Olga and Marina are sisters. They live with their families in Tomsk [TOM’sk], a city in the heart of Siberian Russia. They grew up as Protestant Christians, but without proper Bible teaching, their faith wavered when they reached their teen years.
Olga married and raised a family during difficult times in Russia. Then she became sick and learned that she had lung cancer. Everyone was surprised because Olga had never smoked.
An allergic reaction to medications the doctors gave her caused severe side effects. After several months of painful treatments, Olga decided not to continue treatment. Her doctors warned her that without treatment she had two months to live. Olga determined to make the most of those two months and make her life right with God.
She began praying and studying God’s Word. Two months later, when she was supposed to die, she felt stronger and healthier than she had in months. When her doctors examined her, they were amazed to find no evidence of cancer.
Overjoyed, Olga credited God and asked Him to lead her to a church that teaches according to the Bible. A few days later she answered a knock on her door and met a man who was selling books about health and faith. Olga asked the man what church he attended. He told her that he was an Adventist and keeps the Ten Commandments. He gave Olga directions to the church.
Olga bought several books and began reading them, comparing what they taught with the Bible. She was excited when she read that the seventh day was the Sabbath, and she went in search of an Adventist church. She was surprised to find not a grand church, but a simple house that had been converted into a church. But there she felt God’s presence, and there she worshipped.
The church had no pastor when she first began attending, and members struggled to carry on the church’s outreach programs without leadership. But eventually the new pastor arrived and organized evangelistic meetings. Olga invited family members to attend the meetings, and several came. Following the meetings, Olga, her husband, and several other family members were baptized. But her younger sister Marina had insisted she had to work and couldn’t attend the meetings.
Olga often talked to Marina during her journey through cancer to healing and then to faith. Marina realized that God wanted to be a part of her life. She read the literature that Olga gave her, and she realized that she didn’t want to die without Christ in her life. She began reading the Bible and praying for God’s leading.
Marina loved her job with the weather station. Her schedule allowed her to work at a second job as well, which meant that Marina worked every day of the week. Olga urged Marina to take one day a week to rest, and she encouraged Marina to attend Sabbath worship services with her. But Marina never had the time.
Then the weather station changed her work schedule, and Marina realized that soon she would be without the job she loved. Her second employer asked her to work for him full-time, and she agreed. But she decided that she wanted Sabbaths off for rest. Her boss resisted her request, but Marina stood firm. In time he agreed. When she asked for Friday evenings off as well, he balked. Marina prayed fervently that God would open this door as well if it was His will that she work for this man. At last her boss agreed to give her Friday evenings off as well.
Marina knew that her sister and her daughter, who had been baptized with Olga, were praying for her. Soon Marina chose to be baptized, too. “God has answered all my prayers,” Marina says. “He has given me work with higher pay and more rest as well. And He’s shown me His will for my life and my faith.”
As she works in her boss’s shop, Marina has opportunities to speak to customers about her faith. She offers them books or magazines and invites them to worship God with her on Sabbath.
But the little church where Olga, Marina, and their families worship is crowded. Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath will help this congregation build a larger church to which they can invite their friends and family to find God. Thank you for your part this Thirteenth Sabbath in helping make this new church home a reality.