. People eagerly came and visited. All literature was taken away.

On May 31, Council of Christian Churches got permission from the city and regional administration to have a rally for traditional family values and healthy life. It was one of the most exciting events. Every protestant church prepared a table with literature, refreshments and entertainment for kids in the Main City Park in Tyumen. Members of the church carried big boards with words from the Scripture: “So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and femalecreated he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply” (Gen. 1:27,28). “ Husbands, love your wives” (Eph. 5:25) “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Ex. 20:12); as well as general expressions: “strong family – strong country,” “divorce is not the answer.” A big concert was organized, [and] the best songs about family from each church were presented. Members of the church had the best time standing for the traditions family values in the city. We believe that we need to be “the salt” to salt the city, we need to be “the light” – visible in the city. As well, we need to use any opportunity to share the Gospel while we have time and favor to multiply disciples. We think if Lot was salt and the light, there will be at least 10 righteous enough to save the city from the destruction….

We continue our social ministry in the center for handicap and elderly – weekly visitations, crafts, help with care, prayer, helping them to repent and find peace with God, concerts for Christmas, handicap awareness day, women’s and men’s day and for Easter. We always make little personal gifts for each of 36 inhabitants. Our church continues to help poor families with children who are in difficult situation. The church has organized another social project for children with development and speech delay. We organized the project together with a physical therapist from West Virginia and her company. Nancy has been to Tyumen many times and came to know many children with delays and disabilities. Nancy led an education seminar for mothers and child development, and then a local speech pathologist looked [at] children and provided necessary advice. Several mothers, who did not pay attention to the delays in their kids’ developments were encouraged to help their children have a better future. We were also so glad to use our church building for the social project.

We continue our mission in the villages. Reshetnikova village has a home group that meets for the Bible study and prayer. The village culture is not an easy one to work with. Our dream is to have a worship service there weekly this year. Bible studies in Molodyozny village have not been very consistent this year because the family there who hosts it had a third baby. But we have new people in a Bible study and more people with whom we have now relationships. Our ministry in Kunchur village is also complicated, because it is rather far, and a family that goes there are about to have a third baby. We pray for a weekly Bible study there. We have not been in Molchanova village since Christmas. The church is small, and everyone has multiple volunteer tasks. We will go there next Christmas, but we pray for a contact person from our church or that village to emerge, so that we can start working there more. The family that we baptized from Uspenka village is not very active. We pray for them, for their faith to grow, so that they start to be the light for their village.

Construction of the church building. We had a very long and cold spring. Snow [fell] again at the end of April and in May, and we had to wait again until it [was] gone and spring waters [were] dried up. One project has been completed in May already – ventilation system in the building. These are the last holes we had to make in the walls J. We planned to start with the ramp and also pour cement around the church to finish the insulation part. But the building committee has decided that the roof [is the] more urgent project. So, right now there is a team working on the roof, and also there is a team that makes the floors on the main floor in the sanctuary! It is hard to believe that we got to the sanctuary, and we can only dream that we can get to worship there before the winter. We will work hard and see. We had a full worship last week, about 40 people in the church, and it felt crowded in the basement. We pray to make more room for new people. But we also need to make all other parts of the building functional and looking nicely. We want to thank all of you who supported construction with prayers and gifts. We also pray that there might be specialists in plumbing, electricity, remodeling, etc., [who] would like to come on a mission trip to Tyumen to work along with us, with good advice and good skill.

“For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel [with] those seven; they [are] the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.” (Zechariah 4:10)  Sometimes we feel so small and incapable…. But we try, and we believe that there will be a day when we rejoice seeing the fruits of the labor.  May the Lord encourage you in all small things that you do for Him and in His name.

With prayers,

Katya Zubkova and the congregation of Tyumen UMC of the Salvation