Life in Prisons

Life in prison is not easy at all. There are darkness and years in desperate waiting and very small hope of changing situation to better. Concordia Foundation is very often receiving letters from prisoners with various requests from sending envelops and pens to requests about biblical literature. Sometimes prisoners are writing verses, sometimes just describing their desires to meet sometimes or sending their life stories. There are two drawings on the sheets of simple schoolboys notebook made by Aleksey Ignatkov and one letter from Far East of Russia that we received recently from prisons.

“Dear Igor Mikhailovich,

I am thankful to the Lord Jesus Christ for this wonderful opportunity of writing my testimony, although two months ago I started thinking about it and was going to send it to the magazine “Good News Behind The Bars”.

Life is not that much nice but this is what it is in real.

I was born in a poor family. My father was a heavy drinker. My mother was very much into it as well, following the pattern of the father. As for us, we even did not have enough clothes to wear,  and we were running to and fro in our Adam suits, especially in summer.

I remember my first mistake in disobedience. My mother forbade me to surf our cupboards. Anyway, I did not listen to her, got into one of the cupboards and took a jar of condensed milk (sguschenka) out of it. The jar was already used and I wanted to open it and inserted my finger into it pressing its cover down which made my finger suck in the jar and I cried out very loudly. My mother heard  it and said in despair, “Oh, my Lord, if I deserved that punishment!”  My mother died two years later,  the four of us were sent to a“orphanage“, and Sashka, the youngest of us, stayed with the father.

Some time later, I saw a red-haired boy in the orphanage, who was lying in quarantine. Then I was told that red-haired boy was my brother, and I clearly remember my reaction to the news then, I spoke, not quite understanding the importance of that moment, I spoke, “Lord, it’s so good I’ve a brother”. Although, I did not remember all of them. Then I learnt I had a sister and two more brothers, and it turned out there were four of us.

I was growing up a quite and calm boy, as I think. Well, if one researches my little grey cells now, I turn out to be one of the most egoistic persons.

When I was ten years old I was humiliated both physically and morally. Everyone despised me. It made me run away from the orphanage and live where I could find for myself.

First time when I smoked was in the year 1980. many of you, probably, know what it causes: first I became pale, then turned green,  and then all kind of possible and impossible things poured down and strewed from me.

I was moved to the boarding school for the hypophrenic. I could not put up with my age-mates even there and run away from time to time as well.

I started stealing in the shops, at the market. I was stealing mostly meals, but cigarettes were nice to obtain for me too. That was the way for me to mature, as it seemed to me then.

When I reached the age of fourteen, I wanted something very pleasant and did not bother girls with it, but concentrated on my age-mates as they were near, which meant closer to me. Then we were caught doing it by our tutoress, her name was Asya Vladimirovna, as far as I remember. It all made my life move sharply downwards, to hell, which I understood now after having accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I got imprisoned for raping and murders in 2001 with quite a term, of course. In 2006 I met Alexander, brother in Christ. I reckon now our getting to know each other was rather strange. Alexander came over to me and told me the Lord loved me the way I was, to which I responded that I knew it not clearly understanding it and without any second thought.

However, that was the moment I felt some mighty power taking hold of me. I was able to listen to Alexander for hours.

Until now, I remain to be his close friend and brother in Christ.

I repented my errors in 2008, and I accepted baptism in 2009. The most remarkable thing about it was the Lord showed to us the exact time when we had to get baptized. First time we wanted to do it, as if someone were in great sin, the five cubic meter water pool  blew out. The second time we were going to do it, a very heavy rain storm came in the way for us. It was only the third time when we got baptized.

Since then I have been very much thankful to the Lord, our Heavenly Father, that I am still alive and healthy.

Slowly but steadily, I am changing my mind about life in general, people surrounding me in the imprisonment, and although I am still in the sin I believe very firmly the Lord is going to complete his work within me fully whatever hard it may be for me as a human sinner. I am not going to stop Him from doing it, on the contrary, I am going to ask Him for more and more of His grace to create a new being within me that pleases Him.

Dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, I am asking you, please, if my destiny does not leave you indifferent, please, pray for me, and the Lord abide by through all the times and in the eternity.

P. S. Brothers and sisters, I am asking you now, please, be sure to pray always about these persons: Yakub Igor Mikhailovich and Pasu Ivan Grigorievitch, please, pray for their repentance.

Your brother in our Lord Jesus Christ, Sologub Mikhail Nikolaevitch.

Primorsky Krai”

“Colors of Faith” in St. Petersburg

Some time ago Concordia Foundation received with great pleasure bracelets from The Eastern District of the Lutheran Layman’s League.

These bracelets “Colors of Faith” made from small balls of various colors. Mrs. Ruth Muck, Outreach Chairman Eastern District LLL explained, that each bead symbolize most important categories of our Life: Gold is a Heaven, black – Sin, red is Blood of Christ, white is Forgiveness, green is Spiritual Growth. The bracelets are very nice and they have a great success among children of the St. Petersburg.

Children have possibility now through Bible Study memorize better what God made for them. Each bracelet includes special card where written the appropriate Bible verses.

We have intention distribute these bracelets not only among children but for adults as well and in other regions of Russia. These small bracelets unite us with God’s love. Please pray that these “Colors of Faith” will touch many hearts and many lives will be saved.

Seminar in Martyshkino Lutheran Church

Recently Concordia Foundation organized ETS (Equipped the Saints) seminar in Martyshkino St. John Lutheran church. This parish is oldest among Lutheran churches of this region and was established in 1647. The disposition of the church building is very convenient and it is in the middle between two very picturesque suburb towns of St. Petersburg – Petergoff (former summer residence of Peter the Great) and Oranienbaum (former summer residence of his close helper Menshikov).

Igor Savich director of Concordia Foundation talked first of all about history of Lutheran Hour Ministry and then presented various methods of evangelism. He also talked about hospitality in the churches and specific Christian language. In this meeting were participated 10 most active church members. These church members had a different background and this seminar was very useful for them. There were many questions about evangelical methods and tools and very animated discussion about lost and post modern society.

This seminar appeared as an appropriate source of spiritual information for the church people and gave a strong motivation for further evangelical activity. Pastor Alexander Hlynov also was presented during this seminar and provided some help in explanation of evangelical approaches in various situation.