Not long ago, SGA-sponsored missionary pastor Alexander in Siberia shared the following wonderful testimony with us from former inmate Vasily. We praise and thank the Lord He is using your prayers and support to reach people with the Gospel even behind prison walls!
Brothers and sisters, I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! I recently finished serving my fifth prison sentence in a facility near the Russian city of Novosibirsk. I wanted to give my testimony and share with you what God has done in my life. I just pray that my story will be useful for the newly saved, as well as for those who have not repented before God yet.
While I was in prison, I attended a Bible study group for about two years and even prayed a prayer of repentance. However, I wasn’t truly reconciled to the Lord. I had no spiritual fruit in my life, and even though I attended the group regularly, my life did not change much. However, everything changed when I began studying God’s Word anew. After three months went by, I obtained true salvation! Glory be to our Lord Jesus Christ!
I don’t know why I continued to put off my repentance before God. The local brothers from the church who were laboring in the prison ministry convinced me that the Bible study course helps new believers to better understand the Scripture—all that God says to us in His Word. The excellent practice of memorizing Bible verses by heart has also helped and is helping me now. For me, my experience helped me to realize that I had put off my repentance for nothing. I do not regret having had that experience. My only regret is that I did not repent before God sooner.
I myself—as well as everyone around me—began to notice the positive changes the Lord was making with me, and most importantly, inside of me! My prison term expired last December, now I am standing firm on the path the Lord Jesus has shown me! Upon my release from prison, I wanted to join the church and be baptized, and I have begun participating in evangelism. And I also have a dream to do something to start a ministry in my home village of Kolyvan, since there is no Bible-preaching church there. Thank you to everyone who cares for prisoners, and especially imprisoned Christians! I thank you for your prayers and material support because it helps us to feel the presence of God in our lives! Glory be to God for everything!
The writer of Hebrews admonishes us to . . . Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them (Hebrews 13:3). The immediate context is for believers who were jailed and under oppression, and it certainly applies to men like Vasily who have come to faith in Christ while behind bars. We are thankful for his changed life, and dedication to reaching the lost with the life-changing Gospel!