PAUL – Russia

by DanWolgemuth on September 30, 2011

A hand slipped onto my shoulder in compliance with a request from the stage that conference participants pray for an individual from North America, South America or the Caribbean. We had traveled the globe in prayer during the course of the week as Youth for Christ directors from around the world gathered in Denver. Nearly 100 different countries were represented… and the richness and power of international fellowship could not have been more vivid.

My eyes closed as I listened to the words of support, encouragement and challenge as they drifted through the auditorium. I reveled and marveled and celebrated even as I felt the full weight of the stewardship that I possess.

While the final “amen” still floated through the air, I glanced at the face and then the name tag of the man whose hand had just rested on my shoulder. PAUL. And under his name, his country… Russia.

Russia. My prayer partner, my encourager, my advocate was from Russia.

As the program continued and I settled back into my seat, my mind raced. Russia. Russia.

The prayers and partnership; the solidarity in calling, mission and purpose were reinforced from the lips of a Russian. A Russian Christian. A man of conviction, boldness and passion… a man of focus and commitment. He is my brother. My Russian brother.

Politics, animosity, mistrust… never entered the fray. There were no treaties, no contracts, no displays of force… just the overpowering love of Jesus. The unifier.

What language obstructed, kinship overcame. We shook hands… then embraced. We were fast friends… we were brothers. Instantly.

There was such beauty in this exchange.

As the experience washed over my soul I glanced around the room; this time with fresh eyes. To our director in Viet Nam, from China, from Central Asia, from Central America, from the Middle East… all indigenous, all committed to the mission… all transformed by the love of Christ… all bold in the call to proclaim the good news of Jesus the Christ in their own country.

What politics and wars and hatred and lies had created; the love of Christ overcame. No conference table, or legal representation, or truce were necessary… just the finished and reconciling work of Jesus.

Skin color and language provided a beautiful collage of God’s redeemed family. We were unified without pretense, without doubt, without fear.

“I (Jesus) in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”  ~ John 17:23 (ESV)

Perfectly one.

So the world will know…



My prayer partner. My brother.

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