This past Sunday while ministering in a church for the first time I had an opportunity to speak with a pastor and his wife who have recently moved here from Almaty, Kazakhstan. They lived there for 2 years as UN refugees having fled their native country where they had been pastoring a local church until the persecution became too great to remain. The church I was ministering in has sponsored them to come to Canada and begin to work towards becoming Canadian citizens.
She has a degree in English and speaks our language very well. He is just beginning to learn our language but doing much better than I am learning their language – Russian. We had a wonderful talk and I am looking forward to meeting with them frequently over the coming months. In my area of the city where I live there are many Russian speaking people and we have already begun discussions on the possibility of them connecting to these people and maybe beginning to plant a church. The Russian-speaking people I meet daily (many lie in the area where I live) have been heavy on my heart for some time now. Meeting these people was certainly as divine appointment.
I am sure they are living on a limited income and working hard to establish themselves in our nation, make a living and create a home for themselves as they are just a young couple. But, I was impressed and encouraged that they are already looking at finding people to minister to and to share their love for Jesus with. In fact, he commented, with evident sadness in his voice, that he was amazed and saddened that the Canadian believers he has met never speak about Jesus and seem embarrassed when he does. He also commented on the lack of evangelism and how believers are not sharing their faith with the unbelievers. He was genuinely shocked and just found this to be seriously incredulous. I agreed with him and certainly share his concern.
He also commented that in the few churches he has been in since arriving in our nation that it was evident to him that many who come to our evangelical churches are really not born again and thus in need of being evangelized. Again, I had to agree with him as that has been my observation and my concern for many years here on the prairies of western Canada. We have many who believe they are saved because they have said a “sinner’s prayer” but are not saved or born again because there was no conviction of sin, godly sorrow and repentance. The Bible is very clear that without repentance there is no salvation.
I found it interesting and refreshing to speak to this young Russian-speaking pastor. I am looking forward to fellowshipping and maybe even working with him and his wife as he considers the possibility of reaching out to Russian-speaking people here in the city where I live. I will certainly offer to him all the help I can.