Steven’s Amazing Adventures,
and the Future of the World (PAGE TWO)
(A Story about the End Times
with Messages from God)
Steven’s Amazing Adventures,
and the Future of the World (PAGE TWO)
(A Story about the End Times
with Messages from God)
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(This story chronicles the adventures of Steven O'Neill, his wife Sarah, and their friends during the End Times. Judgment has already struck the U.S., and Steve and his friends have reached the vast continent of Asia. Witness the amazing things God will reveal about the coming kingdom of the Beast (or the Antichrist), the Mark of the Beast, and the Tribulation period. This story should keep you fascinated, as a realistic account of the future unfolds in the form of a fictional story.
But, this story is not just a story. It contains messages from God and prophecies that actually shall happen. It is written as fiction with fictional characters, but the message of the story is very real, and the cataclysmic events, touched on in this story, will actually impact this earth as God’s Holy Bible and its prophecies unfold. The world will soon enter a time much like that portrayed in this story. I encourage you to seek God about this to see what He will show you.)
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The campfire flames danced and wavered over the logs, sending up wispy smoke that rose above the tree tops and dispersed. Flickering shadows fell on the grass from the twenty-plus people and their belongings. Steve stood near the crackling fire and spoke to the group which faced him, huddled by three other campfires. The quivering flames reflected in the glasses of several men and women as they listened to Steve’s teaching.
Steve spoke, scanning over the faces, as he held an open Bible in one hand. A large backpack lay a few feet from Steve with an unzipped pouch, where he had stored his Bible. It had been translated to him by an invisible angel just minutes ago.
“When God said, ‘Let there be light’, He was not only speaking of the visible light that you and I can see,” Steve said. “Our Abba Father God was speaking of His spiritual power to reveal Himself to His creation through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. When Adam, our ancestor, came into existence, he was given a spiritual knowledge about God that Adam had not had to search long and hard to get.
“It was part of the information God had downloaded into Adam’s soul and spirit. So, likewise, we all have knowledge of God that God had created us with. We are not born in total darkness. God gives us light. That is why Jesus Christ is said to be the Light of the world, and why the Gospel of John records, in the first chapter, that Jesus Christ said… Let me read it to you.”
Steve flipped the pages of the Bible to a bookmark in John chapter 1. Then, he said, “John 1: 4 through 5 says: ‘ In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.’ So, Jesus Christ is the One who gives us life and light. But, the devil and his minions do not comprehend this Light. Speaking of Jesus, John wrote in the Gospel of John 1:9: ‘That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’ So, Jesus gives light to every person who exists. This light shows us that we are sinners, and that only God can provide the way of eternal life, and only God can cleanse away our sin. He did this by Jesus Christ, our Savior and God.”
“Excuse me,” a man said from just a short distance away.
“Yes,” Steve said.
“My name is Shing. I am an Oroqen born in the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia. I have a question for you,” Shing said. “Why is it that you say God gives light to everyone who comes into this world? Where I came from, the government leaders were sending soldiers into the homes of Christians to confiscate their belongings and to take any Bibles they had. They also stole our property, even though I am not a Christian.
“My brother is a Christian, but they treated both of us roughly and with cruelty because we shared the same house. They beat my brother with clubs because he refused to renounce his faith. But, they stole my valuables, even though I told them I never was a Christian and did not care about Jesus. How could those soldiers have also been given light from Jesus if they behave like they have no conscience and no knowledge of God?”
“Well, Shing,” Steve said, “they have been given the light of Jesus since He created all people and all things, but they had chosen to reject Jesus and to harden their hearts against their own consciences and against God’s Spirit. I have heard of stories of communist soldiers getting saved. We all have a sin nature, as you and I know, but God the Father provided Jesus, God the Son, to take all our sins upon Himself, and to die in our place. It is only by His precious blood that we can be saved from sin.”
“Okay,” Shing said, “I guess that makes sense. It just seems so hard to grasp how people can be so cruel to each other. I have always tried to help people because if I help them, they will help me when I’m in need.”
Suddenly, some loud cracking sounds broke the relative stillness of the night. The sound of branches being snapped came from the woods beyond the light of the fires. Everyone looked toward the forest for a few seconds of fearful silence before some men and women quickly doused their fire with dirt and ran for cover. Steve stood still and waited. Sarah, standing just a few feet from him, closed her eyes and prayed quietly.
“Oh, Father God,” she whispered, “don’t let us be arrested by soldiers, if those are soldiers. Don’t let them see us. I trust my life into your hands. You kept the guards from seeing Simon Peter when you had an angel escort him out of a heavily-guarded prison. Please keep us from being seen.”
Out from the darkness of the woods came more snapping sounds, but these were less loud. Soon, twenty to thirty figures appeared, walking through the concealing forest shadows. In moments, a few appeared in the light of the burning bush, which miraculously continued to burn. Now, Steve could see that these figures were soldiers carrying lowered machine guns. Sarah placed a hand over her mouth and swallowed hard, but Steve placed an arm around her back and drew her to his side.
She trembled with fear as she watched the soldiers slowly stepping across the small opening in the forest, right past tents and backpacks. The soldiers were walking toward the burning bush, with curiosity and awe displayed on their faces, seeming to ignore the tents scattered here and there. They didn’t seem to notice the group of Asian Christians scattered nearby, huddled behind trees or boulders.
Steve’s legs trembled, but he spoke to his Heavenly Father and gave the fear to Him. Then, a supernatural peace flooded into his soul, while he watched the soldiers.
One of the soldiers nearest the burning bush said in Chinese, “The bush is not being scorched or burned by the flames. This is truly incredible! I can’t believe my eyes.”
The next closest soldier hurried over and drew closer to the bush, while his comrade held back a little. But, he ran into an invisible object and fell to the ground. Standing up, he cried out in terror and ran, leaving his gun behind. As he ran, he said, “This place is cursed! Let’s get out of here.”
“Stop running! You’ll give our position away,” another man snapped at him. “Get your gun and keep searching for those Christians.”
The terrified soldier ignored the order and continued running, glancing back now and again. He tripped on a log and fell, and cursed the forest before scrambling away. His commander ordered him to stop, but he continued running, melting into the woodland shadows.
“If any of you run like that coward did,” the commander said, “I will make sure he gets punished. Keep moving. We need to find that Christian group.”
The soldiers obeyed and kept walking, but suddenly, a bright light appeared. They all dropped to the ground, releasing hold of their weapons, and several cried out in fear. An angelic warrior suddenly appeared, shining with pure, white light. He wore the type of armor and Corinthian-style helmet as the angels Steve had seen earlier. In his large right hand he held a large sword, and his left arm he carried a round shield that was shinier than polished chrome.
The soldiers regained consciousness, and quickly scrambled to their feet, and ran for their lives into various directions. They had left their guns behind. As they ran, some threw their gear bags and helmets to the ground, to be less encumbered in their flight. In a few minutes, the crashing sounds of the terrified men faded from hearing.
The angel stood at least fourteen feet tall. Add another six feet to his height, and he would reach the top of a two story building. His large, white wings were stretched out from his back, protruding from openings in the back plate of his armor. They resembled white eagle wings, but were larger than fighter aircraft wings. He was larger than the angels Steve had last seen and was very impressive with shining, white hair poking out from under his helmet. The angel briefly surveyed the people below him before he vanished from sight.
Once the angel had vanished, the Christians came out from behind boulders, bushes, and trees, and blinked several times. Some of them pinched themselves to see that they weren’t dreaming. A great sense of awe descended on them and no one said a word. Even the children, who had been crying softly, were calm. Peace had fallen upon all in the group.
After almost a minute of silence had passed, a man shouted, “Praise the Lord God for having His angels guard and protect us!”
More voices chimed in, praising God. Some laughed and others cried. Sarah wiped a tear from her face and started laughing. “Steve,” she said, “God protected us just like He said He would. The soldiers didn’t see us, even though we should clearly be seen in the firelight. That was amazing. Praise God Almighty!”
“Glory to God!” Steve said. “I never should doubt God’s love and protection.”
“Steve, My son,” God’s loving voice spoke to his spirit and soul.
“Yes, Abba Father,” Steve said, listening to the still small voice that he had learned to trust after seeing that God was faithful to His Holy Bible, and did not contradict the Holy Scriptures.
“My son,” God said, “you will now give a message to this group. I will have you speak to them, My son. Many of them are new believers and have little understanding of My ways. Go ahead and speak. I will be with your mouth. And, I the Lord your God and Abba Father have spoken.”
Steve walked to a place where everyone should be able to see him. He spoke loudly, in Chinese: “Attention everyone, will you come over here to listen. God wants me to share a message with you.”
The group began coming close to him, one by one. Once they were all present, Steve said:
“God wants us to continue moving north. We will stay overnight here, but shortly after dawn, we will pack up and move out. The Chinese are aware that some Christians have been hiding out in these woods. Some of the people that visit these woods have caught sight of Christians here. So, we need to move on. The soldiers were searching for us and would have either killed or arrested us, had it not been for God supernaturally blinding them and causing them to see a warrior angel who is guarding us.
“But, God shall protect us and keep us safe because He really loves us very much. But, there is a warning I need to share with you. If any of us leave this group and go off on our own, independent of God’s leading, he or she will be out of God’s region of supreme protection. He or she will still have some protection, but the protection will be less than it is when we walk in God’s best will. How we know God’s best will is by seeking Him and asking Him our questions, and listening to His voice speak to us. God will never contradict His Holy Bible or His Nature. That is a promise we can lay hold of. Now, let’s get some rest.”
[Note: Russians are not the enemy, neither are the Chinese. Both are people just like you and me. But, God will use Russia and China to judge wicked nations, which will not repent from their rebellion against Him. And, the devil will seek to stir up men to persecute the Church. But, God will deliver all who seek Him and trust in Him.]
Snow flurries swirled around the man as he trudged through the thick powder. He could barely see twenty yards in front of him. His breath came out in small clouds as he walked, one foot in front of the other. The temperature was dropping and the snow was getting deeper, centimeter by centimeter. In a short time, it would be several inches deeper than it was when he first started off on his trek. He needed to find a place to stay and to warm himself up at, but he seemed to be a long way from any village. His feet felt numb, which was a bad sign. Frostbite might set in if he didn’t get his feet warmed soon.
The moon shone through the pine trees and provided some light to his path in the mostly dark woods. It felt like he had been walking through the forest for days, but it had really only been three hours since his car got stuck in the deep snow. His cell phone battery had died and he had no way to charge it. He knew that waiting in the car was not an option because his gas tank was very low on fuel. To make matters worse, a dead tree had fallen over the road, in front of the car, blocking his way. He had not come prepared for a snow storm.
After a few more minutes of walking, the man suddenly plunged up to the waist in snow. He must have reached the ditch at the edge of the road. There was so much snow that he couldn’t tell where the road ended and the forest began. The man had just stepped into a deep patch of snow that had filled up a depression in the ground. He cursed himself for leaving his car and he cursed God, blaming Him for the snow storm. Now, he had to struggle just to pull himself out of the deep snow, but he was starting to feel exhausted from the long walk through deepening snow.
Crawling and kicking, he finally pulled himself out of the hole, but found he was too exhausted to keep walking. Lying on the ground, he cursed his “misfortune” again and slowly breathed. If he stayed out too long in the cold, without moving, he knew he would freeze to death. But, tiredness was starting to overcome him.
Suddenly, a loud, throaty buzzing sound came from the forest road. A light appeared in the distance, casting shadows through the trees dozens of yards away. Then, a green object appeared, racing across the snow. It was a snowmobile. The man picked himself up and, with every ounce of strength he could muster, he waved frantically and shouted.
The snowmobile slowed to a stop and the engine idled, put-putting away. The driver got off and pulled a flashlight from a pocket. He shined it on the exhausted man, keeping the brightest part of the beam away from his face. Then, he reached out a hand.
“Come with me,” the snowmobile driver said, extending his hand to pat the other man on the shoulder.
“My car got stuck down the road,” the exhausted man said. “A tree fell down. I’m freezing. Could you help me?”
“I certainly will,” Sergey said, lifting up his ski goggles. He walked to the back of the machine and opened a tool box. Drawing a folded coat from it, Sergey gave it to the other man, who gratefully took it and put it on over his own coat. Sergey handed him a thermos filled with warm water. After the man was somewhat refreshed, they both mounted the vehicle. Sergey grabbed the handlebar and sent the snowmobile roaring off down the road.
The trees seemed to zip past like a rolling backdrop. Every so often, the snowmobile bumped over small snow drifts and the passenger gripped some handles tighter to keep from falling off. Ten miles later, the forest opened into a large clearing where the village of Medvedski rested. Smoke from hundreds of chimneys rose into the air like the breath of a dragon and blew away on the wind, while the blizzard piled the steep roofs with heaps of white powder. Soon, the snowmobile was buzzing down the snow-covered streets and approaching Sergey’s two-story izba cabin.
Sergey pulled into an opened shed behind his house and parked beside a blue snowmobile. Then, he clicked his flashlight on in the dark shed. He helped the poor man up to the side entrance of his house. Once inside, Sergey filled a metal basin with very warm water and had the man take his shoes off. The wood stove door creaked open and Sergey plopped a couple more logs onto the fire.
God had woken him from sleep to go on an errand in the midst of a snow storm. Sergey had been reluctant, but he knew God’s voice and wanted to obey his Heavenly Father. He had left the izba dwelling less than thirty minutes ago, while all his guests were in their upstairs rooms. Seeing the man in need, he was glad God had him do the errand. The man had looked like he was about to freeze to death.
“Excuse me, sir,” the man said from the couch where he rested and warmed his cold feet.
“Yes,” Sergey said.
“I am very grateful for your hospitality. My name is Nikita Golovin. And, yours?”
“I’m Sergey Ulanov,” Sergey said, extending a hand and Nikita shook it.
“Why did you drive out into the forest on a snowmobile?” Nikita asked. “It seemed as if you somehow knew I was out there.”
“I did not know you were out there,” Sergey said, “but God woke me from sleep and told me to drive out into the forest on my snowmobile. He said that my help was needed.”
“You said God told you to do that errand?” Nikita blinked several times, thinking about what his host had just said.
After a few seconds passed, Nikita looked at Sergey as if he were looking at someone who had just told him the world was about to end.
“Yes,” Sergey said. “My Heavenly Father cares greatly about you, Nikita. That is why He sent me to rescue you. I had no way of knowing you’d be out there this time of night.”
“You are a very kind man,” Nikita said with tears starting to run down his face. “I was sure I was about to freeze to death out there, but you followed your God’s voice and found me.”
“I don’t feel that I am worthy of being saved,” Nikita said, wiping tears from his eyes. “I was unfaithful to my wife while we were married. I had a child out of wedlock and had another aborted. I’ve slandered my wife behind her back and blamed her for my problems. I even stole from my boss when he wasn’t looking. I’m a terrible person. Why would God have you rescue me?”
Sergey replied: “God has no respect to persons, it says in the book of Romans chapter 2, verse 11. He doesn’t value one person more than another. The second epistle of Peter, chapter 3, verse 9, says that God is “… not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
“I’ve heard the Gospel before,” Nikita said. “Some years ago, during the ‘90s, a Christian was street preaching and handing out tracts. I took one and kept it with me ever since, but I never took it to heart, until now. I want Jesus to save me. There is no point in going on. Earlier, I was looking forward to when the pub would open to get myself drunk silly. But, now I want to get filled with Jesus. May I pray?”
“Of course,” Sergey said, placing a hand on his shoulder. “I’ll pray for you while you pray.”
“Dear Jesus Christ,” Nikita said, “accept me, this poor sinner, as your son. I have really made a mess of my life. These sins… wash them away by your blood. I ask you to wash me in your blood, and I believe you died for Me and rose from the dead, like your Word says. You are the only true God and the only One who could save me from my many sins. I make you my Lord and Savior, Jesus. Amen.”
“Amen, brother,” Sergey said, smiling, “You are now part of the family of God, and you are my new brother in Christ.”
Nikita opened his eyes and looked up, and a smile slowly spread across his haggard face. Stubble covered his chin, and his dark hair dripped with melting snow. His eyes were somewhat red from lack of sleep. But, Nikita appeared to be full of joy and peace he had never felt before. Suddenly, he pulled his feet from the warm water and splashed droplets of water over the wood floor. He jumped up and down and clapped his hands together, shouting, “Praise God! I’m saved! I’m saved! I’m saved!”
Sergey stood, concerned that his new guest might awake the others sleeping in the bedrooms upstairs. But, he felt God’s guidance to just let Nikita be. The ecstatic man was jumping up and down and singing bits of a hymn he had heard somewhere. Sergey waited to see if anyone would descend the stairs to see his new guest. Finally, Nikita calmed down and plopped down on Sergey’s only couch. A big grin crossed his face ― the look of a man who had just learned he was given a billion dollars. But, Nikita had gained something infinitely greater, and Sergey understood the joy he felt.
While their backs were turned to the stairway, a man clutched the railing and watched the Christians below. Vasily Volvakov had heard the noise from his room because he was a light sleeper and had gone to investigate. While Sergey and Nikita talked, Vasily slowly ascended the steps to the second story and made a mental note of the events below. In the upstairs hallway, he pulled out his cell phone and began composing a text message.
The text read: “Alexander, I have just witnessed another person in Sergey Ulanov’s home, in Medvedski, joining that non-conformist Christian’s cult. Action must be taken soon to put a stop to this radicalization of our people.”
Vasily walked back to his room that he shared with another single man, who slept on the only bed in the small room. Vasily plopped down on a sleeping bag and pulled some blankets over himself. Some hours later, his cell phone vibrated in his pocket.
Waking from sleep, he moaned and sat up. Wiping his eyelids, Vasily blinked a few times before checking his cell phone. He could see that there was a new text message. It read in part: “Sergey, a team will be assembled and … ” His eyes scanned over the message and a grin spread across his drawn face.
“A Walk in the Night”
A tangled web of bushes, boulders, and trees spread out in all directions, and the moonlit night sky hung above. The group of Asian Christians and four Caucasians found themselves surrounded by a dark and eerie woodland that presented all sorts of hiding places for enemy soldiers to watch and wait for their arrival. The group would be totally lost and easy prey for the roving eyes of Chinese soldiers had it not been for God’s presence and angels. And, the forest was so dark and dense that navigating it at nighttime would be impossible without a bright light, but no one in the group had a bright enough flashlight. Most of their batteries were running very low on charge. But, a miracle had happened shortly after Steve and the rest of the group awoke from sleep in the middle of the night.
A rushing sound, like a light breeze, came from the forest near where the burning bush grew. The fire mysteriously had lifted off the bush, leaving it untouched, and had miraculously turned into a whirling shaft of flames, like a miniature tornado, before their eyes. It was about thirty feet tall and produced plenty of light for the group to see up to thirty or forty feet into the dark forest, depending on its density.
God had spoken to Steve and to several of the Chinese men that they needed to follow the pillar of fire because that was God’s light source for them at nighttime. God had also instructed them to pack up their tents, but leave them behind because God had told the people that He would translate the tents and gear, so that they would not have to carry those cumbersome loads with them.
Now, some miles had passed since they had left the encampment with most of their stuff behind. Steve was amazed to see the pillar of fire, or tornado of fire, not set any tree on fire, even though branches and twigs passed through its spiraling flames. Steve realized that God did not intend to burn the forest down. God was just providing light for the group, like the light source He had provided for ancient Israel when they traveled through the wilderness of Mount Sinai in north-western Arabia.
“Steve,” Sarah said.
“Yes, honey?” Steve said, looking at his wife, who walked beside him.
The yellow light from the swirling flames cast a long shadow behind her, which leapt over boulders and logs.
“This is truly amazing what we’ve been seeing. I was thinking about the account in Exodus where the children of Israel saw a pillar of fire at night and a pillar of cloud during the day.”
“I was thinking of the same thing,” Steve said. “It truly is amazing what God has been doing for us since we started this journey, even before we were translated to Asia. You were wondering how God would get us out of America, but He surprised you when He told you that He would translate you by way of angels.”
“He sure did,” Sara said. “I was totally bewildered when we vanished from the Cincinnati, Ohio area and appeared in Asia. Whenever I read about Philip in Acts chapter 8, I found it difficult to fully grasp that he had been quickly moved away from the desert, where he had just baptized the Ethiopian eunuch, and had been translated somewhere else. But, after my own experience, I began to accept what was truly humanly impossible as common and ordinary.”
“But,” Steve said, “it is tragic that the people in our area didn’t listen to our warnings and pleadings. We told them that judgment was coming because of America’s great rebellion against God, but no one seemed to listen. Most people just ignored us and continued doing what they had always been doing, living life and seeking after their own will, instead of Abba God’s will, which is always good and is always fulfilling.”
Sarah nodded, sighing. “I left behind all my relatives and friends because they just didn’t want to see things the way they were. They always said that I was just naïve and foolish to get married to you and leave my job at the clinic. But, they didn’t even want to admit that the economy was collapsing, and that war with Russia was becoming more and more likely, from the perspective of the secular world. God had already told us these things would happen.”
“That is right,” Steve said, pursing his lips. “I feel bad every time I think of the people who just didn’t listen to us, who just wanted to act like things would improve. But, they didn’t. Things got worse. Eventually, America struck Russia to provoke its wrath. Then, you know the rest.”
Sarah nodded, frowning. “I just wish they had listened to the signs of judgment and our warnings. But, they preferred to trust in themselves, which is what led to their tragic end.”
“Excuse me,” a lady’s voice said from behind them.
The couple turned to see Mi-yeon, the Korean lady they had met earlier. Her husband was approaching from behind.
“Mi-yeon,” Sarah said.
“I happened to overhear your conversation,” Mi-yeon said. “You reminded me of how I had encountered similar opposition and ambivalence among my friends and family.”
“You did too?” Sarah said.
“Yes,” Mi-yeon said. “They seemed to have no concern about what I was concerned about. I saw South Korea’s economy hitting hard times and the shaky situation in the North. I warned them, but they said that the North would never dare invade the South, especially since the U.S. was helping to protect South Korea.”
Sung-woo, her husband, approached and greeted them with a brief ‘hello.’ Steve and Sarah echoed the greeting and returned their attention to his wife.
Mi-yeon continued, saying, “But, when your country was struck by nukes, its military was knocked down, and the South became very chaotic. People fought to get a hold of extra canned goods and freeze-dry food. People looked very worried everywhere I went. At that time, martial law was declared, and the government prevented anyone from leaving the country. Then, the Lord showed my husband and me that we were to meet someone who would help us to escape and reach a place of safety.”
“Mind if I join in?” Sung-woo asked his wife.
“No. Go ahead,” Mi-yeon said.
“After we escaped Korea and arrived in China,” Sung-woo said, “we had to trust the Lord to get us through China and up to the northern parts of that country. Along the way, soldiers stopped us to ask for our identification, and to ask us about ourselves, but God gave us the exact words to say, and kept them from even recognizing that we were not Chinese.”
“You didn’t lie to them, did you?” Sarah asked.
“Oh no,” Mi-yeon said, shaking her head. “No. God would not bless us for lying. No. When the police or soldiers would ask us for our identification, we looked to God what to say. He would put on our hearts to say that our citizenship was in Heaven. The police would nod and ask where we were headed. God had us tell them that we were on a journey to Heaven, because we really are.”
Steve and Sarah looked at each other, amazed.
“That is what it means to be a Christian,” Mi-yeon said. “We walk the narrow way to Heaven, trusting in Jesus all the way, and not in our own works. We were telling them the truth.”
“I, I know you were telling the truth, but the soldiers just accepted your answers? They didn’t detain you?” Steve said, blinking several times.
“No,” Sung-woo said, chuckling. “The police didn’t seem to understand that we were Korean Christians who were passing through their country. They just let us move on.”
“That is amazing,” Sarah said, shaking her head in awe of God’s power and wisdom.
“It gets even better,” Sung-woo said. “We heard God tell us to take a train bound for the north. So, we did, even though we had no money.”
“How did that work out? No money. Was that a high-speed train?” Steve asked.
“It was one of the mag-lev trains,” Sung-woo said. “When we got to the station, we got in line to buy tickets, trusting God to provide the money somehow. A man directly in front of us purchased three tickets. He handed two to my wife and me, saying that he wanted to do something nice for people. He appeared to be a wealthy businessman or something like that. He also handed us a good amount of money, telling us that he had once been very poor and wanted to do something to help foreigners out on that particular day.”
“So, he knew you were foreigners,” Sarah said. “But, the soldiers didn’t know that.”
“They might have suspected we were not from that province of China, but I don’t think they knew we were foreigners,” the Korean man replied, grinning.
“So,” Mi-yeon continued the narrative for her husband, “we arrived at a northern city, and God led us to a truck driver who was willing to take us with him up north. We paid him some money, and he took us up to a smaller town.”
“There,” Mi-yeon said, “we were led to some Christians who were hiding from the police. They were going to move out into the wilderness and were getting some backpacks together. They were in need of money, and we had plenty left over from our generous benefactor. We had enough money to buy some backpacks and supplies for ourselves and for some of the Christians in the group. Then, we set out on our expedition.”
“And, all the money had been spent well,” Sung-woo added.
“That is an amazing story you experienced,” Sarah said.
“But, it’s not just a story,” Mi-yeon said, excitedly. “We saw God come through in amazing ways to provide for our needs, since we had no Chinese currency and had left all our money behind, since it would do us no good outside South Korea.”
“I believe you,” Steve said. “It reminds me how Jesus provided for the disciples and the multitudes at the Sea of Galilee by multiplying bread and fish.”
“How so?” Mi-yeon said.
“Well,” Steve said, “the disciples didn’t have enough food for all those thousands of people gathered by the Sea of Galilee. So, Jesus took the loaves and fish and broke them in pieces, but the bread and fish continued to be multiplied so that all the people could eat, be well fed, and have baskets of fragments left over. You did not have enough food or money for your travels in China, but God provided for you all along the way, and gave you extra to help out your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. He even provided for the soldiers and police to not understand that you were Christians.”
“Amen. We serve an awesome God,” Sung-woo said, turning his attention to the fiery pillar that slowly moved ahead of the group and lit up the forest around them with its supernatural flames.
While the huge piles of snow and blizzard conditions lasted, Sergey began teaching the people in his home from the Bible. He gave a Bible to each adult and to each child who was old enough to read. As some days passed, several more people committed their lives to Jesus and trusted in Him only for salvation. While he taught them, Sergey noticed that Vasily remained in his bedroom and never wanted to hear the Bible being read. He had told Sergey that he wasn’t feeling well, but when Sergey offered to pray for his physical healing, Vasily muttered, “I don’t need your prayers. I will improve in time.”
After four days had passed since the group of fifteen had arrived at his izba cabin, most of the guests had trusted in Jesus for salvation. Sergey was amazed at the results of his teaching and prayers. He thanked God every time he thought about the new believers.
One night, after a group Bible study time, and after the families had retired for the night, a man came down the stairs and approached Sergey, who was sitting on the side of his bed. The man had short, dark hair and appeared to be in his thirties.
“Sergey,” the man said.
“I want to talk to you about something,” Ivan said quietly.
“What is it?” Sergey leaned forward, glancing at the stairway briefly.
“My roommate, Vasily, says he is sick and can’t come down for the Bible study, but I think he is faking it. He doesn’t cough or act sick until it is time to have a Bible study or eat dinner as a group. Then, he makes a show of coughing and acting tired. He asks me to bring cheese and sausages up to him for lunch and dinner, but he never eats it in my presence. I don’t think we can trust him.”
After they had talked a little longer, Ivan left and returned up the stairs.
Sitting on the bed, Sergey knitted his brows, in thought. ‘What should I do about Vasily?’ he thought to himself. ‘Should I confront him about his strange conduct? Lord, Jesus, what should I do?’
“My son, Sergey,” Jesus said to his spirit and soul, “I am with you. I love you very much, even more than you can know. But, I will show you what to do about this man. Go to him and tell him that you are praying for him, and that you want him to feel welcome in your home. Give him a gift of ten rubles, an apple, and a meat sandwich. Then, wait for his response. If he says to you that he is not interested, just leave the gift with him, and leave. I will guide you in what to do. Trust Me. And, I the Lord your God have spoken.”
‘Thanks, Lord Jesus. I will do that. It is only possible through you,’ Sergey said in his thoughts.
Sergey stood to his feet and stretched. Out of the corner of his eye he saw someone descending the stairs. He turned to see that it was Ivan. As Ivan reached the halfway point on the staircase, Sergey said, “Ivan, God has shown me what to do about Vasily.”
“What did God show you?” Ivan asked.
“I will treat him with kindness,” Sergey replied, “and that will cause Vasily to question his intentions.”
“But, Sergey,” Ivan said, “what if Vasily seeks to do harm to you and to us?”
“There is no need to fear, Ivan. Abba Father God will take care of us. Let us just seek to know God and follow His voice.”
Ivan nodded, in thought. After a pause, he said, “It is hard to walk this walk of faith.”
“But,” Sergey said, “it is easy when we depend on God for the power and wisdom we need. And, it is easy when we realize that God is our Abba Father. He is for us, and loves us very much. Get some sleep, Ivan. I will speak with Vasily tomorrow.”
While the others were eating breakfast, Sergey climbed the stairs to the second floor, carrying a sandwich on a plate, an apple, and ten rubles, which had gained in value after U.S. had collapsed. Walking down the hallway, he fought with an inner fear that his gift would be rejected. ‘It will amount to nothing, Sergey,’ a nagging thought said. ‘You’re wasting your time.’ But, Sergey decided to give that fear to God and trust that God knows what He is doing.
He knocked on the door to Vasily’s room. There was no response. He knocked again. Finally, the door opened and a sullen face stared at him. “What do you want, Sergey?” Vasily said coldly.
“I want you to feel welcome in my home, Vasily. It is not often that I have guests. Will you accept this gift as a token of kindness.” Saying that, he extended the food and cash to Vasily.
But, Vasily held up a hand and shook his head. “Sergey, I cannot accept your offer because… I think you are just trying to buy my friendship.”
“I care about you, Vasily,” Sergey said with warmth in his voice. “Please accept this gift. I am not trying to buy anything from you.”
Vasily shook his head. “You are just playing the old trick of bating your hook. I know what people are like, Sergey. You want me to become a Christian so you can get me to join your side. What’s in it for me, anyways? A concentration camp? Hard labor? Losing my family and friends? I don’t think your religion is worth it. I’ve got enough problems to think about. I don’t need to add more to my plate. Let your God save other souls. I’m willing to die knowing that I am not anyone’s slave.”
“What do you mean?” Sergey asked.
“I’m not a slave to any religion, Sergey,” Vasily said. “Religion is about slavery. But, having no religion makes you a free man.”
“Knowing God as your Abba Father and best Friend is not slavery,” Sergey said. “It is a very good friendship.”
“Then,” Vasily said, “why do Christians suffer for their faith? Right now in this country and in other nations many Christians are suffering in concentration camps and prisons. In America, there are thousands of concentration camps full of Christians. They have nothing to show for their faith. They are miserable souls. But, I am free.”
“God allows difficult things to happen to call out to His people, if they are turning their hearts away from Him. God does not desire His people suffer, but if they turn away from Him, He will do what it takes to call out to them to repent and seek His will, and His way, and to follow His guiding hand.”
Vasily was taken aback. He squinted at Sergey as if he has said that the world was going to blow up one minute from then.
“You are saying that God allows Christians to go into concentration camps because they are turning away from Him?”
“Not all Christians in concentration camps,” Sergey said, “were turning away from God, but God has shown me that almost all the ones in America were turning away from God prior to entering the camps. Some of the ones in the camps did not follow God’s voice because they were being a little self-reliant. Others didn’t listen to God’s call to flee and go where He sends them. But, God gives them grace through their experiences, and will certainly deliver them if they call upon Him and trust Him to deliver them.”
“How will your God deliver them?” Vasily asked.
“In the book of Acts, chapter 12, God delivered Simon Peter from a prison,” Sergey said, with some excitement in his voice. “He was to be executed the next day. Angels unlocked his shackles and opened prison doors so he could walk out, unharmed. They also kept the guards asleep.”
“Interesting,” Vasily said.
“So,” Sergey continued, “God can and will do similar things to cause Christians to be able to escape from prisons and concentration camps today. In Hebrews chapter 13, verse 8, God says through His Word: ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.’ That is because God never changes. What He did back in the Bible’s Old and New Testament books, He certainly does today.”
“So, if I became a Christian, and if I was put in a camp, God would deliver Me?” Vasily said.
Sergey replied: “God will deliver you if you seek Him, and trust Him, and depend only on Him. David wrote in Psalms 18 how he cried out to God for deliverance from evil men, and David describes, poetically, how God actually delivered him from them and figuratively drew him out of deep water. God really did deliver David from his problems, but David’s problems didn’t actually involve drowning in deep water. But, if you were drowning, God would certainly rescue you, if you call out to Him.”
“You are an interesting man, Sergey. But, I can’t accept your religion.”
“Why can’t you?” Sergey asked.
“My father was a very religious man,” Vasily said. “He strictly followed the Russian Orthodox faith, but he didn’t seem to have any peace. He always gave us a list of things we should not do before he allowed us to go to college or before we went to a friend’s house. The list was very long and arduous. But, it wasn’t as bad as the list he gave us to follow when I and my siblings were growing up. Back then, he would expect us to recite his made up family rules.”
Vasily paused and lowered his eyes to the floor.
“He expected us to be impeccably dressed and always answer ‘yes, sir’ if we were addressing him. When we went to college, I found out later, he paid our roommates to report to him on our behavior. One time when I stayed out late at a bar, my roommate secretly told him about it. When I visited him on a weekend, he yelled at me and gave me a stern lecture about drinking, and threatened to see that I get expelled from the school if I visited a bar ever again. He knew the president of the college from earlier days. One time, when I was a boy, he spanked me because I had forgotten to wear my shirt tucked in.”
“That is sad,” Sergey said, starting to feel compassion for his guest.
“So, if God is like that,” Vasily said, “I want nothing to do with him. I don’t want to know a God that treats His children with cruelty and strictness.”
“I feel for you, Vasily,” Sergey said. “That is very sad what you went through. But, I can tell you that God is not like any man. God’s Word says in Numbers 23:19 that God is not a man. Psalm 103:8 says that God is merciful, and gracious, and slow to anger. Psalm 103:11 says that God’s mercy toward those who fear (or respect) Him is higher than the Heaven is above the earth — Heaven is where His throne is.”
Sergey paused to let the words sink in, but Vasily just grunted and folded his arms.
“Vasily, a verse that I look at often is Psalm 107:6. It says that when God’s people cried to Him in distress, He delivered them. Psalm 63:3 says of God: ‘Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.’ And, 2 Corinthians 1:3 says that God is ‘…the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;’”
“I don’t need to hear all this stuff. Just leave me alone,” Vasily said, reaching for the bedroom door.
Sergey backed up into the hallway, and Vasily closed it slowly but firmly.
Standing in the hallway still holding the food and money, Sergey felt downcast and discouraged. It seemed that his gift and conversation with Vasily had been to no purpose.
“My son, Sergey,” Jesus said to his soul and spirit, “why are you downcast? You have done well. Vasily is thinking about what you told him. Don’t feel discouraged. Give these feelings to Me. I will take them. Rest, My son. You have caused him to think about Christianity and about Me. I will now tell you that very soon you will need to get the group together and tell them that they will need to prepare to leave the house because it will no longer be safe here.
“The Russian government knows that you are witnessing to these new Christians. They have sent a team to a forward post to be ready to come and arrest you once the snow is plowed away. That will happen tomorrow. They will arrive by nightfall to arrest you and the others. So, follow My instructions, and you will be safe. If you have to leave some behind, if they are unwilling to come, I will be with them and will keep calling out to them. Now, go, My son. And, I will always be with you to guide you, and provide for you, and protect you. And, I the Lord your God and Abba Father have spoken, because I and the Father are One.”
“But,” Sergey said, “Lord Jesus, where will I take these people? I only have a car with four seats and two snowmobiles. There are fifteen people. Well, they have some older cars, but where would we go and how would we get there?”
“Just leave those details to Me and I will bless you, My son,” Jesus said.
“Okay, Lord. I will trust them to you. You will not fail us. Just please don’t let those soldiers arrive here before we can get loaded up in the cars to head out. But, I choose to give you these fears I’ve been feeling.”
Saying that, Sergey felt peace enter into his heart and the assurance that everything will work out.
Bang! A loud thump came from the first floor, waking Vasily from his slumber. He groaned and stood to his feet, squinting. Bang! The thump was followed by a splintering crack. Vasily saw his cell phone lying on the bedroom floor. Picking it up, he read the time. It was 11:02 P.M. Bang. Crack. The sound of wood shattering came from below. Vasily winced and hurried to the staircase, wondering who it could be. He quickly descended the stairs to the first floor, but his jaw dropped when he saw the scene before him.
The front door had been smashed open by way of a metal, hand-held battering ram, shaped like a cylinder with handles. A team of soldiers had broken through and were scanning the room with their machine guns.
“Raise your hands!” a soldier ordered.
Reluctantly, he raised his hands.
Then, Vasily remembered the text message and earlier phone call he had made some time ago. The team sent to arrest the Christians had arrived sooner than Vasily thought possible. What Sergey had told Vasily about God did not leave his mind as he had settled into his sleeping bag two hours ago.
Waking from sleep, being groggy and tired, Vasily had forgotten that a team of soldiers was on its way to arrest the Christians. He hadn’t thought that they would arrive this soon due to bad weather some days earlier.
A soldier shoved him to his knees and shouted, “Get on the ground!”
As he fell to the ground, a new thought struck Vasily. His roommate wasn’t in the bedroom on the single bed and Sergey was nowhere to be seen in the house. Surely, the people would have woken by now, having heard the loud thumping sounds and the splintering crack of the door breaking open. Sergey would probably be terrified to see the soldiers in his home and probably would try to hide in a bedroom since the house was likely surrounded by soldiers.
From the ground, Vasily exclaimed, “I’m not a Christian. I was the man who reported on these Christians.”
But, the soldiers did not listen to him. One remained behind to guard him while several hurried carefully up the staircase and into the second story. Room by room, they cleared the building until they had reached all five bedroom, the closets, and one bathroom. After a short time, the soldiers descended the staircase and looked at Vasily coldly. He was still forced to lie on the ground, face down.
“Stand up, Christian,” a soldier ordered gruffly.
“I’m not a Christian!” Vasily said angrily as he stood to his feet.
A soldier slapped him across the face, stinging him. “You will not speak that way to us.”
Pain shot up his cheek.
Another said, “Where did you hide the other Christians?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Vasily said. “I called a friend at the Department of Religious Affairs to report these Christians to him. His name is Alexander Lukov. I can confirm that I am telling the truth.”
“Sure you are. Stand against that wall,” a soldier ordered.
Another shoved him up against the wall while a different soldier snapped handcuffs around his wrists.
“You don’t believe me? I am friends with Alexander Lukov!” Vasily screamed.
“Come with us,” a soldier said, shoving him forward.
Vasily, protesting and screaming, was shoved out into the snow. He fell face first into a pile of white powder. Coughing and spitting snow from his mouth, he cursed the soldiers and cursed God. A soldier slapped him in the face and ordered him to be silent. But, he wouldn’t stop cussing at them.
Then, a soldier drew out a truncheon and clubbed him over the back of the head. Vasily fell to the ground unconscious. The soldiers dragged him up to a six-wheeled military truck with a canvas top, and hauled him into the truck bed. Others loaded into two other six-wheeled trucks. With a guttural roar, the diesel engines revved up and the trucks roared off through the recently plowed streets.
The few cars and trucks on the streets pulled over to let the small convoy pass through. A few hours later, they arrived at a small military base in a pine forest and quickly passed through the guarded entrance.
Vasily, who had come to during the drive to the base, was ushered into a small jail on the base designed for misbehaving soldiers. Sitting in the cinderblock cell on a hard, metal seat, he screamed at and cursed the men who brought him there and at God for allowing it to happen. But, they had already left the prison and were handling the paperwork to admit a civilian into a military prison. This would be a temporary holding place.
Breathing hard and sputtering with saliva dripping from his lips, Vasily calmed himself down, and wiped his lips with the back of his hand. He did not understand how the people had left the building while he was still asleep. Surely, he should have heard people talking. He should have heard doors shutting.
‘How did Sergey know that I had reported his evangelism?’ Vasily thought.
Time passed. Vasily paced his cell, thinking about what Sergey had told him. God would deliver him from trials, according to Sergey, but only if he became a follower of Christ. ‘But, why would the soldiers arrest me and blame me for the Christians’ escape?’ he thought, feeling confused and troubled.
A soldier approached the iron bars that constituted his cell door. “You are now permitted to speak for twenty minutes on a phone.”
‘Great,’ Vasily thought, ‘now I can get this misunderstanding straightened out.’
In the room designated for making phone calls, Vasily dialed a number. He waited for the party on the other end to answer. After several rings, a voice said, “Hello, this is Alexander.”
“Alexander,” Vasily said, “you remember me?”
“Who is this?”
“Surely, you remember who I am?” Vasily said, coyly.
“I don’t recognize your voice. Who are you?”
“This is Vasily Volvakov, your old friend.”
A long pause followed. After some long seconds passed, Alexander said: “According to our information, you are considered to be a mole, who is secretly working for the Christian underground.”
“What?” Vasily gasped. “I, a mole?”
“That’s what our information says,” Alexander said coldly. “It is now believed that you assist Christians in escaping capture by sending our soldiers on wasteful missions while the Christians escape. Last year, you told me that you knew of non-conformist Christians meeting in a basement every Sunday.
“When we sent a team to apprehend them, no one was to be found. The person who owned the building had no knowledge that the basement was being rented out by non-conformist Christians. While our teams were busy with that diversion, we learned that a sizeable group of Christians had been seen driving in some vans toward the wilderness up north. They were known to be Christians because they stopped at a gas station and some of them were seen carrying King James Bibles.
“They escaped because you provided a diversion for our teams. At that time, we were not entire sure you actually assisted those Christians, but now that it has happened a second time, we know that you did assist both groups of Christians. You sent Sergey and his friends away, before we could arrive, while you planned to get a reward for supposedly ‘notifying’ us of their illegal, Christian activities. You are a traitor to your country and a two-faced fraud.”
“What? This is outrageous,” Vasily sputtered, trying to grasp what he was being charged with.
“Tomorrow, you will be shipped to an internment camp to reeducate you,” Alexander said before ending the call abruptly.
CLICK to READ Part: THREE
[Note: Russians are not the enemy, neither are the Chinese. Both are people just like you and me. But, God will use Russia and China to judge wicked nations, which will not repent from their rebellion against Him. And, the devil will seek to stir up men to persecute the Church. But, God will deliver all who seek Him and trust in Him.]