Russian-language church in Virginia moves into first building

By Ferrell Foster

The gospel is being preached in Russian each week in a suburb outside Washington, D.C., USA, and the church recently moved into its first building after 16 years of ministry. Pastor Victor Visotsky has led the congregation, New Life Russian Church, from the start.

Visotsky, with his wife and two children, came to the United States in 1991 at age 25. They moved to Pennsylvania from Narva, Estonia, in the Soviet Union, which was coming to an end.

In Estonia, Visotsky’s family had been Baptists. His great-grandfather had been an Orthodox deacon who became one of the first Baptists in the Ukraine years before. Baptists in Estonia had limited freedom. Visotsky’s parents were fined for having prayer meetings in their home after the KGB searched and confiscated Christian materials, including their Bibles. They fortunately were not imprisoned as some others were.

After arriving in the U.S., Visotsky completed two degrees and worked as an engineer while becoming a deacon in a Russian language church in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Seventeen years ago, Visotsky was asked to come to the Virginia suburbs outside Washington to start a Russian language church. He was hesitant. The cost of living was higher, and he knew no Russian-speaking people in the area.

As they prayed for guidance about what to do, Visotsky’s parents moved to Pennsylvania from Estonia. His mother saw a doctor and learned that she had advanced cancer. The doctor gave her two weeks to live. The family prayed. After a few months, his mother returned to the doctor and learned the cancer had disappeared.

It was a miracle, and the Visotsky family understood it as, “God telling us, ‘I’m opening a door for you’” in the D.C. area, Visotsky said. “Praise god, my mother is still alive 16 years later.”

Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church, Va., supported the new ministry in “many ways,” the pastor said. The Russian-speaking group met for a time at the church building, but Visotsky said that many former Russians were still nervous about attending church openly after decades of living in a Communist state that restricted Christian activities.

The early church had more success by holding Bible studies in their home and serving chai (tea). After a time, they rented space in Fairfax, Va., before securing their own building in Sterling, Va., in November 2017.

Visotsky still preaches in Russian, with an average attendance of about 140 people each Sunday. They translate worship services into English. The church has led former Muslims, Communists, Jews, and others to faith in Christ.

The church’s witness also stretches around the world, as people go on mission trips to  Kazakhstan, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, and other places. They also support missionaries to France, Russia, and central Asia.



BWA Partners for New Position to Work with an Emerging Generation

FALLS CHURCH, Va. -- The Baptist World Alliance has named Jeff Carter director of Horizons and Congress Mobilization. This new position is part of a partnership with Canadian Baptist Ministries and enhances the commitment and capacity of the BWA to work with an emerging generation of Baptist leaders.

As director, Carter will give leadership to two major initiatives, according to Elijah Brown, BWA general secretary. First, Carter will help transition Horizons, an online youth leadership training program, from the European Baptist Federation to the BWA.

“Already translated in 11 languages and used in 30 countries, Horizons has trained thousands of individuals and, through the BWA, will have a truly global reach,” Brown said. “Horizons will provide high caliber training and coaching for those seeking to serve an emerging generation of Baptist leaders.”

Carter also will help provide leadership in mobilizing member bodies, churches, and individuals to participate in the upcoming BWA Celebration in July 2020. This 22nd BWA Congress will be in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and is expected to draw 4,000 Baptists from around the world to participate in worship, celebration, prayerful reflection, and missional action.

Themed “Together,” this celebration will be an “unparalleled opportunity for Baptists of all ages to celebrate with one another, learn from one another, and partner with one another in impacting the world for Christ,” Brown said.

Pre-registration is set to begin later this year.

Carter is a graduate of Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Acadia Divinity College, and McMaster Divinity College (Doctor of Ministry). His dissertation examined the virtual community and the millennial generation and how they engage with authentic Christian community online. He recently completed a Ph.D. at the University of Wales examining, in part, the Internet and its effect on the spiritual health of young people.

First Moncton Baptist Church ordained Carter as a Canadian Baptist minister in 1992. Since 2002, Carter, his wife Deann, and their family have served as CBM global field staff alongside the European Baptist Federation. 

Carter is a long standing member of BWA’s Youth Executive Committee and served on the International Planning Committee for two BWA Youth Conferences. He is now on the planning committee of the BWA 2020 Celebration.

Carter will begin with the BWA in September.

CBM Executive Director Terry Smith noted of Jeff and Deann Carter’s impact: “Over the past 14 years, I have watched with admiration the success of the Horizons training program for youth workers in strengthening the witness of local churches throughout Europe and the Middle East. I have also talked to many of the leaders of the European Baptist Fellowship who attest to the fact that Horizons has been a strategic, bridge-building resource, reaching even further in order to help shape a new generation of church leaders.”

Brown noted: “I am grateful to Terry Smith and CBM for the opportunity to collaborate in partnership and to work together to enhance Kingdom impact. At a time when over 65 percent of all of the world’s Christians are under the age of 45, I am excited that Dr. Carter, who has extensive experience and a joyful spirit of service, will help strengthen the ability of Baptists around the world to receive vital training. I invite us to look forward in prayerful anticipation to the launch of this initiative and to working alongside Dr. Carter as he encourages us to come together as a global family mobilized for action in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 2020.”

Baptist World Alliance® 

Nepal Baptists celebrate 25 years as national body

By Ferrell Foster

KATHMANDU, Nepal (BWA) -- Baptists in Nepal celebrated their 25th anniversary as a national group April 11. They packed a rented hall for the celebration with people standing in a courtyard outside and listening through the windows.

Denton Lotz, BWA General Secretary emeritus, assisted in the 1993 formation of the Nepal Baptist Church Council, and he returned for the April 11 celebration.

“What a joy to see God’s leading among young Baptists, eager to share the Good News of Christ,” Lotz writes. “The Nepal Baptists now have 219 churches and 248 fellowships, for a total of 467 meeting places! They have 20,000 baptized believers. ...

“Nepal Baptists are not a Western missionary-led union; they are led completely by local pastors and indigenous leaders. They are enthusiastic about the power of the gospel and the joy Christ brings to their lives.”

About 700 attended the 20th anniversary celebration. They celebrate in the midst of challenges.

“Although the new constitution declares Nepal to be a secular state,” Lotz writes, “... Christian evangelism is prohibited, and many people fear another era of persecution could come. ..."

“Pray for our brothers and sisters in Nepal as they stand firm in their faith in Christ and rejoice in how God has led them these past 25 years.

“Pray that the next 25 years will be even more glorious and that our new BWA general secretary, Elijah Brown, who sent video greetings, will help Nepal Baptists celebrate their 50th anniversary.”

(Prayer request: BWA General Secretary Elijah Brown asks prayers for Nepal General Secretary Vijay Thapa, who recently sustained a broken leg in an auto accident.)

 

Baptist World Alliance® 

Joint Statement on the Israeli-Palestinian Situation

 

Translations of the Join Statement
Traducción Española | altarjimat alearabia الترجمة العربية


 

 

 

Baptist World Alliance®
©May 22, 2018

BWA renovates offices in partnership with Texas university

DBU team in completed BWA conference room
In early March, the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) renovated the second floor of its offices in Falls Church, Virginia, in the United States, in partnership with Dallas Baptist University (DBU).

The gift in kind resulted from a visit made to the school by BWA General Secretary Elijah Brown in January. DBU President Adam Wright made the commitment as a gesture of the historical bond between both institutions.

"Improvements to the building will enhance our capacity to pursue the mission of the BWA to network the Baptist family to impact the world for Christ," Brown said. "I am grateful to DBU and, in particular, to President Adam Wright and to members of the DBU Physical Operations team led by DBU Vice President for Administrative Affairs Jonathan Teat."

"For years, DBU has been honored to be a part of the Baptist World Alliance and we believe in the work that they do to act as a voice for the Baptist family around the world," said Wright.

 

"We have known Dr. Elijah Brown for many years and were thrilled to see him named as the new head of this organization. As Dr. Brown seeks to begin this new season of growth and advancement in the history of the BWA, we could not be more pleased than to demonstrate our partnership and support by serving over spring break to help refresh their offices."
 
DBU was founded in 1898 as Decatur Baptist College, the first two-year institution of higher education in Texas. It moved to Dallas, US, in 1965, went through a series of developments and growth, and was renamed DBU in 1985.

DBU chancellor and immediate past president, Gary Cook, is a former member of the BWA General Council, chair of the Promotion and Development Committee and a charter member of the General Secretary's Circle. Other DBU faculty and former students have played important roles in BWA life.

The school hosted past BWA leaders including BWA Presidents Billy Kim, David Coffey, John Upton and Paul Msiza, as well as General Secretaries Denton Lotz and Neville Callam.

Six team members from DBU's Physical Operations spent one week repainting and replacing carpet. 
 
"It's been an honor to serve you. We are grateful to God to come and be a small part of what you're all doing around the world," said Teat. "As we worked we've been praying for the people that would be in this space. Our prayer is that this work is representative of the strong relationship that DBU has with the BWA."
 
Brown said, "BWA looks forward to continuing to be a space of welcome for Baptists from around the world. We anticipate hosting an open house once the project has been fully completed."

 

Baptist World Alliance®
©March 19, 2018