By Natalia Antipova, family ministry coordinator, Church of Ingria
Iglino, a village not far from Ufa, Bashkortostan, was the location of a family retreat where the couple Sergei and Veronika Kochetkov warmly welcomed us in their house.
The head of the household opened the retreat. On the first day, we discussed how and in what order God created man and woman, the first marriage as the type of all marriages, and Adam and Eve as the marriage of one man and one woman. Then, Valeri and I shared about “stumbling blocks” in a marriage and the “foundation stones” on which family life rests. Besides the seminars, we went for wonderful walks in the village and visited a riding club where we could feed the horses and the children had a chance to ride them. The day ended in an evening program as we sang hymns around a campfire and of course went to a sauna.
On our second day, we made an excursion to the cliffs near the Ufimka River and to Krasny Klyuch Natural Reserve where amidst beautiful natural scenery we had small group discussions, lunched in the Berloga café, and traveled back home to Iglino. There, we had a seminar on families in the Bible, followed by shashlik and watermelons.
The third day began with Rev. Konstantin Subbotin, the dean of the Uralic Deanery, leading a Bible study on Ruth. We had fellowship in pairs filling out questionnaires and traveled to Ufa, the capital of Bashkortostan. In Ufa, we visited the local Evangelical Lutheran church of German tradition where we were allowed to have a worship service which was celebrated by Rev. Valeri Antipov, the dean of the Moscow Deanery. Rev. Artur Semyonov, the senior pastor of the congregation in Kazan, preached a sermon. After worship, we went on a tour of Ufa.
Thanks be to God for all the participants from the Uralic and Moscow Deaneries! Special thanks to Sergei and Veronika for their hospitality and their ministry in the Lord’s field as family workers!