Farmington Hills, MI (PRWEB) October 23, 2013
In Khabarovsk, Russia, near a northern tip of China, a small Bible college is celebrating 20 years of training pastors. Since it opened in 1993, Far East Russia Bible College (FERBC) has trained hundreds of pastors and church leaders who have gone on to minister throughout the region as they participate in teaching, shepherding and church planting.
Mission organization SEND International helped launch FERBC at the request of the Russian Baptist Union. Pastor Gennady Abramov, a leading Russian pastor in the Khabarovsk region, spoke with SEND missionaries in Alaska in 1992, urging them to come and help. He told them about a vast region of 300,000 square miles that only had 42 churches. Of those 42 churches, a mere 18 had pastors working to reach the 1.3 million people living there. The question (and challenge) posed: Would SEND missionaries help start a Bible school to train more pastors?
Martin Kolczyk, a SEND mobilizer, led a team to construct the school building in 1995. He recalls, “For the first year they had three dorm rooms, a kitchen, a dining room that doubled as a lecture room, one toilet, one sink with only cold water, and no showers….It was rather rough, but it was a start, and they were proud to be the first Bible school in FER.”
Numerous SEND missionaries worked at the school throughout the 1990s as professors, mentors and administrators. Then in 2009, Russia changed its visa laws and many foreign workers had to leave. SEND missionaries, who had the goal of working themselves out of a job, were able to hand over full control of the school to the Russian Baptist Union which continues to run it today.
FERBC graduate Zhenya Aksutin posted in his blog on August 12, 2009, “My wife and I have finished Far East Russia Bible College. It was (an) honor for us to study (under) people (who) love God with all their hearts and serve (for) His glory! We worked for (a) new church in our city with…Ken Guenther, Director of Missions (for) SEND in (Far East Russia). He always was (full of) encouragement and blessing for us! One day in the sky we shall meet... to be together always!”
SEND missionaries Carl Kresge, Ken Guenther, and Dave Benzel traveled to Khabarovsk to take place in the anniversary celebrations.
SEND International is an interdenominational faith mission agency with approximately 600 missionaries in more than 20 areas of Asia, Eurasia, Europe and North America. SEND’s mission is to mobilize God’s people and engage the unreached in order to establish reproducing churches. SEND members are multinational and are recruited and sent from sending offices and partner agencies around the world. For more information on SEND’s mission and ministries, visit http://www.send.org.