I was a typical Soviet youth—ambitious and skeptical. When the Soviet Union broke up, I opened my own business.
One day Natasha, my wife, met a woman who invited us to evangelistic meetings sponsored by Adventists. I had heard of Adventists and believed that they were honest people. So when Natasha came home from the first meeting excited about what she heard, I agreed to go to the meetings with her.
As I listened to the speaker, my youthful skepticism melted away, and we accepted the truths we were learning. We made a commitment to God, and He delivered me from my bad habits. We were so happy!
When Communism failed in Russia, the Mafia stepped in and threatened small business owners, including me. I realized that we had to leave Russia, but where could we go? In answer to our prayers, a pastor-friend invited us to go to New Zealand. I knew a lot about this small island nation from my years in the Russian military. We sold everything and moved to New Zealand.
We found an Adventist church in Christchurch, and were welcomed into the church family. As we learned of other Russians moving to Christchurch, we invited them to church. Our Russian-speaking company meets in the English church. We’re continuing to grow as we invite other Russian-speaking immigrants to worship with us. We share our faith with those we meet and make friends for God among newcomers to this country.
We hold small-group meetings, women’s meetings, and Bible-study groups. We now have a great—and growing—congregation with a part-time Russian-speaking pastor who has helped to build this congregation. We have discovered that about 4,000 Russian and Slavic-speaking people live in our area of New Zealand.
Our mother church supports us, and its members are happy to see our congregation growing. We’re all very excited about the potential to reach others in the community who need to know Christ as a personal friend and Savior. Some of our friends have been baptized, and we’re looking for more who want to know Christ.
I’m amazed at how God has led us. We’re happy to be living in His will and working for him in our adopted homeland.
Our Russian church plant is sponsored in part through Global Mission. Thank you for sharing God’s love so that other Russians in New Zealand will know how much Jesus loves them.
Alexander Grinev shares his faith in Christchurch, New Zealand.