Feature

Life in Living Color

A full spectrum of life for new believers

By Anonymous

Five years ago a Russian couple returned to Saint Petersburg, where they had attended Bible college, in order to plant a church. A year later, The Alliance sent two North American couples to assist them. Today, what started as a small youth group is now a growing church, composed primarily of people who have been saved through its ministry. Below are two stories of people whose lives have been radically changed by the good news.

Vadim grew up in a typical Russian home. His father, an alcoholic, was sometimes violent, and Vadim’s mother was the head of the family. His mom taught at his kindergarten, so he was treated quite nicely there.

As Vadim grew up, he realized he knew of no solid reason to live. He simply could not find any purpose. As a young adult, Vadim served the mandatory two years in the army. Later, he was certified to install wiring on submarines.

Vadim enrolled in an extrasensory perception course (which was quite popular in Russia at that time). After attending one session, his behavior became so erratic that he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Some time after he was discharged, he met a member of the White Brotherhood at a train station and decided to join the group. The White Brotherhood is a Russian cult that links its teachings to Slavic people and practices from the past, giving this religion broad appeal in Russia and Ukraine. The cult preaches against parental authority, and many of the members abandon homes and families.

For a second time, Vadim was put into a psychiatric facility, probably in part because of his involvement in the cult. He was never told his diagnosis or what medicines he was being given. When his mother saw his reaction to the drugs, she checked him out of the facility and took him home. He married and quickly divorced during this time and later married his present wife.

Scientologists offered to give him a free life-assessment test, which he took but never followed up on. At the Orthodox Church, the priests did not have time to talk when he asked to speak to them. In all of these experiences, he was seeking specifically the answers to life’s questions: Why am I here? Who cares that I even exist? Do I have any significance at all?

One day Vadim applied for work with a company, and the man who contacted him was a member of our congregation. After they worked together for some time, he asked Vadim to meet with him, not mentioning that he was inviting him to church (not a practice we encourage). Vadim stayed for the whole service. He then met with our pastor, Dima, who talked to him about personal responsibility and God’s will for us.

Vadim was impressed with what Dima had to say and started attending our church regularly. Soon, he repented of his sins and later was baptized. He is a soft-spoken man who loves to laugh and worship. He now understands what it means to be a good husband and father. He has seen what it means to be a healthy man. “Everything in my life has completely changed: at work, at home, in my relationships, everything.” His wife of several years has noticed the difference and has attended church events. Vadim says life is no longer in black and white but in full color.

Another new member of our church is Zina, who has also experienced radical life change. Here is her story in her own words:

“In my family everyone believes that God exists, but even so, in my childhood my sister told fortunes, and my mother took me to people who practiced extrasensory perception and took my brother to bapkas (women who would seek the future). When I was nine years old, I read the entire Bible and understood that God exists and that He hears me. I became a believer, but only to the amount I could base on my own understanding.

“When I was older, I moved to Saint Petersburg, and Yana, the owner of the bookstore where I worked, left a book at work called Jesus—Your Fate. Yana, once a hard-line atheist, had repented and was attending church with her husband. “I read the whole book in one day. I then understood that what I had believed to be right was not so. Earlier, I had told Yana that I read about Martin Luther in the encyclopedia and really liked his ideas about God’s love. Then I found out that Yana and her husband went to a Protestant church that is ‘like Martin Luther’s.’

“Yana invited me to church, and I gladly went. Later, in a conversation with the pastor, he told me all about repentance. I repented of my sins and became a Christian 20 days after I first attended church. The day after I became a Christian, the whole church went on a picnic outside of the city. Everyone welcomed and congratulated me. I did not understand what was so special, why they are so happy.

“From the first day I started attending church, I began to tell other people—my friends, my family, my roommates and customers at the bookstore—about God. They would ask me many questions, some of which I could answer. If I didn’t know, I would invite them to speak to my pastor, or I would talk to my pastor myself about their questions. I was baptized on October 25, 2006, two months after I repented. It was especially great that I was baptized together with my boss and friend, Yana. I am very thankful to God that He led me to move to Saint Petersburg and to this workplace where I came to know Him better.”

Zina recently heard a testimony of a man delivered from alcoholism and drugs who encouraged and challenged everyone to live for God and to follow His leading. God is calling her into full-time service, so she will begin Bible college this month. Once one meets Zina it doesn’t take long to realize that she too is experiencing life in living color.

The authors are international workers with The Alliance.

Past Alliance Life Issues

Share

Get Involved...

Pray.

We cannot “Live the Call Together” unless prayer is central to all we do.
Pray with us »

Serve.

Is God calling you to service? We’re here to help you connect your passion with God’s purpose.
Serve with The Alliance »

Give.

Help build Christ’s Church by supporting the ministry and workers of The Alliance.
Give today »