David Wilson writes: «20 years ago I made my first trip to Russia at the invitation of David Gabrielyan (photo right), whom I had taught at our open air evangelism seminar in Kiev Christian University, Ukraine. After serving several years as our Russian Director, David moved onto another good ministry that organizes American mission teams to former Soviet Union countries. However, he continues to serve as the chairman of Worldwide Proclamation in Russia. We prayed for God to lead us to another evangelist for Russia, and our prayers were answered recently with Constantine (photo centre). He was highly recommended by the president of the Baptist Union, pastors, and David Gabrielyan agreed. Now on WP Staff as an evangelist, he is doing very well, and God has just provided an almost new van for him.»
Here is his testimony:
«My name is Konstantin [Constantine]. I am forty-five years old. My parents were completely blind. From my very childhood I understood that we need to help them and other people. This greatly influenced my character. My mother was a Siberian Tatar, this is the northernmost people professing Islam. My father was Russian. I grew up at the intersection of two cultures.
«My father was very fond of reading. Next to our house was a library, where there were books with the Braille script for the blind. The love of reading was passed on to me as well, and I couldn’t sleep if I didn’t read something. At age of 28, I started reading the New Testament like a simple book. I wondered, why this book influenced history so much. There was no one who preached the Gospel to me, but God touched my heart anyway. I prayed to accept Jesus into my heart as Lord and Saviour, and after that my life began to change. And I found the Baptist Church.
«My first desire was to tell people about Christ. My heart was just on fire, but I realized I did not have enough knowledge. At the age of 30, I entered the West Siberian Bible College at the Faculty of Theology, graduated after three years and received a bachelor’s degree in theology.
«In college, I met my future wife, who was studying to be a Children’s Sunday school teacher. She, like me, was burning with the Gospel, and ready to tell everyone about Christ. We have been married for 13 years and have two children. Our children, looking at our love of evangelism, asked us to take them with us, and now they share the Gospel with other children at their own level. My Mom died in 2000 because of heart decease. Dad died in 2008, but he is with the Lord.
«For thirteen years of our life, we took part in the planting of three Churches among unbelievers. We love talking about Christ to unbelievers. Now I am happy that I can do this every day [with Worldwide Proclamation].
«There are no problems with the authorities. Thank God. Famous paintings help me to evangelize (see gallery). Today I told the Gospel to people from Uzbekistan. These people work in Russia. They will soon return to their country. It is difficult to preach the Gospel in Uzbekistan now. It is a country of Muslims. but in Russia we can talk to them about Christ. “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!”»
Here is what Svetlana, Constantine’s wife, writes:
«My name is Somova Svetlana. I’m 34 years old. I was born and lived in Kyrgyzstan (a former republic of Soviet Union, next to China) until the age of 16. There for the first time at the age of 6 I visited a Baptist church. I was invited there by a neighbour girl who was 2 years older than me. She and I attended Children’s Sunday school together, where at the age of 8, I turned to God in a prayer of repentance, asking Jesus to enter my heart and become my Lord and Saviour. Since then, my life has been dedicated to God and serving Him.
«I got acquainted with the technique of sketch board in the West Siberian Bible College. As part of the course, we learned visual aids for Sunday school, taught by Molchanova. This sister studied in St. Petersburg at Logos Bible Institute, where brother Ulrich from OAC Germany shared to them about this method of Gospel presentation. After Molchanova left her job at Bible College, they invited me to teach this course. For about ten years I have been teaching students that a sketch board can be used for both evangelism and Sunday school lessons.»
Constantine is not only a very good evangelist, but a compassionate counsellor. He writes:
«In the beginning when I tried, there was a fear of telling the Gospel on the street in my heart, but one incident changed me completely. I met a man, his name was Alexey, and he was a criminal. He heard me telling him about Christ and how God changed my life. But his reaction was negative. He didn’t want to listen.
«A year later, he met me again, but was already a different person. He apologized for the rudeness while the first conversation. In fact, Alexey repented and accepted Jesus into his heart several months before our second meeting. He thanked me for sowing the seed of faith in him. He thought for a long time over my words, found believers and gave his heart to God. Now Alexei has a wife and two children. He and his family moved to Sakhalin Island, where they will serve as missionaries.
«After this incident, the fear disappeared, and I realized that it was necessary to sow, and even if a person rejects, the Word of God works always. «So is My word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11).»
Now Constantine is going out almost every day proclaiming the Good News of salvation and people are listening. His method of using famous paintings in Russia, which are Biblically based, attracts a crowd and prepares them for a gospel message on the sketch board. The police have no problems, and no permits are required. He counsels after each meeting, sometimes sowing the seed of the gospel, and sometimes reaping. He is also being invited to churches to train and take out teams for open air evangelism. We thank God for Constantine and his family. Please pray for him as serves the Lord by faith. I hope to join him and David Gabrielyan in the harvest fields of Russia next year, Lord willing.