A SECOND RUSSIAN REVOLUTION
BEGUN IN ST. PETERSBURG
Christian leader says
that this one is a spiritual one and is marking
the historic city's 300 anniversary
DUBAI, UAE (ANS)
-- A Christian
leader says that a second Russian
revolution has begun in St. Petersburg, the birthplace of communism,
but this one is a spiritual one.
That's the view of
Pastor Igor "Nikki" Nikitin, President of the Association of Christian
Churches in Russia, who made this comment in an interview with ANS in
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, after he had met with Dr. Lee Jae-Rock,
senior pastor of the 80,000-member Manmin Joong-Ang church in Seoul,
Korea, whom he has invited to hold an outreach in St. Petersburg in
Igor Nikitin being
interviewed by Dan Wooding in Dubai; picture by Peter Wooding).
"St. Petersburg started as a door to the West and the city has become a
symbol in Russia of a spiritual significance of our nation," he said in
an interview. "So we really have been preparing in a spiritual way. The
year began with several crusades when over 20,000 people got saved.
Pastor Billy Joe Daugherty of Tulsa, OK, who has been coming to Russia
for several years, particularly St. Petersburg, felt in his spirit that
he should come to start holding revival crusades and, to be honest, we
thought this was probably not the best time. We were concerned about
the response of the people.
"But," he continued, "more than 150 churches got involved in this
evangelistic crusade and saw that it as 'their' event. We all realized
that those who responded shouldn't just get saved and then be left to
their own resources, but we had to help them get established in a
church and so now a real revival has started in our city.
"All of the churches that participated have been growing in St.
Petersburg. Some of them have had up to 100 new members. We are excited
with what is happening in our historic city. And now, the members of
these churches are great evangelists. They are visiting orphanages,
police stations, and going everywhere to preach the gospel. So this is
quite a revival that is taking place.
EVEN DRUG ADDICTS WITH HIV/AIDS
ARE PARTICIPATING IN
Nikitin then revealed that among those at the forefront of the revival
in St. Petersburg are drug addicts who have found Christ who are
reaching out to others with drug problems and also HIV/AIDS.
"Russia is the now the fifth fastest nation with the growth of
HIV/AIDS," he said. "One of the reasons is that in Russia we have 2 1/2
million drug addicts. In St. Petersburg, we have five Christian rehab
centers and lots of people in those centers have HIV or AIDS. Now those
with HIV/AIDS are reaching out into the hospital where there are many
kids who are born with HIV and they have found their own ministry of
love amongst them. The people who don't have HIV or AIDS have been
afraid to visit this hospital, but these recovering addicts are going
and ministering there.
"When I go to these Christian rehab centers, I can sense such
excitement for the Lord and I have felt during that time they believe
that anyone of them can be healed not only of drugs but also of
HIV/AIDS. These former drug addicts are so dedicated to the Lord. They
are working for eights hours and then each day for three hours each day
they have Bible school and then three hours of praise and worship. So
they are living witnesses of the power of the Lord and they are
traveling all over Russia ministering and out of these drug addicts now
we have 48 full-time ministers in two years.
Nikitin says that the St. Petersburg revival is also taking place in
prisons in the city.
"We have wanted to go prisons to and preach the gospel there, but for
several years the prison administration would not allow us to go in and
visit the prisoners in their cells," he said. "One day I was meeting
with a friend of mine from the Russian congress who had got saved and I
asked him how I could help him and he told me that in St. Petersburg
there was the largest prison in Europe and the people were dying from
starvation there. I told them that we could help with food but we also
needed to help them with spiritual food. I said we had 10,000 Bibles
and I asked if I could bring them to each prisoner. My friend picked up
the phone and told them that we could come and bring food and Bibles.
The next day we came to this heavy secured prison and we were given
access to all the main guys of the prison and we preached to them.
"The following month, we asked if we could put radios in every cell. We
didn't have radios, but they said that would be wonderful. Now we have
18 hours of broadcasts in every cell in that huge prison which was
built for 1,000 people and now there are over 12,000. It is in the
center of St. Petersburg. There are four beds in each cell, but there
are between 12 and 15 people in each one and so they are taking shifts
to sleep. The government is supposed to spend 48 cents per day for a
prisoner, but they are spending only between 8 to 10 cents a day. So
many of the prisoners are dying from starvation. Some of prisoners stay
in the same clothes for years.
"However, they love having the radios and hearing the Christian message
and the letters we have been receiving as a result of our radio
programs are just tremendous. When they find freedom inside, it is just
"We started with several prisons in St. Petersburg. Each radio costs
$5.00. In Russia there are one million people in prison and we believe
that we can get radios into every cell for every prison.
"We want every prison in Russia to be an evangelistic camp instead of a
concentration camp. We started with a small beginning and we now have
over 15,000 prisoners listening to Christian radio 18 hours a day. We
can broadcast through the satellite all over the country and so we can
cover these millions of prisoners in these several thousand cells and
just a small satellite dish."
Pastor Nikitin said that as the spiritual revival continues in St.
Petersburg, he believes that the visit of Dr. Lee Jae-Rock and his
Manmin worship team will see many more find Christ.
"For him to come to St. Petersburg at the end of the year will be take
the revival on further," he said. "This is a great way I felt to
encourage the Russian Church, and also to bring new people to the
Church, so the spiritual significance of his meetings in St. Petersburg
will be enormous. I visited his crusade in Chennai, India, and I was
fascinated with the miracles and his dedication and we believe his
visit will be of great spiritual significance with miracles and so we
need to see as Russians more of the power of God. When the people see
the great power of God, it is going to be harder for them to deny."
I am sure that Marx and Lenin would not be pleased to see what is
happening to the people of St. Petersburg. For thousands of new
Christians they are finding that religion is not the "opiate of the
people" but is a way to find new life in Jesus Christ.
To contact Pastor Nikitin, his e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The website for the Association of Christian Churches in Russia is: http://www.accr.ru
is an award
winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his
wife Norma. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid
to Special Saints in Strategic Times). Wooding is also a syndicated
columnist, and was for ten years a commentator on the UPI Radio Network
in Washington, DC. Wooding is the author of some 41 books, one of which
is "Blind Faith" which he co-authored with his 93-year-old mother Anne
Wooding, who was a pioneer missionary to the blind of Nigeria in the
1930s. Copies of this book are available from the ASSIST USA office at
PO Box 2126,
Garden Grove, CA
92842-2126. His writings are on the
ASSIST Website at: www.assistnews.net