Home      GGWO Resp: Ellis

(originally sent 09/03/2005) edited: 12/31/2005

Dear Friends,

This is an update concerning the situation and some of the effects of the new methodology of GGWO missionaries. Some of the content is duplicated but there are corrections of events since I last wrote you. You also have my permission to copy and send to any interested in GGWO’s new methodology of missions. I want to again thank you for your friendship at this particular time and for the many prayers that have been placed before the Throne of our Lord on our behalf. There is no way I can express my gratitude for you standing with us in these difficult times. I know the world is filled with so many problems at this time that our attention is drawn away from each other, but you have been faithful to us. I feel our new Association (IAGM) is really being tested to see if we have the “stuff” it takes to bond together as a family. We refrain from sending out a lot of data about this wicked thing that is happening against us. I realize how much negative information you each receive, but we need your prayers more than ever.

Since I have asked you many times for prayers for our people; I again feel compelled to be accountable to you for what is now taking place in and around St. Petersburg. I just wanted you to know, first of all, that we need you to hold our hands up in the battle, because we are weak without you and your petitions to our Wonderful Lord. Some of our Russian pastors are very discouraged at this time and we are trying to help them keep on keeping on. PLEASE pray for the 2006 IAGM Eastern European Conference as it will be the determining factor for many young pastors as to where they give their allegiance.

May I give a quick summation as to the advances of those who have declared war on the work of God in Russia and against those churches connected to St. Petersburg?

Otradnoe Mission Church, Pastor George. This small church of 20 to 25 members has lost two charter members due to the planned efforts to disrupt our churches here. This little church pays its pastor less than $40 per month. He works a second job as a prison chaplain. He plans to get married soon, but now must face the attack of members being stolen from his little flock.

Kolpino Mission Church, Pastor Vadim. This small church of 25 to 40 members has lost 4 or 5 members due to the planned efforts to claim all members who were once part of GGWO. One family they took out of the “sheep fold” was a young man (and his family) who had worked as an assistant to their pastor for years and had led the music.

St. Petersburg Church, Dr. Ellis. Our church has lost from 45 to 50 people from our membership with many more totally confused. Some of these people had not been an active part of our church for years; they now identify with GGWO and are against our right to exist. Bob & Liza, Alpo & Pirjo, Kimmo are systematically calling our people to, as they put it: "visit their friends“, and immediately fill them with poison, all the while misquoting me and steering them away from understanding the real reasons that the Union of Russian Churches "stepped aside" from GGWO on April 30th, 2005. They are being assisted by Kimmo from the Helsinki Church, along with Alpo and Pirjo and others traveling through in order to boost their efforts. In addition to calling and meeting with our members, some from their group are seeking ways to have me removed from the pulpit. Nearly every one of our pastors have been called and told how wonderful they are; what great spiritual men they are; what great intelligence they have and THEN they are asked how is it that they could be so badly deceived by Pastor Ellis? Scibelli and others have called particular young men in our Church asking if they were interested in being the next pastor of Greater Grace Church in St. Petersburg. Even though they declined Scibelli at first; today they are no longer with us.

This all presents a very specific legal threat to us in Living Grace Ministries. Since this new group is claiming to be the “Greater Grace Church” of St. Petersburg, there is always the potential threat that if they are investigated by the prosecutor’s office concerning Russian Federation laws which they are presently breaking, it could come back on us. They are claiming to all they are trying to proselyte, that they are the real GGC in St. Petersburg which has existed here for nearly 15 years. The lawyers of our Russian Union and our own church lawyer believe that they are in conflict with 5 Federation laws which are serious breaches as guests of the Russian Federation.

I have had some friends that have visited their services and had to leave during a rap because of the vicious attack on me personally. The people who have left our church are those whom I have invested in for 13 years. Many I have helped clothe and provided with medicine, given money, helped get employment, helped send to conferences, and spent hundred of hours counseling. Please understand that this is not an issue of choosing a healthy church to attend but being deceived and lead away from a healthy church. I have announced that we would be ready to receive any one of these people back with open arms and love them as Christ loves us. The whole Church is in agreement. As a pastor I cannot say, "Good riddance to those ‘trouble makers’ and those who “went out from us because they were not of us." I refrain from calling these “dead wood” or “rats leaving a sinking ship” as has been the case when many left Baltimore church. I love them and remember over and over that Jesus left the "ninety and nine to find the one lost sheep". This is not a purging of our church -- it is precious members leaving as a result of deception and misinformation to go into a very unhealthy system. They are being torn apart from the place they have received bread and care, to now go into a desert place.

Some weeks ago (October, 2005) we were informed that our renters, the “Bibles for Everyone”, was evicting us from our building. They seem afraid that the war Bob and Liza have waged against us might involve them in some legal battle thus exposing some of their handling of rental property. We have been there over 5 years and have all 50 of our ministries located there. The first eviction notice was for “immediate” and that was later changed to 12 days or 1st of November. We already are under an unbelievable load planning for the 2006 IAGM European Conference. I am re-writing this on 12/31/2005 and we still do not have any place to go; snow is knee deep and we can’t meet outside. The Russian Federation has closed all doors for churches to rent property in any government facility including theaters, schools, culture houses, universities, hospital auditoriums, and a host of other places.

Medvezhegorsk Church, Pastor Robert. This church was started by a joint effort of Finns and later some American missionaries nearly 15 years ago. We were asked nearly 7 years ago to administrate the church and lead it. During that time we sent Pastor Victor Popov there who helped register the church and create a real viable church. Over five years ago P. Robert Forbatok became the official Pastor by the Church's voice and became the legal pastor under Russian Federation law. The Finns and some others participated by sending offerings for the work there and once a year helping do an outreach there. This year they broke their agreement to financially support the work and did not attend the yearly outreach. It proved to be the best year ever.

In June, 2004 I met with Alpo in his home in Baltimore and explained that the church now had a pastor and if he wanted to go and help, praise God, but that he needed to go through their pastor. Even though I already knew that he had ambitions then to take over the church he agreed. Some weeks ago he went to Medvezhegorsk knowing that Pastor Robert was away in Finland visiting family. He had been asked by P. Robert to please not come in his absence and not to use the apartment which we pay for with designated gifts for the work in Medvezhegorsk. Alpo came and went into the apartment where P. Robert has lived for five years on week-ends and during special events. Of course he had no right to enter the apartment, but what is right and wrong does not seem to mean much any more. I called him to express my disappointment in his going into P. Robert’s apartment and he began a severe attack on me much like the ones going on in St. Petersburg. They used the apartment to "visit with friends". Alpo and Pirjo began to meet with as many members as would talk with them. They claimed that they had paid the rent for the apartment for all these years, but strangely I had never once received a designated gift from them for the apartment or any gift to my knowledge. They bold faced lied to our assistant pastor in order to get the keys from him saying that the owner had demanded it. This was simply not true. Just this August we had the most wonderful meeting with 35 from our church working side by side with P. Robert's people in Medvezhegorsk. I could not tell them apart. Everyone was so excited and knew God was working in a very special way. (I can now easily relate it to the Shantung Revival in North China where Dr. Culpepper and Bertha Smith tells of a move of God just before Red Communism took over.) The Finns had boycotted the Fall Outreach which they had attended for over 10 years. The interim pastor in Helsinki sent me a letter listing the things we must agree with in order to continue receiving support for the work in Medvezhegorsk and Vyborg. The points of agreement would have placed us right back at square one within GGWO sphere of wrong doctrine and bad methodology. I kindly explained that we would not be coerced back into a corrupt system to receive financial support.

Alpo told the Medvezhegorsk church that the Finns were not going to support them any more and thus P. Robert would not be coming there any more. That was a lie without any facts or contact with P. Robert. P. Robert, by the way, was there even as I wrote this letter the first time. (September 1st, 2005.) Alpo told them P. Robert was not their pastor any more. They were then led to vote and elect Alpo as their new pastor. P. Robert told me recently that people, in whom he had invested in at great sacrifice, (leaving his family on weekends), were now bitter against him. One lady, who is in a wheel chair, was first taken to church by P. Robert; she was brought to the lake by P. Robert; the train station, the market place, even to St. Petersburg Church, literally being carried in P. Robert arms up and down stairs so she could go to services - now has turned against him. I have watched him carry her frail body up and down the stairs of her apartment building with tears in my eyes for a young pastor being broken bread for his people. He said that he does not recognize her now. She has totally turned against him. May I ask you, what kind of system would send a missionary behind a young pastor's back and turn his people against him, steal his people without him being present to defend himself, illegally have his church vote against him, have people who were not members and even children vote? (This is illegal under Russian Federation law.) I honestly do not understand this kind of methodology. They entered P. Robert's apartment illegally; illegally called a business meeting; illegally elected a foreign pastor without even first legally dismissing their present pastor and immorally turned a young pastor's people against him. With the advice of our lawyers in our Russian Union and with our elders here we have sent letters to six judicial offices in the Medvezhegorsk area totally taking our hands off the situation. The legal complications are so great now that the contamination and infection are beyond repair even if Alpo left. Pastor Robert is still going there with teams from our church. We are begging money from every source we can think of to keep the work there going. It was amazing several weeks ago that Pastor Robert had exactly the same number in services that voted against him – 21. They are still working with the Home for Elderly and this week end he is going to attempt to start a new work in the Capital of Karalla.

Information is being distributed to our people like: "Pastor Brian Williams left Helsinki though the Church was begging him not to leave." "Dr. Lewis left Baltimore because he did not like P. Steven's appointment of P. Schaller as chief elder and that his office is still empty waiting for him to return." I will not bore you with more details because they get worse and worse. This kind of information is simply out of the “mud cells of hell”. The methods to remove both of these men and their families are purely demonic, unethical and without a thread of integrity. This information is being circulated in an attempt to discredit my earlier report of the reasons both of these men left with the intent of asking prayer for them.

My request to you is to pray for us. Please hold our hands up by keeping us before the Throne of Grace. My participation in all this was to respond to the attacks on our Russian Union Pastors. I then responded to the methodology of GGWO new missions approach when our churches came under attack. I did not want to be on the front lines but seemed to be catapulted to it. I am not accustomed to defending my self, Psalm 7:10, but I am not afraid to defend my people, my family and my friends. I feel we cannot afford to be passive when wolves are stealing precious lambs of God. I told my people to always remember if a wolf is wearing a sheep's skin that it means that a sheep had to first be murdered to make the skin.

For legal protection we called business meeting recently. We did these things to be in agreement to those things our elders had previously agreed upon.

Elders Recommendation:

1. That P. Ellis be made moderator - 100% in favor

2. Natasha Basova, our church secretary, be made secretary - 100% in favor.

3. Motion that the name Greater Grace Church be legally changed in our Constitution to: Living Grace Ministries - 100% in favor.

(Under Russian Federation law we are still “Greater Grace Church” and no one else can use that name without breaking the law.)

4. Motion that the Church start a legal membership as required by law, by Scripture instead of the GGWO lack of membership which meant lack of accountability. Motion to begin membership classes and proper methods of church discipline passed. All but 2 voted in favor. Membership here still brings some fear from Soviet days when people would expose through membership in any organization not blessed by the State.

5. Motion to correct errors in Constitution. 100% in favor.

6. Motion to hire a Christian lawyer, to represent us to do legal work. 100% in favor.

7. Motion to stand with the decision of the Russian Union of Evangelicals called "The Bible Speaks" in their decision to disaffiliate with GGWO April 30th, 2005. 100% in agreement.

8. Motion to re-affirm that we agree with Amos 3:3 and that the elders recommend Dr. Dennis Ellis be the official pastor of Living Grace Ministries, just as he was the official pastor of Greater Grace Church-- they being the same church. 100% in favor.

All members were called to be present at this announced meeting, so this was the voice of the membership. All these points, by the way, were challenged by those claiming to be the “real” Greater Grace Church. Let those making claims otherwise be liars.

I know these words change nothing. I know that you are bombarded with tons of information to process, but could you please pray for us before deleting this message? We really need you at this moment. According to reports coming in from Brazil, Canada, USA and other places, this is not only happening to us. Was it once said, "If we cannot agree on something, we will fall for anything"? My phone does not stop ringing with more reports of fabricated stories from the "new" missionaries in Russia.

God bless you and know that you are loved much. Our services are blessed and our people are being knit together. Together we are safe. The ones being picked off or stolen are those who leave the fold or do not seek the protection of the Body. They are however, still sheep.

Thank you for giving me a few moments of your time.

Yours by His Wonderful Grace,

Dr. Dennis Ellis

Living Grace Ministries