I received some incredible news earlier this week about some things that have been happening recently in Moscow, Russia. It’s important to note that prior to March of this year, there were ZERO Protestant churches in the region of Moscow that we worked in – Goluvinski. Our mission team’s primary objective was to help the team of Russians spread some literature offering folks a free bible and inviting them to participate in a bibly study via mail (aka a correspondence course).
Several weeks after our trip, we began receiving updates from the Stameys that they were simply overwhelmed at the response they had received. If I recall correctly, they ended up having over 100 people interested. Now if you do the math, 100 people out of the roughly 20,000 postcards we delivered, that doesn’t seem very good. But coming from a place where people have been so oppressed for so long, 100 responses was awesome. After our Russian friends received the cards, they would hand-deliver the bible and the study material and began to develop relationships with the people.
Now this is where the story starts getting even better. A few months ago, the American missionaries (the Stamey family) and the Russian team leaders decided it was time to have a face-to-face meeting with anyone interested and began searching and praying for a place to have this gathering. The Russian Orthodox church mostly has a strangle-hold on government-owned facilties such as recreation centers, public gyms, and libraries and if the local bishop doesn’t want anyone using such a place for whatever reason they desire, it usually doesn’t happen. But God works these things out for us! Genadi had began developing a contact in a library in the Goluvinski region and they agreed to let the team have their meeting there just ONCE and see how things went and they would then re-evaluate to see if the group could meet there in the future.
They had their meeting. Split into two, 30-minute segments was a bible study time and then a praise and worship style church service for the believers in attendance. After the meeting, the library director agreed to allow the group back again the next month, and again re-evaluate afterwards. The group as been meeting there every month for about four months now I think. How awesome!
But let’s not stop there… What set off this post was the email I received earlier in the week. This message wasn’t actually meant for me, but was forwarded from elsewhere and not deleted, so I read it anyway:
Just to encourage you, let me tell you that last Sunday we had 38 people present at the new church. about 10 of these were unbelievers. Most of them are contacts made through the invitations you guys gave out. Also, one young man came with his grandmother to the church. He received a Bible and a correspondence course and the next week, He accepted Christ. God is at work drawing people to himself in Moscow and he continues to bless and build on the work of the Crestview team.
That is the most encouraging message I could ever receive. God is using the work of our team and I feel so blessed to have been a part of His plan. It’s so absolutely incredible to think that this young man has came to know Christ as a result of an invitation placed in his mailbox – an invitation that maybe I personally stuffed into an envelope, stamped, or delivered to his grandmother’s apartment. To think that God might have used me for such a job just blows me away.