By Dr. Gary Sweeten
Few nations need a Christian revolution as much as Russia. Their atheist revolution that began in 1917 and lasted 70 years attempted to wipe Christianity out, but only forced it underground. “The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church”. Tertullian
Just before the Iron Curtain came down, God gave us a vision, which I doubted, to go to Russia and begin a revival and restoration of Christianity. We needed to find and equip leaders capable of leading a godly revolution and repair the damage of atheism. That was difficult because Communists had killed so many key people. In 1992 we met a friend in the Eastern Block of the USSR, who came here to be trained in leading such an enormous task. Two years later she brought some 25 interfaith leaders together at the Saltikovka Baptist Retreat Center for a seminar on reviving, renewing, and restoring God’s people. A meeting of people from different denominations was rare or unique. They usually warred openly.
Fast forward to 2016, twenty four years later. our friend was chatting with a young graduate of their Care and Counseling School who also has a degree in secular counseling. Our friend knew she was the Pastor’s daughter at Saltikovka and asked if her mother’s maiden name was Vasiliev*. She said yes and asked why. Your grandfather, the head of the Russian Baptist Union, was our host in 1994. The young lady was stunned, because Baptists in those days rejected all psychology and interfaith ideas.
But God has blessed us as peacemakers in Russia! Three generations of Baptists, Russian Orthodox, Pentecostals, Reformed, Lutherans, Catholics and Methodists are cooperating to keep the fires of Revival and Revolution going strong. The SLS Model is to discover and equip nationals to minister and evangelize locally. We do not send Americans overseas to do what nationals can do better and less expensively. We continue to support Galina and train key people to multiply themselves through their own churches and friends. Now we have three generations of healthy, mature, men and women sharing the Good News and overcoming 70 years of atheism. Your donations to Sweeten Life Systems are making a difference here and around the world.
*The young graduate’s last name has been replaced with a common name to protect the family identity.