I was a young teenage girl with few thoughts about God. In the Soviet Union we were taught in school that God and Jesus were myths and only old or crazy people believed in them. One day after I spent some time rowing a small boat on the river, I came to shore and began to walk home. On my way home I saw a man and he approached me. He seemed friendly. As I was from a small town, I knew that he was a stranger. He gave me a small booklet and told me that it was about Jesus and how Jesus loved me. I took the book from him and continued on my way home.
At home I read this small book and for the first time heard about Jesus Christ and how God sent His Son to die for my sins. I didn't understand everything, but I prayed the prayer that was written in the book. That day I trusted Jesus for my salvation.
Years later the Communist government collapsed and churches began to open in Russia. I heard of a Jewish Messianic Church in Nizhny Novgorod and I went there (Margarita is 1/2 Jewish on her mother's side). That day the pastor spoke to me about Jesus. I publicly repented and became a part of this church. To this day I have no idea who the man was who gave me the booklet. He must have been an itinerant evangelist who traveled throughout the Soviet Union, preaching the gospel despite facing a long prison sentence from the atheist government.
I love this story! It tells how God was active in the Soviet Union, despite the severe persecution of believers. It tells of the bravery of individuals who risked everything to share the Gospel! I prayed for years for the people of the Soviet Union. Karen and I supported several different ministries which smuggled evangelistic literature and we personally mailed Gospel booklets into the Soviet Union. It was this type of literature that Margarita received more than 25 years ago! When I first heard her story I had to ask myself, did we help provide the Gospel booklet that Margarita received that day.