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In Memory of Bob Achilles A Man of Influence

The following is an article written by Bud Haskell (Northern California Coalition Coordinator), which was published in the June 2008 edition of the Antioch-Ufa newsletter.

Another heavenly promotion occurred Monday night, May 12, 2008. Pastor Bob Achilles went home to be with our Lord. He is experiencing that truth Paul wrote about in 2 Corinthians 5:8 "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord." (NKJV) Bob's deep relationship with our heavenly Father has gone to the next level.

God's timing is impeccable. I was reminded of this while driving to our Coalition Meeting in Hollister the next day. Jim Achilles gave me the news and asked to be excused from the meeting to be with his family. During the rest of the trip, I reflected upon Pastor Bob's godly influence in my life. Many examples of his passion for Russian believers kept replaying in my mind.

Many Strategic Bible Institutes were sponsored by Trinity Bible Church. Most of the original pastors and/or churches of the Northern California Church Coalition were part of this ministry. Pastor Bob convinced the pastors and churches that training missionary pastors in Russia was a worthwhile endeavor. His strong passion was always apparent as he talked about going to the former Soviet Union to teach the Bible. His love for our Russian brothers was very strong. Bob often talked about "the bug" that you might catch while you were there to teach. He called it the Russian Virus. Now many of us have that same passion he exhibited for the Russian people. So, I lovingly say it's Bob Achilles' fault that I am driven for this ministry. It is wonderful to be part of something that fulfills Acts 1:8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (NKJV) Russia or the CIS is literally on the other side of the earth. For most Californians it is the end of the world, and the last place we would visit. Yet, I now have had the opportunity to teach and preach there. I thank the Lord for Bob Achilles' challenge to get involved in Russian ministry.

Bob Achilles is listed as the Coalition Representative in the Northern California Coalition Guidelines, but I have a different title for him. For all practical purposes Bob Achilles is the founding father of our Coalition. Not only did he influence the original pastors and churches, but he was there at the beginning. SGA sponsored the initial meeting to present the new strategy and old biblical concept of the Antioch Initiative. Slavic Gospel Association invited quite a few men to Tulsa, Oklahoma in November 2003. (Bob and I had been included in this number.) They had met with the Russian Baptist Union and together formulated this new plan. On the first night Dr. Bob Provost presented the concept and asked the attendees to prayerfully consider developing a coalition of like-minded churches to partner with one of two regions: Orel and Ufa.

Bob and I had a rough night sleeping. Our accommodations did not cause our insomnia. The Holy Spirit kept challenging us about the possibilities for a Northern California Coalition. The next morning we met at Tulsa Bible Church for breakfast. We rushed up to one another and said we had to talk right now! Breakfast could wait. I let my elder go first. Bob urgently said that we had to gather a coalition of churches together to work with Ufa, but he couldn't be the leader. He desired that I lead. In turn, I said that God had impressed upon my heart to lead, I couldn't do it without his help. I praise the Lord for Bob's encouragement, passion, and work in the Northern California Coalition.

Bob Achilles has taught several times for the Coalition in Ufa. He was the driving force behind the Coalition video that has urged many pastors to become involved in the Antioch Initiative by developing other coalitions in North America. Most of all, I appreciate his prayer support. He would email me about our latest developments in the Coalition. Bob is still a great encouragement to me.

So, when I share with others about the opportunities to teach and the needs of the Russian people, I think of Bob. If they will go, I know they will catch the Russian virus. It's that bug that many North American believers catch when they leave their comfortable homes to minister for our Lord in other countries. We all need the passion Bob Achilles had for lost souls. He was always looking for opportunities to share the Gospel. Thank you, Lord, for allowing Bob Achilles to influence my life for You.

-Antioch Ufa News, June 2008

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