“…My soul [does] magnify the Lord, And my spirit [has] rejoiced in God my Savior!” (Luke 1:46–47). For He that is mighty has done to us great things in Belarus this summer.

Though for 130 years they missed such a hot summer, the heat could not dry the souls of American missionaries who watered the hearts of thirsty Byelorussians. Belarus is not a third world country, but the use of air conditioners is not yet widespread. It certainly made traveling harder, but it was worth it anyway. At least there was no wild fire in Belarus, while in Russia a state of emergency was declared since they had 800 fires daily. It is interesting that after the protestant churches appealed to the nation on August 11 to repent and turn away from evil deeds to the Living God, the weather turned cooler and only half as many fires occurred the next day.

Our mission team prayed boldly prior to coming to Gomel, the second largest city of Belarus. “Let it be Your visitation of the city,” was a humble prayer of Christians who know God and the power of His Word. What a cloud-burst we had in the morning on the way to the city and what a downpour started right after our last crusade! First it was around 40 children and 7 personnel of an eye hospital listening and responding to the message of salvation. We saw a 10-year-old girl who went to her room right after the presentation and began reading the New Testament right away with her sick eyes. It did not last long, but it testified to us about the kind of thirst we met everywhere in Belarus and the need for the Good and Evil book.

In the afternoon we had a crusade for the teachers and the classmates of Inna Ryzhkov (Pastor Andrew’s wife), from the university. Inna graduated 18 years ago. Around 20 classmates and almost all of her teachers came from different parts of Belarus and even Ukraine. Our group sang wonderful songs and played music by our group of musicians. The word of reason about true knowledge and education was delivered by Mel Cohen, and the message of salvation was presented by Pastor Andrew. Praise the Lord for those 10 teachers and lawyers who openly made a decision for Christ.

In the evening we had the most challenging crusade in the Jewish Community Center. At first, the rulers of the secular “synagogue” were very suspicious. They decided to have a “half and half” meeting: we would sing a song and then they would do their song. The Word of God surely prevails. At the end, the folks cried: “We want to listen only to the guests!” Brother Mel shared about God’s ways by giving examples from his life story and the state of Israel. There was not enough space for people to sit. So we received an open invitation to come back to a larger facility to share Christ in other Jewish centers in Belarus. We promised to bring them Good & Evil Illustrated Bible Storybooks.

Andrew & Inna Ryzhkov