Bog Est


“They don’t want us here!” I told my husband, Jeff. “They think we’re Moonies.”

It was July 1992, and we had just distributed copies of the Russian New Testament in the Red Square, along with Josh McDowell’s book More Than a Carpenter. With the retreat of communism, the Soviet Union had disintegrated, and along with it, the Iron Curtain. Jeff and I were among thousands of Christians pouring across formerly closed borders to reach the people of Russia and her former satellite nations with the gospel.

Unfortunately, evangelicals weren’t the only group trying out this newly opened door. Seemingly every cult on earth had descended on Eastern Europe to preach its peculiar brand of religion. With little spiritual training, the Russian people were finding it difficult to discern the truth. An army officer leaving the Kremlin took the book I handed him but said, “I don’t like what you’re doing.” Another man approached a colleague and threw her Bibles on the ground. I returned to our hotel room in defeat.

As we went to join the rest of our group for dinner, we found a young Russian sitting near the elevators. He was holding one of the Christian books we had been distributing and had obviously been crying. “I read this book, and I am going to hell,” he said. After inquiring where the American Christians were staying, he had sat in the lobby for an hour, eager to find the people who gave him the literature so they could pray with him.

I too had to repent—of a prideful spirit that had robbed me of the joy of spreading the good news to a land that had tried for decades to separate its people from the love of God. “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, . . . so is my word that comes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isa. 55:10–11).

A coworker at Alliance Life had been behind the Iron Curtain years earlier to distribute Bibles to Christians in the underground network of churches. She brought back several pieces of communist propaganda, including a small poster of a cosmonaut floating in space. “Nyet Bog,” he declares—“No God.”

On my last trip to Russia, I again stood outside the Kremlin walls. The Alliance missionary I was with pointed to a stark white billboard printed with just two words. “Bog Est!” it proclaimed—“God IS!”

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