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Historic Vyborg, Russia lies about 80 miles northwest of the city of St. Petersburg and just 25 miles south of Russia's border with Finland. Since its founding in the 13th century, Vyborg's spiritual life has been influenced by Swedish Catholic, Finnish Lutheran, and Russian Orthodox Christianity.

Vyborg's Lutheran Church of St. Peter and St. Paul was established by the city's Finnish residents in the 1790s and was a strong Lutheran presence in the city until Vyborg became part of Soviet Russia after World War 2. When the city's Finns left to escape Soviet Communism, the state repopulated Vyborg with settlers from Russia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan. The Soviet government also seized St. Peter and St. Paul Church and transformed it into a dance hall.

Today, in the wake of the fall of Soviet Communism, the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul is once again an outpost for the Gospel, serving Vyborg's community of "transplanted" families as a congregation of the Ingrian Lutheran Church. The congregation's partnership with Lutheran Hour Ministries-Russia is one of the reasons behind its active Gospel outreach.

The youth of St. Peter and St. Paul Church have embraced LHM-Russia's witnessing activities with enthusiasm. In March of this year, the Russia ministry center director presented an Equipping the Saints (ETS) seminar-an evangelism training activity typically reserved for adults-exclusively for the congregation's youth. The topic: "Apologetics as a Tool for Evangelism."

In early June, he returned to Vyborg for a second ETS session with the church's youth.

"We talked about communication as an essential thing for effective evangelization," the director says. "Our presentation featured a method for using dialogue to reach people."

The director, who has an earned PhD degree in biochemistry, has discovered that the origin of life is hot topic for young Russians.

"Comparing the creationist and evolutionist points of view can often lead to a conversation about biblical passages such as Colossians 1:16-17: 'all things have been created through him [Jesus] and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.' The Vyborg youth are excited to learn these things and to be able to use them in various contexts."

Please pray for the resurgent ministry of the Lutheran Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Vyborg, Russia, as well as for the growing, dynamic Gospel partnership between this historic congregation and Lutheran Hour Ministries-Russia!

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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