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None of us are as good alone as we are with an amazing team of people. – Lisa Lutoff-Perlo
After a short career in engineering and nine years as Executive Branch Manager of the Russian nonprofit Association Znanie (Knowledge), Lydia founded the Institute of Management for local entrepreneurs in partnership with Ural State University. She is also a founder of the very first United Methodist Church in Russia after 70 years of atheism and the first woman pastor in Russia. She started her church in July 1990 in Ekaterinburg (former Sverdlovsk), a city of 1.4 million people on the eastern side of the Ural Mountains, a few miles from the Europe-Asia border. Lydia spoke at the first broadcast East Meets West in Moscow.
Lydia was very instrumental in supporting the collaboration between the Russian government and the General Board of Global Ministries to connect American businesses with Russian entrepreneurs and nonprofits. As the Director for Russia and the C.I.S. at the General Board of Global Ministries, Lydia Istomina organized negotiations between the United Methodist Committee on Relief and the Russian government. She personally met with the First Lady of Russia Mrs. Naina Yeltsin. Lydia was able to negotiate the largest military airplane AN-124 (Ruslan) to deliver humanitarian aid to Ekaterinburg, Russia during the most critical years. Lydia’s church became a distribution, teaching, and publishing center.
Lydia’s first book was Bringing Hidden Things to Light (Abingdon Press, 1996) describes her personal journey in the midst of dramatic changes in Russia during the early 1990s. Now in its Second Edition, the book is a living organism that continues to live and grow with the addition of experiences and perspectives on events past.
Its sequel, Why Are We Always Afraid of the Truth, is focused on the social and spiritual stagnation of the last Soviet generation. Her other book, From Misery to Mystery, is a collection of short stories about the life of an immigrant woman in Kansas City. It presents an enticing and very personal account of her life in America and how workplace bullying affects pastors’ families.
Lydia is also a short story writer. She keeps a blog site, View From the Hammock.
Lydia Istomina received her Doctoral degree from Saint Paul School of Theology. Her research topics are revitalizing organizations, adaptive leadership, and workplace bullying.
Lydia Istomina holds the SOJOURNER OF TRUTH AWARD for courage and justice and the ARLON O. EBRIGHT AWARD for leadership.