Sunday evening, February 14th, my church had an interesting speaker. It was a Russian general. I canít pronounce or spell his name, and all the flyers only used his nick name, "General War." This man had been a devoted communist. He was the deputy commander of the 100,000 man force used by the Soviets in the Afghanistan War. The general was considered the architect of Armageddon by his country and the CIA had put a $1.5 million bounty on his head. Iím sure right about now youíre asking what kind of church I attend. It is a fairly conservative Southern Baptist church.
The general was there to give his testimony of conversion to Christianity. The general admitted he had persecuted Christians who were soldiers under his command and couldnít understand how these men could hold on to this belief when the government around them, a rather forceful government, discouraged such thinking. While interrogating these men, they witnessed to the general, but he remained unmoved. The general would listen to these men and then ship them off to prison, usually in Siberia.
While on duty in Afghanistan, the general and some other officers were flying in a helicopter to inspect some troops. Thier helicopter was shot down. As the aircraft plummeted to the ground, the general remembered the words of those brave Christians, "If you call out to God, he will hear your prayers and answer them." The general cried out to God to save him for the sake of his wife and children. The general was the only one to survive the crash.
Now the general spends his time raising money in the U.S. to build churches on Russian military installations and to print bibles to hand out to newly enlisted soldiers (Russia still requires all males to spend two years on active military duty). It is interesting that most of his fund raising is done in the South. One church in Houston, TX totally paid for the building of a church on one military base in Russia. Of course, the fact that the general works with Revival Fires Ministries out of Branson West, MO may have something to do with this. This modern day Paul has seen fellow generals that he has lead to Christ be executed for their faith, yet he keeps witnessing under the protection of the Lord.
The general said that the Russians ask lots of questions about Americans, and he can have a little fun with them since they believe almost anything he tells them. The general said that he can exaggerate a story and the Russian people believe him, but they donít believe some things he says that are the truth. When the general tells the people that America does not allow the Bible to be taught in their public schools, they donít believe him. How could they? In a nation that was atheistic for almost 80 years, they teach the Bible in their public schools, surely in the land of freedom, America, they teach the Bible. Sadly we know the truth.
The generalís testimony is much more than what I share here, but it is too much to go into in this article. The points that hit home to me the most were that Dixie is where he found the most help in his efforts to spread the Gospel in his homeland, and that he mourned the irony that the nation he turns to for help in spreading the Word of God cannot teach its own children that same Word in their public schools. The parting words of the general were that Russia is paying the price, reaping the harvest, for turning its back on God. Russia had been a Christian nation, he said, for over 1,000 years before communism. He is afraid that America will reap a similar harvest if it continues down the road it is headed. We prayed together, for both our peoples, that we could all have God in our schools, homes and hearts.
February 16, 1999