"Please pray for this window of opportunity for MCC to send people along with Outfitters for Adventures (church plant team ministry) to this particular nation. Pat, pastor, was invited by a pastor he met during a missions trip to teach at a school in Siberia in the summer of 2003; just like the one he and others has taught at in this part of this world."
From: "Patrick F.
Subject: Back from Georgia
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 2006 10:30:10 -0600 "Hello Saints -
I'm back in town, the trip was very blessed of God. I so much enjoyed
my time with Ben Goodman, also with my translator Nino, and the pastors
Wheecha and Schmagee. They are Godly people with a hunger for more.
Below is a note giving a window into our time. I mention in the note a meeting
Sunday in Gori - it was blessed by God. I also mention an upcoming leaders
meeting - which has 40 people, not 12! The Lord blessed that also.
Blessings - Pat
Hello Ang - "
Greetings from Rustave (pron. RooStavee) where Ben and I have been doing
a conference at the church pastored by Whicha, who is the overseer over
this group of churches. Today Ben had a word over a young woman that
spoke to many people and touched their hearts -- more on that in a minute.
Ben and I have been each speaking about 1/2 hour per session at this
conference. We meet from 11-1 and then 4-6 each day, for three days from
Thurs thru Saturday. Their worship is very good - they have 17 people on
the worship team! The singers are all in sharp uniforms, the songs and
instruments (drums, driving keyboard, and a bass) show that they have
spent time practicing, many of the songs are contemporary such as Hill
Songs "Everyday" song that I like. Only the words are in Georgian so I
just sing in the Spirit to a tune that I know!
Today's meeting was a real blessing. Ben started speaking first, but he
paused to share a vision of two song birds that had fallen from the tree
limb due to a strong wind. Both birds had broken wings and one decided
it could no longer sing because it couldn't fly anymore and it was hurt.
The second bird decided it would sing even though it was hurt. Ben said
it may be for several people but he pointed out one girl in particular
and had her stand. He shared that this was for her, she had been hurt
but that the Lord was calling her to sing and to worship Him. Many were
crying. Her pastor came forward, a very learned man who has been trained
as an engineer and an attorney.
He was almost speechless. He confirmed with Ben before the crowd that he
had not given out any information to Ben about this girl, which Ben
agreed no he had known nothing thru natural means. This man gave praise
to God and was noticeably affected by the display of God's power in the
meeting through the prophetic word to this young woman. Later the woman
and her mother came up. Turns out the second "bird" had meaning, she had
been married to a man who professed to be a Christian but was really
not. Through much hardship, including losing a child and falling away
from God their marriage ended. She returned to the Lord, he did not.
Many in the church were familiar with the whole situation so they were
Ben has been speaking on the life of David, I've been sharing on
Maturity -- a teaching that Keith Hazell gave a couple of years back at
the mens retreat. Today I shared about dreaming a dream like Jacob, not
giving up but being persistent -- I also shared about the experience that
we had in Starbuck, how our response to adversity is so very critical.
We have a very nice 2 room flat in Tbilisi (2 million people, capital
city) to ouselves -- a family is living with relatives while we're in
town. Ben is impressed with the bathroom, apparently what he stayed in
last time was less cushy. It's been nice to be able to spend time with
Ben and get to know him better and to minister together is a treat. We
were supposed to speak at a conf in Tbilisi but they couldn't secure a
hall so we're in Rustave, which is like a suburb to Tbilisi. Whicha
started a church there a few years back. His first church is in Gori,
where Schmugee, his right hand man, is the pastor now.
Our interpretor is a quiet and sweet 33 year old lady named Nino. She
received strategic ministry from Ben and Neil 1.5 years back and she's
been loyal ever since. Some of our meetings have been intimidating I
think for her since a handful of people know enlish fairly well and
they'll speak up if she makes a mistake! For example, the attorney-
engineer who is now a pastor in a city on the black Sea is married to
an MD Gynecologist, and they both speak good English. Another guy is
Baato who works for companies the government interpreting.
Our diet has been interesting. The food doesn't stop coming -- we had to
put in a special request to have NO supper last night after a big
breakfast and a really big lunch at a fancy restaurant! We got back late
anyway being delayed 1 extra hour in traffic by an accident.
After our 3 day conference we will preach and minister in Schmugee's
church in Gori, and we may see some sights Sunday afternoon and our day
off on Monday. I want to get a little bit of history to share with the
family. Tuesday we speak to the leaders in the evening - I impagine it
will be a dozen or so people, pastors and spouses. I have been in very
good health, our travel was quite easy with Ben's passes into 1st class
lounges and such. I slept well on airplanes and in airports to catch up.
The last 2 nights we've had good sleep as well, although we have both
been up since 4:30 am today! We'll be ready for bed by 9 tonight I'm
Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2007 23:05:36 -0500
From: "The Hansons"
Thielke Update: "Tuesday news from Thielkes in Republic of Georgia:
We are staying in Gori (Wikipedia)in the Republic of Georgia, and traveling to churches in the area and having meetings in the church here. Monday we were in a house church where Neil taught about getting free in our spirits from doubts and fears. I shared a little from what we have been going over in our mentoring sessions from the book, Telling Yourself the Truth. The people all wanted ministry afterwards, and we had a long counseling session with the couple who had been pastoring the church.
Tuesday we were in another city very near Gori where there is a woman pastor. Neil preached on overcoming strongholds in our mind. Shmuggie, our host pastor from Gori, encouraged us that these were very important messages for the people in Georgia who grew up under communism and have been so beaten down in their emotional and spiritual lives. We hope they will be able to latch onto the teachings and put them to use to get free within their hearts.
There is much work to be done here encouraging the leaders of this network of churches in how to shepherd their pastors and the people in their churches. They need good teaching. They could really use one of our schools of ministry for their leaders, but we will have to see how God leads.
The internet cafe we are using is very slow, so I will keep this short. We are doing well. This afternoon Neil will be teaching on prayer regarding the personal nature of relating to God with our specific needs as well as building our relationship with God himself in our prayer life. Prayer has been a formula here, and it is meant to be so much more vital to the daily life of the Christian. Tomorrow we will be teaching the young people here in Gori. Saturday we return to the capital city of Tbilisi (Wikipedia) and will be teaching in the nearby city of Rustavi (travel-images).
Thank you for your prayers. If you are praying for our health and good sleep, it is working. Please also pray for grace as we relate to the people, and especially to the leaders here.
Jenny, thanks for your message. It is the only one I was able to get into, and it was so good to hear from you. I am thankful that your back is better. Please let us know the name of the church you work with in Amsterdam. Our friend David more than likely knows people in your church, and it would be good to know of those connections.
Friday news from Thielkes in Gori, Republic of Georgia:
Neil & I just got back from Kashuri, a small village about half an hour from Gori in the Republic of Georgia where a woman from the Gori church has started a home church. She travels there twice a week for their weekly church service and a weekly prayer service. She really knows how to care for the people, and the church is healthy. They are very poor, because there are few jobs in the village. The men were gone looking for jobs in Tbilisi, capital city of Georgia, and to Russia and even the Ukraine, where conditions are rather in turmoil politically at the moment.
We have been visiting outlying churches this week, and have had a couple of meetings in the Gori church to encourage their prayer team and their youth. The young people wanted Neil to address their rights and responsibilities. Translation: Please help us get along better with our parents, and help our parents give us more freedom. We gently helped them come to a deeper appreciation for their parents and encouraged them to find one encouraging thing to say to at least one person in their church each week. The young people said we had helped them.
Today we got a good view of the breathtaking mountains that are on both the east and west borders of Georgia. The mts have a new layer of snow, and the peaks were still hidden in clouds where it is snowing yet today.
Tomorrow morning we have our final meeting in the Gori church, and then will be heading back to Tbilisi with Whicha, the pastor from Rustavi who oversees this network of churches. Please continue to pray for grace and wisdom as we help them through their current transitions. Tonight we enjoyed a Sauna/Banja in Gori, which was a "first" for our interpreter. The men were in one room and the women in another. After the sauna, the people came to the church office where Neil and I have been staying. People like to hang out there in the evenings, visiting, eating, and using the church computer. It is party every night while we have been here. We have been trying to get used to the women who come to cook and clean up for us, loading the table with food and telling us to "eat, eat", which we are trying to keep to a reasonable level, but we are still adding pounds. We scared a woman the other morning who came to fix breakfast. We were trying to make motions to explain we had already had our oatmeal, but when I rubbed my tummy, she thought I was sick. Then Neil puffed his cheeks, and made a face like he was really full, and she thought he was about to throw up. She rushed to find someone to help, and another woman came. Soon they were trying to call Nino, but she was already on the minibus coming to get us for the day. The next day the woman we frightened invited us to her house for a warm bath. We were able to explain through Nino's interpretation, and we had a good laugh. We also were able to minister to her daughter who has gone through a painful divorce recently from an alcololic husband who also used drugs and would beat her. There aren't many Christian men, and the women have been marrying non-Christians and suffering.
Pray for them. This morning Neil will speak to the leaders of the various churches and several of their members at their weekly gathering in Gori. We have been praying for wisdom. They are arriving now, so I need to run.
"TBILISI, October 11, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- In 1989, before the breakup of the Soviet Union, there were an estimated 340,000 ethnic Russians living in Georgia. In the early 1990s, however, many ethnic minorities left Georgia due to the country's economic troubles and civil strife. Tens of thousands of Russians, however, decided to stay. A 2002 census found 68,000 ethnic Russians still living in Georgia. Amid the current crisis with Russia, RFE/RL spoke with ethnic Russians in Tbilisi about their lives and the continuing tensions."
Georgian Churches ქართული ეკლესიები
"My own footage on Georgian Churches(Samtavisi,Jvari,Svetitzkhoveli,
The Georgian Orthodox Church (full title Georgian Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church, or in the Georgian language საქართველოს მართლმადიდებელი სამოციქულო ეკლესია Sakartvelos Martlmadidebeli Samocikulo Ek'lesia) is one of the world's most ancient Christian Churches, and tradition traces its origins to the mission of Apostle Andrew in the 1st century. It is an autocephalous (self-headed) part of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Georgian Orthodoxy has been a state religion in parts of Georgia since the 4th century, and is the majority religion in that country.
Churches damaged in Russia-Georgia conflict over breakaway region
By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service Wednesday, August 13, 2008 "SOUTH OSSETIA (ANS) -- Three evangelical churches in the capital of South Ossetia have been damaged by the conflict between Russia and Georgia, according to reports.
According to Ethan Cole of the Christian Post in an article posted to www.Christiantoday.com, people who escaped the conflict told Russian Ministries that the churches in the battleground town of Chinvali were assisting locals before they were damaged.
Cole writes that other churches in the region are also reportedly offering physical, emotional and spiritual help to those affected by the violence.
“They (the churches) got together, and they were trying to minister to the families of refugees that are pouring out of South Ossetia into North Ossetia and into other Russian provinces there,” Russian Ministries senior vice president Sergey Rakhuba told Mission Network News (MNN).
"We are mobilizing Christian counselors, those who are trained and already have experience, especially after Beslan and Chechnya,” he added.
Russian Ministries has workers in the affected areas, including South Ossetia.
The Christiantoday.com report says fierce fighting broke out between Russia and Georgia after Georgia ordered troops to stop the province of South Ossetia from seceding.
In retaliation, Russia sent in forces to South Ossetia and bombed other areas in Georgia to support South Ossetia’s desire to be independent from Georgia.
Cole reports that South Ossetia, which borders Russia, is predominantly made up of Russians. Although the province has an autonomous government, many South Ossetians still want to break away from Georgia to unite with the neighboring Russian province of North Ossetia.
He says that territorial disputes have been ongoing between North and South Ossetia since the early 1990s. The region had enjoyed peace until a few years ago.
"It's a hard issue to resolve," said Rakhuba, "and it is now escalating into a political issue as South Ossetia declared its independence from both Georgia and Russia."
Rakhuba requested Christians to pray for the ministry’s national workers to find resources and be able to reach out to families that have lost everything.
"I am concerned that international aid might not be allowed to get to the region because of politics," said Rakhuba. "I also am praying that the authorities can come to a peaceful, diplomatic solution to this fighting."
On Tuesday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced a six-point plan of principles for a ceasefire. Russia agreed to end all military operations and pull back troops to pre-conflict lines, while Georgia would do likewise with its forces.
Both sides would also receive free access to humanitarian aid under the provision. The deal, however, did not resolve the issue of South Ossetia’s independence.
"All we need to do now is to stop suffering, stop the death of people," Sarkozy said, according to CNN. Putting a stop to the fighting "is the most important objective."
"There are bigger problems relating to South Ossetia that we cannot resolve here," said Sarkozy, who arrived in Moscow as current head of the European Union.
News sources estimate the number of people killed at about 2,000 and the number of people displaced at 100,000.
The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Conference of European Churches (ECC) issued a joint statement on Tuesday calling for an immediate ceasefire.
"The use of force in the dispute over South Ossetia and Abkhazia has cost the precious lives of civilians and soldiers, risks destabilizing a fragile region, and reawakens deep fears there and far beyond," the statement reads.
The WCC and ECC urged Christians to support an international emergency appeal to support civilians caught up in the conflict launched by Action by Churches Together International. "
"Russia (MNN) ― While violence between Russia and Georgia has eased, the tensions have not. Russia's military says European Union peacekeepers will not have immediate access to the buffer zone surrounding South Ossetia. Russia had already said it will refuse to give peacekeepers access into South Ossetia itself, or into Abkhazia. Moscow has recognized both regions as independent states, rather than Georgian territory.
However, that hasn't stopped Russian Ministries from reaching out to needy and troubled children in the region. Speaking from Russia, Russian Ministries' Paul Tokarchouk says they did it this time through their Backpacks of Blessing.
Tokarchouk says they started their trip in Ingushetia, just north of Georgia. They were invited by the ministry of social affairs to visit a juvenile rehabilitation center in this predominately-Muslim region of Russia.
Included in the Backpacks of Blessing are school supplies, personal hygiene items and a Bible. Tokarchouk says the principal wasn't sure about this. "When he heard about the Bible, he said, 'No, the Bible would not be appropriate.' And, then we started to explain again about why we were here. And then he turned totally different, and he said, 'Well, I think these guys will not read the Koran. We need to at least provide the opportunity to read the Bible.'"
Russian Ministries was able to distribute 100 Backpacks of Blessing at the rehabilitation center alone.
Tokarchouk says this has provided an open door to do more. "Next time, we will come and probably do something like Puppet Theater or some other opportunity to minister to those youth and kids."
His travels then took the team to South Ossetia where Russian and Georgian troops clashed a month ago. There's widespread damage, and many families are struggling day-to-day. Tokarchouk says they were able to distribute over 1,000 Backpacks of Blessing in public schools and along the street.
Because of the positive response, Tokarchouk says, "We will have a good opportunity later on to come to the schools and minister to the kids with prevention seminars or Christian puppet teams, and the local church will also be involved with that."
Backpacks of Blessing have successfully allowed Russian Ministries to reach into areas previously inaccessible Your gift of $25 can put God's Word into the hands of a student in Russia.
With the damage in the region, many people have lost everything and need help. For $25, Russian Ministries is providing a family food package. Your gift of support will allow many in the region to hear or read the Gospel for the first time.
If you'd like to help, click here."
"PHOTSKHO, GEORGIA, SOUTH CAUCASUS (ANS) -- It is Monday morning and Ketevan is getting ready for school. "Do I have to go?" she asks her mother. "I don't feel well. Can't I stay at home today?" But her mother knows that Ketevan never "feels well" when it's time for school, and sends her on her way.
Sound like a familiar story? But in fairness to Ketevan, she has good reason to dislike school. For a start, the school is 3 miles from her home, and the only way she can get there is on foot. What's more, she knows that when she has walked all the way there, she won't be settling down in a nice warm classroom.
The school is cold and damp, with a leaking roof and missing windows. She will have to sit through her lessons in her coat and hat, and if it starts to rain all the students will have to cover up their books with a plastic sheet because
of the leaks. If the weather gets really bad it won't be possible for them to continue their studies, and Ketevan will be sent back home.
Moreover, Ketevan knows that her closest school friends probably won't be there. It's not that their mothers are any more lenient than Ketevan's, but the friends really WILL be ill. Because the children get chilled and cold during their lessons, there is almost always somebody off sick. They are all behind in their studies and know that there is little chance of them ever going on to higher education. So Ketevan doesn't see much point in going to school. No wonder she "doesn't feel well".
SCHOOLING IN THE RAIN
The story of Ketevan is one typical of the children who go to school in Photskho, a small mountain village in the west of Georgia, according to Aid to Russia and the Republics (ARRC) which works in the area.
"Their school is in such a bad state of repair that rain comes through the roof onto their heads and desks as they study. The whole building is damp as a result, and the gym is in such poor condition that it has had to be sealed off as unsafe to use," says an ARRC spokesman.
"As well as having a badly leaking roof, the school is missing the glass in 70 percent of its windows. Plastic sheets keep out the worst of the rain, but offer little protection from the wind, so the children are always cold. The heating doesn't work either.
"The children study against the odds in damp and unhealthy conditions because they have no choice. The school, which offers both junior and senior education, is the only one in the region serving 120 children from several miles around. There is nowhere else for the children to go to learn."
Can you help ARRC raise funds for vital repairs at Photskho School, so the children won't get cold and wet as they study?
FROM RICHES TO RAGS
Once one of the most affluent parts of the former Soviet Union, Georgia is now one of the poorest, with 54 percent of the population living below the poverty line, says an ARRC report on the region.
"During the Soviet period, Georgia was known as the 'fruit bowl' of the USSR and provided wine and fresh produce for the whole Soviet Union. The area of western Georgia where Photskho is situated was particularly known for its tea.
"But in the early 1990s, everything changed. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the demand for Georgian produce fell dramatically. Why would Russians, Kazakhs and others want to buy their tea from Georgia when they could get it more cheaply from India or China?
"Suddenly Georgia had no one to trade with, which meant that all the tea growers and others were out of business. On the other hand, Georgia remained dependent on Russia for its energy supply. Economic problems were
compounded by the fact that 3 areas of Georgia (Abkhazia, Adjaria and South Ossetia) aspired to independence and that the country ended up in civil war. Many lost their homes as a result of the war, and tensions still exist today. This has led to even greater poverty.
"Over the last few years the country has made some economic progress. But as recent news reports following President Shevardnadze's resignation amid allegations of vote-rigging have told us, the Georgian government has been unsuccessful in collecting taxes to fund public services, corruption is rife and the man-on-the-street
(much less the man-in-the-countryside) doesn't see the results of this progress. On the contrary, many Georgians are financially worse off now than they were under Communism."
A VISITOR'S VIEW
Helen, ARRC's Aid Projects coordinator, visited Photskho School last year, with representatives of the Salvation Army. These were her impressions:
"It hadn't rained that day, but the building was so full of damp that drops of moisture fell on us as we walked from one classroom to another. It gave me some idea of what the children endured daily.
"The gym, we were told, could not be used, so the children sometimes used the school hall for P.E. Many of the floorboards in the hall were broken, rotten with damp and felt unsafe. I hoped that the children weren't expected to do any vigorous exercise in there, as I was sure that someone would end up falling through the floor!
"We went up to the top floor of the building and looked down at the roof on some of the lower areas of the school. There were visible holes - no wonder it rains in.
"I realised at that point how privileged I had been in my own education. I owed it to these children to help them."
STUDENTS AND TEACHERS COMMENT ON THEIR SITUATION
Gega (student): "There are no windows and it's very cold in winter. Sometimes I do not even want to go in. Please help us!!"
Elizaveta (history teacher): "It is very hard for us teachers to work and give regular education to our children, those that represent our future."
A PLACE FIT FOR LEARNING
"ARRC's partners at the Salvation Army base in Georgia have asked us to help make Photskho school a fit place for the children of the village to study. Repairing the roof and glazing the windows will make a huge difference to the children's daily school lives and will impact their futures too," the ARRC spokesman said.
"We know from experience the difference that a new roof can make, as last year ARRC repaired a school roof in Tajikistan, using funds from a legacy we had received. Our partners there told us, 'After fixing the roof children are not getting sick from cold classrooms any more. Teachers said that this year they didn't feel winter in classrooms
and couldn't believe that it was their school.' "
The children of Photskho needn't always wear their outdoor clothes in the classroom. They needn't get sent home every time there is heavy rain. They could complete their studies and have a chance of going on to higher education.
But only if you help them.
Can you help ARRC to raise GBP 7,140 ($13,346 US) to carry out essential repairs at Photskho School, and transform the pupils' lives by giving them a suitable place for a proper education?
A VOLUNTEER'S PERSPECTIVE
ARRC is also working in Bashkortostan. Clare is a volunteer who spent 2 weeks in Bashkortostan during August, helping to set up a recreation room at an orphanage. She writes:
"On a day-to-day basis we took turns decorating the room. We then played with the children throughout the day. When we'd decorated the leisure room for the children it made my heart glow to see their faces light up when they saw the fish tanks and plants and various features.
"It was incredibly sad leaving the orphanage. I had grown particularly close to two boys, Vova and Artem, and a girl named Mila. Vova had been abandoned as a baby. Mila never spoke of her family. Artem had been strangled by his mother and bore the marks of several years of cruelty and neglect...
"This world is sometimes a dark, cold and lonely place, especially to a child with no family, love or hope. But the orphanage staff cared for each child like their own. There was true love here. Where most people in their lives have given up on them the orphanage gives them wings to make them fly.
"I would definitely recommend the placement to others. I've learnt how to be resourceful and how to make use of what we have. I've learnt to be selfless and put others before myself. But most importantly, the children taught me to love. Really love.
"It was the most amazing two weeks of my life."
If you would like to volunteer at one of ARRC's projects overseas, contact Glen at the ARRC office (address below).
AID TO RUSSIA AND THE REPUBLICS, established in 1973, is a UK-based charity (no 281099) which supports Christian initiatives serving the communities of the CIS and Eastern Europe through humanitarian aid, medical provisions and development work.
LADYBIRD ORPHANAGE PROJECT: Helping street children, Chernobyl victims, disabled and needy children through work with orphanages and institutions in the former Soviet Union.
Patrons : The Very Rev. John Arnold, Canon Michael Bourdeaux, Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia, Rev. Dr. John Stott, Rev. Dr. Rob Frost, The Rt. Revd. Dr. Geoffrey Rowell.
Bank Details: HSBC Bank A/C no. 01085786 sortcode 40-15-05, High Street, BROMLEY.
Address for correspondence: ARRC, PO Box 200, Bromley, Kent BR1 1QF, United Kingdom; Tel: 020 8460 6046 Fax: 020 8466 1244; E-mail: info@ARRC.org.uk; VISIT ARRC'S WEB SITE AT: www.ARRC.org.uk "
"There are two distinct Jewish populations in Georgia. The first group is made up of the native Georgian Jews. These are the descendants of Jews who were banished to the region after Assyria conquered the ten northern tribes of Israel more than 2,500 years ago. The second group is composed of Russian-speaking Askhenazi Jews from Eastern Europe. They immigrated to Georgia at the beginning of the 1800's and also during World War II. The majority of the Georgian Jews live in Tbilisi, the capital and largest city of Georgia."
"There is no one cuisine however, anywhere on this planet, that has the plethora of variance in tastes & flavors as well as compositions of ingredients that produce such marvelous dishes as the Georgians have in their uniquely delicious and multiply varied cuisine.
Georgian cuisine uses many familiar products but due to varying proportions of its obligatory ingredients such as walnut, aromatic herbs, garlic, vinegar, red pepper, pomegranate grains, barberries and other spices combined with the traditional secrets of the chef's art the common products tend to acquire a special & unique taste as well as aroma, which make Georgian cuisine very popular as well as unique. This uniqueness is the hallmark of Georgian cuisine
Georgian national cuisine is most notable for the abundance of any & all possible kinds of meat, fish & vegetable hors d'oeuvres, varieties & sorts of cheeses, pickles & many pungent spices & seasonings that are truly the only ones of their kind."
Christian Heritage of Georgia საქართველოს სულიერი საგანძური
""Georgia, located in the South Caucasus at the east coast of the Black Sea, is an ancient country whose history and Christianity are inseparable. Adoption of Christianity by the Georgians not only contributed to their national identity but also promoted their literary and artistic advancement. According to British scholar of Georgian history David Marshall Lang , conversion to Christianity had the most far-reaching effect on the art, literature and culture of the Georgians, who are known to possess a remarkable aesthetic sense . The goal of this research is to provide a unique insight into the history of Georgian Christianity by examining its material heritage such as churches, cathedrals, monasteries, as well as some hagiographical stories.
History of the Georgian nation begins with Kartlos, the great-great-grandson of Noah's son Japheth , who settled in the South Caucasus. Georgian language, the Georgians, and Georgia derive their names from Kartlos in the sense that they transliterate as Kartuli, Kartvelebi, and Sakartvelo, respectively . Over the history of mankind, the relatively small nation of Georgia was able to preserve its unique language and culture. Georgia has witnessed the rise and fall of many civilizations, some of which have disappeared, but the small country that they tried to subjugate still remains .
Baptist World Aid supports relief programs in war-torn Georgia
By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 "Malkhaz Songulashvili, the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia, in an email report to Ethics Daily, said “We pray that the conflict is peacefully resolved and opposing sides reconciled, mutual forgiveness and acceptance exercised. We mourn the death of soldiers, children, men, women, and elderly from both sides.”
Paul Montacute, director of Baptist World Aid (BWAid) said: “We condemn this wanton taking of human life, and mourn the death and suffering of all the peoples of this region.
"Baptists of the world pledge their support for all in need with their prayers, expressions of concern and their giving.”
Baptist World Alliance General Secretary, Neville Callam and BWA leader John Sundquist were recently in Georgia on a pastoral visit, and were also able to attend the wedding of Songulashvili.
They have expressed their concern about the situation and called for lasting peace in the region.
The General Secretary of the European Baptist Federation (EBF), Tony Peck, stated “We are very concerned about the whole situation and urge a peaceful resolution of the conflict.” He called on the Baptists of Europe to pray for peace in the Caucasus region.
Baptist World Aid (BWAid), the relief and development arm of the Baptist World Alliance, is responding to cries for help from those caught up in the recent conflict between Russia and Georgia.
An initial grant of $10,000 has been made available to Georgian Baptists so that they can help those in need.
Donations to assist Georgian Baptists in their relief programs can be made to Baptist World Aid (www.bwanet.org/bwaid)
"The Republic of Georgia is bordered by Russia to its north, Azerbaijan to its east, Armenia to its south, and Turkey and the Black Sea to its west. Georgia is a country with a long history and a strong culture. Peace Corps/Georgia began in 2001. In 2004, the Russian-leaning, self-proclaimed president of the Adjara region, Aslan Abashidze, left the region, opening it up to re-entry of Peace Corps Volunteers in 2005.Georgia still faces the possible loss of two autonomous regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, because of ethnic separatists and pro-Russian elements. Volunteers are not placed in these two regions. Due to the civil war in Abkhazia (1992-1993), Georgia has a large internally displaced population. More than 80 percent of the population fled Abkhazia during and after the civil war..."
Georgian is believed to have separated from Megrelian and Laz in the first millennium BC. Based on the degree of change, linguists (e.g. Klimov, T. Gamkrelidze, G. Machavariani) conjecture that the earliest split occurred in the second millennium BC or earlier, separating Svan from the other languages. Megrelian and Laz separated from Georgian roughly a thousand years later."
"GORI, Georgia - Russia sent hundreds of tanks and troops into the separatist province of South Ossetia and bombed Georgian towns Saturday in a major escalation of the conflict that has left scores of civilians dead and wounded.
Georgia, a staunch U.S. ally, launched a major offensive Friday to retake control of breakaway South Ossetia. Russia, which has close ties to the province and posts peacekeepers there, responded by sending in armed convoys and military combat aircraft.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters in Moscow that some 1,500 people have been killed, with the death toll rising Saturday.
The figure could not be independently confirmed, but witnesses who fled the fighting said hundreds of civilians had probably died. They said most of the provincial capital, Tskhinvali, was in ruins, with bodies lying everywhere.
The air and artillery bombardment left the provincial capital without water, food, electricity and gas. Horrified civilians crawled out of the basements into the streets as fighting eased, looking for supplies.
Russian Gen. Vladimir Boldyrev claimed in televised comments Saturday that Russian troops had driven Georgian forces out of the provincial capital. Witnesses confirmed that there was no sign of Georgian soldiers in the streets.
Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili proposed a cease-fire Saturday. As part of his proposal, Georgian troops were pulled out of Tskhinvali and had been ordered to stop responding to Russian shelling, said Alexander Lomaia, secretary of his Security Council.
Russia did not immediately respond to Saakashvili's proposal. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had said earlier that Moscow sent troops into South Ossetia to force Georgia into a cease-fire.
Lomaia said there had been direct fighting between Russian and Georgian soldiers on the streets of Tskhinvali. He estimated that Russia sent 2,500 troops into Georgia. The Russian military has not said how many of its troops were deployed.
Russian military aircraft also bombed the Georgian town of Gori on Saturday. An Associated Press reporter who visited Gori shortly afterward saw several apartment buildings in ruins, some still on fire, and scores of dead bodies and bloodied civilians. The elderly, women and children were among the victims.
"Georgia is facing Russia's military aggression," Saakashvili said, noting that Russian forces were attacking areas outside South Ossetia. "Georgian authorities support a cease-fire and separation of the warring parties."
It is the worst outbreak of hostilities since the province won de facto independence in a war against Georgia that ended in 1992.
The fighting threatens to ignite a wider war between Russia and Georgia, which accused Russia of bombing its towns, ports and air bases. Georgia, a former Soviet republic with ambitions of joining NATO, has asked the international community to help end what it called Russian aggression.
It also likely will increase tensions between Moscow and Washington, which Lavrov said should bear part of the blame for arming and training Georgian soldiers.
Moscow has said it needs to protect its peacekeepers and civilians in South Ossetia, most of whom have been given Russian passports. Ethnic Ossetians live in the breakaway Georgian province and in the neighboring Russian province of North Ossetia.
Overnight, Russian warplanes bombed the Vaziani military base on the outskirts of the Georgian capital and near the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said. He also said two other military bases were hit, and that warplanes bombed the Black Sea port city of Poti, which has a sizable oil shipment facility.
Georgia, meanwhile, said it has shot down 10 Russian planes, including four brought down Saturday, according to Kakha Lomaya, head of Georgia's Security Council.
The first Russian confirmation that its planes had been shot down came Saturday from Russian Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of the General Staff, who said two Russian planes were downed. He did not say where or when.
Russian military commanders said 15 peacekeepers have been killed and about 150 wounded. Russian troops went in as peacekeepers but Georgia alleges they now back the separatists.
Russian military spokesman Col. Igor Konashenkov accused Georgian troops of killing and wounded Russian peacekeepers when they seized Russian checkpoints. Konashenkov's allegations couldn't be independently confirmed Saturday.
Russia's foreign minister said that Georgia brought the airstrikes upon itself by bombing civilians and Russian peacekeepers, and warned that the small Caucasus country should expect more attacks.
"Whatever side is used to bomb civilians and the positions of peacekeepers, this side is not safe and they should know this," Lavrov said.
Asked whether Russia could bomb the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, Lavrov answered: "I don't think the bombing is coming from Tbilisi, but whatever part of Georgia is used for this aggression is not safe."
It was unclear what might persuade either side to stop shooting. Both claim the battle started after the other side violated a cease-fire that had been declared just hours earlier after a week of sporadic clashes.
Diplomats have issued a flurry of statements calling on both sides to halt the fighting and called for another emergency session of the U.N. Security Council, its second since early Friday morning seeking to prevent an all-out war.
President Bush said Saturday the outbreak of fighting is endangering peace throughout the volatile region, and he urged an end to the deadly outbreak of violence.
"I'm deeply concerned about the situation in Georgia," Bush said in a statement to reporters while attending the Olympics in Beijing. "The attacks are occurring in regions of Georgia far from the zone of conflict in South Ossetia. They mark a dangerous escalation in the crisis.
"The violence is endangering regional peace, civilian lives have been lost and others are endangered. We have urged an immediate halt to the violence and a stand-down by all troops. We call for an end to the Russian bombings, and a return by the parties to the status quo of Aug. 6."
Russia, which has granted citizenship to most of the region's residents, appeared to lay much of the responsibility for ending the fighting on Washington.
Georgia, which borders the Black Sea between Turkey and Russia, was ruled by Moscow for most of the two centuries preceding the breakup of the Soviet Union. Georgia has angered Russia by seeking NATO membership — a bid Moscow regards as part of a Western effort to weaken its influence in the region.
Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili, a U.S.-educated lawyer, long has pledged to restore Tbilisi's rule over South Ossetia and another breakaway province, Abkhazia. Both regions have run their own affairs without international recognition since splitting from Georgia in the early 1990s and have built up ties with Moscow.
Georgia has about 2,000 troops in Iraq, making it the third-largest contributor to coalition forces after the U.S. and Britain. But Saakashvili has called them home in the face of the South Ossetia fighting. The Georgian commander of the brigade in Iraq said Saturday they would leave as soon as transport can be arranged.
Associated Press writers Douglas Birch and Musa Sadulayev on the Russian-Georgian border, George Abdaladze in Gori, Georgia, and Vladimir Isachenkov and Lynn Berry in Moscow contributed to this report.
'In addition, Lomaia said, hundreds of "mercenaries" -- or "volunteers," as the South Ossetians described them -- are pouring across the border from Russia to join the fight.
The commander of a Russian peacekeeping mission has told Georgian officials that his troops are unable to control the situation, Lomaia said.
"The Bible is no mere book, but a Living Creature, with a power that conquers all that oppose it." ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
http://www.myspace.com/khleboyko" 8/8/8 Breaking News!!! Russia Attacks Georgia, WW3???, from youtube.com "Mathew 24:3-4, 6-7, 13-14 (New American Standard Bible)"
"..15 Peacekeepers Killed, 150 Wounded
Russian military commanders said 15 peacekeepers have been killed and about 150 wounded. Russian troops went in as peacekeepers but Georgia alleges they now back the separatists.
Russian military spokesman Col. Igor Konashenkov accused Georgian troops of killing and wounded Russian peacekeepers when they seized Russian checkpoints. Konashenkov's allegations couldn't be independently confirmed Saturday.
"GEORGIA / SOUTH OSSETIA (ANS) -- News sources now estimate that 1,500-2,000 people have been killed, and 40,000-50,000 of the 70,000 residents of South Ossetia may have fled their homes to North Ossetia and other parts of Georgia in conflict that began late last week, escalating over the weekend...
..Also, in Beslan -- a city well-acquainted with violence and death -- Russian Ministries’ center is prepared to welcome and assist at least 30-35 refugee families.
“I want to encourage believers to pray,” said Sergey Rakhuba. “Pray for the families and children trapped in the fighting. Also pray for Mikhail Saakashvili, president of Georgia, and for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Pray that God will give them wisdom to resolve this conflict...
Russian Ministries’ staff members are available for news interviews. For more information, contact Jean at 630-462-1739 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Website: www.russian-ministries.org ”
"A key element calls for all forces to return to the areas where they were before fighting broke out last week.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili suggested some details were unacceptable and the French mediator admitted difficulties lay ahead.
Earlier, Russia announced its military activity in the area was completed and witnesses saw troops pulling out.
The BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse in Georgia says fighting in the South Ossetia region does now seem to have ended.
But despite the diplomacy and apparent withdrawal, rhetoric on both sides remained fiery and analysts were predicting a long road to peace. .." The Georgia - Russia Conflict (War) Explained, from youtube.com
"Georgia (MNN) ― The U.S. State Department is recommending that all U.S. citizens leave the Democratic Republic of Georgia due to ongoing Russian bombing of civilian and military targets. The warning was issued despite Russia's claim to have halted military operations there--a claim questioned by reporters in the region.
Western powers appealed to Russia for an immediate ceasefire after Georgia accused Moscow of pushing troops further into its territory and seeking to overthrow President Mikheil Saakashvili.
Slavic Gospel Association supports churches across the border in the Russian region of North Ossetia. SGA's Joel Griffith says there are number of issues that pushed Russia over the edge. "Georgia has sort of been a thorn in Russia's side for some time because of their desire to join NATO. You also have a situation of the Balkans when NATO helped separate Kosovo from Serbia. That's been something the Russians have been very vocal in their opposition. There are just a whole lot of geo-political threads running through this situation."
Unofficially, the death toll is listed at nearly 2,000. According to the United Nations, thousands of people are streaming out of South Ossetia and fleeing to North Ossetia.
Griffith says SGA would like to help support their churches in the region. "It's still too early to say how that's going to develop, though. But there's always the potential of a humanitarian crisis, and we will just pray that the churches will be ready and able to step into situation like that to help if it's needed."
While SGA is asking Christians around the world to pray for an end to the fighting, Griffith is also asking you to pray for something more specific. "Pray for the protection of the evangelical churches that are there and are ministering. Just pray that even through this crisis that the Lord will be able to use this to be able to find an open door for the Gospel."
The Beautiful Country of Georgia
" Added: September 18, 2007 (Less info)
Very beautiful country.. "