Top: St. Petersburg 1997. Paul Crouch and Valeri Rukovichkin
meet with the TBN team in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Bottom: Estonia 2014. The Crouches with
Valeri and Kateryna Rukovichkin in Tallin, Estonia.
Open Their Eyes...
"I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light... so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me."
– Acts 26:17-18
May is TBN's anniversary month and this year we celebrate 41 years of God's miracles. Even though Dad is not here to celebrate it with us, his legacy of faith lives on in the seeds that he and Mom — and you, our TBN family — helped plant in ministries around the world that are now touching millions of lives with the Gospel. Think of it: More than 40 years ago God started to orchestrate callings and visions. And everything had to merge together so that today we can declare that the Trinity Broadcasting Family of Networks now goes out over 80 satellite channels in multiple languages — taking the Good News of Jesus to the world. This month, we share the story of LIFE TV Estonia and how God multiplied 10 little VHS cassettes into an international network!
– Matt Crouch
Like TBN, LIFE TV Estonia had small beginnings. It was started in 1995 in the home of Valeri Rukovichkin, a young man living in Estonia who had been a Christian for only two years. God placed a burden in Valeri's heart to "open the eyes" of people with the gospel through Christian television. He once shared on Behind the Scenes that this word came as a great surprise. "I was not a television man. I had no experience with TV programs or production." All Valeri had was 10 Christian TV programs recorded on VHS cassettes and a calling from the Lord. He said, "I had a word from God, but being a new Christian I wanted to be sure I was truly hearing from Him." Valeri continued, "So, I talked with several pastors. Some of them told me, ‘In the future, we'll have everything: cameras, a channel; but for now you can just believe in faith.'" Only one pastor told him, "Go where God is calling you. Go and do it." So, Valeri took his 10 tapes and went to a small cable station that had about 3,000 subscribers and asked if they would air them. To his amazement, they said yes and one by one the cable station began broadcasting the programs.
The new ministry began to grow as Valeri sent letters to different ministries asking for programs, and bought Christian tapes from everywhere he traveled. After six months, he said his house was filled with VHS cassettes. As he collected these programs Valeri would bring them to the cable station and they continued to air them. In 1996 TBN began sending Valeri copies of programs that we had dubbed into the Russian language for broadcast on our affiliate station in St. Petersburg, Russia. The very next year, LIFE TV started broadcasting on the largest cable network in Estonia.
A meeting in 1997 with Paul Crouch in St. Petersburg was pivotal as TBN helped provide much needed broadcast equipment to the fledgling ministry.
The Rukovichkins taping a program for LIFE TV Estonia.
On a Behind the Scenes program taped in early 2013 with Valeri, Paul reminisced.
"This was God sovereignly raising up Valeri. God sovereignly just did so many, many things. We were just kind of there at the right time, in the right place. When I stand back and look at the scope of what God has done, I see so clearly how Jan and I didn't do this. Nobody is smart enough to have done what God has done. This is God's miracle. We're living in the middle of a miracle right now."
From there, LIFE TV continued to expand and began producing their own programs, as well as dubbing TBN programs into the Estonian and Russian languages. Over the years, as LIFE TV grew, TBN continued to assist with equipment — providing satellite receivers, which enabled them to reach every cable system in Estonia, as well as editing equipment, and other resources that made it possible for LIFE TV to do their own productions and improve the quality of their broadcasts. In 2013, LIFE TV became an international network, reaching beyond Estonia, when TBN planted a new seed into their ministry by purchasing satellite time for them on the Hotbird 13B satellite. Today LIFE TV Estonia broadcasts programs in the Russian, Estonian, and English languages, reaching a potential audience of 120 million people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Baltic States, Russia, the Caucasian nations, Kazakhstan, Asia, Israel, and North Africa via satellite on Hot Bird 13B, cable networks, IPTV networks, and online internet TV.
To God be the glory!
LIFE TV Estonia is taking the Good News of Jesus to the Baltics and beyond!
Thank you for loving, praying for, and supporting TBN these past 41 years as we work together to "open the eyes" of men, women, and children around the world, bringing them from "darkness to light" with the message of hope, grace, and love through Jesus!
The Crouch Family
Life TV is part of the Trinity Broadcasting Family of Networks.
LIFE TV airs programs in Estonian, Russian, and English.
Tallin -- the capital and largest city in Estonia.