“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will
should commit themselves to their faithful Creator
and continue to do good."
1 Peter 4:19
We learned about Vanya last Sunday morning at family camp through a dramatization by Mr. Dean Kershner. We had never seen his presentation, or heard of Ivan (Vanya) Moiseyev before. I am so thankful to have had this opportunity, as the Lord has really touched my life, through Vanya’s story.
Vanya was a Godly young man and brave soldier in the Russian army that was persecuted and killed for his faith at the age of twenty, on July 16, 1972. His story is documented in a book, entitled Vanya: A True Story. We were blessed to receive a copy of this book at camp by our friend, Mr. Tilley, and can’t wait to read it. (*There is a description of the book taken from GoodReads.com, at the bottom of this post.)
One of the things that has inspired me so much about Vanya’s story is that it appears that he did not go into the army as a schooled, skilled, trained, experienced, official “missionary.” He went in the army as an ordinary young man that had a devout heart for God and love for people. He had hidden God’s word in his heart, and was a man of prayer. He was simply faithful to His God. And God did extraordinary things in and through him. Vanya’s testimony includes some very amazing miracles! (Too much to write here . . . but you should read about them in the book!) He walked with and trusted His Savior through some horrific things, and the Lord’s presence and strength sustained him through it all. And only God knows how many lives have been touched and souls have been saved through his giving up of his life.
I’m so thankful that the Lord brought this testimony into our lives this week. It has made such an impression on me, particularly as the Lord leads our family through some hard things. (Which are so very small in comparison to the things Vanya went through!) On Sunday, as we heard “Vanya” repeat the verse above several times as he endured through his sufferings; I wanted to find it and meditate on it. Early this week, as I was reading through 1 Peter, guess what? There it was, in verse 4:19. The Lord led me right to it, and I’m so grateful. I love the way God is referred to as our “faithful Creator.” He has created each one of us so specifically and specially, with a perfect plan for our lives. He knows us best and loves us more than we can imagine. He is always continuing His work in and through us. Often times this molding and chiseling is painful. But it is always for our good, and His glory, as He gently and lovingly holds us in His faithful hands.
*"Out of the dark shadows of Soviet atheism rose a fearless young man whose boldness for Christ would make him a testimony to millions of believers around the world. This is the true story of Ivan (Vanya) Moiseyev, a soldier in the Soviet Red Army who was ruthlessly persecuted and incarcerated for his faith. Through two years of trial and torture, he never denied his Savior, and he never hesitated to share the gospel with anyone who would listen. You'll be inspired to live for Christ in your own world as never before after you experience the gripping story of a believer named Vanya.” Taken from Good reads.com
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.