On November 13, 2021, youth from 10 different churches in the Perm Province of Russia and the neighboring Republic of Udmurtia came together for a Fresh Wave youth forum in the city of Perm.
At past forums, there have always been around 70 participants, but this time many churches from cities and towns in the provinces heard about the forum and wanted to participate. We were amazed that instead of 70 young people, 102 came! Before we had worked with 6-8 churches, and that number has grown now to 10. We had so many young people and youth leaders come that there wasn’t room enough in the main room, and people spilled out into the hallways.
Youth leaders from towns and cities in the provinces told us they were so excited to have this opportunity for their youth to see other Christian youth. Things can be very isolating for young Christians in the Russian countryside, but here at the forum, they saw that they are not alone, and they found friendship, support, and encouragement.
The name of the forum was “Power Up” and the goal was to help young people get powered up in their faith—that is to grow strong in their faith so that they’re able to share the gospel with their friends, family, and communities. At the forum the youth had the opportunity to attend master classes on the topics of sharing one’s faith, finding one’s calling, and building up one’s source of strength—faith in God.
A local missionary who has spent many years serving in China then shared with the youth practical ways that they can impact their communities and nation for Christ. He distributed resources about these opportunities to all the youth leaders, and we will continue to work with each church individually to mobilize the youth for outreaches and short-term mission trips.
At the forum, we also had the chance to hear encouraging testimonies from youth who had already attended the previous Fresh Wave youth forums and had put into practice what they learned there.
Diana and Angelina, from the small town of Lysva in the Perm Province, shared how the speaker at the last Fresh Wave forum encouraged them to start a “Seed Project”—that is to find ways to share their faith with friends and then pray that the seeds they planted would grow into a strong faith. Diana and Angelina were so encouraged by the Fresh Wave seminar that they took this idea back to their church and prayed about how they could apply this to impact their community. They decided to plan a picnic with their youth group and invite several nonbelieving young people from their area. Even though their youth group is not very big, they all invited non-Christian friends to come. The picnic was well attended, and Diana and Angelina shared how God gave them so much love in their hearts for their new nonbelieving friends. Afterward, one of the teens who attended became a member of their church!
We are amazed at what God is doing through youth in our region through the Fresh Wave forums.
Young people are interested in knowing God and finding out how they can share their faith. They are also looking to connect with other believers. We have so many churches in our area that are interested in these forums that we believe we will have to expand to other regions.
After the forum ended, we fellowshipped with a pastor named Vladimir from the Buddhist region in Russia called Kalmykia. He was so amazed by the stories he heard about Fresh Wave and the photos he saw. He said they have many youth in his area who need a youth forum just like this. He has invited us to come and work with the youth there.
Natasha from Perm
Our youth group always comes here to hear a word from God. I was hoping for a new word for myself and my ministry. I really liked the unity among the youth here, and at the master classes I received answers to my questions. I understood that God is always near, and here I received confirmation of this. This is an awesome ministry. It’s such an encouragement for us to come from different cities and regions and know that we’re all united in our belief in Christ, with one faith.
Katya from Izhevsk
I attended church when I was little, but I stopped attending 10 years ago. Not long ago, I rededicated myself to God. I was at a church service a few weeks ago when I heard about the Fresh Wave youth forum. We traveled from the city of Izhevsk to Perm to come, and we all chipped in money to cover the cost of gas. I didn’t even have money for that as I just started working. So I prayed and the youth pastor called me and said, “We want you to come anyway so we’ll help pay for your gas.” This is the first time in my life I’ve ever been to a Christian conference. I was able to meet so many people and make so many friends. I heard testimonies from other young people about how God is answering their prayers and working in their lives. I feel like now I’m part of a big family. I liked everything about this forum. At the master class, I learned about setting goals for myself in order to seek God’s face and have a stronger relationship with Him. This is what God had already been speaking to my heart. I now want to share all that I’ve learned with my friends who are unbelievers. Thank you so much for these forums!
Roma from Izhevsk
I’ve already been to several Fresh Wave forums. Each time, God moves in my life and reveals new things to me. During the last three months I’ve had a really difficult time in my life, and by coming here, God has shown me just how much He loves me. Today, God accomplished in my heart everything that I was hoping for during the last three months. I am so grateful! During the master class I attended, the speaker spoke directly to me and taught me exactly what I needed to learn. I know that this will impact my life and ministry for a long time.
Masha from Izhevsk
I’m studying at design school, and right now I’m doing an internship. At the Fresh Wave forum I was so encouraged to find ways to share my faith with my coworkers. After attending the master class, I realize I need to have a deep relationship with God so that I can therefore influence others for Christ.