This week brought our trip to Kazakhstan to an end as we visited the capital city of Astana. In 1997 the capital of Kazakhstan was moved from Almaty to Astana and since that time Astana has blossomed into a very beautiful and modern city. It was amazing to us that in less than 15 years so much building has taken place in this city. The new city is a model of urban planning and is so inviting in so many different ways. From the indoor beach to the “Tree of Life” to the Presidential White House and on to the Pyramid and the “all seeing eye”, a five kilometer promenade, it is a remarkable architectural and construction achievement.
We were privileged to attend another founder’s meeting for the church in Astana. It takes 50 people (permanent residents of the city) who are willing to sign the charter, and submit copies of their passports and financial records to the government in order to charter a church and apply for preaching licenses in that city. There are only 25 members in Astana and 16 of those are either missionaries or ex-pats who work for the US Embassy or teach at the university. This leaves less than 10 members to sign the charter or a shortfall of 40 people. We were witnesses to a miracle as 42 people showed up to sign their names on the dotted line, friends of the missionaries and/or members or “friends of friends”. The meeting was a huge success and the paperwork is now being assembled for submission to the government for the necessary charters and licenses. The spirit was very present as people came and gave their support to a church they knew very little about. Since the church is not chartered or licensed yet – no teaching or discussion about the church or our beliefs could be conducted. The missionaries cannot wear their nametags or proselyte in any way. They can only do service and teach English which is apparently enough to win the hearts of the people as was evidenced by the supporters who came to the founder’s meeting. Overall it was an amazing and powerfully felt experience. We were so thankful to have been a part of such an historic event for the church in Kazakhstan.
It was good to get back to Novosibirsk. When we got back though, we hit the ground running. There was a visa trip to send off (22 of our missionaries left for Kiev, Ukraine) and organize, Leadership training meeting for 26 missionaries, District meeting, (remember we feed everyone after the meeting is over) and a branch activity (commemorating the 4th of July) organized by the missionaries with food provided by – you guessed it – the senior couple!! It has been another fantastic week for us. We feel so blessed to be serving here at this time and we know that the Lord sent us here to support and help the missionaries and members as they grow and strengthen the church in Siberia. We have seen many exciting and miraculous things and expect much more to occur before we return home. It is a great time for the Russian people, a great time for the Church in Russia and the perfect time to be here and watch as events unfold in the lives of the people we have come to love as our own family. We wish you all a very exciting and wonderful week. We love you all.
|The Astana Shopping Mall|
one end of the 5k Promenade
|Looking down the Promenade from the Mall|
Govt bldgs and visiting dignitary lodging
|Inside the Mall|
This tower is a free fall ride
around the top is a monorail as well
as a log flume ride behind me
the "Beach" and Pools are also on the top level
|Krabby Pattie anyone?|
|The "Tree of life" stand in the middle of the |
Promenade and is 97 meters tall
|The Presidential Palace aka|
"The White House"
We ran out of time so were not able to get a picture of the
Pyramid behind this building
|A picture of some of the flower gardens in the Promenade|
taken from the top of the tower
We went out in the Park next to the Church Building for
a closing Prayer after our Leadership Training Mtg