Moscow Russia Church

Carroll W. Puckett
Montgomery, Alabama

There is a sound church now meeting in Moscow, Russia. The church is called the South West church of Christ. Contact Dan Tholen at Ramenki dom 9, Korpus 3 Apt. 424, Moscow, Russia 117607, telephone 931-23-67.

The present membership consists of two Russians and two Americans. Yelena Zakheim was baptized last year by Greg Gwin and Phil Morgan. Ludmila Ivanovna Eremina was baptized on July 18, 1992 by my wife and me. Ludmila was our Russian teacher at Moscow State University for three weeks. During those three weeks we spent many hours after class with her teaching her the truth. Dan Tholen from Tampa, Florida was in our Russian class at Moscow State University. Dan decided, after the first week, to stay in Moscow teaching the truth and working with the newly formed church. On or about June 30, 1992, John Farrell made contact with Yelena. John who has a degree in Russian had come to Moscow to teach the truth. John preached his first sermon in Russian on July 12, 1992. On July 19, 1992, there were nine (9) present for worship not including Yelena who was out of the city. John has returned to California as of August 17, 1992. Mike Garth from Tampa, Florida is now in Moscow to work with Dan Tholen. Those present were Mila, Dan, John, Betty and me plus two young women in their 20s with whom we studied several times, who should become Christians soon and two older men, ages 45 and 61 with whom we studied. The service was conducted in Russian, except for two songs which were sung in English and Russian and one prayer in English. On August 9, 1992 there were 13 present for worship.

The church now has a meeting place, song books, Lord's Supper accessories and has a church treasury since July 5, 1992.

During the three weeks my wife, Betty and I were in Moscow, she, Dan and I were able personally to have Bible studies with eight different persons and some of these for more than one session. We arranged for five persons to obtain copies of sermons on video to watch at their convenience and to have Bible studies later. We made contact with five additional persons who are interested in private Bible studies in the near future. Dan Tholen, John Farrell and Mike Garth are following through with these persons. We made several other contacts with persons who were given literature, Bibles and correspondence courses.

The church at Temple Terrace, Florida paid for ads to be placed in the local newspaper in Moscow for people interested in the Bible. So far, more than 100 responses have arrived and are being contacted. Several young men from the Moscow Free Speakers Toastmasters Club have been to church services. Dan and Mike are studying with them and hopefully two of them will be converted.

Yelena arranged for the Bible to be taught in a large school. John met with the Director and scheduled Dan Tholen to teach Bible in English everyday to 14 to 17-year old students. Dan will even be paid a staff teacher.

Yelena has arranged for the Bible to be taught at Moscow State University from September 11 to October 10, 1992 by Greg Gwin, Phil Morgan, Tommy Poarch and other preachers who are going to Moscow on September 10, 1992.

Ed Harrell visited Moscow the end of July, 1992, and got to visit with Dan, John and Yelena. He had a good visit.

I am exceedingly excited about the opportunity now to spread the gospel in Moscow. The public and private schools are open and asking us to teach the Bible every day to their students. The Russians like Americans and are particularly interested in a knowledge of the Bible. Russia is free (no restrictions on religious activity) and has opened its schools for the Bible to be taught.

Presently the door is open, for how long is unknown. The Russians are not only receptive but will obey the truth when the truth is compared with errors of the Russian Orthodox church and the other false religions.

The expenses are little now compared to the U.S.A. Russians have experienced a 2,000 percent increase in prices during the past year and yet their salaries have gone up only 331/3 percent. Presently, as of July 1, 1992, a college professor with a PhD made only about 2,300 roubles a month ($17.00 per month), 140 roubles to $1.00 as of July 19, 1992 and the exchange rate at the end of August, 1992 was 205 roubles to $1.00. Presently an American living on roubles can live comfortably on $250.00 per month if they allow Yelena and Mila to find them apartments, etc. Dan Tholen and Mike Garth are being supported $250.00 per month by the church in Temple Terrace, Florida pursuant to information from brother R.J. Cunningham, one of the elders.

Considering the economics of preaching in Moscow and the unusual opportunities to teach the Bible, I strongly encourage faithful preachers to move to Moscow as soon as possible. Learning the Russian language is made much easier by the fact that Yelena and Mila both speak Russian and English and both are Moscow State University language teachers.

Within a few weeks, Yelena says about six, one can be speaking the Russian language with her teaching. A preacher could pay her $150.00 for her time and she would be compensated and the preacher could speak without an interpreter. Many of the young people in Russia are being taught English and can speak English well.

Churches and preachers should seriously consider Moscow now and parts of the former USSR a little later. Moscow's population exceeds nine million people with another three million in the Moscow area.

The church at Eastbrook furnished Bibles and several hundred brochures, tracts and other study materials for Betty and me to use and leave in Russia. These materials were printed in Russian and English. Brother Tommy Moore and 1, as elders of the church at Eastbrook, felt the need to invest the Lord's money in Moscow. Since our return, I have had several churches, elders and preachers who have indicated great interest and willingness to support the preaching of the gospel in Russia and at least three Christians are now planning to go to Moscow in 1993. There is a great need for others to go on a permanent basis for teaching the Word of God.

For additional information call me at (205) 288-1461, home at night, or during the day at my office (205) 262-2909. If you should want to write me my mailing address is given above.

Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 20, pp. 612-613
October 15, 1992