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The Moscow Circus

Mom, Dad, you won’t believe this! Listening to our daughter, we agreed; the story defied human belief.

First, we must revisit a question posed to us on numerous occasions; “Did you ever wonder if investing your lives in ministry behind The Iron Curtain was worth it?”

Worth it?! Living our lives behind The Iron Curtain constituted one of the greatest privileges a person could ever imagine. Over the years of our clandestine existence, I possessed the unimaginable opportunity to sit in the audience and watch the amazing works of God.

Sometimes He involved me as a stagehand, and sometimes He wrote me into the script. Other times, I watched from backstage. Always, He was the Director, Producer, and Choreographer. We gazed speechless, and witnessed happenings that prophets of old longed to see.

One particular story from 1990 serves to answer with precise clarity the aforementioned question, “Was it worth it?” Allow me to explain.

Our little infant girl, our firstborn, who accompanied us to live in Poland in1977, grew up speaking the Polish language. Later, as a young teenager, she found herself staying at a hotel in Manila of the Philippines.  

The summer of 1990, she participated in a missions project with Student Venture, the high school ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. Near project’ s end, she and her international missions project providentially lodged in the same hotel where the famous Moscow Circus was staying.  

Keep in mind, during the Cold War, the Soviet Union denied ordinary citizens freedom to travel abroad. However, like the Olympic athletes and the Bolshoi Ballet, the members of The Circus were icons within the Soviet ideology, and were granted traveling privileges. Holding elitist status, these prestigious groups served government purposes of propaganda. The delegations traveled internationally, performed, and promoted the communist ideology, all the while under strictest surveillance.

So, how is this relevant?

Well, by the sovereign Hand of God, an adult leader of our daughter’s mission group secured an official evangelistic meeting with members of The Circus. Yet, an insurmountable obstacle threatened to derail the unprecedented opportunity; no Russian speaker (who also spoke English) could be found to translate.

When confronted with the crisis, our daughter explained, "I don’t speak Russian, but I do speak Polish.”  

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Then, the discovery was made that the Moscow Circus' young tightrope walker, was fluent in Polish. Because her grandmother was Polish, she knew the Polish language.

Plans moved forward, the group convened, and the meeting occurred. There, around a hotel pool in Manilla, our American daughter, who grew up to clandestine missionaries in Poland, verbally presented the The Four Spiritual Laws in Polish. A tightrope walker representing an atheist nation (whose grandmother just so happened to be Polish), listened in Polish, and sentence by sentence, translated the message of salvation from Polish into Russian for this Russian speaking audience, the renowned Moscow Circus.

The youthful duo worked in tandem, and before closing the Gospel presentation, an opportunity was presented to allow any individual—who so desired—to quietly invite Christ into their lives. The rest of the story stands recorded in the eternal volumes of heaven. For you see, that day, around an outdoor pool in southeast Asia, several members of an elite group from an atheist nation behind the Iron Curtain, did indeed invite Christ into their lives. That day their names were written in The Lamb’s Book of Life.

And God gets all the glory (Psalm 115:1). He faithfully protected one small missionary family in communist Poland where a child learned to speak Polish in order to, one day, participate in accomplishing His greater purposes. Complicated? Not for God. He desires for all to come to a knowledge of repentance (2Pet.3:9).

Now you understand why I never hesitate to marvel and give praise to God when asked, “Did you ever wonder if investing your lives in ministry behind The Iron Curtain was worth it?”

Living with Eternal Intentionality: Where can you look back over your own life and now see the Hand of God working to orchestrate His greater purposes?