November in Moscow: One Couple Begins Their Race, While Another Finishes
Artur and Oksana were baptized in the Moscow church on Nov 26, 2017. Artur was born in Ossetia, in the Caucasus region. He spent half of his 44 years of age in prison. There he met his wife, Oksana, who was a social worker. He immediately confessed to her everything he was involved in, and that did not scare her away! They were married while he was still in prison, just one year ago.
While he was in prison, he met some Baptist Christians, who came and preached to the prisoners in his jail. He began to study the Bible every day and to spend time with believers. He came to understand that he wanted to live a Christian life.
Four months ago he was freed. When he left prison, he and his wife moved to Moscow, where the police are constantly watching him. A friend of his in Moscow told him that he had found a church which practices “discipleship” – and that was our church. He was introduced to some disciples in Moscow, and we studied the Bible with him. His life truly changed. Every day now, disciples receive a What’s App message from him with a Bible verse.
He found a job as a carpenter. When his boss told him that he was going to have to work on weekends, he refused – “I am a Christian and on Sunday I want to be at church!” His boss then gave him permission to go to church. After that, he has been sharing his faith with his coworkers. There were 35 people at his baptism, including many new people and visitors.
When he shares about Bible passages, he is sincerely moved to tears. We believe that we will see God continue to work in his life -- he has a dream to help others like himself to find God.
That very same weekend, as Artur and Oksana were just beginning their life in Christ together, another couple in the Moscow church sadly, triumphantly, and poetically, finished their race together. Baptized after their only child, Anya, had become a Christian in the Moscow church, Galina Sergeyevna Kalinina and Pavel Mikhailovich Kalinin passed away within days of one another. They were faithful small group leaders, famous for their musical and artistic talents, and for being best friends and inseparable. They were in their early 80's.
They regularly led a Bible talk in their home. Both Mr. and Mrs. Kalinin were noted artists and educators. Galina Sergeyevna held the honored title of National Folk Artist of Russia, in recognition of her operatic talent. They will be deeply missed.