Selin, Bruce: Mission Trip to Russia. Where He Leads. 4/2000.
But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find Him... †This is the present state of affairs in the huge country of Russia, a country formerly controlled by communism, but a country that has still not found the spiritual guidance needed to place them on the path of righteousness.
Russia today is a land of endless opportunity to proclaim this ďGospel of Peace.Ē During the month of September, Marty Seppala, Greg Helmes and I had the blessed privilege of preaching to many precious Christian friends and to people who are seeking to know God. In the chaotic aftermath of godless communism, many have been awakened to the knowledge of their spiritual plight.
We traveled first to Jaama/Kingisepp with a group of Christian friends from Finland and America, where we held services, Sunday school, and visited several villages. It was encouraging to witness Godí s continued blessing on those who have become Christians as well as the drawing of the unsaved by Godís Spirit.
Next we traveled deep into Siberia to the city of Novosibirsk. The group of missionaries who visited this city in May had discovered a group of a dozen elderly Finnish ladies who welcomed them and asked for more missionaries to visit them. We, too, were warmly received. We had three services and much fellowship with these dear ladies. They were thankful for the word and were particularly glad that Marty could preach in Finnish, their mother tongue. We also met a young pastor and his wife who invited us to their home one evening. We heard of his search for God and his sincere desire to come to the truth. We sincerely felt that God had seen the desire of his heart and sent us to preach the living Gospel to this family. This couple appreciated our clear and biblically founded explanations and cordially asked us to return again.
Next we journeyed to Yekaterinburg. The four days there were extremely busy with Dennis Hilman, our host. We preached in three prisons, a library, a home for disabled children and conducted two church services. Additionally, we spent much time in fellowship with members of Dennisí congregation. Several evenings we gathered in Dennisí small apartment and discussed Godís Word with eager hearers. One evening God so poured out His Spirit that no one wanted to leave and two of those gathered needed to hear for themselves the blessed gospel of the forgiveness of their sins It was a very beautiful experience of the power of Godís Living Word! In one of the prisons, five young men received the grace to repent and believe.
Next we returned to western Russia, via Moscow. We traveled to a small town called Pervomaiskiy, near Tula. This is the town our translator Misha Krupinov and his wife Natasha lived in prior to moving to Jaama/Kingisepp. After attending our Church Convention in South Carolina this past summer, Misha and Natasha had visited family and friends in this area. As they shared their American experiences and spoke of Christianity , friends asked if missionaries could also visit Pervomaiskiy. We were amazed at the eager and receptive attitude these people had towards us and Godís Word. As I began to explain the Bible, beginning with Genesis, our host interrupted me. He said, ďWe want to learn all about the Bible, Bruce, but what we need to know most of all is this: how do pagans like us have our sins forgiven?Ē These were people with no Bibles, no church background, practically no prior exposure to Godís Word! What ajoy it was to preach the forgiveness ofsins in Jesusí name and shed blood to them. After a short sermon they began to ask questions. We were amazed at the honesty and sincerity of the questions, which were truly inspired by God. These people asked us to return as soon as possible to teach them more ofGodís Word, and they promised that when we return, they will assemble a much larger group. Greg, Marty and I all marveled at the work God had already done in the hearts of these people prior to our coming. We acknowledged that this town has received a visitation of the Spirit of awakening.
Last, we visited the city of Rzhev, northwest of Moscow. Again, we rejoiced at the hunger for the Word. The pastor, the chairman of the congregation, as well as the individual members all treated us royally and gave complete freedom to preach whatever God gave. In addition to holding two services and fellowship, we visited a very poor hospital/orphanage, where we felt compelled to leave some financial aid. Truly it is in such places that one witnesses the depths to which godless atheism has taken Russian society .The head doctor thanked us for coming and said that only Christians help so generously. The Rzhev congregation asked us to return as soon as possible, to bring greetings to our churches in America and to pray for them. We promised we would do so.
In conclusion, I ask you all to pray for Godís work to continue in Russia. There are countless numbers of people who have begun to seek God and we are fully convinced that this is a result of Godís Spirit visiting this great country, awakening, drawing and giving new life in Jesus Christ.