Here is an update from Street Cry, our church in St. Petersburg. Please visit the Street Cry site to learn more about the great work that God is doing through the ministry.
Our School of Ministry graduate and missionary to the Far North of Russia, Arkady Ledkov (photo on the left; we wrote about his evangelistic work among the nomadic people of the north in the March 2009 issue of our newsletter) spent the summer of evangelism with us in St. Petersburg actively participating in all of the street evangelism events. Then after the summer season ended here, he joined a team of Canadian missionaries for his next trip with the Gospel to the nomads of the tundra. Here is his report:
This time we started from Salekhard city – the capital of Yamalo-Nenetsky Autonomous Region. The goal of this trip was to visit new believers who accepted Christ during our previous trips, encourage them in the Lord and bring humanitarian aid to them. At the same time, we purposed to visit new villages where no one preached the Gospel yet.
Therefore, we rented a boat and went down the Ob River from one small village to another, from one camp of reindeer shepherds to another. There are actually no roads or way to reach them besides the Ob River.
It was a wonderful time! We fellowshipped with the reindeer shepherds; they hospitably received us in their tents (called “chooms” in the local language) and introduced us to their families. We showed the Jesus film and distributed evangelistic literature. God’s presence went with us. And the nomads opened not only their homes but also their hearts to us!
In one place, we were guests of a family of seven and as a result of our visit, all of them repented and accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. I cannot adequately describe the joy that we all experienced!
In one reindeer shepherds’ camp, we visited two families famous for possessing the most ‘powerful’ idols in the area.
All the other shepherds used to come to them to worship those idols and bring sacrifices.
Three times God destroyed the idols by lightning but the people did not learn their lesson and continued idol worship with sacrifices and wild parties. They just put the pieces of the idols back together by metal wire.
After the third restoration of the idols the people restoring them suddenly died – the man drowned and his son got lost and nobody was able to find him ever since.
Soon after that, a missionary came to these families preaching the Gospel and telling them about Christ. Two women from these families responded to the call, repented and dedicated their lives to Jesus.
Their repentance was so deep and radical that immediately they went to the idols, poured kerosene over them and burned them in spite of the protests and threats of the other family members.
As we visited these families now we found all the children saved – one woman has six daughters. And as we entered their choom, we felt God’s presence so strong that it seemed to us that we were in church rather than in a shepherd’s home.
Just like in times past, many reindeer shepherds come to visit these families now. But instead of worshipping idols they hear the Gospel and receive prayer.
Visiting one of the most remote villages ‘Shuchye’ turned into an object lesson for me on the Biblical principle of sowing and reaping. In St. Petersburg, I was a university student at the Polar Academy together with a girl named Nadya Salinder. She was very instrumental in bringing me to Christ.
‘Shuchye’ happened to be her birthplace. Nadya shared the Gospel with me and God used me to bring the Gospel to her fellow citizens! Truly, His ways are past finding out!
From the trip, Arkady brought to St. Petersburg his younger sister Lilly (photo on the right). She finished high school this year and was accepted to the St. Petersburg Pedagogical University.
While preparing all the documents needed for the University and the dorm, Lilly was staying with our church members. Arkady kept inviting her to every service. Thus in addition to her older brother’s testimony Lilly heard the stories of many young people coming to Jesus and even received a personal prophetic word during one of the church services.
As a result, she repented of her sins and dedicated her life to Jesus. Now Lilly is an active member of our church, she lives in the University dorm and uses every opportunity to share the Gospel with her fellow students.