Monday, December 10, 2007

Singing in Half Voices

On one of my overseas campaign trips, I met Luda, who translated for me and who worked very hard with WBS. She is a graduate of British Bible School. She visited Concord Rd. some weeks ago, and now is back home. She is a bedrock for a congregation there. Here is her email. I took out some portions that were not needed for this post:

Dear Phil,
I am so thankful to God that I had a unique opportunity to see an American Church of Christ and meet you. It was such an inspiration. And see, how blessed you are: the building, many Christians, faithful and experienced preachers, an opportunity to travel to other churches and attend lectureships.Maybe you, people, take it for granted? We, here, are devoid of this.

The church still meets in secret as is not registered. To register nowdays is practically impossible as the "Russian orthodocs atheists" are vigilant and we have, as in old days, the so called "cesaropapism". Despite loud declarations the accepted state religion is the above. Even registered baptist and pentecostal churhces with own buildings have problems and some buildings were expopriated. Catholic priests also have hard times though one third of the population is catholic as big territory was Poland before the advent of the Soviet power.

However, my church strives to preserve the "first love" and we are doing fine: regular Sunday service and the Bible class after, Ladies class and the OT class during the week as well as a small Sunday school for children. We sing in half voices as we rent an apartment in secret and it is also illegal. Our preacher Nickolay has studied in the WBS and had individual studies under one preacher from the Evansville church for some three years. Now starting from January we are on our own. I decided to give some part of my salary plus money from collections to pay the rent and continue. The rest of people, we are about 10, cannot help financially. I think I owe this to God and do not feel deprived. It is difficult to grow in such circumstances and the fact makes us all feel unhappy. Of course, we pray for an increase in number and having students but so far everything has not been effective. Some could not accept what they heard and how the service was structured and that we did not have a magnificent building decorated with icons and gilded worship objects, some could not accept that our Bibles do not bear a Russian orthodox cross (with a additional line below pointing to to hell or the paradise) etc.

Best wishes,
In Christ,

1 comment:

Darin L. Hamm said...

Mr. Sanders,

Thanks for sharing this. It puts much into perspective.