Saturday was the first meeting of the youth club that we've been praying about and building up to for at least a couple of months now. A couple of days before, at a planning meeting, Yulia asked me if I was prepared to have no one at all show up at the first meeting. My response was that I would definitely be ready for that, but I also wanted to be prepared for 50-100 people!
Well, there weren't 50 people there, but there were more than 5! It was almost completely 'our folks.' However, there were four of those who seldom attend the usual youth meetings, so that in itself isn't bad! There was one... family? (They never explained whether they were or not.) A younger man and women, and a little girl that were completely new acquaintances for me.
Now this is interesting, and goes a long way in portraying smaller town life here in 'formerly communist' Russia. We were waiting to see if anyone else was going to show up, and I stepped out in the lobby and found Yulia waiting there. . . she said this young man wasn't entirely unknown to them, even if he was to me. Yulia works for the city/county administration, and she said this guy does too, as what we would call an 'informer.' Pavel recognized him as well, from previous outreach endeavors. He visits around all the non-Russian Orthodox religious organizations from time to time, not really staying anywhere, not professing to believe in God, or even showing any real interest. However, any new development, like our youth club, and he's very likely to turn up, hang out, have lots of questions. Neat, huh? Hey, sooner or later, he's bound to get saved if he hears the Gospel enough and lots of people are praying for him! So, feel free to pray for our friend Gehrmann.
The evening was enjoyable, and even if we looked at it a little as a practice run, it was good for our youth, and definitely good for me!
We had tea and coffee and snacks waiting as people came in, started with a getting acquainted game, introduced ourselves a little, played another game, sang songs, had a bit of English practice also along the lines of getting acquainted; I shared briefly how faith in God had given me purpose in life, and we wrapped up with another song. (Doesn't sound like much, but we still used up an hour and a half somewhere!)
We had a good time, and are planning to print out more invitations, post more flyers around the city, and keep inviting young people. Please keep us in your prayers as we plan and pray how to make this a more effective time of outreach to unbelievers, semi-church kids, informers, etc.