was an absolute priviledge to have the opportunity to go on a missions
trip to Russia in May, 2000. The faithful financial and prayer filled support
of many people allowed me to go on this trip. I want to thank my supporters
second only to the Lord who made all this possible in the first place.
If I didn't survive breaking my neck, this wouldn't have been a reality.
We arrived in Samara on May 16th, passing
through customs with ease (praise the Lord). Over the following couple
of days our team proceeded to get accustomed to the new surroundings and
meet people at our partnering church, the "Samara Bible School". This was
also a time to get trained for showing the Jesus film and sharing Christ's
love with the people of Russia. We showed the Jesus film 24 times in total,
with our 15 group members being split into 4 groups. The group I was a
part of is shown to the right. Each group showed the film 6 times.
response was tremendous as the Lord worked through the Jesus film, touching
the hearts of those who watched. People saw in their native Russian language
that Christ's love was so great, he was willing to lay down His life for
them, and be crucified for their sins. In total, 3516 people saw the Jesus
film, 815 prayed to receive Christ as their Lord and savior and 484 indicated
that they wanted to get involved with a bible study. However, numbers alone
do not tell the whole story.
is more interested in dedicated believers than half-hearted commitments,
and we saw great evidence that people were sincere in their commitment
to Christ. There are obviously cultural differences between Russia and
North America, but that doesn't stop God from working through us even though
we couldn't speak the language. By His grace, each of us had a translator
that stayed with us during all six film showings.
The translator assigned to me was named
Dennis. He was a law student at the University of Samara, and was also
semi-fluent in English. Even though he does believe in God, he is not a
follower of Jesus Christ. Over the days we were there however, he began
to see how Jesus worked in the lives of those who came to see the film,
and Christ softened his heart over time. He did not commit his life to
Christ while we were there, but the Holy Spirit is definitely working in
him, and continues to do so.
get people to come to the film, we would go and advertise using flyers
in the preceding hours to the film showing. Working with students from
the Samara Bible School, we would go out on the streets and hand out flyers
to people in the area, as the picture shows. Dennis is in the middle of
the picture. This also gave us the opportunity to build friendships with
both the bible school students as well as people on the street. I brought
along a book full of pictures of Alberta, Canada, and this proved to be
a great “ice-breaker” when talking to people. It broke down the barriers
so that they would realize we were interested in their life, and then invite
them to see the Jesus film. This also brought about the opportunity to
share Christ with people on the street when they inquired as to why we
Vern (one of our team members) brought
along Yo-Yo’s and Frisbees to share with the children in Russia. Even simple
toys like that are luxuries in Samara. He left a Frisbee with one of the
kids each night, with the phrase “Smile – Jesus Loves You!” written on
it in Russian.
and two others (Vern and Jake) had 4 hours to spare before a film showing
one day, so we decided to get transportation back to an elementary school
close to where we were staying. Jake managed to talk to the military guard
at that school, and convinced him to take us to see the principle (Jake
could speak Russian very well). We were praying that we could speak in
one of the English classes, however, the principle was in a meeting, and
the assistant principle did not have the authority to grant our request.
He did let us go to the playground and play with the kids however.
There I played basketball, Vern shared
his pictures and Frisbees, and Jake talked to one of the teachers. The
Lord used us each in different ways to make up the team that we were in
order to communicate the love of Christ to His people. It was amazing to
see how Jesus can work by simply allowing a spur of the moment idea like
that to take shape for the glory of God.
day, we were fortunate to show the film in a city called Tallahatchi, about
an hour north of Samara. It was a very rough part of town that we showed
it in, but once again, God showed his faithfulness by answering the prayers
of both our team members and those back home. The theatre was packed to
capacity, and Christ brought many more into His kingdom that night, about
85 in total. On the way home, we were celebrating in the rickety old bus
when on the horizon appeared a bright, full, magnificent rainbow! About
a half an hour later, another rainbow appeared. And just before we got
to Samara, one more rainbow appeared. These three rainbows were a sign
from God that he was pleased with His workers, and those who prayed for
the salvation of His lost sheep. It was truly a "God moment".
our final day in Samara, we traveled south to a small village called Krotovka
which means "graveyard" in Russian. Ironically, Jesus raised some people
from the living dead that night. The village theatre only had 157 seats,
and there was standing room only by the end of the film. Almost half gave
their hearts to Christ that night. Two of the bible school students that
were part of our team are getting married on June 4th, and will be starting
a new church in this small Village. Please pray for Stephan and Svieta
as they faithfully work as the Lords servants in Krotovka. Since this village
does not even have a church in it yet, the Lord can continue to make a
huge impact in the lives of the people there, as He has already done through
the showing of the film.
of the most memorable moments on the entire trip was after we finished
showing the film in Krotovka. Babooshkas (Grandmothers) were coming up
to us with tears in their eyes thanking us for sharing the truth with them.
That is a response you would never get in Canada, but it is the response
that warms the heart of Jesus. This was coming from people who had very
little in the way of material items, but they knew they had received the
gift of eternal life, and were now spiritually rich. The picture shows
the kind of housing that they had in that little Russian village. One thing
that God brought to my attention is that people will listen to His message
more when they have little because materialism will not get in the way.
Those that have little see that they need God more than those who can provide
for themselves. When those who are materially rich see this truth, it is
usually too late.
I look back on the time that I was able to spend with the people of Samara,
it is evident that the Lord worked through me and the other members of
our team. Living conditions are a far cry from North American standards,
and people there need the Lord now more than ever. I count it a true blessing
and a privilege to have shared Christ with these Russian people. It is
also amazing to see the body of Christ working together for a common goal
whether we speak Russian, English, or anything in between. Christ came
to earth and died for the sins of all people so that we might be set free
from the bondage of sin, and have an eternal relationship with Him.
you for taking the time to read about this global impact mission. May God
continue to help you realize how truly blessed you are. Also, I would urge
to you share those blessing with others so that they too can see Christ's
love in Action. If you would like to
get involved and go on a mission trip to Russia, please visit
God is blessing you!