After the devastating news that our Russian religious visas had been denied, we were over the moon when God worked a miracle and not only got us approved for one-time entry visas, but religious visas that allowed us entry for an entire year! We began making plans and seeking God for the next 365 days.
My first trip was last November. As I placed my foot on Russian soil, walked the streets, talked to Russian people, and visited with missionaries in the land, I saw a glimpse of Hudson Taylor’s vision on the ground. Revival isn’t coming someday. It’s happening right now. In the churches, businesses, sports world, and also in the individuals, the artists, athletes, teachers, and laymen.
We spoke at events 14 times in just 73 hours, including live and taped shows for TBN Russia. These shows reach several hundred thousand people all across Russia and beyond. It is illegal to forcefully convert someone to your religion this making street evangelism not wise to do. But through television, we were still able to reach the Russian people right in their homes. That in and of itself is a miracle. In a country with strict religious laws, simply talking to people about Jesus is difficult. A Baptist pastor was recently persecuted in Russia for “illegal” missionary work.
We spoke at several sessions of a youth conference and at Saturday and Sunday church services. We hosted a Go & Tell evangelism conference and trained local pastors in leadership.
It was a BUSY three days, but a few moments in the whirlwind stick out in my mind. One particular moment during a church service I will never forget. Worship was in progress, and Shawn was about to get up and speak. I intently listened to the familiar songs sung in Russian. It was a beautiful and pure sound, an offering to Jesus so precious, it was almost tangible. An image of heaven. I knew in my bones that what we are doing here is God’s work, His calling.
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
Shawn preached a powerful word on Acts 17:26-27 how God has strategically placed you where and when he did because He wants you to find him.
After the service, two women walked up to me. With tears in her eyes, one of them said that while Shawn was preaching she felt warmth, as if God were giving her a hug. She asked more about her purpose in life and how to hear from God. We were able to encourage both of these sisters, pray for them, and prophesy over them. We told them to continue chasing after the things of God, study the Bible, and be influencers in their spheres.
Little did we know that one of the sisters received the Woman of the Year Glamour award and is one of the best-known pop singers in Russia. We went back in December, and the pastor we’ve been working with let us know that the women are still going strong in seeking God and taking the responsibility they carry seriously, knowing they hold power to influence the next generation of the country of Russia.
It’s mind blowing that God gave us the opportunity to speak into the lives of influencers of influencers and encourage them to be bold for the name of Jesus Christ, the hope of the world. This nation is spiritually on the rise, and it is wonderful to see.
We are deeply grateful to have the privilege to preach the gospel in a nation where religious persecution is yet again on the rise, and we’re excited for what God has planned for us next in Russia.