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Coming to America!

9 June 2010 One Comment

The article below comes to us from Denis Kozlov. Denis serves as the Russian Administrator for RRR, visiting the US annually to promote the work in Russia to US-based churches.

Denis writes: From the age of six, I have been fascinated with the United States. Communist propaganda taught me to be afraid of Americans—even to hate Americans. I vividly remember the nightmares I had about the impending American invasion and nuclear war the US would initiate against Russia. The media would convince us that America was the worst place on the planet and that I was very lucky to be born in the USSR, not America. In a sense, it was like the Jewish/Samaritan relationship during the time of Jesus. But, the harder they tried, the more fascinated I became with this “headquarters of evil.”

Back then, America was like a far-away planet, and, in Russia, if you were caught talking to an American, you could end up in jail.

My first encounter with Christianity occurred while trying to tune my radio receiver to the Voice of America broadcast, which was heavily suppressed by KGB radio-jamming equipment. Through heavy noise, I barely made out the voice of the announcer quoting John 3:16.

In 1992, God crossed my path with Rick Ives. At that time, Rick came to Russia to train some of the very first Russian pastors and to plant the first Russian churches in Saint Petersburg. Rick invited me to be an interpreter to help him with teams of American Christians that would come to Russia for short-term mission trips. Over the course of time, God strengthened this connection, and, although Rick left Russia after four years of service, the ministry of Russians Reaching Russians continued, and God saw fit to have me directly involved.

In 1999, I took my first trip to the US. As the plane was descended into New York, I pinched myself because I couldn’t believe I was in America. I was accompanying a Russian pastor and his wife as an interpreter, speaking in churches in an attempt to involve them in the ministry.

Today, when I travel to the US, it’s like visiting family. Growing up, I was raised by a single mom, so I had no positive male role models. But God gave me wonderful friends in America who were mature both in practical and spiritual life.
Although I am actively involved in several Christian ministries in Russia, I feel led to give all of my time to RRR. In spite of the tremendous fruit that we have in Russia the need to preach the Gospel and to plant churches remains great. Russia is the biggest country in the world—it has 11 time zones—yet less than 1% of the population is Christian. Over the years, there were different phases of ministry: first, there were no Christians, so we held crusades; then there was a need to plant churches, so we began planting churches; now, we endeavor to train apostolic leaders who will lead movements.
God has called me to serve as liaison between Russian and American churches, and my role is to come to the US to meet with individuals and churches, sharing about what God is doing in Russia. When I share, people are usually impacted and many want to become part of we’re doing. There are three main ways people can become a part of RRR: pray, give, and go. All three are equally appreciated. But, if I had to choose among the three, I am always in favor of going because I want people to see the result of the faithfulness shown by American churches.

A friend of the ministry from Oklahoma has been supporting RRR for a number of years, but he never went to Russia until last year. At the end of his trip, he stated that the finances he gives to the ministry is money well spent.
I have met many new friends on this trip and I want to thank all of the churches and individuals that support the work of RRR. If you would like to correspond with me, please email me at reachingrussians@gmail.com

When I return to Russia, I plan to re-tool the web site www.russiansreachingrussians.org by making it interactive with blogs, updates and videos from Russia.

I thank you, all my dear brothers and sisters. Though I was once taught that Americans are evil people, my experience has led me to consider America as a second home and American churches are part of my spiritual family.

One Comment »

  • Tina Vititoe said:

    Great sermon at New Hope (springfield ohio)! Message was what i needed to hear and glad that i had the chance to hear about the different worlds we live in! I pray that Jesus blesses you with the words to continue what you do. Bless you my friend!

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