Report from Russia

"The Russian church is an amazing expression of the power of the gospel," Ravi says, finishing a trip there this week.

I have just left Moscow and arrived in Seoul, en route to my next stop on this trip. We had a truly blessed time in Russia seeing a packed ballroom for the gatherings–nearly 2000. What is happening in Russia is a story in itself. The evangelical movement is seeing more and more of the young coming into the churches, in spite of tough issues surrounding freedom of religion. I landed from Hong Kong on an Aeroflot flight at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow, where three days before there had been a tragedy when one of their flights caught fire after landing. The reason I mentioned that is because I used it as an illustration in my talk there. One of the passengers that survived that inferno made a sad comment when he said some of those fleeing delayed the evacuation because they were trying to take their baggage with them. He said, "God will be their judge."

You don't expect that to come from an airline passenger on Russian soil. It goes to show that deep within the human soul we all know that life is more important than material things (Marxism is ultimately materialistic) and there is a final judge of heaven and earth (in a land that is atheistic).

The people were listening carefully. I also had the opportunity to reconnect with the General that had invited me in the 90’s and through an interpreter had an encouraging conversation. His closing comment was fascinating. "From then till now, my hope for this world is peace... we don't need any more wars." He lives in one small room and said he buried his wife last month. He is 87. He recalled the memories of my visit nearly thirty years ago. It was a time I will never forget.

The Russian church is an amazing expression of the power of the gospel. Seeing so many young people–and even my interpreter was quite young–is a testimony to the faithfulness of those who have gone ahead. Russians are very gifted in the arts and in sports. Their famous writers such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Solzhenitsyn are of the highest vintage. One of their great Christian apologists, Alexander Men, paid with his life some years ago in a brutal assassination in 1990. His writings live on.

I pray a new generation of believers will rise up at this hour. Just as the government in Iran has finally recognized that "Christianity is growing in Iran," one day the Russian leaders will say the same. The power of the message of Jesus is unshakeable. It was truly an honor to be there. This was my fifth or sixth visit to Russia. Giving them hugs on arrival and departure speaks of the worldwide family of God. They have warmly invited me to come back soon. I look forward to returning, and trust some of my colleagues will minister here as well.

Please pray for the church in Russia. I was blessed to be there.

Thank you for praying for us,

Ravi

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