Winter 2011: Be Ready Always to Give an Answer
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Summary: You’ll never be on fire for God if you just read someone else’s experience.
 
 

My name is Nikolai. I am a shipper at Amazing Discoveries.

I am from Russia. My wife Natalia and I worked for the municipality of Moscow in a time when the Communist system was very closed to religion. After Perestroika—the political restructuring of the Soviet Union in the 1980s—people were allowed to speak about God on TV. Everyone was shocked, but I was intrigued. Could God really exist?

I went into my room, closed the door, and prayed to God, saying “God, if you exist, show me what to do.” Right after praying, I was afraid. What if God actually did exist and answered my prayer?

Shortly after speaking that prayer, I had a dream that I was in a desert. The sand was blowing against my ankles and the sun was beating down on me.

I saw two men pulling water out of a well. “Are you kidding me?” I asked. “ This is the desert!” But when I bent over the well, I felt the moisture against my face. The well was too deep to see the water, but I could hear it flowing.

The two men pulled out a bucket of crystal-clear water and poured it over my hands and face so I could wash. Then, they gave me a small black lamb. I embraced it to my chest and continued on my way.

When I woke up, I didn’t understand the dream, but believed that somehow God would answer my prayer.

A couple of weeks later, I was traveling by train to the Ukraine to visit my relatives. I had packed vodka and meat for the journey, and when it was time to eat, I invited the two other men in my compartment to share the meal. However, the men responded that they would not drink.

I thought this was useless. What good is vodka when you have no one to drink it with? But I shrugged and drank it anyways. Later in the day, the men started talking to me.

They were Seventh-day Adventists, which is why they didn’t partake in the meat or vodka.

As they ate their bread and radishes, they told me their stories. One had been an alcoholic, and had damaged his family so much he decided to commit suicide.

The poison he drank burned his esophagus, but somehow didn’t kill him. He believes God saved his life, and is now on fire for God.

The other was in the Communist Party. He worked in a mine. His sister, an Adventist, often told him that she was praying for him, but he just ignored her.

One day, however, he fell in the mine. Miraculously, he lived—and didn’t even break a bone. He credits God for saving him, realizing that his sister’s prayers were not falling on deaf ears.

When the men left, they gave me a small copy of the Gospel of John. I tossed it on my bookshelf when I returned home, and did not look at it for some time.

When I did notice that little book again, I read it and was amazed by the truth inside. The Holy Spirit spoke to me, and I went to a Seventh-day Adventist church.

I asked God, “why did you lead me to such a weird church?” The people were so strange. But I kept going because I knew somehow that it was indeed God leading me there. I was baptized under Mark Finley’s campaign in Russia.

I believe that those two men on the train were the men in my dream. I was living in death—in the desert of sin—but those men showed me how to find the water of life. They showed me how I could be clean.

Many years later, I am living in Canada. I work as a shipper for Amazing Discoveries, which means I take many trips across the border from British Columbia into Washington.

Border officials have a reputation for being abrupt and even unpleasant. But on my countless journeys across the border, I’ve come to understand that they are still just people trying to make a living.

One time, I was on my way back into Canada. The stern young lady in the booth asked me, “what are you bringing back?”

“Bibles and DVDs,” I said.

“Which Bible?” the border guard asked.

“The King James Bible,” I replied. “I find it a bit hard to read, because I am from Russia and English is not my first language. However, I believe that it is more correct than the NIV or other translations.

“I became a Christian only by a miracle in Russia. At that time, Christians were not even allowed to have Bibles.”

I noticed the border guard’s expression soften. She seemed genuinely interested, so I continued on, sharing my conversion story with her. As I was speaking, I looked behind me, and noticing the long line said, “I better leave. There’s a long line up of cars behind me!”

The border guard didn’t seem to mind. “Never mind them. Please continue.”

So, I went on to tell her how I can see that many in North America have not had their faith put to the test, and therefore are lukewarm in their spirituality.

They are bored, seeking to be entertained, and have not had their thoughts, lives, and hearts cleansed through a living relationship with Jesus Christ. The lack of persecution or hardship in their lives has made them weak in their faith.

I told her I work at Amazing Discoveries, and how we are exposing deceptions, sharing the truth, and exposing lies that lead to darkness. Eventually, the border guard told me I could go. I tried to give her a copy of Faith on the Line before I left, but she was not permitted to take it because of government policy.

“God bless you,” I said, and drove across the border.

Another time, just after the predictions about Jesus coming back on May 21, God gave me another opportunity to share my faith. When I went down to the US, I was met by two male guards and one female guard at the border. “What are you bringing into ther US?” they asked.

“Religious DVDs and books,” I replied. When asked what the DVDs were about, I said that they were about Jesus, and His soon Coming. One guard asked, “Wasn’t Jesus supposed to come on May 21?”

I smiled and said, “Nobody knows the day or time that Christ will return. Only God knows that. However, Jesus told us that we need to pay attention to the signs of the times around us.

“Signs include the state of the economy and the frequent earthquakes and hurricanes. That’s what these DVDs are about—exposing the lies of secret societies and showing the truth about what’s going on.”

The two men were listening carefully, but the woman abruptly said, “OK, you can go. Get out of here!”

A week later, I was crossing into the US again. When I got to the border, who did I see but one of the men who I had spoken with merely a week earlier! The man said, “You spoke to us last week about Jesus. I would like to apologize for how rude that lady was to you.”

I said, “It’s ok. I undestand.” I then told him very briefly about how I have seen God at work in my own life.

I share these stories not to impress you but to call you to share your faith with anyone and everyone. We should work for God in every circumstance, and always try to purposely mention God and His goodness. You never know how the Holy Spirit will use your acts of obedience. That’s why I often say “God bless you”, even to strangers. Some people think it’s odd and even annoying. But I do it anyways because you never know when it will make someone think about their relationship with God. And I have often had good conversations with people because I brought up God in a conversation.

I don’t want this to be one of those testimonies that you read to warm your heart, and then go away and soon forget. You’ll never be on fire for God if you just read someone else’s experience. You need to get out there and live your own life—and be zealous for God and His Word.

Think about your own life. What stories can you tell of how God is good to you?

...be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15).