There are many kinds of prison, including physical and spiritual.
Across the former Soviet Union, many SGA-supported missionary pastors have engaged in prison outreach through the years. Several were even former prisoners themselves, coming to faith in Christ through similar ministry that reached them either in prison or after their release.
One such ministry where a great spiritual harvest is taking place is in the Russian city of Novosibirsk. Alexander and other faithful servants continue to visit local prisons in search of those who are lost and in need of the Gospel. Whether it be through personal conversations, group studies, distributing Bibles and literature, or staying connected through written communication, these men and women make a daily sacrifice to love as Jesus loves—in action and in declaring the Gospel. The story of Semion is just one example of how difficult the battle is to turn away from the old life and put on a new life in Christ . . .
Semion is one of the Roma people group. He was released from a local Penal Colony after a huge challenge. In 2016, Semion came to a group meeting at the Penal Colony where he was serving a sentence for the third time. He was seeking the truth because everything in his life was ruined. He attended the group meetings for two years, repented, and upon release from imprisonment in 2018, he joined our church in Novosibirsk and was baptized. We all rejoiced! Semion began preaching to his fellow Roma and started singing in the choir.
Then, like a thunderbolt from a clear sky, he was put in prison again. His relatives had forced him into a dark situation, and it all ended with Semion being sentenced to another three years at the colony. But as the Lord searches for His lost sheep, so we tried to return Semion to life. And the Lord was glorified. He gave Semion a second chance. Upon arriving at the colony, Semion called us and asked us to come. When the brothers and I came, Semion confessed all of his sins, repented, and declared his firm desire to follow the Lord and restore everything. During the past three years, Semion attended services, but he was transferred two more times to other colonies where he remained faithful to God in serving and preaching the Gospel message. We helped him as much as we could. Praise God, at the present time, Semion is going through the process of restoration in church membership. In the colonies where he had served, a few Roma have turned to the Lord thanks to his witness!
We praise God for Alexander and his faithful teams as they go into these dark places to reach the lost. Please continue to pray for this ministry as they shine the light of the Gospel!