Compliments of Kjos Ministries
This book tells the story of Mikhail (Misha) Khorev, a persecuted Russian pastor who gladly paid that “small price“: giving His life to God and sharing in the suffering of Jesus during Stalin’s cruel reign. In the process, he demonstrated God’s matchless love, endurance and forgiveness to all who knew him.
In the excerpts below, Misha is seventeen years old.
This was during Stalin’s harsh reign over our country. He had designs to have all the houses of prayer closed and, after a time of respite during the war, his iron fist was coming down hard once more on the believers. Not only was he trying to annihilate the church, he was also trying to infiltrate the church by planting his own men in it to control its affairs. These men were not believers.
No one under thirty was allowed to be baptized. No one under eighteen was allowed to attend church services. The pastors were only to preach what was mandated by the Ministry of Religious Affairs. And these were only a few of the rules designed to scatter the believers.
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“Dear Lord,” I prayed earnestly, “I do want to live for you! I want to experience the Holy Spirit in my life!”…
Since that day in the kitchen when I became so absorbed in the Bible, my mother gave me other books to read—biographies of Christians who gave their lives to the Lord and then were martyred. I do not know where Mama got those books, but they made a huge impact on my life.
Now, I was alone in my small room. I had just finished reading how the martyrs had boldly testified of their faith, then were thrown into the Roman arenas to be devoured by ravenous beasts. “Lord, that is what I want! I want a testimony like that. I want you to come and fill me with the presence of your Holy Spirit!”
In our services, the pastors often called people to repentance. In my seventeen years, I had heard the call over and over again. Though they did not ask for public confessions of faith, I knew that people did give their lives to the Lord, for I heard their testimonies later. I wanted that for myself.
In my intense desire, I knelt and prayed. Though it was only six o’clock in the evening, it was already pitch dark outside except for the feeble streetlights. The arctic cold seeped into our flat.