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Noel



OLEG - FROM PRISON TO PRAISE


Oleg was a criminal. For his crimes he was sent to a prison camp in Eastern Siberia. He was 31 years old and this was not the plan he had for his life. While in the camp he quarreled with a Muslim about his faith. Oleg thought he was an orthodox believer and tried to prove his opinions, even though his heart was far from Jesus, and Christianity was superficial to him. Neither Oleg nor the Muslim could prove their arguments. Unknowingly the Holy Spirit had started to work in Oleg's heart. There in the prison he asked himself "What do I know about Jesus?" and came to the conclusion "I know nothing!"

He made a decision to read through the entire Bible.

The prison had an extensive library so he borrowed a Bible and began his reading alone. As he read he found God was speaking to him and giving him an understanding of how mighty and awesome He was, and how foolish and sinful his own life had been. He wanted a relationship with God but no one told him how to find it. He continued reading

On March 24th Oleg shut his prison door and knelt down. He said "God you are real. Please come into my heart and change me, forgive me." Nothing happened. He got up from his knees and his life continued as usual.

Every Friday a preacher came into camp which held 800 prisoners. Oleg decided to attend these meetings because he desired to know more about God. He told the preacher about his past life and how he tried to do good but that he was a wicked man. Something was missing from his life. A young man came with the preacher and sang with such freedom and joy in front of the prisoners. This left a deep impression on Oleg.

Back in his room he lay on his bed, but could not find rest. Over and over in his mind came the question. Why were they so happy, why why? Suddenly something happened. It was like Someone mighty looked at him and in that one moment his whole being was buried, and he thought "I am just a little spot." He fell to his knees and a power came down over him. He was helpless.

As he looked up to see who was pushing him down, the entire roof disappeared. He saw the dark sky and stars, then a bright light came into him. A strange feeling came over him as if his body was separated from his soul. He felt he had flown up into the light. From this height he could look down on the camp buildings. He could see all the prisoners. They looked like small dead worms. It was terrible.

Then he came back to his body and like a re-play of an old movie, his past flashed before him. He entered into the past events and felt every pain and sin that he had committed. All he could do was call out to God to forgive, forgive, forgive. It was one oユclock in the afternoon of 4th of April 1994. His experience was like a supernatural dream.

The first thing Oleg noticed was that his back was healed and no longer gave him pain. A great love come over him, and with the love was a heightened awareness of the demonic world around him. When a cruel guard entered his cell, he only felt only love for the man although he could see the demons in his life. This experience lasted for three days, and he emerged completely renewed. Oleg's desire to swear, drink, smoke, to do evil had gone and he was free. He had a great desire to read the Bible, speak about Jesus and to pray. He led several of his fellow prisoners to the Lord.

Oleg served only half his prison term. On his release four months later he led his wife Tanya to Jesus, and a year later he came to Vladivostok as a student at Faith in Action.

For his practical training, Oleg was assigned to a church in his home town in Kazakhstan, Central Russia. When he arrived, he asked Jesus to come with him into his family's apartment. The first thing he saw was an evil mask on the wall which he broke and threw away. His family and relatives had only known him as a criminal. They were surprised by his behavior as he laid hands on them and prayed for them. First his brother became a Christian, and then his father decided that if his two sons could become believers then he should be one as well. One by one his relatives and friends came and believed for themselves. Soon there were enough of them to form a large cell group in the local church.

Oleg is now back in Vladivostok, finishing his study at Faith in Action Training School. One of the unique signs the Lord has given is the realization that the very day that he believed, April 4th 1994, was the same day that Faith in Action began in Russia two years before.

Footnote:

Please continue to pray for Oleg. Since graduating, he returned to serve in a church in Kazakhstan. His ministry is having a great impact on those he meets.

Noel Morris.

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