The 14 students who have been accepted and are now studying at Kazan – given so many uncertainties due to the virus and some Central Asian borders still being closed, making plans for this new academic year was hard, and we are amazed in God’s providence and goodness that this number of students are able to benefit from the training programme in 2020-2021.
The provision of online learning during the pandemic – 7 of the students are from across Russia and are studying at the college residentially as normal. The other 7 students are from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, but as the borders to both these countries are still closed, they are having to study remotely with online learning for the time being. We thank God that the technology exists to enable this. Of course it is not the same as being at the college, especially as the programme places a strong emphasis also on the development of spiritual character and teamworking skills. Please pray that either Covid-19 cases drop soon so that the borders of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan can be reopened, or if that doesn’t happen (seems less likely at the moment) that these students will still be able to derive significant benefit from their studies.
Postponement of new draft law – There was due to be a hearing in late September with the aim to bring in a new law amendment which would mean that only Pastors/Teachers trained in Russia itself would be able to teach students – this would have affected some of the Russian pastors that teach part of the curriculum at the college as they have often achieved their Theology degrees abroad (e.g. in UK, US), but also would have meant that visiting lecturers from the UK, US and elsewhere would have been unable to continue teaching at the college. Praise God that this hearing was postponed because of significant protests from religious groups – so we are very thankful for this, although the feeling is that the authorities may try again soon to push this new law through. Pray that they would drop their plans to do this.
Please pray for;
The staff team at the college – as due to covid-19 they are having to do many things differently, and for those who are lecturing with the extra demands of teaching online which can be even more tiring than with a face-to-face group
Creative thinking for the missionary placements element of the course programme – mission practice enabling the students to test and receive feedback on the new knowledge and techniques they have learned has always been a key part of their learning experience – this is of course much more tricky to implement within the context of covid-19 restrictions – please pray that ways will be found to give still give the students invaluable evangelism and discipleship practice opportunities even at this time
Tim McMahon as he has started work on implementing the recommendations of the 2019 ‘Educational Review’ – his visa has finally made progress, and please pray he will be able to travel out to Kazan sometime in November as planned. Discover more information on his new role with Eurasian Ministries.