Bringing Hidden Things to Light: The Revival of Methodism in Russia (Volume 1)

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9781502427106: Bringing Hidden Things to Light: The Revival of Methodism in Russia (Volume 1)
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Lydia Istomina's account of the revival of the Methodist Church in Russia is filled with images we have come to expect (food lines, passport hassles, travel nightmares) and observations that might surprise us) the whispers of schoolchildren about their cherished Easter traditions, the use of Christian names in generation after generation of Russian people).

When Lydia Istomina became the pastor of a small United Methodist congregation, she brought with her the past she was only beginning to understand. But very quickly the spark of that congregation began to glow, and the church was growing not expecting to end in the middle of the power struggle. The story she tells is gripping, heartwarming, realistic and filled with hope.The Bible was leather bound and had metal locks, and unusual pictures, each covered with a thin transparent paper leaf. We grew up with this Bible without understanding its value, or our good fortune in having it, but only feeling some trepidation when we watched Granddad perform the same solemn ceremony each time he opened it. He carefully spread a newspaper on the table, then, washed his hands thoroughly before taking the Bible out of the metal box. Only after he had prayed for a long time did he begin reading. Children were strictly forbidden even to touch this secret place. But as soon as Granddad left the house, we immediately dragged out the heavy box from under the bed, to look at and read the Bible, which attracted us because of its inaccessibility and mystery. I think now that Granddad did it on purpose. He was a wise man: "Forbidden fruit is sweet!" 

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From the Author:

Many American pastors went to the former Soviet Union in the 90s to convert atheists but soon realized that they had a lot to learn from Russian spirituality that survived 70 years of persecution. Missionary workers in Russia ignited well-forgotten enthusiasm among the first Methodists, but not all of them came to Russia with selfless interests. The excitement of meeting real Americans suppressed the ability to think critically and to distinguish genuine collaboration between West and East from manipulation and discrimination. Too soon, unprepared Russian Methodists faced the oppressive Church bureaucracy and accepted control by the West. The first leaders of the church had to leave. This story of transformation of both Russians and Americans that took place in Ekaterinburg, Russia and in Shreveport, Louisiana brought together many ordinary individuals who attempted an extraordinary change. The story she tells is gripping, heartwarming, realistic and filled with hope.

From the Back Cover:

There are churches on practically every corner in America, but gradually the religious landscaping is changing. The purpose of Lydia Istomina's story is to inspire Americans to cherish the freedom that they have. Many American pastors went to the former Soviet Union in the 90s to convert atheists but soon realized that they had a lot to learn from Russian spirituality that survived 70 years of persecution. Missionary workers in Russia ignited well-forgotten enthusiasm among the first Methodists, but not all of them came to Russia with selfless interests. The excitement of meeting real Americans suppressed the ability to think critically and to distinguish genuine collaboration between West and East from manipulation and discrimination. Too soon, unprepared Russian Methodists faced the oppressive Church bureaucracy and accepted control by the West. The first leaders of the church had to leave. This story of transformation of both Russians and Americans that took place in Ekaterinburg, Russia and in Shreveport, Louisiana brought together many ordinary individuals who attempted an extraordinary change. The story she tells is gripping, heartwarming, realistic and filled with hope.

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