July 6-10, 2021. 20 brothers, 4 catamarans, 4 days in the open air and 30 kilometers along the Ai River in the Chelyabinsk region. Having overcome the joint path, the participants of the Fraternal Methodist Forum share their impressions:
“The idea of the forum this year is to find a balance between physical and spiritual vigor.
On the one hand, there is constant intensive physical work: early wake up, packing catamarans, setting up a camp, rafting on the river, cooking, building a bathhouse, climbing rocks, descending into caves. On the other hand, there is a deeply appreciated time for listening and hearing the Word, seeking and feeling God’s presence… ” Ivan Perestov, Samara.
“I was preparing that it would be difficult for me to sail on a catamaran, as I used to be very seasick, but thank God everything was fine this time. We learned to row for a long time, and while we were learning, the catamaran was constantly spinning around, and we stood still . The main encouragement for me is that the rafting took place in a very brotherly, Christian atmosphere.” Dmitry Lysin, Kainda (Kyrgyzstan).
“We have sailed to the finish line. We had to disassemble the rafts, have lunch and go to the last cave. While the brothers finished with the rafts, I set the table with the leftovers of our provision. As soon as we blessed the food, it started to rain heavily. There was nowhere to hide. As the sprats and tuna in cans swam in the rainwater, we took out a large oilcloth and built a canopy over the table. I continued to spread the sandwiches, the brothers held the roof. A strong wind tried to tear it off.
Our backpacks were already lying in puddles, the last thing we had to do was defend the leftovers.
It stopped raining, we moved our backpacks to a dry place, and tried to find clothes that did not get wet: in the cave where we were going, it was +2 degrees, sharp stones and slippery road – we needed to have appropriate clothes…
The optimal balance of harsh conditions and physical activity, delicious food on a campfire, a mobile bath, mutual assistance, team spirit, the minimum permissible level of hygiene and the opportunity to talk about men’s issues – this is brothers’ forum. The success of such an event depends on everyone consciously fulfilling their part of the load. In such conditions, we learn from each other and feel brotherly love.” Fedor Kim, Moscow
“The Forum strengthens relations.
Building good relationships is probably the most important part of the forum. In the process of rafting, you begin to notice how the boundaries between the participants dissolve. You begin to trust, show kindness, support someone and feel support, share your innermost, listen and understand, encourage, inspire, show mercy… In general, to become what God expects you to be.
A “man after God’s heart,” is a brother who, first of all, turns his eyes towards God and His guidance, regardless of the situation. A brother who takes responsibility for his life and his actions. A brother who is ready to glorify God at any time. A brother who can fulfill “all God’s will” by showing mercy at the most unexpected moment.
When you are in unity with nature, in thoughts about God and in the presence of brothers in the faith, something wonderful, unearthly begins to happen…Then Peter said to Jesus, ” Lord! it’s good for us to be here. “.. Matthew 17: 4 “ Ivan Perestov, Samara
Special thanks to the church in the city of Satka, Pastor Alexander Vechersky, Viktor Stukalov and Ilya Khaybullin for the hospitable reception of the participants and the preparation of the Brothers’ Methodist Forum 2021.