I had previously blogged about our remarkable Lutheran brethren in Siberia. I had the privilege of studying with some of our brother pastors and deacons from the former Soviet Union while at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne. Currently, the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELC) is in talks with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod towards full altar and pulpit fellowship and communion between our jurisdictions.
And now I am absolutely thrilled that this moving and inspiring video (about 22 minutes total) is available on YouTube. Any American pastor who thinks he is overworked and underpaid should watch this. American laypeople who have no idea what it is like to suffer in poverty or persecution or want of a church or a pastor should watch this. We all take so much for granted. This video should serve as a call to repentance and a putting of things into perspective.
It is also a call to unity in prayer and action for the sake of the Gospel. It is a miracle that the faith of these persecuted brothers and sisters did not die in the atheistic revolution or in Stalin's concentration camps. It is a miracle that the Christian faith survived the onslaught of 70 years of hostile Communism, and continues amid the rough ride Russians have had to endure since the break-up of the Soviet Union.
These Siberian Lutheran Christians - their bishop, priests, deacons, and laypeople - are true heroes of the faith.
The Siberian Lutheran Mission Society (SLMS) has a fantastic website, including archived newsletters that will awe and inspire you. Please consider supporting the SLMS with your prayers and donations (all of which go directly to Siberia).
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Siberia also has a beautiful website as does the Seminary in Novosibirsk with many breathtaking pictures (and here are more photos from the SLMS site).
Note: SLMS's new website is in progress and is up and running here.
Like the early Christians who overcame Roman persecution, outlasting and even winning over the ruins of the Empire for Christ and the Church, so have these faithful servants of our Blessed Lord overcome Communism, and now continue in the Good Confession amid the ruins of totalitarianism, in the midst of poverty, cynicism, and atheism. And as part of the one holy catholic and apostolic church, against which not even the gates of hell will prevail, they continue their labor in the kingdom to the glory of God alone.