I want to share with you from a worship service I attended recently. It’s a great story to tell! We worshiped with Pastor Benjamin Livtsenyuk and his congregation in an inner-city church in Khabarovsk. Pastor Benjamin called out to his son Vadim and a youth group of 17 teenagers that travelled to six remote villages to provide a report.
The region they visited is the vast, harsh landscape of Far East Russia that contains hundreds of villages that have never heard of God, much less the Gospel. It is steeped in paganism, and they offer vodka to the gods of the river for a good catch of fish or to the woods for a good hunt. Life is harsh and hope is non-existent. Yet the call from God is the same as we see in Isaiah 6:8: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And these young believers in Khabarovsk answered, “Send us!”
None of the six villages visited by this youth group had a church. There was no Christian presence and no hope. But this was the third time these youth had travelled there to build relationships and proclaim the Gospel. These youth plan to continue visiting twice a month, and they told of being both excited and scared as they undertake this outreach.
They spoke with one man in a broken-down village who said, “People have forgotten about God.” Another woman told of near death experiences and wondered if God was protecting her for some reason. The youth group broke up into smaller groups and prayed with the people they met. In most every case, the adults and children of the villages encouraged the youth to return and talk more.
And then one of the youth members reporting said, “Praise God that we have a pastor that told us we need to go or we would have never gone.” With these words, everyone in the congregation was asked to form groups of two or three, and pray for these villages, for their own community and that God would open the hearts of many — praying to the Lord of the harvest to send workers into His field (Matthew 9:36-38).
God Himself is Reaching Russia Now, raising up a generation that is ready and willing to take the Gospel to a people most of the world has forgotten — a people crying out for hope that seems so impossibly elusive. By God’s grace we have been given an opportunity to serve those God has raised up to take the Gospel literally to the ends of the earth. God be praised!