News from the Church in Tumen, Siberia, Russia

Pastor Boichenko says that in spite of the recent hardening of the authorities’ attitude towards them they are still able actively and openly to serve the Lord in the city. They declined, when invited to do so, to take part in the parade publicly celebrating the first anniversary of the annexation of the Crimea by Russia, and this may well have told against them. Added to which, he is from the Ukraine and therefore in the present political climate viewed as a person hostile to Russia. Some of his neighbours have even vilified him as a ‘Fascist’, for supposedly supporting Ukraine in the present war with Russia. Even the work of their Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre has had to continue without the official recognition it enjoyed previously. Their request to be able to work in the local jail was refused, as was permission to preach the gospel in the town centre, a less frequented area however was permitted. Undeterred, their gospel work continues among Muslim workers from the southern central parts of Russia, Uzbek, Tadjiks and Kirghiz etc., seeking employment on the streets of Tumen. Several Children’s Homes still welcome teams from the church who bring humanitarian aid and hold a gospel meeting for the young people.Easter is an important festival in Russia, so it was a surprise when the city Administration allowed them to distribute gospel literature openly on the streets! More than two thousand pieces were distributed and they were encouraged by how gladly people accepted them! The Lord is undoubtedly blessing the ongoing ministry of the Rehabilitation Centre, as can  be seen in the testimonies of former inmates. Constant support is needed both for the running of the Centre and the workers who lead its ministry.

OLEG, A LIFE TRANSFORMED

Some years ago one of the first drug addicts we took into our care in the Centre was a young man called Oleg. He had recently been released from prison. His life had begun tragically, both his patents being alcoholics.He was placed in an orphanage and then began life on the streets where he quickly became part of the drug scene. ln order to feed his habit he became a thief and ended up in prison again. We found him on the streets following his discharge.Through reading the Bible and hearing the gospel for the first time he received Christ and became a new man! Immediately he had a desire to preach Christ to others, so much so, that he asked if he could go to Bible School to study to become a preacher or a missionary. Now he is studying at the College in the city of Omsk. His parents meanwhile had both died in tragic circumstances, one of their children, his younger brother, was adopted from an orphanage by a couple in America and no-one knew anything about him. Knowing that he had a brother living in Russia he began to search the records of adoption in Tumen. Now Oleg has a double loy, the Lord has found him and so has his long-lost brother from America!

DMITRI, A LIFE REDEEMED; A PERSONAL TESTIMONY

Peace be to you. My name is Dmitri, I am thirty years old and married with two children, we live in the city of Tumen, western Siberia. Today my life is full of purpose and confidence in the future. I would like to share with you the joy and peace that everyone in this world is seeking, but not finding, and that I have now found. My search began in sport, a promising career in business and romance, but happiness somehow always eluded me, sometimes just when I thought I had found it.

One day my cousin came to stay with us. He was taking drugs.Along with all right thinking citizens of our country I hated drug addicts, despised and looked down on them. One evening after a student party I felt so ill I didn’t know what to do with myself, my head and stomach ached, I felt really miserable. My cousin offered me one of his drugs so out of curiosity I decided to try it. lmmediately everything changed and I suddenly felt great again! For a moment I believed that at last I had found the answer to my search for happiness.But soon the effects wore off and I was back to where I was before. So I tried taking more drugs until they became a regular part of my life – I had become an addict myself! Soon I exchanged the white coat of a student in our medical faculty for the pyjamas of a patient in a hospital for drug addicts.

Of course I tried all means to free myself from my dependency, even hypnosis and herbal remedies, nothing worked, not warnings from the police or my medical professors, nor the ‘twenty steps’ of Alcoholics Anonymous. My hope of recovery gradually died like the last smouldering ember in a fire. My life was doomed to eke out a miserable existence struggling with an incurable disease.

REDEMPTION

Totally unexpected, as out of nowhere, redemption suddenly appeared! A church! But not a great building or a grand and impressive temple, but a church consisting of believing people. I was introduced to a completely different atmosphere to anything I had ever known before. Believing people living in a relationship to each other based on love! But not that kind of love I had seen on TV screens or heard about on the radio, but that love of the Lord God who offered Himself for us! This I found among those who, like myself, had been freed from the shackles of drug dependency. My quest for happiness and meaning in life I found in God Himself and His love for us.

Happiness – it’s to live in the love of God, to live according to His rules doing His will by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!All this I found here in this church through a personal relationship with Him.The one true path to happiness in this life is found in Him.Therefore choose the right path!

For further information contact Roger Weil, 02084 020 695. He is the representative of the Slav Lands Christian Fellowship.

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