Editor’s Note: The report below was provided by an SGA-supported pastor in Russia.
What do unbelievers see in our lives? Something different? This was true in the story below. Denis observantly watched SGA-supported Pastor Artem and he saw something different in this man.
Through Artem and the teaching of God’s Word, Denis desired the same relationship with His heavenly father that Artem had. Over time Denis’ life was completely changed from a young man “far away from any spiritual issue” to later stating “If I die, I will not go to hell. I want to follow Jesus.” His life didn’t just change on the inside but was obvious on the outside as well. Now Denis can be that faithful and godly example for others to observe.
Read more about Denis as shared by Artem . . .
Denis was a student and last summer he came for a placement to a farm, but he still lived with his parents. This young man was walking in the evening through village streets in order to find someone for fellowship and we had an idea to invite him for our Gospel studies.
When he came for the first time to our meeting, I did not have any hope for his heart to change. He was so far away from any spiritual issue. He shared dirty jokes, had neglect for the Scriptures, and his manners cried out that he was in a wrong place. I was really surprised when a week later I saw him in the meeting once again. I observed him during our regular meetings in summer and fall, suffering through his specific humor. At times I had an impression that Denis comes just to have refreshments with us.
The time of his placement was coming to an end. So, in one of the groups Denis informed me about it. I shook his hand and told him that I would be glad to see him again in our group. And to my surprise he asked me if I would be willing to take him along when I would be driving to the village for the group. At that moment I realized that I had not noticed the inner changes in the heart of that young man, which took place as the result of the Word of God working in him, the Word he heard every week. He developed an interest in spiritual things.
Since that time, our relationship with Denis became more friendly. Often, he would come along with me on my way there, and we had lengthy conversation about faith in Jesus. Last winter for the first time he came to church for our youth evangelistic meeting. Denis was surprised to see the large number of youth and decided to attend our Sunday services.
About a year after our first meeting, Denis told me about his faith: “You know, Artem, I cannot tell exactly when I came to faith. Probably, it was a very gradual process. I watched you and listened to the Word of God, and then I wanted to pray and read the Bible for myself. I understood that I was on a wrong path, and God was calling me to Himself. I realized that Jesus died on the cross for my sin, that God gives the gift of eternal life freely, or better . . . by grace. Christ saved me. If I die, I will not go to hell. I want to follow Jesus . . .”
Denis changed a lot: he quit drinking alcohol, stopped using bad words, started to read the Bible, prays, attends church and continues to travel with me to another village. Recently he expressed his desire to be baptized. Praise God for His Word, which is alive and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword.
Thanks to all the brothers and sisters for their help, for prayers, for encouragement! All the best to you in our Lord Jesus Christ!
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