To Russia with Love
September 26, 2019
by Steve Shwetz, host of Thru the Bible
Ministry in Russia reminds us what God does with our seemingly insurmountable challenges. He turns them upside down for good. Ephesians 3:20 is so true! God does “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.”
Recently I visited with Thru the Bible ministry partners and listeners in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. The best thing about these trips is to see how God uses His Word and the ministry of Thru the Bible today—as in this minute!
As you may remember, the Russian government recently took Thru the Bible off terrestrial radio and we’ve been unable to broadcast there. Some would say, “Well, that’s the end of our ministry in Russia!” But no, our ministry partners there didn’t give up. They just had to get creative.
First, they asked God to help them reimagine how they could bring His Word to Russia. Next, they turned to social media. Facebook is as popular there as it is here, so they developed a Facebook group and several other social media communities available exclusively in Russia. Then, they took the Bible Bus we all know and re-created it in a live-stream broadcast and video. (So cool!) Monday through Thursday, they stream the program and then on Friday, they host a live Question/Answer program where people can call in, text, and engage online. They reach people listening—in real-time!
In God’s beautiful plan, one of those listeners was a very antagonistic, young atheist woman named Aliya. Angry towards anything related to God, she spoke with hostility against the name of Jesus Christ. Aliya is also blind. This is important considering Oleg Shevkun, our Russian TTB voice, is also nearly blind.
Oleg started to engage with Aliya through these social media groups. At first, Aliya made it clear she wanted to crush Thru the Bible if she could. But over time and through Oleg’s repeated, loving, and patient engagement, Aliya’s antagonism cooled. Then slowly, her responses to the gospel became neutral. And you guessed it, then came the day Aliya trusted Jesus Christ for her salvation.
But that’s not all—Aliya is slowly but confidently becoming a defender of faith in Jesus. She now volunteers with Thru the Bible, interacting with people online who have questions about how to trust God.
Can you believe it? Of course, you can—with God, nothing is impossible. He turns our obstacles around for our good and His glory. Pray for Aliya—her boyfriend and family have yet to trust Jesus as their Savior (but we can stand in faith with her that the day is coming).
This is just a taste of what it's like to visit with TTB’s global leaders and see firsthand their passion for the gospel of Jesus Christ. They want to make sure their people hear the Word and come to Jesus for eternal life. But it doesn’t end there—we all are on that Philippians 3:10 path, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection” and growing deeper in our faith through our understanding of God’s Word.
You can be confident of this: The Word of God is going out in difficult places, and every day we’re seeing the fruit. Please continue to pray, every day if you can, that stories like Aliya's happen everywhere the gospel is heard.
Steve visits with Thru the Bible's Russian voice, Oleg Shevkun.
Don't miss hearing Oleg's heart for the gospel in Russia.
What gives hope to men recovering from addictions? The Bible does.
Steve also visited a drug rehabilitation center two hours outside of St. Petersburg where many are using Thru the Bible as a Bible study curriculum in their recovery process.