Brother Vladimir serves as a pastor in Russia. Below he reports on one Sunday in his church: meeting for early-morning prayer, hearing the Word preached, and evangelizing in a local park. Read the full report below:
Peace to you dear friends in the Lord! From the heart, we thank the Lord for your service to the Lord in our church family, with the many witnesses in various local churches around the world. On the first Sunday morning of this month, two brothers and I climbed a nearby mountain with a beautiful view of our two cities. The Lord gave us a special grace to enjoy free and joyful prayer for about an hour or more. We praised Him for his wonderful leadership and asked for clarity and awakening through the preaching of God’s Word later that morning. It was touching to me personally with what fear and trembling the eldest brother of us, Timothy G., thanked the Lord. Later in the morning, Brother Timothy opened the church service with thoughts from Psalm 73 about the Lord’s closeness to the outcast and persecuted church. After this general opening and prayer, Brother Victor preached. After the service and the afternoon party, we were divided into two groups: some continued to communicate with the youth, while others prayed for the needs of the church and the application of the truth heard in their lives.
After lunch and a little rest, four of us planned to go to the city park for evangelism. Once we arrived, people began to recognize us as ministers and see that we were there to share the gospel. I love all people, but most of all I especially like to communicate with young people. People who are older require more attention and more patience. Normally they have no questions, but only answers. It seems more difficult for me to have older people listen to what I have to say. Rather than listening kindly, most insist on expressing their own views. They do not allow themselves to listen to the good news. Young people, however, have the opposite issue of older people: they have no answers. They can be reasoned with “without long preludes”. They tend to jump immediately to the point and press with serious questions to which they expect to receive serious answers. Any attempt to “twist the hands” of logic or to give a groundless answer kills the desire in them to continue the dialogue. Straightforward questions and answers earn the ear of the young people, not fluffy answers or avoiding tough questions.
Several couples rejected our offer to tell them about the living, saving God. The first couple was very young, the second elderly. At first, we were allowed to testify to a group of guys, but as we neared the moment of pointing to their need for Christ, a man posing as an Orthodox Christian jumped up to draw attention away from us, as a result of which the young people left. After that, we were allowed to testify to two more guys who had just settled down on the bench to play two guitars. We talked to them for about an hour. One guy listened carefully to my testimony, and then said, “I’ll tell you what you need! Learn the only prayer God has given us is “Our Father”, ask for forgiveness, and do good.” He also said that he did not believe in Original Sin and the importance of the death of the Son of God. When I made it clear from his answers that we could use the Bible as the only authority, he argued on the contrary. I hope we can have the chance to talk again to this man. Please pray for our evangelism efforts around the city. Despite the rejection we encountered during this time, we are greatly encouraged by the Lord to press on in faithfulness.