In the 1930s, Stalin ordered a purge of all Bibles and all believers in the former Soviet Union. Millions of Bibles were confiscated and multitudes of believers were sent to the gulags (prison camps), where most died for being “enemies of the state.” In Stavropol, Russia, this order was carried out with a vengeance.
Recently, the CoMission ministry, which Campus Crusade for Christ sponsored, sent a team to Stavropol. The city’s history was not known at that time. But when our team was having difficulties getting Bibles shipped from Moscow, someone mentioned the existence of a warehouse outside of town where these confiscated Bibles had been stored ever since Stalin’s day.
After much prayer by the team, one member finally got up the courage to go to the warehouse and ask the officials if the Bibles were still there. Sure enough, they were. Then the CoMission asked if the Bibles could be removed and distributed again to the people of Stavropol. The answer was “yes”!
The next day the CoMission team returned with a truck and several Russian people to help load the Bibles. One helper was a young man, who was a skeptical, hostile, and agnostic collegian who had come only for the day’s wages.
As they were loading the Bibles, one team member noticed that the young man had disappeared. Eventually, they found him in a corner of the warehouse weeping.
He had slipped away hoping to quietly take a Bible. What he found shook him to the core. The inside page of the Bible he picked up had the handwritten signature of his own grandmother! It had been her Bible! Out of the many thousands of Bibles still left in that warehouse, he stole the one belonging to his grandmother — a woman persecuted for her faith all her life.
No wonder he was weeping — God had just dramatically revealed Himself to this young man. His grandmother had no doubt prayed for him and for her city. Her prayers had followed him, and now this young man’s life has been transformed by the very Bible that his grandmother found so dear.
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unreachable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (Romans 11:33).