By Editorial Staff
Published December 1, 1988
TULSA, OK (FR) – For the first time in history, a professional theatre company from the U.S. composed entirely of Christian artists performed in the Soviet Union. Members of the traveling company, known as Impact Productions, performed 18 times before a combined audience of 75,000. Tom Newman, director of the company’s musical production, “The Toymaker’s Dream,” said the response was overwhelming.
Before the tour, Newman said he gave a presentation to leaders of the Young Communist Party, the Moscow Music Society, and the Peace Committee. “The guys went crazy and started signing up for dates. I stopped them … and said I wanted to make sure they knew what I was coming for,” said Newman. He explained to them in clear terms that the message of Jesus Christ was the theme of the musical. “‘The toymaker represents God,’ I told them, ‘and the toys represent the different people of the world. It’s important that Americans and Soviets get together, because the same God, Jesus Christ, loves us all.’”
The Peace Committee official reacted to Newman’s remarks at that point. He responded, “I understand what the story is about, and the people will understand. But don’t ever say that in this country again. I will not let you do this presentation in its full entirety if you mention that.” Newman explained that the official was simply reacting against hearing the name, “Jesus.”
But the group still had an open door to perform at the annual International Peace Day in the Young Communist Peace Palace in Moscow. “It was an extreme sacrifice for people to come since tickets were sold for a full-day’s wage – six rubles. Tickets for the Bolshoi Ballet are only two rubles,” Newman said. “We sold out our first night and the next day we came to rehearse at 3:30 and people were standing in lines.” Pravda, the official state-run newspaper, published a front page story on the performances.
The Soviet government covered all hotel and transportation costs for the Impact team. “We were treated like royalty,” said Newman. In Leningrad they performed in the same 10,000 seat arena where rock star Billy Joel had been in concert. At their last performance, Newman said he decided to “stick his neck out” and share the gospel: “I told them, ‘I would like to have more freedom to share. So many people misunderstand our mission. We come in the name of peace and love, but 2,000 years ago a man came to tell us how much He loved us. And He was crucified for our sins. We love you, but more importantly, God loves you.’”
“The people went crazy,” related Newman. “They stomped their feet and shouted, ‘Yes!’” Newman said that the audience showed unexpected eagerness to hear about the Christian message. In addition to this encouraging incident, 25 Afghan generals came backstage in tears and asked the Impact team to come to Afghanistan. The group was also invited back into the Soviet Union for a three-month tour, as well as Cuba, Bulgaria, and other Eastern-bloc countries. “We can’t wait to go back,” he said.
Besides performing, the group also met with other Christian believers. “The Christians would hide behind a building and run up to us with tears running down their cheeks, pointing to their hearts signifying that we had reached them.” Politburo officials had mixed reactions to the performances, however. Newman said that the policy of glasnost, or openness, is partly responsible for their open door to perform.
Impact Productions is an outreach ministry of Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Russia, Ukraine and former USSR
Your comments are welcome!
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?
Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?
These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.
$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.)
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)