Alexey Navalny has become famous for his fight against corruption and the Kremlin's abuses of human rights. Formerly an atheist, Alexey Navalny has found faith in God. Navalny said he came to faith after returning to Moscow in January 2021 following his treatment in Germany for poisoning by the Novichok nerve agent. Excerpts from Mr. Navalny's address which appeared in Russian publications and on the radio where Navalny had been interviewed:
– A month after Navalny's return to Moscow in February of this year, Navalny was arrested and sentenced to prison.
But, the message of God’s love and mercy has touched the soul of Alexey Navalny who has pursued the truth in his own life as well as in the governance of Russia.
Navalny's special focus has been on its leadership, where truth seems to be in short supply.
Jesus touched on the topic of prisoners of faith and conscience. In a parable in Matthew 25 Jesus said:
"I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me… Truly I tell you whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
As the body of Christ, we are called to visit our imprisoned brothers.
We are members of the same body of Christ. This applies to those who have only just become followers of Christ as well.
In Romans 10:9 it is written: "If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart..you will be saved."
GCMM's mandate in Russia is twofold. First, the Gospel must be proclaimed to every person. Second, to support and encourage the local churches by equipping the church with tools to enable them to reach their fellow countrymen.
We do well to remember Alexey in prayer. The risks in prison are great. One can not only lose his health but also his life.
– During his imprisonment Alexey had been ill for a long time. However, prison authorities had not made his health condition public.
The last time lawyers had tried to see him, they were prevented from doing so and when they were finally granted permission, it turned out that Navalny was in the hospital. It was then, that his condition became public in Russia.
He has unbearable back pain and is unable to sit. He also has numbness in his feet. Prison doctors were reluctant to treat his condition with the exception of a simple painkiller. When he was no longer able to move about, he was transferred to a prison hospital in a shroud of secrecy.
Alexey has over 20 counts against him, and each accusation weakens his case.
Authorities falsely claim that Navalny has been planning a prison break. As a result of this accusation, Alexey is woken up every hour to allegedly see that he is still in place. Uninterrupted sleep is a tactic to break a person.
A second accusation was that Alexey met his lawyer while in a t-shirt. In another, he was accused of getting out of bed "10 minutes ahead of schedule".
God's Word "On Trial"
-When Alexey appeared in court to present his defense, his speech was reported widely around the world, heavily edited.
The media were forbidden entry to the courtroom. Minutes of the proceedings were made secretly. Much of what was spoken, was deleted.
A secret recording of the proceedings showed that his final defense consisted of a sermon.
Alexey stated that he had been a staunch atheist, whose worldview had been anti-God, but now had come to faith.
While in pretrial detention, he had found comfort in the words of Jesus as quoted in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled” (The word righteousness in the Russian Bible is "truth").
As one listens to his defense, one can see that only a person who has come to faith is able to speak in the manner he spoke.
Alexey Navalny reasoned: “In the world’s eyes, it is mindless to thirst for truth and to be nourished by it.”
New Restrictive Law
– A new law has been passed by the Russian Parliament. This new law states that no teaching of any kind shall be conducted anywhere without a government license. So, in actual fact, anyone can be fined.
On YouTube, Alexey is seen giving a lesson in servicing a car. He is being accused of teaching without a government permit.
In the same way, churches and their members can be accused of the same, teaching without a permit.
For example, if you teach music, teach Sunday school classes, or preach without a state permit, you are liable for prosecution.
– Last week GCMM received a fresh update from Siberia that a new printing of New Testaments and the Gospel of John has been shipped to Siberian churches.
Missions In Russia Is A Miracle
It is indeed a miracle that we have been able to continue printing literature for evangelism. Books have been shipped and distributed to many cities across Russia.
We received a request to print one million books this year, and to date, we have printed 250,000. We hope to print the remaining 750,000 by the end of the year.
-This means churches in Russia are under increasing restrictions, with freedoms and opportunities for evangelism decreasing.
Travel is restricted due to the pandemic and soon vaccination certificates will be required for any kind of travel.
In Siberia where the books are printed enjoy a bit more freedom than the European side of Russia. We ask that you might remember the churches in prayer and continue supporting them.
Our desire is to keep Russia's evangelical churches supplied with the necessary tools, needed to lead their countrymen and women to Jesus - to grow in the knowledge of God. The work continues and we pledge to fulfill our calling to the best of our ability by the grace of God.
- Before Jesus was taken up to heaven, he said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
This is important. The future of the church is in great danger unless its members become actively engaged in Jesus' last command to go into all the world to preach the Gospel to every nation.
We can compare evangelism to a relay race where the baton must be passed to the next runner assuming that the goal is to win the race.
This is the key. In doing so, the survival of the church will be ensured. And those coming behind us will discover that we never dropped the baton.
GCMM Ministry Magazine