By Editorial Staff
Published December 1, 1988
EDINA, MN (EP) – It was an unlikely scene – a leading Soviet network journalist sitting in the front row of an evangelical church in Minnesota, listening intently to the service. Her camera crew roamed the aisles taping the service – worshipping, singing, and even praying – for later viewing in the Soviet Union.
It was a sign of Perestroika’s heady winds of freedom, which are presenting unique opportunities for the Gospel.
Leading Soviet journalist Svetlana Staradomskya recently spent two weeks in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area filming scenes of American life to use in her Soviet news broadcasts, which have an estimated national audience of twenty million people.
Staradomskya and her film crew travelled to a public school, a shopping mall, a nursing home and even a professional football game, but it was the two hours spent among believers at Grace Church in Edina, that proved to be the emotional high point of her trip. “Svetlana said that she felt an outpouring of love from Americans all during her stay here, but none more graciously shown than the love of the people of Grace Church,” said Diana Pierce, an anchorwoman for the local NBC affiliate, KARE-TV.
It was Pierce who invited Staradomskya to attend a service at Pierce’s church. “I wanted to invite her to come to a church service in the United States, and I thought it would be really nice if she could join me at Grace.” After a second invitation, Staradomskya agreed to attend. According to Pierce, Staradomskya was intrigued by the modern facilities and by the congregation’s concentration of young, professional people – a sharp contrast with the old and largely empty church structures in the Soviet Union.
Following the service, Pierce introduced her to the church’s senior pastor, Dr. John Eagen. “God bless you,” said Eagen. “God bless you back,” was Staradomskya’s surprising reply. When asked by Eagen if she really meant that, Staradomskya said in her heavy accent, “Under Perestroika, we are much freer to talk about God.”
Eagen remembers her curiosity about the “differentness of this place.” When she expressed uncertainty about the reason for that difference, Eagen replied, “I know what you are experiencing, Svetlana. It is the Spirit of Jesus Christ.”
The worship service in the large, non-denominational evangelical church proved so captivating to Staradomskya that she sought permission to return with a film crew the following Sunday. The Church not only agreed to the filming but also called Pierce and Staradomskya up to the platform where Eagen presented the Russian journalist with an American Bible. Inscribed in the Bible was the wish that she would “come to know the wonderful freedom of Christ’s love and the tremendous peace that results from an intimate relationship with Him.”
In brief remarks to the congregation, Staradomskya said, “It is a privilege for me to just be here with you and tell you that now I think this is what lives in our hearts and our souls: that Soviet people really want to make as many bridges with you as possible, to get more close ties in every sphere of life – economic, political – and perhaps one day will come when we get together in such a solemn place as your church to pray together for our cooperation, our love, our understanding.”
Following the service, people of the church gathered around Staradomskya, welcoming her to the United States and to Grace Church. Tears welled in Staradomskya’s eyes as several people greeted her in her own language. One individual pressed a Russian Bible into her hand, while another presented her with a copy of Josh McDowell’s classic apologetic book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict.
Speaking with people and hugging their children, Staradomskya became almost overwhelmed with emotion. Perhaps finding old words inadequate for new feelings, she simply stated, “I feel so full of human love.”
“Svetlana was very touched and truly overwhelmed by the love shown to her,” said Pierce.
Eagen’s message on the morning of the Soviet filming – planned four months earlier with no knowledge of what was to occur- was entitled “Revolutionary Living for Revolutionary Times” from Acts 2. It contained a strong presentation of the gospel. October 23, was also “Friend Day” at the church. Soon after arriving, Staradomskya pointed to a large banner in the foyer that said “Welcome Visitors” and exclaimed to Pierce that it was nice to be welcomed in such a manner. It was an error that Pierce did not have the heart to correct.
In parting comments before returning to the Soviet Union, Staradomskya mentioned to Diana Pierce that of all her reports, it was her report of her visit to the church that she would treasure the most.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Russia, Ukraine and former USSR
Your comments are welcome!
Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion
This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.
Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.
“… an extraordinary statement … a powerfully articulate presentation about what abortion really means, and why a great and moral nation like the United States must not allow the slaughter to continue.”
— Congressman Robert K. Dornan
Running time: 85 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
$12.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!
These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.
Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.
Watch these pro-life videos on-line.
“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California
“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter
$4.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“… a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)