... for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry,
for the edifying of the body of Christ (Eph. 4:12)
"Reaching Millions for Christ"
We receive many letters in RCR's Moscow Office in response to our prison magazine, The Gospel Behind Barbed Wire. Most are from prisoners and prison ministers, and sometimes they are from others who have come across our unique magazine. Some are looking for answers to their deepest questions, some share their stories of turning to God, or how the magazine has been a help to them. We would like to share some of these letters with you.
Andrei Gurin, Belarus, Brest region, Baranovichi:
We are grateful to God for this magazine, which is published by the grace of God. I send all the magazines I receive to prisons, where they are necessary. Christian brothers ask for them, and unbelievers read them. Glory to God! I have a couple new addresses for prisons. If you have the opportunity, please send two more copies.
Nikolai Baranov, Russia, Perm Region, Solikamsk:
Accept my respect for you for all that you do for the glory of God and to save the sinful souls of prisoners. Some of your magazines are sent here from other places and then we can take them from the library. After reading we return them. I wish to receive a newer magazine from you.
Abdullina Zoya, Russia, Amur region, Blagoveshchensk:
I have been working for more than 13 years as the Lord grants me the strength and opportunities to serve the sisters of IR 12. In 2000 I was released from there on amnesty, and since then I keep in touch with the sisters.
I am 33 years old and I was born in a small town in Krasnodar Krai (region). From an early age, I was left without a father and was raised by my mother. However, since my mother worked on a train as a conductor, I realy was raised on the streets. It was there that I learned to drink wine and vodka, as well as take drugs. Several times, I was on the virge of being caught and put into prison for my crimes, but somehow I was able to avoid sentencing each time. But eventually, I was caught and was given plenty of time to think over my life situation.
While I had read the New Testament before, at that point I had more time on my hands to read it again and I turned to the living God for help. I can not remember exactly what it was I asked from God at that time, but I think it was something like, “please help me stop smoking.” I really did not think that it was possible for me to stop smoking. Once, when I was recovering in the hospital, the first thing I wanted when I regained consciousness was a cigarette. But, one day, God simply took away my dependence on tobacco and I no longer had a desire to smoke. It was a miracle in my life!
During my second term in prison, I came to know a Christian man named Nikolai. I wonder what would have happened to me if I had not met this man? I imagine I would have ended up going back down the same old paths as before. One night, I woke up and felt that I needed to repent right there and then of my sins, so I woke up another friend and he and I went out of the barracks and I got down on my knees and we prayed together. Later, Nikolai suggested that when my term was up and I was to be releasd, that I should move into the Dom Pirkko in Krasnodar region and that is what I did.
Now, I live with other Christian brothers and am being built up spiritually. There are others here who also have gone through prisons and camps. In prison life, you learn to pressure others in order to get something from them for yourself. However, here at Dom Pirkko we study the Bible and learn how to love one another, help each other, understand and give of ourselves for others’ needs. Our brother Oleg teaches us how to be like Christ. What a change that is for me!
I hope that Christ will be the owner of my life and that he will instruct me to live as he wants. My life is in his hands. I hope, too, that you will decide to follow Christ if you have not made that decision yet. Do not put it off until tomorrow. God accepted me, so I know he will accept you. That will be the best day of your life, the day of your real birth!