True Triumph in Christ
A Frigid, Yet Joyful Volga River Baptism
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14).
In Russia, bitter cold weather can begin much earlier than here in North America, depending on where you are. But morning snow and 35 degree water wasn’t enough to daunt a young Ivanovo-region man from declaring his faith in Christ through baptism in the Volga River. Igor had already faced bigger battles than the elements.
SGA-sponsored missionary pastor Alexander Kartavenko recently shared the story of Igor’s triumph in Christ . . .
We had planned Igor’s baptism for October because of his poor physical condition. He was born with cerebral palsy, which makes it hard for him to walk, plus a brain tumor. Igor urgently wanted to be baptized because he knew death could take him quickly. We saw that his conversion was sincere, and we planned his baptism.
When we got up that morning in October, it was snowing and the air temperature was 32 degrees. The water in the Volga was a frigid 35 degrees. It was also windy, and many thought we would fail. But God gave us zealousness for ministry, and we prayed. I entered the water and Igor followed me. I could hardly speak because of the wind and cold water, but we succeeded!
Since that “baptism by ice,” Igor has been joyfully helping the church as he can with work in the church and the construction of a new House of Prayer in the town of Kineshma. His determination is inspiring. They had ordered lumber, and when it arrived at the site, Alexander couldn’t get it out of the truck by himself and Igor immediately pitched in . . .
Igor had to use his inhaler after every third plank, but he was determined to carry on and help. His diligence is an encouragement to me and to the church. I think about the times I want to rest and relax, but people like Igor try to do all that they can despite such poor physical health. Dear friends, please pray for Igor—for his spiritual nourishment as well as for his physical condition.