Natasha's Father's Story
I want to share with you an amaing story of my father’s salvtion. It has happened recently and it is still fresh in our memories.
Our family was far from any kind of relegion. I was raized with soviet principles and values which ment denial of God. When I myself came to Christ in 1996, I tried sharing my faith and my belifs with my parents. My father’s answer was, ‘If you believe God, it is your choice,but don’t bug me’. He was a very closed person. And it was almost imposible to talk to him about anything, especiall my faith in the Lord. Then, there was 2012 where everbody was soncerned witn the end ot times. so was my father. It was a very good opportunity and we used that. Arkasha and I invited him to come visit us in Barnaul and to learn about salvation and erternal life. And he did. He came and Arkasha had a Bible study on salvation and eternal life with my father. We found out he belived in God, but didn’t’ see the need for salvation. when he was still a baby, he became very sick and had very hight temperature. An Orthodox priest baptised him and he survived. Why does he need to be baptized again? when my father was diagnozed with the last stage of cancer, we again purprosefully taslked to him about salvation and eternal life. It didn’t matter to him.
Two weeks before my father’s death his condition worsened a lot. He became unable to fully use his body – he needed help all the time. He could only use his hands some and sit up on the bed for a while if he is helped up. His condition humbled him a lot and understanding of the near death showed him the need in God. We talked to him again about his need for salvation on the phone. Arkasha told him that if he wanted to be saved, he will come with and baptize my father. (My father lived in a different town, Rubtsovsk.) He just needed to make a decision and let us know. Having been trying to reach my father for twenty years, I didn’t believe he would. But he called!
So, we came to Rubtsovsk on Wednesday, February 10. Arkasha went through Bible verses with my father one more time. But this time there was acceptance and thirst for the Word of God, there was desire to be saved and live with our Lord forever. Arkasha asked one brother from Barnaul to come and help baptize my father. The next day February 11 my father was baptized. Twenty years ago also in February I was baptized myself. And when he became our brother in Christ, it was a great miracle for me! Also, he was barely fitting into the bathtub. My father was a tall man. Arkasha and Dennis tried to put him in the bathtub this way and that, but his knees wouldn’t fit. Finally they decided to immerse him. And by God’s miracle he was fully immersed in the water and gained salvation! After he was baptized I felt like a wall between us fell down and I finally was able to share my faith with my father! What a joy! When there, I read him the Bible some and said he can ask my sister who was nursing him to read the Bible for him. Arkasha joked that my father can serve the Lord by educating my sister.
When leaving my father, we understood he doesn’t have long to live and his condition will be only worsening. It is a great miracle of God he did not have any pain and he was not on heavy medication! We started praying ourselves and asked the church in Omsk on Sunday to pray for God taking my father to His kingdom. And the same night our great and wonderful Lord answered our prayer. It is a great miracle to receive salvation only four days before passing away! Knowing my father is going to die soon I expected to feel a great sorrow and pain when it happens. But it was a great joy and happiness for me to realized my father is with the Lord and I will see him someday again! Arkasha and I cannot stop thanking God for these wonderful miracles of His! Arkasha and I joked that my father didn’t even sin once after his baptism. So, spending only two days in Omsk we had to go back to Rubtsovsk for my father’s funeral. My father was also able to serve our Lord in his death. During visitation Arkasha was able to share several Bible verses concerning what awaits us after our death and witness to all our relatives and acquaintances the salvation and eternal life my father received. None of them are Christians. Arkasha and I felt very strange at this funeral. We were the only ones knowing and understanding that my father right now is in the better place with God and is relieved of all his sicknesses. We could not keep the smile off our faces. During the time when people face someone’s death they look like the Bible describes us most – lost sheep – not knowing what to do and where to turn. When Arkasha told them to sit down, they did. And when he started reading the Bible, they listened. They didn’t know what else to do. When someone mentioned to me putting up a candle for my father’s soul at the Orthodox church, I told them not to. I explained he doesn’t have the need for it since his soul is already with God. And they agreed with me because they were not sure about it in the fist place. Also, preparations for my father’s funeral gave us a chance to share God’s message about salvation with the taxi driver, the lady who worked at the funeral house and our fellow travelers on the train. We are also grateful to Dennis who helped baptized my father and who also came to support us in
this difficult time during funeral. We praise God for all the miracles He did during those two weeks. And we also ask you to rejoice with us in my father’s salvation and his death.