Eugene is a graduate of the Samara Center for Biblical Training. He is pastor of a church in Isil’kul, Russia. HeartCry began supporting Eugene in October of 2012. He is married and has four sons. In the following report, Eugene gives helpful insight into the difficulties in evangelism that the church faces in western Siberia. He also gives much encouragement by sharing how the Lord can provide opportunities to share the gospel with someone through the most unlikely of circumstances.
Greetings to you, dear friends and coworkers in the fields of God! Here in western Siberia, the snow has just melted, and most streets in our city look like streams of mud. We have to wear rain boots to travel to our church. Since it is warmer this time of the year, we usually have more opportunities to see people and to share the Gospel with them. It is much harder to evangelize in the winter months, when it is 25-30 degrees below zero!
Unfortunately, the influence of the traditional Russian Orthodox Church is very strong. This is one of the most significant roadblocks in the way of evangelism in our area. Most of the people I have had conversations with lately are very “religious” sinners. People in the streets are closed to any contact, and they do not want to talk to us, because most of the time they think we are “the watchtower witnesses” who are constantly spreading our “false religion.” Cultivating relationships and being intentional with the people we know and with those with whom the Lord has brought us into contact remain the most effective ways to share the Gospel here.
Due to my preaching and counseling responsibilities, I have not had as much time for evangelism; but there are a few specific people for whom I continuously pray and whom I often visit. One of these people, Alexander, died recently. Last summer, I studied the Gospel of John with him, but sadly, he has now left this life without ever giving evidence of saving faith. Please pray for his wife, Nadyezhda, and his daughter, Luba, who has had health problems in the past. We pray that the Lord might use Alexander’s death to have a positive effect on his wife and daughter and that they might realize their need for the Savior.
The Kind Providence of God Upon a Sinner
The Lord miraculously brought a criminal to our church service last Sunday. He saw a car parked near the house where we gather for church and wanted to steal a tire so he could sell it and buy alcohol. Instead, he decided to knock on the door, and Igor (the owner of the house where we meet) invited him in to sit and listen to the preaching. It turned out that I knew this man! His name is Sergei. Prior to my conversion, I actually used to do drugs with him, and we had even done a few robberies together.
The last time I had seen Sergei was in a village not far from our town where I was evangelizing with other believers. We had a long conversation, and I shared the Gospel with him and his wife. I also shared with them how God had changed my life, but there was no response to the call to come to Jesus Christ.
Many years have passed since then; Sergei’s wife has left him, and his life is spiraling downwards. I do not believe in coincidences, but I do believe in God’s providence! Therefore, I have great hope that the Lord has a purpose for bringing this man to our church! I rejoice that I had another chance to tell him the truth about Jesus. It was a blessing to hear him confess even to the crime that he was intending to commit against our church before he knew who we were and what we were doing. The Lord truly works in mysterious ways! Sergei left me his phone number, and we agreed to meet again. I earnestly ask you to please join me in praying for this man.
Health and Other Prayer Concerns
Please pray also for my health. Due to my history of hepatitis, there is a lot of bile accumulating in my gall bladder and liver ducts. I have been taking some prescribed medication for over a month now, but there has been no improvement thus far. A sharp pain has since developed on my right side. I do not think this condition presents any threats to my life, but it does create some serious discomfort, as the pain is sometimes very strong.
Finally, please pray that God would open the hearts of people to accept the Gospel and that He would also open new opportunities for us to be able to carry out the Great Commission. And again, please do not forget to pray for the repentance of Sergei.