Where is the Conversion of Russia?
On a recent Sunday morning, members of our church had the opportunity to listen to a lecturer who had just returned from Omsk, Russia, a city with about the same population as Dallas, Texas.
We were told about the majority of the families who could only afford to put meat on their tables once a week. There is no shortage, the people just can't afford to buy it. Most of the meals consist of vegetables: cabbage, onions, turnips, etc. grown on small plots of land outside the city.
Alcoholism runs rampant as young men walk down the streets with bottles of beer in their hand at any time of the day. Drugs are readily available and cheap, courtesy of the Russian Mafia.
People knew there was an empty place in their hearts, Nikolai (the guest speaker) told the audience. When I mentioned God their smiles lit up the room. They were very receptive to Sacred Scripture.
Orphanages are filled with abandoned children. The small gifts handed out by Maria, Nikolai's wife, were, for most of the young boys and girls the only presents they will ever receive.
Boys who try to escape the harsh conditions of the orphanage are locked in cold, damp rooms and given nothing to eat for days at a time. Several children asked us to adopt them and bring them to our home. I wished with all my heart I could, but that was, of course, impossible, Maria said.
There is a prevalent misconception that every American is rich, Maria told us, and we received several requests for money. Those who asked us for financial assistance didn't believe we had none to spare since we were barely able to cover our own expenses.
Nikolai is hoping to return to Omsk for another three months. Maria wants to stay here and put their son in school. We need a stable family life right now Maria explained. Besides it would be very difficult to raise the money needed to travel to and live in Russia again.