I wanted to write this short field report to you from Yakutsk and share a story that wonderfully tells the story of Reach Russia Now. A woman named Ludmilla said to me: “If I had a good husband, I do not think I would have been saved.” It might sound strange, but her story is incredible!
Ludmilla lives in Oktyom, a small village on the Lena River in Yakutsk. It was 1993, and she was newly married. Although her husband had served time in prison in the past, she rationalized that she could change him. Yet for the 18 months that followed she was beaten, emotionally abused, and constantly in the hospital.
Finally, after she and her sister were terribly beaten, she called the police. They came and took her husband, and he eventually went back to prison. With her husband in prison, Ludmilla grieved because she felt she had failed him. In her sorrow, anxiety, and doubt, she turned to alcohol for solace. But nothing cured her feelings of hopelessness.
As a child she had heard from her dad that God exists, but the Communist Pioneers, a communist youth indoctrination program, explicitly told her there was no God – no one there. Yet in total despair she cried out to God to reveal Himself. The next day, a friend knocked at Ludmilla’s door to tell her about Jesus. When she was invited to a small, young church in 1994, she was brought to tears … and to saving faith in Christ. Ludmilla, overwhelmed with her new faith, began putting up flyers all over town, inviting people to come to her home and hear about Jesus.
Then God brought a new man into her life, a new believer who later became a pastor. Twenty years ago Ludmilla began traveling with her new husband along the Lena River, taking the Gospel from village to village, sharing with all who would hear.
As Ludmilla told me her story in June of 2018, she had one prayer to share with me — that today’s generation of Christians would have the same zeal!
That is when I was excited to tell her that the youth in Yakutsk have a plan to conduct “Gospel Missions” each month to both support existing missionary pastors in reaching their village and to evangelize unreached villages throughout Yakutia. She was excited.
Walking in Ludmilla’s footsteps, this new generation of youth, supported through SGA’s Reach Russia Now and Youth IN Ministry programs, is now reaching out to those who literally have never heard the Gospel nor any form of Christian faith. God be praised!