A story from deepest Russia, from our friends Yuriy and Olga Drozhzhin, overseers of a network of churches in Siberia, Russia.
The winters in Siberia are cold beyond most of our comprehension. Temperatures of 40 to 50 degrees below zero Farenheit are common. And yet these hardy people love to go out in the frigid winter to hunt, fish and even camp.
Aleksandr and his wife Larisa are leaders of a small church in a remote Siberian village named Niya. Many years ago, Aleksandr and his son went out for weekend in the forest to fish. They enjoyed the time together. Aleksandr felt at home in the forest and these times are special times of bonding and teaching a son survival skills and other life skills. They spent the night together in a tent.
But that morning something went horribly wrong.
Aleksandr woke early in the morning and began to prepare food. He decided to cut down a tree in order to have good amount of firewood. He found the right tree nearby and began chopping away with his axe. But as the tree came down, it swayed and twisted and fell directly toward the tent where his son was sleeping. To his horror, Aleksandr had killed his own beloved son.
For more than nine years after they lost their son, Aleksandr and Larissa never talk about it. Even the mention of his name was too painful for them. Aleksandr could not forgive himself, and Larisa never forgave him either. The small church they pastored didn’t grow and they knew that something was wrong. They loved God and loved the people in their church, but they could see no way out of the prison they were in.
Olga and I visited them a few times through the years, but they never raised this issue. What’s more, if we approached this subject they would quit talking altogether. Once on our way to one of the other churches we decided to stop by. We prayed with them and then we stopped prayer and raised up the subject. It was long silence, then little by little they start to talk.
That night, because of the work of the Holy Spirit and the fellowship of loved brothers and sisters in the Lord, it broke. Like Lazarus, they came out of their tomb. God healed them, they forgave each other. Next morning, they were like newlyweds and found themselves smiling and talking joyfully.
They realized that they had lost so much time. Because they were living in a nightmare all those years, they had neglected their other three children, already grown. “But, today it is like we have awakened from deep, long sleep.”
God had rescued them from the deepest pit. Now they serving the Lord together joyfully.