Pastor David and Stephanie Carlson from our synod have coordinated ministries efforts to the ELCIR churches in Yoshkar-Ola, 500 miles east of Moscow, and other parts of the region, the Ural Deanery. They led 12-person, two-week mission trips from our synod in 2005, 2007, and 2011. As a result, several churches and individuals in our synod have given regularly to support priorities for ministry identified by the Ural Deanery, including a new church building project in the village of Birsk (now complete), and subsidizing the salary of church workers like Artjom, a young lay evangelist, church maintenance man, and driver for the Yoshkar-Ola parish.
Another example in the Ural Deanery is the current new initiative to support building a new church structure in Cheboksary (see New Church Buildings).
The Northeastern Minnesota Synod ELCIR Task Force has partnered with East European Mission Network to participate in Friendship English Language (Bible) Camps in Petrozavodsk and Kondopoga, Russia. This is a relational short-term mission program at the invitation of the schools in Petrozavodsk and Kondopoga and is organized through EEMN. For example, a mission team of 28 Americans, including 11 from our synod, worked with about 500 youth from four public schools and several ELCIR congregations in June, 2010. This included a “Lutheran Camp” organized by Nadia Krongolm from the Petrozavodsk Lutheran Church. Each of the two week-long “camps” involved a class with the Bible and Christian materials as the base for the curriculum. Participants have a Russian translator and stay in a Russian home, adding to the cultural experience. The objective wasn’t to teach English, but simply to provide opportunity to practice English, to learn about the Good News, and to develop friendships – a relational mission. Each day included class, lunch, assembly, drama, crafts, and sports. Nadia reports that many kids who attend the Camp become interested in the church and the Youth Program. These mission trips in Petrozavodsk have been temporarily curtailed since 2017, but analogous mission visits with the Petrozavodsk congregation are being planned by Vision Petrozavodsk partnering churches (see Vision Petrozavodsk).
If interested in participating in possible upcoming mission trips to ELCIR churches, please contact the NEMN Synod (ELCA) office at 218-724-4424