Women in Ministry: New Paths
Proclaiming Christ Boldly From Moscow to Yalta
Shirinay M. Dosova
Our church was established in 1991 after doing street evangelism on the Arbat, the main shopping street in Moscow. I remember that two people came to the first worship service. I thought it seemed like too few, so I asked them to wait five minutes and quickly went out to the street. The street was empty because it was Sunday morning. Then I saw two girls coming in the distance. I no longer know what I said to them, but they stayed. One of them, Christina, is now a member of our church. Her mother also belongs to us and her father became a Christian too.
A Passion for Souls
I opened the Bible and read Matthew 28:19: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations." It was my first sermon and I had been a believer for only a few months. I told my congregation, "Jesus said: 'Go therefore.' And why are you sitting here? Why have you come here? The entire country is drowning in alcohol, drugs, and crime, while we sit here and do nothing. People are lost because they don't know Jesus." I'm amazed today that my congregation did not run away. Two of them even brought someone else along with them to the next worship service. And that was the beginning of our church.
In the beginning, our church grew very quickly. Each year we baptized 20-25 people. This year, however, the situation is different. People are coming reluctantly to the worship services. One gets the impression that everyone's thoughts and lives are centered on just one thing - earning more money. And this sickness has also entered our church. Christians have lost their sense of heaven. We can learn much from the European eel which lives in freshwater rivers and oceans. At the end of its life, the eel undertakes an incredible journey to the Sargasso Sea, which is thousands of miles away, southeast of Bermuda in the Atlantic Ocean. During its eight-month journey, the eel takes no nourishment at all. It undertakes the long trip to its final destination to leave behind its offspring and then eventually dies. The eel's migration instinct is so strong that it can cross long stretches of land in order to reach a river that flows into the sea. Is there such a desire, a yearning within us, for the Heavenly Kingdom? What is most important in our Christian lives? I am concerned about this when I reflect on the condition of Jesus' church today.
Our church also gives me cause for concern. Because we don't have a room of our own, we are forced to rent one under illegal conditions. We must always keep in mind that we could be turned out into the street. The Orthodox Church is urging people to stand against Protestant churches, often calling them sects. In February 1997 at the instigation of Orthodox priests near Moscow, 300 children's Bibles were burned right before the children's eyes as they stood in their schoolyard. Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident; such events are becoming the norm.
Evangelism: Wherever People Will Listen
I am once again preaching on the Arbat, although the situation there has changed completely. Fewer people are out walking and most of them are foreigners. One rarely meets Muscovites, and it isn't easy to get their attention. At the end of June, I spent three days in Yalta. Along the shore, I experienced what I used to back on the Arbat three years ago. People stopped and listened to God's Word; some even wept. Approximately 100 people came forward to repent. Praise God that people still have such a thirst for his Word. Last winter we evangelized at Moscow's Leningrad Train Station. We are under obligation to bring the light of Christ to weary and wounded souls. At the train station, there are always 200-300 people just sitting around. They are so thankful when they hear us preach. Once, an elderly man brought us some nuts and said, "It is so good that you bring the Good News. One should talk about it everywhere."
Excerpt reprinted with permission from Light in the East News 6 (December 1997): 8-9.
Shirinay Murzayevna Dosova was born in Uzbekistan in 1957. In 1987 she was led to Christ by someone who had spent 12 years in prison for his faith in Christ. After listening for several hours as he told her about Jesus Christ, Shirinay recalls, "I cried out, 'I do believe!'" He replied, "Just remember two points which the Bible teaches: first, the righteous life; and second, the Gospel message." The next day, Shirinay Dosova went out to the Arbat to preach. She now leads the church "Good News" in Moscow.
Written permission is required for reprinting or electronic distribution of any portion of the East-West Church & Ministry Report.
© 1998 Institute for East-West Christian Studies