In Russia, a different kind of revolution
The Neva Church of Christ hosted “Finding Hope,” a seminar focusing on nine women in the Bible whose lives were revolutionized when they encountered God.
The women studied — including Hagar, Rahab, Hannah, Naomi, Ruth and the woman caught in adultery mentioned in the Gospel of John — struggled with issues such as infertility, alienation and the consequences of unwise choices.
About 25 women participated in the “Finding Hope” conference hosted by the Neva Church of Christ.
“When we were invited to present these lessons, we were told that women in Eastern Europe struggle with hopelessness and despair,” said Judy Bittick, one of four Americans who traveled to St. Petersburg for the event. “Our purpose in coming is to show that we have struggles too. Our struggles are bearable only because we focus on our eternal hope.”
Dana Grubb, a church member from Texas, talked about the 14 years of rejections from publishers she endured before she self-published two books, “Used by God” and “Changed by Jesus,” which detail lessons from the lives of women in the Bible.
Producing the books challenged and strengthened Grubb’s faith, she told the attendees — and led to opportunities she hadn’t considered.
As the sole copyright holder, she was able to give Eastern European Mission, a nonprofit supported by Churches of Christ, permission to translate the books into languages including Russian and distribute them to women in the countries the ministry serves.
Another U.S. church member, Melanie Griffin, conducted a lively presentation about various personality types and how to better relate to each. She used research from books including “Wired That Way” by Marita Littauer.
The presenters “didn’t just lecture us, but shared how God has worked in their lives,” said Sasha Fedoseeava, a church member in St. Petersburg and the mother two young boys. “God sends us situations in which we need examples to follow, like the women we’ve been studying in the Bible, like these sisters.”
Another St. Petersburg Christian, Lyka Bolshakova, said that the presenters “showed us how God is always at work, directing our lives.”
Despite the below-freezing temperatures of St. Petersburg, Grubb said she and her American sisters felt the warmth and love from the Russian women, including Natasha Egirev of the Neva church, who helped organize the event.
“What a blessing to see the depth of knowledge of the women here,” Grubb added. “They love to learn.”
EILEEN EMCH is a church worker in Rostov-on-Don, Russia.