MOSCOW (FR) – Two years ago, Eugene Mastratov worked as an oil prospector searching the northern reaches of Soviet Asia for natural gas and oil. Today his life has been radically transformed. He is still compelled to travel to obscure lands, but his purpose is changed. His life has become emblematic of the mandate of the Apostle Paul, “to preach Christ where he is not known.”
Last March, Eugene was sent out as a campus worker for Christian Youth International to several cities in southeastern Soviet Asia. His task was to invite Christian students to a conference in Moscow for five days of teaching and training in evangelism. Instead, his time among students, many of whom had never even heard the name of Jesus Christ, became a time of sharing his testimony and preaching the gospel.
Visiting the cities of Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Yushno Sakhalinsk, and Irkutsk (see map on page 13), Eugene talked to many young people in the university classrooms who were not yet acquainted with the concept of a personal God. Taking about two-thirds of his time to explain that “religion” portrays a false picture of God, Eugene would use the remaining third of his time to introduce the students to the power of the Holy Spirit and Biblical Christianity.
Once the students were introduced to Jesus Christ as a living, personal Savior, “their eyes lit up like fire.” Seeing their spiritual hunger, Eugene invited them to pray with him and receive salvation. Later, he met with the students in his hotel and talked with them further about salvation and the Christian life. Several of these students were able to travel thousands of miles to the evangelism and leadership training conference in Moscow on April 3-7.
Today Eugene Mastratov, a young Christian who recently committed his life to Christ in January of 1991, has a burning vision to spread the gospel all over the Soviet Union. He spoke of his desire to boldly preach where Christ is not known. There are many cities in the Soviet Union, founded since the communist revolution, that have no churches and no gospel witness.
This summer he hopes to travel to three such cities, Kamchatka, Magaden and Irkutsk. In doing so he will accomplish important apostolic work, bringing the message of salvation to many who have yet to hear about Jesus Christ.