Pic by Thomas Leuthard
The original post on the USMB website, June 14, 2019

All my life
I have been going against the stream. I grew up in the Soviet Union where
everyone marched together in columns and singing the same songs, glorifying the
communist leaders. At first it was interesting, but then everything became more
complicated because the price for a dissenting opinion was always rising.
Saving my face in the mass was not easy, especially because I was a Christian
and my parents were repressed and enemies of the people who make up the mass.
My family
lived very poorly. My mother was often ill, and my father was regularly fined
for participating in illegal religious activities. I remember when the police
came to our apartment for searches and “conversations.” They dispersed prayer
meetings and took my father to the police station. My dad was jailed for four
to five years for his faith and my mom was expelled from the university she was
attending. Therefore, I could not be part of society; I was in opposition. My
parent’s strong example of faith and the power of prayer helped me find my
calling and be faithful.
I read the
Bible at a very young age and began to understand my own distinction and
advantage more clearly. I soon realized I had a special vocation to share
knowledge about God to people who knew nothing about him. I had the opportunity
to be an important witness for God, a storyteller of biblical stories.
At school
everyone was admitted to the October Party and to the Pioneer Party,
organizations of young communists. I did not want to be a part of their
society, not because my parents or my church put pressure on me; no, they gave
me the right to choose. I alone stood by and cried from the offensive words the
teachers showered over me. When I was rejected by my teachers and students, I
saw God moving in my life in a very special way. This was my first personal
choice: to go against the stream and follow Jesus with the “little flock”
rather than the atheistic majority. The people around me were not so much
annoyed as they were interested in my faith and my differences. They asked
questions, argued and were angry, but they were not indifferent. That is when
the news of God spread even more.
Today, we
have even more challenges. In many countries where Mission Eurasia works, one
can be imprisoned for sharing a link to an online Bible or inviting guests to
talk about God. Other global challenges are the daily overload of “urgent”
matters and the constant distraction of useless things.
In this age
of omnipresent social networks and digital realities, it is important for each
of us to discern the voice of God and follow him every moment of our lives,
without wasting our lives on secondary or distracting things. It is not easy,
but it is vital to focus on the most important voice—the voice of God and our
obedience to it. This attracts the attention of society, and society wants you
to renounce your beliefs and values and live like everyone else.
My four
children love this song very much:

Row, row,
row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is
but a dream.

I love this
tune too, and I would very much like to agree with the lyrics of the song. But
life is not a dream. In order to remain faithful, we have to go against the
stream, doing our best whether it is fun or not so much fun. I don’t believe in
the moral majority, I believe in the “influential minority,” or speaking in
Biblical language, I believe in the “holy remnant.” So, I prefer to be a black
sheep rather than majority leader.
Today I
continue my journey against the stream. Every day I face the same radical
challenge: to row my boat gently down the stream or follow Jesus and His
commandments. May God strengthen me and you to follow and serve Him, and only